The other day Helen came home from school and boy did she have something to tell me. Apparently a boy in her class, Tim (name changed) had come up to her saying, "The yarns in your Mom's yarn shop are way too expensive. My mom said she can buy the same yarns at W-store for much less." Wow! Fighting words from a fourth grade boy!
Helen knew it was an insult, but she wasn't sure why. She knows that my shop is so completely different from a W-store and I think to hear the two together ruffled her feathers.
Her teacher, a knitter, overheard the exchange, and apparently jumped right in and told Tim that it was wrong for him to talk about someone else's mother and business like that. She went on to say that my yarn shop is a specialty shop, and W-store is a chain store, and that they are two completely different things. She even used this incident to prompt a little discussion for the entire class later that day, about how talking about other people, friends, their businesses, etc. can be hurtful and damaging. Right on... a little life lesson there!
After school though, Helen was still irritated that someone would make that kind of comment to her. She is protective of her family, and I'm proud of her - it's a wonderful trait. So we discussed it further. We talked about the quality of yarns at my shop, and the quality of yarns at chain stores, and how quality makes a difference in price. I explained that Tim's comment, no matter how truthful and accurate he THOUGHT it was, was completely bogus, and that it didn't upset me at all. It obviously originated from someone who thinks that I sell the same exact yarns as W-store. This person is not being mean, she is just misinformed. She's comparing apples to bananas. I sell apples. They sell bananas.
We also talked about it in a way that made sense to her - like how there are a lot of places to buy kids' shirts. More expensive stores, medium expensive stores, less expensive stores, etc. In the big picture, all of these stores sell kids' shirts. To some folks, a shirt is a shirt is a shirt. And that's fine!
But to other folks (and discriminating fashionista children, like Helen) no two shirts are the same. Some shirts are cozy, others are scratchy. Some shirts fit well, others gape and pucker. Some are really well made (and you can tell!) and others will fall apart when you take them home. So for all the folks who believe that no two shirts are the same, that's why we have different shops out there. These people are thankful that they can make their purchases elsewhere, with no disrespect at all to the shops that sell the scratchy shirts.
Do you like apples? Do you like bananas? You can knit with whatever you want to knit with. Let's not judge each other. Just eat your fruit, knit and be happy. :)