These days, there are 2 things I try to do when I travel. One is to find the Local Yarn Shop, and the other is try to find some locally roasted coffee to try.
So today I was over in Arkansas, for business. I went over yesterday afternoon and had dinner at a BBQ joint with 200 other employees of the company I work for. Today I sat in an 8 hour meeting. There was no good coffee to be found anywhere, and I doubt they would have appreciated it if I had pulled out my knitting project... so I did what anyone else would do in my situation - I pulled out my iPhone and hit up Yelp! to see if there was a decent LYS around. I found one that looked promising!
Yelp! said they would be open today until 6:30 p.m. and the photos on the shop's web site looked really promising. I was excited.
So as soon as the meeting ended, I hoped in my auto (named Otto) and GPS'd my way up to the shop. I got out of the car, waked up to the door, and - CLOSED! Ack!
Yelp! Said they were open. But the shop's web site said they were closed Mondays. But I didn't bother to check that. I'm learning my lesson...
I was really, really disappointed. This is what happens when you try to go out to do actual shopping. Traffic, questionable hours of operation, and I know we've all gone to the LYS where the people there don't actually care about actual customers - they just view their shop as a place in which they can sit and knit. It's like their own living room away from home and they don't really seem to care if you buy something or need help or... whatever.
So what's the alternative - we could do what we now do for everything else, and shop for yarn online. The prices are often times better, and so is the selection. And they are always open.
But - what about browsing? I don't actually like to "browse" yarn online. I can't see what the color really looks like. I can't tell how soft it is, I can't hold it in my hand and feel the texture and the weight and the drape. I can't wander around the store for 40 minutes, relaxing more and more each minute that goes by and each round I make through the store...
Even when I visit a LYS where they don't really acknowledge me because they are "busy," or if their selection isn't all that great, or if their prices are so outrageous I can't afford anything more than a $6 pattern, I still like going. I get ideas, I get inspired, I get relaxed.
So to me, there is no substitute for visiting my LYS. I admit, I'm pretty spoiled - I live in a town that has a LYS that is nationally known, and actually has 2 locations. AND I used to work there. I was really looking forward to browsing this shop in Arkansas. Because it's way more fun that browsing in my browser.
On the bright side, the (closed) LYS was actually right next to a coffee roasting shop! And while their customer service was questionable, and their decor and merchandising was non-existent, I did my part to support a small business and bought a half pound of "Organic Mexican." I have no idea what I'm in for tomorrow morning, but it was fun to go and browse and see and smell...
|ah, the LYS! this was a staff meeting from 2011 when i used to work there...|