The very first time I ventured into a craft store (picture Craft Warehouse, Michaels, JoAnn’s, Scrapbooking, etc.), I was truly amazed! I had no idea that there were such vast resources for the creatively gifted and/or challenged. As I perused up and down the aisles, I felt a creative-being awakening in my soul!! Within moments I was like a barracuda, drawn feverishly to the bright shiny objects that filled every shelf in this vast infinite sea. I recall being so excited about my 45,687 instant (yet brilliant) ideas for home décor, photos, gifts, lighting, holidays, etc… that I ended up leaving with approximately 53 projects to tackle, and a bill that could rival the nation deficit.
In all fairness, this wasn’t my actual cherry-popping visit to a craft store. I had some previous experience on a resume that I don’t EVER like to reference. My mother, with no remorse, would drag my 3 brothers and I into these stores throughout our entire childhood. Some of these shopping trips would last so long that we would wander like box-car-children until we found the fabric section, where we would then put ourselves down for a nap. The only thing that sticks out in my memory more than the makeshift fabric bed… was how much the employees HATED children (which I always found odd since most looked like grandma types). In fact, other than in the presence of my own father, craft stores were the only time where I ever felt like I needed to apologize for my very existence.
As I think about my encounters as an adult at these same venues, I realize that one would be hard pressed to find a smiling face, kind word, or an attractive person at any given craft store. The workforce seems to be compiled of bitter, dejected, 55+ females (a very interesting demographic if you ask me), who are hell-bent on making sure you are aware of their disapproval.
In recent years, I have been letting my creative juices flow, the result being I have found myself in these stores far more often than I could have ever imagined (I know my mother is LOLing all over herself at this reality). And every time I show up, I encounter employees who don’t want to be bothered with questions, who don’t want to assist me with my purchase, and who under-no-circumstances will validate or pretend to be interested in my project. For crying out loud, even the staff at Home Depot will give me “sympathy enthusiasm” when I tell them about my latest & greatest project idea. And they are usually all dudes! (C’mon, chicks are suppose to know how to fake it; especially pre-women’s movement women.)
Accordingly, after careful research, I have assembled a few pointers that will help you get the allusive customer service assistance you may crave the next time you are feeling crafty.
1) Under no circumstances should you look happy. If you already have frown lines, you are lucky and a step ahead of your not-so-bitter fellow shoppers.
2) Ugly clothes are a must! Don’t think a cranky old bitty will be impressed by your fabulous stilettos and pressed dress slacks. Oversized and preferably, outdated, is the only way to go!
3) Don’t act like you are excited about your project. Instead, act dejected, as if you have no friends, no social life, and have been wronged by every encounter in your life. This says, “I’m not getting any enjoyment out of this project, I am only doing it as a way to pass time before I die.”
4) Bad nails, eyebrows that have never seen tweezers, facial hair, pale skin, and significant grow out from your last bottle job are important finishing touches!
5) If you aren’t against a harsh deadline, I would suggest waiting to make your trip until you are on your period. The bloating will make your clothes fit poorly and your skin will most likely be broken out (this also may make you come across more agitated – bonus!).
6) Not every crafter is fortunate enough to already have a natural FUPA; so don’t be discouraged if you don’t have an extra layer of blubber. Just be sure to over eat, consume lots of sodium, and wear clothes that accentuate all your problem areas the day you go shopping.
In all seriousness, even though the customer service at the DMV out-shines the average craft store, it is worth the trip nonetheless. The creative spirit in anyone, from childhood to retirement will be channeled and inspired. Note: This also includes desperate housewives; stay-at-home moms; and fabulous sophisticated women (such as myself!) who grind away at a computer all day, watching their creative juices succumb to the monotony of the business world.