Wednesday, December 20, 2006

Yarn Diets and the Demise of the LYS

I was reading WendyKnits earlier, and her resolution to knit from her stash (similar to my yarn diet) apparently caused quite a hubbub on the blog of a LYS (local to whom, I'm not certain).

This LYS owner claimed that if everyone knit from their stashes that Wendy would be responsible for the demise of yarn shops far and wide. The phrase "blood on your [Wendy's] hands" was included.

This is ridiculous. I haven't read anything so self-serving in ages. This sounds like the LYSs that complain about internet yarn shops stealing all of their business. Internet shopping is often a supplement to the LYS, rather than an alternative.


The LYS sucks. There we go, I've said it. I have 9 LYS within a 20 minute radius around my house (meaning, if you were to take a compass, put the pointy part on my house, and swoop around with the pencil-y part, there are NINE LYSs within that circle).

I've gone into a LYS where the service was beyond bad- it was overtly rude. One of these LYSs is notorious of having rude employees. I buy the things they sell from online vendors.

Last January I was in a different LYS where I watched the owner be exceedingly rude to a developmentally disabled woman in front of a store full of customers. The DD woman was a customer, and so was her mother- who was standing right there next to her daughter. I don't shop there anymore, again- I buy online.

Rudeness is one of my main reasons for not shopping at the LYSs. Another is the huge difference in price markups between LYSs. This isn't as noticeable when you have one or two LYSs, but when the same yarn is 30% more expensive at a shop 20 minutes away, the consumer is bound to figure it out.

Yeah, yeah, I know the "markup includes our expertise" argument. I actually used to work at an LYS where we helped people, and we had the lowest markup in the area. When it comes to where I shop, I don't need their help, so why should I be expected to pay for a service I'm never going to use?

I have personally never asked for knitting help in a store- the most I ask is "Where can I find XX?" Sorry, the internet shops cut that "expense".

I digress from my main point- Yarn Diets and the Destruction of the LYS. It's not going to happen. Even if you're firm and stick to your resolve, we all crack. My yarn diet lasted about 120 days, but I bought spinning fiber in the meantime.

Wendy's diet doesn't include sock yarn, where mine was a totally kibosh on all yarn purchases. Andrew could probably show you in Quicken how much I spend on JUST sock yarn every year. It's staggering.

My yarn diet stemmed from a love of what I have in my stash. When Andrew and I went through the my whole stash and re-packaged it over the summer, I realized how much yarn I have that I love. I also realized, in my shopping excursions, how I pretty much have everything I want.

Here is the frightening thing: I haven't seen a whole lot of "new" or "different" yarns that appeal to me. That's why I'm insane in the membrane about spinning. It's new, different, and yet- similar enough to appeal to my tastes. (I am insanely in love with Trekking- the subtle variegated ones, and my spinning is similar to that right now.)

So, LYS owners, listen up! If you want more foot traffic, to move more products, and to defeat these evil Yarn Diets, you have to stock NEW and INTERESTING things! Offer classes in techniques that move yarn, or fiber, or whatever. Ask your customers what THEY would like to see, and carry a little initially to see if there's interest.

The one thing that will always defeat a Yarn Diet is temptation. If there is no temptation, the Yarn Diet will be successful.

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