Monday, September 27, 2010

AC Moore Boycott - Warning, RANT, Straight Ahead

Its not often I jump on a soapbox for all to hear about my distaste about something.
And if you know me well enough, you know I lost the filter that's supposed to cover my mouth from opinions exiting it a LONG time ago!
BUT - trying to keep on the positive side of life, I keep most things nominally public, just verbally venting & then forgetting.

However, tonight's episode set me off.

Let's clear things up from the get go.
I own a bead store.
Therefore, as far as I am concerned, there is only one place on earth for people to buy beads. (hee hee)
From Bead & Glass Boutique, Pitman, NJ.
Also note: I do not buy beads from AC Moore. Yet, I do not judge those that do.
Clear? OK - let's move on!

Step 1:
I recently dove head first into metal forging. (Thank you Lisa Niven Kelly & Lisa Peters Art - its all your fault for too much inspiration to keep me contained.)
In the last two weeks I've managed to obtain the following tools:
2 full sets of letter/number stamps, dapping block set, disc cutters, fat max cutters, 1 lb brass hammer, 2 lb brass hammer, 9-in-1 texturing hammer, several sheets of raw metal, a package of fine steel wool, lots of other new tools I can't recall, and countless nights with an ice pack for my over-used wrists.
I've also acquired probably 2 dozen pieces of LPA in the past month to use in this new foray.
Last but not least, I've purchased half a dozen books to learn the "how-to's" of metal; from cold connections, forging, forming, heating, annealing, and riveting.
I do nothing lightly, but this time I feel like I've skid in sideways, 90 MPH and picked up a TON of knowledge in a very short period of time.

ONE thing I did not find in any of my tool purchases....but the "book" told me I needed to have:
An eyelet setter (commonly found in the scrap-booking section of craft stores)
Oh yeah - and the eyelets to go with said eyelet setter....

Step 2:
AC Moore - what we here on the east coast refer to as a semi-big-box craft store.
AC Moore is celebrating their 25th Anniversary this week (my goodness, I don't know how they made it to the 25th!?).
AC Moore published a 50% off one item coupon for this week only.
(hey - we all love a discount)
Now, I wouldn't be caught red handed buying beads from AC Moore, that's just not cool to be seen doing that as a bead shop owner in the area.
Therefore, I planned on using my 50% off trusty coupon for that "eyelet setter" that can commonly be found in the scrap-booking section of local craft stores.

Step 3:
Have a nice dinner with fiancee.
Head to AC Moore to save money on eyelet setter with 50% off coupon.
Arrive 30 minutes prior to close of store. (plenty of time)
First (and only planned stop): Scrapbook section - all 4 1/2 aisles of it.
With little effort - found several eyelet setter options...Pick one.
With a LOT of effort, can't find eyelets.
With a LOT of effort, finally find store associate for assistance...(here's where it gets attention)

ME: Hello, I'm sorry to bother you, but I have one quick question regarding an item in your scrap-booking section
(I thought I'd make it easy & narrow it down)
ASSociate: *audible sigh* Yes?
ME: I've managed to locate this eyelet setter, however I can't seem to find the eyelet packages that might accompany this product
ASSociate: (wait for it.......) *second audible sigh*
ME (apologetic): I understand you're nearing a close, but I've been searching for about 10 minutes without any luck.
ASSociate: If we have them, they're in the scrap-booking section.
ME: thinking to self....( shit)
ME: Well, you've been most helpful - have a great night.

INSERT SIDE NOTE: If I ever overheard any of my staff treating a customer as such, they'd be fired on the spot.

Grabbed a package of RIT dye for my bead embroidery projects because dammit - I'm going to save 50% off something!
With full plans to abandon eyelet setter purchase at checkout...
V-Lined for checkout...

ME: Hi - I have a quick question. I have this nice eyelet setter from your scrap-booking section. However, I can't seem to find the eyelets to go with it (giving 2nd chance)
2nd Associate: Hmmm...I don't know much about scrap-booking, not sure what an eyelet is. But let me get "Lennie," she knows everything.
ME: OK !! Thanks
Lennie arrives, staring blankly @ me.
ME: Hi Lennie, (repeat question)
Lennie: Oh yes. We stopped carrying the eyelets about 3 months ago.
ME: Hmmm. Lennie, so you're telling me that you sell eyelet setters (four types to be exact), but no eyelets?
Lennie: Yes.
ME: Lennie, can you tell me how many eyelet setters you've sold in the last three months? (here comes the logical me making a quiet scene).
Lennie: I'm really not sure.
ME: I'm going to bet none. And you know, I'm not going to buy this one either.
(poor Lennie, so not her fault...)


Original Planned purchase: $39.99 x 50% off = about $20 + full priced eyelets in several sizes - BUT THEY DON'T HAVE THEM

Rit dye = $4.99 x 50% off

Reason for boycott:
This is the 2nd time I've had a similar customer service experience at AC Moore, Deptford, NJ.

Besides, there's only one place to find beads anyway - Bead & Glass Boutique, Pitman, NJ.
Guess I'm going to start carrying ALL that other stuff myself !


Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Recover & Recap

Let us recap, shall we?
Last we left off, I was headed to BeadFest Philly to do some browsing, a little shopping, network with instructors, and just have an all out "me" time for beads - three full days planned !

Well - don't forget, I have a "more than full time career" (not beading) that typically gets in the way and this time, it did not disappoint.
I was notified just a few days before BeadFest began that I would be audited the following week. Not IRS audit (my gosh!) but an annual inspection. Its not a BIG deal, as everything is usually in good order, but the last year has been a .... um ..... (thinking nice ways to put this) - "Topsy-Turvy, Tired of Moving Things Around" Life.
So when inspection is announced, its time to put things in their correct places.

Yes, that meant my three day, overnight with friends, beading & shopping weekend was now cut back to a day and a half.

That did two things - it forced me to rush around with an attempt at efficiency (which I'm used to) and it probably saved me a lot of money - HA!

I ended up with a BIG order from a BIG supplier that I had shipped back to the Boutique.
- Lots of Crystals - can we have enough? Lemme answer that - NO!
- A 2 lb brass hammer with a few random blanks (for me!)
- A small assortment of this season's gemstones - we don't need another gemstone, I have boxes waiting to be sold off. Before it was seed beads, it was a gemstone addiction

But more importantly - I kept my promise to myself!
I did my best attempt to network with some of the "celebrity beaders" and speak to them about potentially teaching in NJ at Bead & Glass Boutique !

I met lots of really nice, genuinely happy to be speaking with me people.
There are BIG possibilities for next year - and heck, if we can get them here this year - well - YAY !!!

And....Just for me - I bought lots of kits ! I'm at that stage of beading that I just don't want to say to people, "I can figure that out." I really have declared, "Just show me." Ah! That's liberating - and SO much easier!
I have kits from Jill Wiseman, Shelly Nybakke, Lisa Niven Kelly, and Glenda P., and AWESOME instructions from Leslie Rogalski.
I can't wait to get something fun finished - just for me.

We also just received our shipment of Miyuki's new TILA beads !
OH EM GEE !!! The possibilities with these little beauties are endless !
If you enjoy working with seed beads - these are an absolute MUST have. In all 30 colors of course :)

Here's a photo of an "in progress" Tila Bead project:

This is a modification from a graphic only pattern supplied by the Miyuki company themselves.
I plan on making the wheel a centerpiece for a bracelet.
More to follow!

Oh - and that pesky audit ?
The best, most clean audit the examiner/auditor has ever done. Not a single item out of place.

Babies were all tucked into the nest! (really, would you expect anything less?)

+ 1 for Amy