I swooned at the sight of "Lotus", with its Asian influence. A floral delight, with a large Shou center motif and stylized Shou's along the outer border. This pattern was certainly conducive to monochromatic colour planning. From white to navy the colour placement was such that the rug just glowed and blue being my favorite, the rug spoke to me in sonnets. Well done Margaret, I bow to you!
I knew Lotus was going to be a stunner, I imagined all kinds of colour combos while it was still on the drawing table from pastels to deep saturated colours. I've seen a partially hooked version at rug school in pinks and greens and it was beautiful but to choose blues, be still my heart! What a way to start the day, like eating the cake first, topped with whipped cream and French vanilla ice cream with a wedge of the finest Belgian chocolate just because.
My eyes misted as they embraced the rug and it lifted my spirit to a childlike enthusiasm. Right then and there I experienced a creative rush and I could have taken on the world, hooked my own masterpiece, finish writing my novel, cleaned my house and still got to bed by midnight! I was super charged with an electric energy. It was going to be one hell of an incredible Saturday in the shop, it could only soar from here.
Thinking back it seems less of a coincidence that she picked that particular day to bring in the finished rug. At times it appears that the world revolves around my ups and downs; it was as if the universe knew August 24th would be trying, directing Margaret's hand to hook this rug with extraordinary flavour in time to save me from what would happen next, balance the sweet with the sour to come out on the right side of normal. Sounds sort of narcisistic and believe me, I don't really believe the world revolves around me, I'm just sayin it seemed like more than happenstance!
And then came the sour. The chain that dragged me into the darkness, destroying the bliss of moments before. The kind of customer that makes me wish I didn't have the shop, was at home with my hubby and pups, gardening and living the life of a princess, no stress and no fuss, just me and my rainbow. I'm not happy that people can effect me in such a negative way but I think we all cringe to greater or lessor degrees from an ornery look, hurtful words and disapproval. Really? Who likes controversy? I'm working on handling these kinds of situations but it's baby steps. Just when the world is going along peacefully and I let my guard slip, someone comes along and sets me back a page or two. I'll eventually get to the point where I can deal with the situaton without loosing my will to live but in the meantime I'm a balloon that looses its essence with a pin prick.
A woman breezes in with shields up, ready for battle. She was out of breath and annoyed that I was a bit late. And I had been. I worked in the shop until 1:00 am the night before getting an order ready for pick up that morning and by the time I got to bed it was merging on 2:00 am and then I couldn't sleep because I was wired from buzzing around the shop at warp speed so I lay there watching the hours roll by and finally when I did fall asleep it was almost morning and then I didn't hear the alarm. Hubby and I figured out this Sunday that I've only had three days off in the past two months and I've worked more nights than not. I'm a bit on the exhausted side but you have to make hay while the sun shines and this is my busiest time of year. I'm not complaining about working so much but I'm not a Walmart, I'm only one person, running a little craft business, so if I'm late in the morning just know there's probably a good reason behind it.
Anyway, this woman came in with attitude, annoyed at the cutter I sold her years back. She told me it didn't work and her hooking group said it was definitely not a good machine. Before I continue on this tale, let me peel back a layer to explain how I handle the sale of any cutter. First, I inspect and try the machines as soon as they come in to make sure they are in working order. At the time of sale, I do a demo in front of the customer and usually teach them how to cut wool and they practice on a piece or two until they get the hang of it. If you buy extra blades I take them out of the packages and run my finger along the edge to assure the buyer that they are without any nicks and are sharp and smooth as a baby's bottom. I then sign the boxes and write on the date they are sold to prove they were inspected.
So this woman takes the cutter out of the box and I can see it's in sad repair. If this machine was a sick human it would have been in the fourth stage of a terrible disease and the last rights would have been performed. It had been severely abused. The tension knob had been tightened on so hard I struggled to loosen it and I'm no shrinking violet, I've got an arm on me and as strong as any man my size. All the cutting kits and stirring pots have built my biceps to an impressive stature.
To give you an idea how tight it was, the handle wouldn't move and because of this someone forced it and broke the internal gear so that it no longer was tight to the shaft, the set screw was stripped and needed tightening with an allen wrench. Even though it wouldn't turn, the handle flopped in and out of the housing, which is easy to fix with the right tool as long as they set screw isn't totally ruined. This was the least of the problems at hand.
Then the wheel was on wrong. I told her it was but she totally dismissed me. I took the wheel off and put it back on properly but she wasn't impressed. She wasn't willing to accept any fault on her part, the cutter was flawed and I was responsible. It wasn't tight to the base as it should be, almost 1/4 inch out which means it wasn't properly aligned over the roller ball so it only made contact with the right side of the blade. So she or someone in her group ground on the tension until it couldn't turn any more trying to make the contact between all three blades and the roller. She admitted the cutter worked until she changed the blade and that's when it went downhill. Well dah, the blade was put on wrong, of course it didn't work. We like to pick at men for not following directions or reading instructions but it just goes to show that some women don't read instructions any more than they do. The cutters come with pictures to show you how to work the machine, backed up with words if you like written instructions.
I've never felt sorry for a piece of metal before, but this was a good time to start. The right side of the blade was so crushed the metal was white and twice as wide as the fine points of the other two. It had to have groaned and protested as someone tried to use it. There had to have been the smell of burning material, maybe the reason the metal was white. And, with that kind of damage, I'll bet is wasn't 100% wool that went through it. I've seen some awful horror stories of what is done to cutting machines but I'd never seen this before. The wheel was toast...no sharpening would have saved it. It was DOA.
She asked what I planned to do. Her intent was for me to reimburse her for the machine and the two extra blades which she brought with her and actually pushed at my face. She also said repeatedly that she had to be on the road in 15 minutes to get to the airport and it was clear she was blaming me for being late. Clearly I was ruining her day. I had been open for about 20 minutes before she even came in, you'd think she would have been standing on the door step waiting for me, not out having coffee or shopping if the airport was that urgent. It was all Chop chop! She wanted me to jump, the question was how high. Why she brought it in last minute in a huff I don't know, why not the day before when the conversation could have been less hurried or less stressful for the both of us. She'd been living in this area for months. But then again, maybe that was part of her plan for me to be flustered and agree to let her dump it on me and bare the cost of the repairs and shipping? But....I don't know and shouldn't assume. I told her that I don't fix machines, that she needed to mail it to Crawford Purdy in Truro and if she left her credit card I would gladly address it for her and have it shipped to her home in Montreal. She looked at me as if I grew two heads and said that mailing the heavy cutter would be too expensive for shipping. I told her that he was the only one qualified to fix the problems, especially to the state her cutting machine was in. It was clear she was fine with me sending it away but she wouldn't be paying for it herself. I said the only recourse was to arrange to have someone drop it off at Truro as it really had nothing to do with me.
Clearly insensed, she huffed about the time again, having to leave for the airport immediately, fretting that it was too heavy to take on the plane. Her friend suggested the woman leave the cutter behind with her brother. She headed for the dor. I said, "Am I right in assuming you expected me to fix your machine?" She said yes, she felt I should have offered. I told her that I was not responsible for the damage, that she broke the cutter. I then reminded her that when the cutter left the shop it was in perfect working order but she was already banging out the door. Am I missing something? Why would I bare the cost of the repairs and shipping. Judging what was needed to resusitate it, with mailing costs it would have been at least $200 or more for parts and labour.
Another customer unfairly angry when I did absolutely nothing to deserve the bad press I will get from her wagging tongue. She mentioned several times the group she hooks with told her to bring it back to me as it was defective so the negative jam is on already spread. I know I can't control what people say, but it rots my socks! I work so hard to offer top quality and dependable products, to be maligned unfairly hurts my business and is the reason why I am telling my side of the story....hopefully it helps to balances things in the universe. This whole thing was beyond my control...like being attacked with a knife in the dark, you don't know when it will hit, or see it coming, but it sure hurts when it does!
What kind of world do we live in when you can break something and then take it back to the store to demand a refund. I don't live in this world. I would never do that in a million years to anyone. My mistake, my consequence, make your bed and lie in it was our family motto. Maybe you can get away with that at Canadian Tire with all their insurance and multi-millions or billions in sales every year, but I can't afford to clean up mistakes I haven't made. I'd be out of business! Some customers I can't afford to have and dealing with them absolutely knocks the wind out of my sail. I find myself traveling back to tougher times, my former life when I was a victim of an ruthless lout. I'm still working on growing a backbone but it's one vertebrae at a time and like Rome, isn't going to be built in a day.
So the woman left not willing to take ownership for the damage to the machine, thoroughly disgusted with me and will never shop in my store again, probably her friends will agree so the boycott begins. The banging door caused my shoulders to droop, my head to sag and the joy of the morning drained like an unstopped tub.
Margaret, still perusing the patterns, had overhead the conversation and said kind words, telling me the woman was out of line. She said people like that make her angry. I got a hug and that made me feel better. I took another look at Lotus until I was able to smile. If Margaret hadn't been there to save the day with that gorgeous rug and sweet hug, I would have been absolutely doomed and probably dragged the black cloud home to ferment in misery for the rest of the evening. One of these days I want that kind of negative situation to run off my back, I want to laugh at the silliness of it all, not beat myself up for things out of my control. I'm trying to elimiate stress through positive thinking and hard work, I'll get there eventually, if not, I guess I'll die trying..........