Saturday, 23 October 2010

Is This The Effect of The Recession?

Knitwits Yarns

As all of our customers know, we do try and go the extra mile and help whenever we can. To this end we offer a layby service (where customers can buy their wool a bit at a time over the course of a month) and we do take back unused balls which are re-saleable (ie we don't accept really scruffy ones or ones that smell of smoke or yarns which we don't stock any more and we don't give refunds but do give credits against future purchases).

Incidentally - as an aside - do you know that the layby system started during the last War when wool was rationed? Yes, wool was such a rare and previous commodity that it was rationed along with your butter, eggs and meat. In this day and age of acrylics and polyamides, it's an amazing thought.

Anyhoo - I digress. As I said, we will accept unused balls and, in fact, sometimes it can be really useful as we may have a customer desperate for a bit more of a particular dye batch and on numerous occasions we've managed to marry the returned ball with the desperate customer and everyone's very happy.

Well we - and at least one other local shop I know of - have been having a spate of balls returned which have been partly used. Presumably the knitter has only needed to knit a row or two of a new ball and has cast off so they've thought, "well, I'll re-wind this really carefully and no-one will know". I had a case on Monday where I was fiddling with the returned ball and I wasn't happy and thought it didn't feel right but I didn't have electronic scales in the shop so I couldn't prove absolutely that the ball was underweight. Took it home and weighed it and the 50g ball weighted 41g. 9g had been used. I can't re-sell the ball but I've already credited the customer as she bought more wool at the time.

I've now brought the electronic scales into the shop and have put up a big notice to say we will weigh returned balls if they feel underweight. The reaction from customers has been unanimously one of shock that fellow knitters would steal off a wool shop like that - for that is what it is - stealing.

Am I being naive here - is this a common problem? - or does everyone else out there in cyber space agree that it's outrageous theft?

Is this the effect of the recession?


  1. I think these people have laways been that way... they are probably the same people that eat the grapes before they get to the check out and let their children eat food before they have paid for it... drives me insane... even if they are going ot pay for hte empty wrapper and not stash it on a shelf its not actually theirs till they have paid for it...
    I think its very wise to use the scales and unfortunately fully trusting your customer is a thing of the past... :(

  2. Goodness that's terrible, I cannot believe knitters would do that, how very low.

    I grew up with my mother knitting pretty much everything and our local wool shop used the layby system, Mrs Bardoe would write the customer's name on the smallest scrap of paper and insert it into the bag of wool - she was a woman in her 70's then with very sharp eyes!

    Shame you've had to resort to scales etc but I truly hope it is just one or two inconsiderate knitters and not a widespread problem.

  3. You wouldn't return a half slice of ham to the deli- "oh it's still perfectly edible!"-, or a loaf of bread with two slices off -"I only needed that bit to make Johnny's sandwich for his lunch" ???

    If it isn't theft, it is something else equally illegal and dishonest: ripping off the yarn shop owner, fraud (trying to sell (return) something that isn't what they say it is), etc. I am appalled that knitters do this- we're supposed to be nice and caring people!