Ah, the QUESTION…It’s a tricky one. Because I love to help people with the craft I love, and I love to do research, I will always help someone. For free. But, I do not tolerate being used. To illustrate this point, I will compare it to my other job, working as a Retail Pharmacist. A customer walks up to the window for a consult. They ask about why their drug looks different than it did before. I look at the bottle. It was dispensed at Walmart. I told the customer, “ I do not know what brands Walmart uses for their drugs, so I do not know if they have changed. You should really go back to that store and ask this question”. The customer replies, “ I don’t like their Pharmacist, I want to ask you”. OK, but this is a question I cannot answer. It also happens with mail order prescriptions too. I find this incredibly rude for many reasons; you want our service, but want a ‘deal’ somewhere else (discount store, or mail order). Here is the parallel to the LYS (local yarn store); we have expertise that we love to share, but can you see how it is rude to come in and ask for detailed help on a project you purchased yarn for online or at a discount retailer? If we don’t carry the yarn/pattern, it is even more difficult for us to help you. I have helped many a customer, but know many stores that wouldn’t. Or they would charge. Now, folks traveling with a project are most welcome to stop in—heck, I even give them a free yarn needle! This is good Karma, paying it forward , so to speak. I am talking about the person who lives in the neighborhood who doesn’t buy from us and wants our expertise. We have employees to pay, as well as our rent, so spending lots of time with you who won’t buy yarn from us isn’t exactly something we love to do. There is talent and expertise at a LYS, and yes, you are expected to ‘pay’ for that expertise by patronizing that LYS. It’s only common sense and decency. If you want deals online, then you should look online for resources to help you, not come into a store and ask for free help. It is also in bad taste to come to free knitting nights at your LYS with yarn and projects purchased elsewhere. If you enjoy the yarn shop hosting and the knitters around the table, you should enjoy the yarns and patterns they provide too. No one is getting rich running a LYS, we do it for the love of the craft, and you should understand this and patronize the shop accordingly.
OK, so will you help me with my project I didn’t buy from you? Yes, provided it is a quick question and you are prepared to possibly wait for us while we help other customers. Being pushy or rude isn't going to help here. Calling for an appointment is also a good idea. We work usually alone, so be patient while we help other customers, then we will gladly help you. Many times a customer ‘bites off more than they can chew’ –they pick a pattern that is beyond their skill level. This would require a private lesson or a class. Understand your limits, as well as ours, and things will work out just fine.