Thursday, 12 February 2009

Keeping Shop

I've been standing on the other side of the shop counter today. I've been minding the shop at Kraft Crazy in Tidworth. My second favourite hobby is observation. Meet the customers:
here are the Missionaries. They come in, ask for or locate their chosen product range and stay focussed on what they want to buy. Undistracted they arrive at the till, pay and leave. ( Oh interweb, where do they sell such will power? I need a bucket load.)

Or are you 'weekly' - the once a week visitor who wants to see what's new, absorb a little of the crafty vibe, perhaps buy a piece or two of new paper, make a mental note to add other items to the wish list and go home refreshed and reassured that you aren't missing out? Maybe.

Or do you recognise yourself as a Time Outer? The customer that needs to take time out from other pressures, work, family, blah blah. Has a jolly good, absorbing and in depth look around the shop. If you are already a crafter, you may go mad and buy a handful of things because you need to - it's a little tonic; you're going to use it. Satisifed, you can chat awhile and really enjoy your break in the haven of the shop.

Or perhaps you're the Community Shopper. Come in, dump your handbag behind the counter, chatter to the help while picking up, putting down, admiring stroking and possibly talking yourself into buying something you don't need (we'll discuss 'need' some other time), perhaps even make a round of tea - you're an essential part of the crafting community that has sprung up around the shop.

I've met the Browser Who Crafts Alone: I think she's shy - doesn't want (or need) help in the shop but likes to be around when there's a workshop in progress. I think she's like to join the community of crafters at the workshop table but has still to overcome the little voice that says she shouldn't be having a couple of hours to herself every now and then AND spend money. Dear interweb, give her strength to drown out the little voices!

Then there's the Browser Who Doesn't Do This Craft. I have to be slightly mean here and say that this type takes a good long look around, and then, because she doesn't want to buy anything but needs to leave with her consicence intact asks for something that you clearly do not stock. Today, after a 30 minute look around at many thousands of pounds worth of scrapbook and card making products, she asked for Cross Stitch kits by a specific manufacturer.

Or perhaps you're the Crafter Who Knows Everything. And you only ask the shopkeeper a question so you can answer it, name-drop products and competitors and assure everybody that you're incredibly experienced and the 79p you just spent on a sheet of Peel Offs will probably keep the shop in business for the next 5 years. Please don't be this person, and yes, take my irritation as read.

Close to last on today's list is the Unwilling. Possibly not even a crafter. Often a bloke, sent in to get something; only asks at the counter because frankly it's easier than looking and will get him out faster. Also makes him easy prey for the shopkeeper who likes to call him 'young man' and question him closely about the possibility of joining us for coffee at the workshop table. Works a treat - they always let their girls come in alone after that.

I want to be the Ideal Customer. She is a happy mix of all of these characters and she combines them well. She's a regular visitor, likes to do a workshop and loves to know what's new but won't get in a panic if the shop is still awaiting delivery. She's tactful enough not to brag about purchases made elsewhere, especially from Ebay or the TV networks, and certainly doesn't recommend other shops to customers in front of the shopkeeper. Not afraid to make a cup of tea, but waits till she's offered one, and washes up afterwards! Not afraid to shop a little after a workshop, but knows that an evening workshop means a really long day for the shopkeeper, so knows when to give in and go home.
Am I that woman? Not all those parts. But I LOVE being part of a local crafting community. These independent shops are so good at fostering these things. If you want me to come stand behind your counter for a day, lemme know..I like the observing part, and the till part. Some day I'll chat about the characters that come to workshops. You might recognise yourself again!


Jane in Kent said...

Great observations... I suppose I'm one kind one day and another on the next!

Jay said...

This made me laugh.I wonder where you would put me, LOL. I'd like to be the ideal customer, but alas, I think I may fit somewhere else.

Jo Power said...

How brilliant I am not sure which one I am but I go along occassionly with OH in tow and then have to hurry cos he needs to be else where, I think he only does it to stop me spending must go alone next time.

Caryn said...

Ok, mostly I'm the Time Outer - it IS a therapy session for me. I honestly feel myself calming down when I'm in amongst new stash!

You do make me laugh Jules. What an observant person you are too.

Hugs and have a great weekend,

Caryn xxx

Paula - Buenos Aires said...

Brillant! Outstanding observing powers dealt with humour and good writing. :)

Anonymous said...

I am a Kraft Krazy regular and I spend far too much but love Traceys shop and the welcome you always get. I agree with your observations, remember what we want and what we can afford don't always go together :-( So don't be to hard on the lookers only :-) Sorry I may be guilty of shopping elsewhere but variety is the spice of crafting

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