Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Jo Ann and her Fabrics

I hate buying decorative pillows. I think its the biggest waste of money on the planet so I often make my own. I find myself in JoAnne Fabrics about once a week buying some decorative item that is 900% off. Plus I have a 10% off coupon.
The only trouble is that the average age of the people who work there is about 98 years old. They have all sewn wedding dresses, let alone a measly pillow cover. So whenever I'm in there I have this anxious desire to impress them because they always ask me what I'm sewing.
"What are you making today?" I'd love to tell them my neighbor is pregnant and I'm sewing her baby's christening gown, but my response is always, "A pillow." And then I get that slightly holier-than-thou response. "Oh, how nice."
So yesterday I walked up to the cutting counter where Joan, the oldest and most crotchety of all the cutters sits, and took a number. I was the only person there, but I still had to take a number. ("Store policy.") I was number 57. So Joan starts calling numbers when she's finished with her customer.
I shake my head no.
We wait.
I shake my head no.
No one.
Still no one.
"Oh, that's me!" I brought my fabrics up to the counter. The other embarrassing thing is when you tell them you only need a yard. Then they KNOW you couldn't have that big of a project.
"How many yards of this one?"
"Just one," I say in a very chipper tone. Then, she looks down at my bag.
"Did you make that bag?" She asked me with the biggest smile like, oh good a young person who knows how to make something other than a pillow case. I thought for a microsecond. I imagined saying yes and how proud Joan would be. I imagined holding it up and other ladies behind the counter ooing and ahhing over my handiwork. I imagined explaining my process and how it was "really quite simple." I was very excited to say yes when suddenly, God turned my eyes to the bag at just the right angle to show me the designer tag attached to the inside. Foiled. There would be no way to explain away the tag.
"No ma'am. I didn't make it. A student's parent bought it for me as a teacher gift." She stared at it for a brief moment, probably imagining how foolish I was to be carrying a bag that cost more than the sum of its parts when I could have just bought fabric and made one myself. I waited for her to at least give me points for having been a teacher. She didn't smile, she didn't frown. She just said:
"How many yards of the next one?"
"Just one, please."

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