21st century?

Yesterday I experienced something I thought was a thing of the past: I got a funny look and a bit of attitude whilst buying yarn. The customer before me was a woman and got the usual "Hi, how ya doin'?" that shop assistants freely give, but then they turned and saw me - a male - buying yarn!
The assistant didn't say anything, but her face changed and I got no greeting, no thanks, none of the usual (even if fake) friendliness. The sexist old hag (that comment isn't sexist - just revenge) clearly couldn't wait until I was gone from her sight and the shop in general.
Well I hope I well and truly freaked her out and that she needed therapy!


Bradferd's picture

I hate that. We are giving them our money, and they should really be happy. I don't think I would go back if it isn't the only LYS near you. Or just go in, look for some yarn you want to buy and purchase on-line. Funny, I get the gushers. Oh my a man in my store, how can I help you! Is there anything special you need? I find it all interesting walking into stores.

MMario's picture

I would probably find the gushing more off-putting then open hostility.

MMario - I'm not divorced from reality - we're having a trial separation

Tom Hart's picture

Some people just do not like faggots. For situations like that where you’re just trying to buy some yarn and are getting venomous stink-eye in return I would love to see a flash mob of muscular drag queens dressed up like Elizabeth Taylor in Cleopatra come into the store and ask a lot of questions in really deep voices. Maybe it just might pop the stink-eye right out of their head.

Crafty Andy's picture

Visit Crafty Andy's Blog
Well I just went to a Yarn Store in Sausalito with my niece and a girl friend, The lady asked me where did I get my pretty hat! My niece told her that I made it, and the one she had and the one her friend had and the gloves and the scarf lol! The lady was taken by surprised, but more so when I showed her that the knit hat was completely reversible and different on both sides. They were very friendly to me, but surprised about my craftiness, Crafty Andy has a blog, look me up if you want, I am also on Ravelry lol!

If I had a bad experience I Would not return to the place, maybe make the owner aware of how you felt, by mail or email and what you are going to do, maybe even yelp the store, or better yet go to knitmap.com and say they are not very friendly to male customers.

murfpapa's picture

I've been fortunate in that I've never had a bad LYS experience. This last year I've been to stores in Sacramento, San Francisco, Tampa and Chicago I usually walk around a bit, stay cheerful and start asking questions, complimenting the staff on the layout of the store or how interesting certain FOs are, sometimes mentioning that I'm from MI, found their website while planning my trip and have been looking forward to visiting their store. they've all been friendly and helpful. The lady at the store in Tampa asked me if I saw Kurt at Imaginknits in SF and said they used to work together. Then again, someday I may be the recipient of the stinkeye. Meantime, don't wait for them to make the first move. Engage them first by being friendly and they're likely to reciprocate. If they are still standoffish or condescending or rude, just place the items on their counter and say, "Dear, could you put these back for me. There's a friendly store over at that I really need to get to" and then go. I've never had to use that tactic (yet) and hope that I never will

Mnjack's picture

I've only been in one store where they clearly were uncomfortable with a man shopping in their space. I ended up spending time but no money.Most of the time I get a lot of help and conversation. In fact, in Christchurch, NZ, at the wool guild, they even took me upstairs to the workroom to show me the works in progress. That was after I had purchased a sweater and commented on the nice work and mentioned I was a knitter.

You know Andy, I was in Target yesterday buying household cleaners and the older lady working the register was very pleasant to the woman in front of me, and extremely nice to the woman after me, she said not one word to me. I do not believe that cleaning products have become a gender specific purchase so either she just found my face to be offensive or she was an uptight, man hating old lesbian. WHO KNOWS. The point is retail customer service is what it is and I think in many cases it does not matter what it is you are purchasing but the person on the other side of the counter and how they perceive you and their general attitude. I am not saying that in your particular situation that it was not because you were a male, I am sure it was, but it many cases it is just the other person. Kill them with kindness and if that does not work give them the bird on the way out the door.

albert's picture

What was the gender of the money you were spending?

Shibaguyz's picture

We just get the person who wants to over explain everything to us… assuming we don't know anything about fiber. And they don't take a subtle hint that we don't require their help. Not usually a problem though.

talk to you soon...
The Shibaguyz

talk to you soon...
The Shibaguyz

Joe-in Wyoming's picture

Overall, I have to say that my experiences have been positive. Lucky that way, I guess. However, the ones that were rude often do not get my repeat business. Thank goodness the many outweigh the few. So sad that you got bad treatment, though. It needn't be that way. -- Books, knitting, cats, fountain pens...Life is Good.

Books, knitting, cats, fountain pens...Life is Good.

scottly's picture

There is nothing I hate worse then an uppity yarn hag! I use to run into them all the time way back in the 80s and 90s. But now I walk into a yarn store and it's all I can do to keep them from adopting me. I'm sorry you had a bad experience, lets all hope it's a rare one.

I Never had that problem when i started knitting in the 70's, the lady that ran the LYS was a lovely woman who was very nice to all. Now the LYS owner is just old nag. The first time i went into the store she was horrified that a man was in there. I went in to pick up a set of addi clicks, HER loss. I drove 35 miles to another LYS and bought them there, and this is a little bity town in the middle of farm country. This woman has gotten all my business since. My have times changed.