Say what you mean

Stick by your words, domesticat.

Despite what Matthew will tell you, I'm generally a nice and polite person, especially in public. I let my hair down on this site more than I often do in face-to-face conversations, and every now and then I have to learn to live with the little lump in my throat that comes with speaking my mind.

I went to this morning's variable-percentage-off sale at Yarn Expressions this morning, and found out that the owner knew about this site. I was pretty sure I knew what she'd seen, and even though I stood (and still stand) by my criticism, I had the irrational urge to apologize for it anyway.

"Think you're the only knitter in northeast Alabama? Think again, bucko, because every grandmother with a knitting fetish gets the little announcement postcards and they all show up, garbage bags in hand, ready to loot and kill at the slightest provocation.

Think marauding herds of knitting grandmothers, all with the scent of Sale Yarn in their nostrils, stalking the perfect skein. God help you if you get in their way.

Did I mention the checkout line?

One person. One keyboard. One skein of yarn, laboriously keyed in at a time. One machine to process credit card orders. Large numbers of women standing around with garbage bags full of purchases, many of them filled with multiple hundreds of dollars worth of yarn.

You don't want to know how long the wait was in the checkout line."
- 'Attention shoppers' (5 December 2004)

I have a love-hate relationship with Yarn Expressions' semi-annual percentage-off sales. Truly good yarn is not cheap, and it very rarely goes on sale. That's why an untold number of north Alabama knitters descend on Yarn Expressions for the sale. It's a rare opportunity to pick up excellent-quality yarn for a bit less than retail.

I am cognizant of the inherent value of the sale, but I loathe the crowds. Loathe them. When I have to stand in line for over an hour just to pay for my purchases, I'm going to gripe. That's not good customer service. I can love that store, and love having in-town access to a good crack dealer … er, good yarn, but there comes a point when the value of my time exceeds the value of the [x]% discount on the yarn I want to buy.

I got smart this year. I planned ahead. I knew what I needed—a certain yardage of good-quality burgundy yarn for a little project I'm about to start on—and I figured my only reasonable option was to arrive just a few minutes after Yarn Expressions opened, find an acceptable yarn, and then run run run to the checkout line and get out before things [read: the checkout line] got bad.

That's exactly what I did. I even drew a 35% off ticket, which is higher than the standard 20%, and the highest I've ever drawn at this sale. I clocked out right around 10:05, five minutes after they opened, and there was no wait at the register. None. I was stunned.

One of my failings as a person is that I am neither good at leveling, nor taking, criticism, even if it is constructive. My love for peace is at odds with my sharp tongue. Don't mistake me for a nice, genteel person; I learned well from the women in my family how to present a charitable and pleasant exterior even if internally, I am seething with frustration or annoyance. Yet if someone actually hears my criticisms, no matter how well-founded or amusingly stated, I flinch and [wonder|obsess] over the effects of what I said. Did I wound unintentionally? Was the shop owner insulted that I said less-than-positive things about her store, even if they were true? Will I always be remembered as "that bitch"?

Hopefully not. I spoke my mind, and that's that. My continued patronage hopefully tells the rest of the story.

* * * * *

Amusingly enough, though, I was up late last night talking with friends, one of whom pitched the idea of a Harry Potter costuming group for dragon*con 2006. I'm amused by the idea, and wouldn't mind doing my own take on it (the simple gray school sweater plus an appropriate skirt would work well for me). Ever since reading the books I'd entertained idle thoughts which house suited me best. I've always been accused (rightfully, I fear) of having more 'book smarts' than common sense, so what little thought I'd given it had made me think, "Oh, perhaps Ravenclaw."

I asked several friends about it last night, and was surprised to hear them all voice the idea of Hufflepuff: loyal, quiet, hard-working, home-loving, but stubborn and courageous in times of need.

I'm likely to stick with my original decision, but perhaps my friends have a point, after all.