Thursday, October 30, 2014

Measure Twice, Cut Once

Tales from the Cutting Counter: I worked the opening shift this morning. The very first customer comes up to the cutting counter hauling a massive bolt of upholstery-weight navy blue canvas. "We have a problem," she says, in that tone that means "I'm spoiling for a fight." "I ordered 18 yards of this fabric, and there are only 10 yards on the roll. The girl (author's note: please, call us "women," not girls, unless we are male, and then you can say "man") who brought this out for me said that she didn't have to measure it since it came direct from the manufacturer." (Author's second note: this is true. If it's a factory-direct order, we just act as the middle man. If the fabric comes from our warehouse, we measure, just in case.) The customer was obviously ready to draw and quarter the sales clerk who didn't measure. To my rather experienced eye, it was pretty obvious that there was more than 10 yards on the roll. But of course, we remeasured the goods. This was not an easy task. Very heavy fabric is stronger than you think, and fights back. But we managed to get it through the upholstery measuring machine, and sure enough, there are 18 lovely navy blue yards of fabric. "There are 18 yards here." "No there aren't, I measured it myself." And the customer, with a bit of a flourish, produces a well-worn tape measure from the depths of her handbag. The light bulb went on over my head, and some quick arithmetic confirmed my suspicions. "Is that a 60-inch tape measure?" I asked. She looked at it. She looked at me. "Oh." she said. "Have a great day!" I said, handing the roll of fabric back to her.