Monday, January 26, 2015


Tales from the Cutting Counter:  A month or so ago, as you may recall, a customer attempted to return unwashed cookie sheets that she had already used.

Yesterday, she returned, and attempted to return the same dirty cookie sheets.

You can't make this stuff up.

Sunday, January 18, 2015

Use Your Words, Use Your Words

Tales from the Cutting Counter:

A woman and her teenaged son come up to the cutting counter.  The teenager looks as though he'd rather be at the gates of hell than at the fabric store.  The woman begins to ask me a question, and she's gesturing furiously as she speaks, trying to get her point across.  "Do you have the thing (hands flying furiously about belt level) that you know that thing that not really sort of pants (hands still flying, add head nod toward teenager) thing you know that thing?"
Me:  "Um.  I don't know."
Teenager:  "I told you they wouldn't have it."

Later that day.

A woman puts three bolts of tan fabric on the counter in front of me.  "I need two of these," she says.  "Which two?"  I ask.  "This one," she says.
 "Okay." I say.  "Let's start with this one.  How much do you need?"
 "Two inches," she says, looking at me like I'm a totally incompetent slug. 
"Two inches?"  I ask, puzzled.  I am trying to figure out what she wants.
 "Two inches."
 "Okay."  I lay the fabric out, ready to cut.  "Are you trying to match paint, or other fabric?" I ask, assuming she just needs a swatch.
 "No, I need two INCHES," she says, exasperated.
 "This is two inches," I say, showing her with my fingers where the two inch cut line will run.  "Oh!  I meant two FEET! A foot is 10 inches, right?" she says, with a little laugh.
 "Twelve.  But no problem.  Here's what two feet looks like,"  I say, rolling off more fabric.  I show her that cut line, too.
 "No.  Is that feet?"  she asks. She has totally confused herself, and confused me. 
 "Yes.  Did you mean yards?"  I ask.  I roll off two yards, lay it out and show her the cut line.
"Yes!"  she exclaims, triumphantly.   "But you'd better cut me 2 and a half, because that's not going to be enough." 
"Do you need two yards and half of two yards, which would be three yards,  or two yards 18 inches?"  I ask. 
"Whichever is more," she says, breezily.
I cut three yards, print her ticket, and send her on her way.  I reshelve all three bolts of fabric.

Those gentle weeping sounds you heard about quarter past two yesterday?  That was me.

Saturday, January 10, 2015

The Rules

Time for The Rules:

1.  I work at a fabric store.  I will not name it, nor will I name any of my co-workers.  I don't actively hide my location, but I don't publicize it, either.  These tales aren't meant to be a place to whine about my job, my company or the good people I work with.  My guess is that just about any fabric cutter has plenty of similar stories to share.

2.  I love to sew.  From time to time, I will ramble on about sewing. I may post pictures of projects I am working on.  If you want more info about them, let me know in the comment section.

3.  I will not name or identify the people I tell Tales about.  Ever.  If you recognize yourself, I hope it's a good thing.

4.  I will post Tales that are uplifting, funny, unbelievable and flummoxing.  I like the happy Tales best.

5.  I only post Tales as they occur. This means I won't have a post every day.  To help fill the gap, I may post a Tale from my archives.  Most days behind the cutting counter are rather unremarkable.  I cut a lot of fabric, figure up a lot of yardage requirements, reshelve a lot of bolts and do a lot of stocking and shopkeeping chores.  I love cutting.  I tolerate the rest.

6.  I reserve the right to delete offensive or off-topic comments.  I am the sole arbiter of what's offensive on the comment thread.  If you have a Tale of your own to tell, please follow the Rules as I've described them above.

Have a great weekend!

Monday, January 5, 2015

Two Tales Today

Tales from the Cutting Counter:

Tale 1:

I was trying to cut fabric today for a woman who was unhappy because we only had 2 yards 10 inches of the fleece she liked. She wanted 2 and a half yards. She said she needed a 50 inch by 70 inch piece, and her friend told her that would be 2 and a half yards. With friends like that...  (Note:  she bought the entire piece, just in case.)

Tale 2:

  A couple came in with their little girl.  She was a darling, sweet little thing, about 4 or 5 years old, with black curls tied back from her face with a huge pink polka-dotted bow.  She headed toward me and the cutting counter with a big bolt of fabric that was bigger than she was.  The fabric was microfleece, printed in an eye-popping tie-dye pattern.  Her father offered to help, but Polka Dots assured him that she could do it herself.  "And I want to ask for the material, too," I heard her tell him.  Mom called from the end of the aisle.  "Do you remember what you need to ask for?"  "Yep!" she replied with an air of confidence that was enviable.  Polka Dots wrestled the bolt up onto the counter and pushed it my way.  Dad was at hand, but a couple of steps away, so that he did not infringe on the "do it myself" command he had received.  I looked her in the eye and put on my most formal Fabric Store Lady attitude.  "What may I cut for you today, Miss?"  I asked.  Polka Dots looked at me, smiled brightly, took a breath, and said, "May I have four yarns, please?"  I looked at Dad, who was trying not to laugh.  It was all I could do to keep a straight face.  "Of course you may."  And I made a big to-do over laying the fabric straight, cutting slowly with extra care.  I folded the fabric, handed it to her, and handed the cutting ticket to Dad.  She looked at me and said seriously, "We are making a blanket."  "For whom?"  I asked.  Suddenly, she whirled around like a tiny tornado.  "For meeeeeeeeeeeeee!" Polka Dots said, with delight.  "For meeeeeeeeee!"   I smiled for the rest of the day.