Joann The Scammer???

Note: My most recent JoAnn’s flyer includes pattern sale information.  This is different than the “surprise” version of last month’s pattern sale.  Whether the omission was an oversight or an experiment, the response I gleaned from shoppers was unfavorable.  The store may indeed need to “wean” customers from reliance on pattern sales, but that was not the way to go about it.

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Episode 18

Lisa Woolfork 0:14

Hello, stitchers. Welcome to Stitch Please, the official podcast of Black Women Stitch, the sewing group where Black lives matter. I'm your host Lisa Woolfork. I'm a fourth generation sewing enthusiast with more than 20 years of sewing experience. I am looking forward to today's conversation. So sit back, relax and get ready to get your stitch together.

Lisa 0:54

Hello, everybody. Welcome to today's episode of the Stitch Please podcast. Today we are talking about Joann Fabrics and the title of today's episode is Joann the Scammer??? (question mark, question mark, question mark). I created this and I created a little meme with the Joann's logo, and Joanne the Scammer who is an internet sensation and I know that a lot of Black folks, when they saw it, they were kiki-ing, because I was kiki-ing it myself when I decided to put those two things together. If you are unfamiliar with Joanne the Scammer, please do a Google search and find out why they are considered so hilarious. But for our purposes today, we're talking about Joann Fabrics, and I wanted to talk about the frustrations that I had with the corporate policy as they trickle down to corporate experience. I want to be clear that I am not complaining about store level employees. I am not complaining about any particular bad service or anything of that sort. The store in Charlottesville, Virginia, which is where I primarily shop has pretty good customer service. There's some women there and a young man who I see all the time, and I think that we're on pretty friendly terms. Sometimes some folks can be a little sour but that is pretty rare. But I usually have a very good relationship with the folks who are doing the day to day line work, cutting the fabrics, trying to keep the store clean, running the registers. Even the folks who have the Viking sewing gallery which is inside the Joann's, is a completely separate business from Joann's, I know them pretty well, too. So I'm not here to bash or critique anyone who's doing ,you know, that line level work on the line at the Joann's, opening and closing, you know, making an hourly wage or making even a management salary as a store manager. I'm talking about the policies that I see that impact my shopping experience even before I decide to walk in the door. And all of those decisions are not made by anybody in the store wearing the name tag. These decisions are made in the corporate office. They come from the top and they trickle down to us as consumers and to the employees. So today's episode is divided into three sections. The first section I wanted to talk about today was the flyer, the Joann's flyer and my relationship, my history with the Joann's flyer. Then I want to talk about the coupons. I know that if you've shopped at Joann's for quite a while you know that there is a fine science to the Joann coupon. And then third is more of a topical consideration that might work for the entire podcast about how we're getting more information from Joann's but far fewer actual discounts or savings. So that is what we're going to talk today, and so I'm going to dive right in. Stay tuned.

Lisa 4:31

When I was a girl, one of the favorite things I enjoyed doing around Christmas time in advance of Christmas, maybe as early as, who knows knowing me, October, was to look through the Sears catalog. Now the Sears catalog for those of you all who do not happen to be my age or older was a fantastic...They had this toy section that they would print out every year. This thing was as thick as a phone book. And I have to tell you all how thick a phone book is, it was about three inches thick. And this was, we could flip through it and they had all of these toys, all of these toys that you could flip through it. And what we could do is we could circle things and put our name on things. We would turn the catalog into our parents and they would put those things on the list for Santa to get for us. And so I always enjoyed the Sears catalog because it had like amazing toys, and all the information was there. And that was one of my favorite Christmases was, like, getting my Barbie dream house. And I remember picking out the Barbie Dreamhouse and picking out the matching pool and all of that to go on the final list. And so, I'm mentioning this about the Sears catalog, because I used to approach the Joann flyer with that same kind of enthusiasm. I was always excited to get my flyer when it came in the mail. And it came I guess once a month or twice a month, sometimes. Especially, they had special things like the doordash, and they had things like the lightning bug sale, they had different special sales. But all of these would be in the flyer. And so there was a lot of excitement, at least for me, about the Joann's flyer because I could plan what I wanted to make and what I wanted to buy in advance before I even walked into the store. So I would, I remember adding the dates of the pattern sales into my calendar so I would know when one sale stopped and the other one ended, or I would keep a list of patterns for Simplicity or patterns for Vogue or patterns for whatever, and then when the sale came, I would then go and get those patterns. And then if I had some extra time just to meander through the fabrics to see like, okay, well, I know I want to use a woven for this, I want to use some kind of sateen for that, and where can I find this? I don't want to use this linen blend because I hate ironing clothes after I make them. And you know, so it was a great way to plan. And so it was also the flyer I'm talking about 20 years ago right now, the flyer used to be the main source of communication between people and the store. It's not like today where we have the other means for Joann's to communicate with us. This was it. If you needed a coupon, it came in the mail, and it came in the mail only. And they were so strict about this, that you had to turn in your mailing label at the store every so often, or risk being dropped from the mailing list. So whenever I would go to the store, I would cut off my address label that had like a barcode scanner, and I would cut it out and give it to the person and they, I guess, would scan them or mail them in to the store. I'm not sure what they actually did with them. But that was part of the deal, was if you wanted to stay on the list, if you want to continue getting the flyer which had all the sales and the discounts and the new products, then you had to show that you were going into the store and actually using this information that you were given.

Lisa 8:29

And so I mention this because I want to get us to think about how the relationship, at least my relationship, with Joann's started as one that involved careful reading. It involved understanding what the rules were and reading the rules carefully, and then following them so that I could get the discount, right? And so one of the things that I think is pretty frustrating, at least for me, about the Joann's flyer, is that... and it did not all start as frustration. It started, as I said, with enthusiasm and with, you know, excitement. And you know, this little like, "oh, what's going on? What am I gonna make? Or what am I gonna see? Or this is new, or this looks really great, or I'm really excited about this." It started that way. And it started to, I think, as they started to change their policies and maybe even do their coupons differently, that started to change -- which I will talk about in the next segment -- but for now, what I wanted us to think about was, how does a store go, at least from my experience, from having a person be so excited to kind of look over the flyer and see what was available there and to feel like "oh, I'm going to be getting something really exciting at Joann's this week or next week" to feeling like, this is a lot of work that I need to do in order to crack this code or crack this puzzle? And the reason I say that is because, at least for me, the Joann's flyer, while it was a lot of excitement, there was also certain things you had to know in advance in order to minimize your frustration. So for example, the fine print on the flyers. You had to know when the sale began and when the sale ended. That's reasonable. Everything has to have a beginning and an end time.

Lisa 10:38

You also had to know what the exceptions were, right? The exceptions of what counted, even if this was in the sportswear section, if you looked at the bolts of the fabric, and that name wasn't the same, then I would not expect to be able to use or to get a discount on that particular piece of fabric, even if it was in the wrong place, because people put things in the wrong place all the time. There was also lots of exceptions around what counted as a notion. This has always puzzled me that Joann's would have a sale on the notions wall, and on the notions wall, if we can just kind of go back in your mind with me now, at least in my store and the stores that I usually go to, it's the pins and needles and things like that in that section. But it also includes elastic, it includes Best Press, it includes embroidery stabilizers, it includes ironing things like the Iron Off, which is like the iron cleaner that I really like, it includes press cloth, it included horsehair braid, it included boning snaps. You know, things that are like very, very notion-y, but did not include zippers, because zippers were in a totally different section. So you had to kind of suspend what you believed was a notion in order to use the 50% off notions wall coupon. This did not include anything in the quilting notion section, which was a totally different section of the store. Similarly, if there was a sale on quilting notions, then the stuff on the notions wall would not be on sale. These are things that I always accepted. Totally accepted it. The notions wall is one region of the store. The quilting notions are a separate region of the store. All of this makes sense. However, then a new type of thing was advertised in the flyer. There would be sales on sewing needles, sewing needles. And so I'm like, well, you can get sewing needles in the quilting section, or you can get them in the notion section. Which needles are the ones that are on sale? Well, only the ones that are in the quilting. Or only the ones that are in the sewing. And I'm like, well, what is the difference? And so it's these types of small tweaks, which I believe probably increase the bottom line or increase the revenue for the store, but also leave a lot of like unnecessary frustration on the part of me, at least as a consumer. Again, I can't speak for everybody, but I do have some great quotes from folks who were talking about it on my Instagram page. And I would love to share some of their feedback as well. But the flyer for me has gone from a moment of great excitement into one of frustration. When we come back, we're going to talk about the coupons and how we're getting more information, but fewer savings. Stay tuned.

Lisa 14:06

Here at Stitch Please, the official podcast of Black Women Stitch, we talk a lot about sewing. But if you want to see and not just hear about some of the things we've been discussing, feel free to join us on the socials. You can find us at Stitch Please on Facebook and you can also find us on Instagram at @blackwomenstitch. You can find photos of projects that we've been working on, really interesting social commentary, and on Thursdays at 3 pm, Eastern Standard Time, you can join Black Women Stitch for a live Instagram chat. Again, that's every Thursday at 3 pm. So, find us on the socials, follow up with us. We are happy to hear your direct messages. You can reach out to us at the Black Women Stitch page on Instagram. It will help you get your stitch together.

Lisa 15:04

Welcome back. We're talking today on the Stitch Please podcast about Joann the Scammer??? (question mark, question mark, question mark) as I talk about my frustrations with Joann's and their flyer coupons and over communication, coupled with under deliverance, under delivery, or under-performing of discounts. I wanted to turn just really briefly to a few of the comments that I got when I asked this question on Instagram. I'm not going to share names, but the names are on my page if you want to go check and get more information from them. But I thought there was a lot of sentiments that I agreed with. "The only reason Joann's is still in business is that they are alone in being a chain store. It makes me angry because the only way they get away with their approach is because they don't have any brick and mortar chain competition, which sucks for those in remote locations. They used to be the 'last-minute desperate shopping, because I need this one thing now' place." And now this person's saying they just stock up in advance from other stores so that they don't have to rely on Joann's at all. Someone else added: "Yes, this is who you think of every time I hear about Joann's. I hate these new sales. I'm on the fence about the secret pattern sales. But at the end of the day, I like making a plan and these secret sales get in the way of that. Like y'all, last week Burda was on sale. Last week! Why couldn't they tell us that? It's a scam." And then someone else added: "the unadvertised pattern sales, they're honestly missing out on money, because that's what brings me in the store." So again, that's just a few comments. And there are a lot more if you want to go check out the Black Women Stitch page and look for the image that's also the cover art for this episode of the podcast about Joann's.

Lisa 17:02

I wanted to turn next to talk about the coupons. [Sigh] That was a deep breath on purpose. Usually, I try to edit those out because I know it's annoying to hear people breathe on the radio. But first of all, if you were to listen to this podcast, you know I'm not that great of an editor. Did you know that I, like, do this entire podcast myself? Like, I compose the music, I do the editing, I do the producing. Anyway, I just said that to give myself a long-winded pat on the back that I will probably not have time to edit out either. So sorry, you're stuck with it, but thanks for bearing with me. The coupons. This is, I think, one of the biggest sticking points for lots of people, at least it has been for me for many years. There was a time... So essentially, if you don't know that Joann's offers coupons that range anywhere between 40% or 50% off one regular price item, and then they'll do a 20% off, 15% off, sometimes 10% off your entire purchase with a list of exceptions. Now, some companies do not allow coupons to be used on their products. So I believe like Cricut and the Silhouette Cameo do not allow their... There's always exceptions, like all the other stores that I've seen, like Michaels and whatnot, you're not allowed to use any coupons on the products that come from Silhouette Cameo or come from Cricut. So maybe that's just something that they have arranged. But Joann's has lots of other exceptions and the one that I find the most frustrating is that you could use your item, your coupon, on anything in the store that is regular price. That sounds like a really great deal. Yes? This sounds like a really great deal that you can use your 50% off coupon on anything that's regular price in the store. But here's the trick. Good luck finding anything in that store that is regular price. They have stuff almost everything in the store is on sale. 20% off, 10% off, 30% off, 40% off, 19.9% off, 2% off. And I think that you also can't use your coupons on any clearance or red tagged items. These are special price fabrics that are priced according to these elaborate color codes. But it's tough to find a regular price item in the store. And sometimes you might grab an item that you think is regular price, but then when you go to pay for it, it turns out that you can't use your 50% off on it because it's already 25% off. So I want to acknowledge here that, for the listeners who are listening in other parts of the world that might sound like this is like unreasonable. Why do Americans always need to have sales on absolutely everything? And there are places around the world where people do pay the list price on the pattern. For example, the pattern says it's $30, they pay the $30. But this is not how it's been for us here, I don't think, ever. Not when patterns started to shoot up. I'm very interested in the history of the pattern pricing. I know when I was little, there's patterns from 1968, or 1970, when I was born, that were 50 cents, or $1.25. Now, the patterns are $30. And I don't believe that our inflation is that much in the last 50 years, that what you could buy with $1.20 is the same as what you can buy with $30. Maybe? I don't know, I didn't look it up. So, but it does seem like these are exorbitant rates for patterns, to pay $30 for it. And so this is why so many of us got accustomed to paying less and waiting on the sales, because the regular price was too high. In addition, Joann's always had those patterns, at least in the last 20 years, they had their big four patterns on sale regularly for 40% off. So the regular price was never the sticker price. The regular price was the 40% off, the sale price then became the $1.99 or the $2.99, or the 99 cents -- that became the sale and the discount became regular. I think that this is the problem that Joann's might be trying to correct for now. I think a lot of us got very, very used to and reliant upon and dependent upon sales and coupons, and saw that as what constituted normal shopping at Joann Fabrics. You could go there and get something on sale, get something at a discount. And I think that maybe, I think that they're trying to wean us away from that now.

Lisa 22:21

But what I wanted to mention really quickly was about the coupons themselves. And how, about 20 years ago, there was a time when you could use a 50% off coupon on a regular price item, or on a sale price item. If the item was on sale for say 20% off, we were -- and I used to be a cashier at Joann's when I was in graduate school 25 years ago -- we could override the price of the item to its regular price, and then just use a coupon on it to bring it down to 50%. And I remember, I guess it was 25 years ago, it's such a long time ago, y'all, goodness, I didn't have any kids or anything... They stopped us from doing that. They said we're not doing that anymore. The new policy is, if it is on sale, coupons may not be used. And that was a pretty rough adjustment period. And I know there's folks who still have a rough adjustment period with it. Folks who are surprised that they can't use the coupon on a pattern. But you know, because I studied the fine print, like, I was studying for my oral exams, I know what the coupons are allowed to be used on and what they're not allowed to be used on. And so I feel like I'm doing a lot of work to navigate the store to figure out what's on sale, when is it going to be on sale? If I get there, will it be there? Is this something, because there's no sign anywhere, is this something that is on sale or regular price? And if it's on sale, then I can't use the coupon, but if it is then I will, you know, it's just a lot of extra energy that gets tied up in shopping at Joann's. And that, I think, is really unfortunate because I still do shop at Joann's, I just used to enjoy it a lot more than I do now. And I'm not sure if it's because I'm older and have less patience, or older and just would rather spend my money in a different way to say, you know what, I'm just gonna order it online, just gonna get it somewhere else because I do not have the patience to be standing here, wondering, is the thing I'm buying something that's going to actually be the final price that I've calculated in my head? There's a great comment on the Black Women Stitch Instagram thread about this, and someone says: "I shop at Joann's because it's the only local option, but I'm not a huge fan. Their 100% natural fiber selection is slim. I think their whole coupon campaign is a scam because the mark-up on the fabric is crazy at regular price. Always better deals online. The savings, quote-unquote "savings," with a coupon amount to what the fair and reasonable price should be. And it takes a rocket scientist to figure out which coupons apply in any given situation. Your final bill is always a surprise. It feels very dishonest. They do better business without the fabric mark-up and coupon circus." I want to read that last sentence again: "they do better business without the fabric mark-up and the coupon circus." And I think "coupon circus" is a really great phrase here. It really does make it seem like that's what the coupons are. Something that I've noticed is that the way the coupons and some of the other sales work is that it's designed to get you in the store every single day, or at least several times a week. So one coupon is good from Sunday to Wednesday. And then this other one is good from Thursday to Saturday and these things do not overlap. And it's just pulling your attention, pulling your attention, pulling your presence into the store. If you want to save on this thing, then come on a Tuesday. But if you want to save on this thing, you have to come on a Friday. And that feels like a lot of work to me. It does feel like a lot of work to me. And I've always and I do believe that capitalism is an adversarial system. I believe it's based on inequity, but I think that few places show what I consider to be almost, like, an antagonistic consumer-retailer relationship than Joann's with these sales and coupons and constant communications but far fewer discounts than there used to be. So that's what we're going to talk about when we come back. We're going to talk about how we have so much information from Joann's but, actually, not that much savings. Stay tuned.

Lisa 27:34

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Lisa 28:46

Hello, everybody. Welcome back to the Stitch Please podcast. We're talking today about Joann the Scammer??? (question mark, question mark, question mark) about the flyers, the coupons, and how Joann's manages to give us more information, but fewer discounts. And I'm not sure if this is even more information. But they certainly have way more contact with us than they did back in the days when you could get a flyer in the store or you could get a flyer mailed to your home address. Now, there's lots of ways for Joann's to be in touch with us and to stay in touch with us. These are the ways that I have: I get emails every day, I think. I also get the flyers in the snail mail, US mail. I do still enjoy looking at those when I can peruse and study them. Then, I get text messages as well which feels like I get them every day. It does feel that way. I also am on the app, I have the Joann's app, but I have my notifications turned off because I don't like to have those little red dots. So I'll open those whenever I feel like it. And I was just reading that they have recently consulted with different companies to help them improve their customer contact, to help improve the customer service, and so I believe that seems to be working, I had a problem with some fabric that I purchased. And I purchased it online and I picked it up in store, and something was wrong with it. And I sent a note to the customer service and it got fixed. So that was great. That was a great example of service. But what I'm talking about here in this episode is about, how do we as consumers, communicate with Joann's, read Joann's communications, and then act on that in a way that's going to help us shop. So this again, I want to be clear that what I'm not doing is trying to drag line level employees, people who are making an hourly wage or working in management in the stores at Joann's. I'm talking specifically about people who think it's a good idea to do a sale that's like, "buy four, get four free. Buy five, get five, free. Buy three, get three free."

Lisa 31:10

So I'm remembering right now two pretty powerful moments of, well, frustration is probably too mild a word, I was actually pretty enraged. I was so upset that I left the store with nothing. I was just like, at the register trying to figure all this out. And this is after I spent the time of course, reading the flyer, reading the coupons, reading the sales. And this was, I believe, the notions wall was on sale, buy two, get two free, or buy three get... This is two incidents. In two instances involving the BOGO, it used to be BOGO (buy one, get one free) or just make it 50% off. But no, we won't make it 50% off, we want you to buy three of the exact same priced items and then we will give you three more of the exact same priced items. Now, all of this happened over some sewing needles. I love Schmetz needles, those are the only needles I use and I like the Microtex Sharps. I like the stretch needle the Microtex Stretch, because the Stretch has a specially coated eye that helps to reduce friction when sewing synthetic knits, and I use a lot of synthetic nuts in my sewing. So I think I wanted a pack of Stretch needles and I wanted a pack of maybe Sharps, Microtex Sharp needles. So I got maybe three of one and three of the other. Unbeknownst to me, one was $5.99 a pack and the other was $5.49 a pack. So there was some confusion that would not let me... either it had to be the exact same item, not even the same price item. It was very confusing. All I know is, I had gone in there thinking that everything I was getting was going to be 50% off like the normal notions wall sale, and I left there in, like, utter frustration, vowing never to go back in there because this was some tomfoolery and some nonsense. Like, how on earth can it just not give me the 50% off? This is silly. And then you discover WAWAK and you're like, oh, why am I sweating the way these needles cost when I could get 100 needles for, you know, a fraction of what I would get something similar for at Joann's? Part of the problem is, I didn't need six. I didn't need six packs of the same needle, or even six packs of... I just wanted one, like one of one, and one of the other. But it doesn't encourage that, it doesn't encourage that when you have a sale that says "buy three, get three free."

Lisa 34:11

I ran into the same problem and I know part of this is my own fault, first, for going in there in the first place. Second, for not ordering my item in increments of even threes, which should be six. So I wanted some horsehair braid for a circle skirt. And I said okay, I want nine yards. It was "buy three, get three free." What I should have done was bought three and gotten three free and said okay, I'll take six. But what I needed was nine. I didn't need six. I didn't need three. I needed nine. And there was just no way to get nine at the sale price. It just wouldn't work. I guess I could have paid... I could have gotten three for the regular price, and then I could have gotten three for free. And then the other three, I could have gotten at regular price. And if I wanted, then I could have gotten three more. But isn't that like 12 yards, when I didn't even need 12? So this was very frustrating just trying to figure this out. And it got so irritating that I just decided to not bother and not buy anything. And I managed to go on Amazon, and buy 50 yards for what it would have cost to buy three regular price yards of this braid. So I think that this is one of the fall outs, one of the consequences, of having a sale coupon structure that feels like it's more work or more trouble than it's worth. I think for people, I think that everybody wants to save money. Sure. But I think that saving time and saving my sanity and not being irritated when I shop is really why I've been turning to online more and more. And I know lots of other people who commented on the thread on the Instagram page said the same. They were like, oh, I'm not bothering. I go, I try to shop local small shops, independent. Or I'll do something big online. Or Amazon or Fabric Mart or fabric.com or Blackbird Fabrics, or some other vendor that might even be more expensive, but the quality will be there and you don't have to play the games. I think that Joann's is in a spot where customers have been very conditioned to these discounts. I'm not gonna say spoiled, because spoiled implies something petulant and childish about wanting to save money. And I don't think that consumers should be made to feel badly or to feel ashamed somehow for wanting to spend less when less is possible to spend considering how the economy works and considering how capitalism sucks. So I refuse to say that "well, you should just pay what it says on the thing" when that number is a total fiction, you know. So I don't buy into that. I also don't think it's my job or job of consumers to keep corporations in business. Clearly, the corporations don't really care that much about how we are faring under their policies. They look at us and see dollar signs, and they want to extract that from us in any way that they can. And there has been times that, again, although I do enjoy going to Joann's and browsing through the pattern books and clipping through things, where I felt like, is this my job? Like, why have I been here three times this week? Like, that doesn't seem like a good use of my time. You know. But, well, I came because they had this fabric on sale today. And then this day, they're going to have these notions on sale. And then the next day, they're going to have these patterns on sale. And after a while, that gets really tired. And some people got tired of it long ago and never played the games. But even for those of us who played the game with goodwill, with enthusiasm, with "okay, I know what is expected here," when the rules change up, when things like the pattern sales are not advertised as they have been for at least the last three weeks... There's been two separate occasions when I found out about a pattern sale by word of mouth, right, that someone happened to just post it on Instagram "hey y'all, I'm at Joann's and the Simplicity is for $1.99" and I didn't see it in many of the hundreds of communications that I managed to get from Joann's this week. It wasn't in the flyer. It wasn't in the text message. It wasn't in the snail mail flyer. It wasn't online. It's not in the app, it's just here in the store. Tada. So this kind of spontaneous sale, it just seems like another barrier to a relaxing, engaging customer experience. At least for me.

Lisa 39:17

I was thinking, someone else just wrote something really cool about it that was related to it about the pricing and how the games, you know. Someone is saying here: "I cancelled Joann a long time ago because I was tired of the price games. Plus some of their fabrics are pretty much garbage. Looks like I won't be going back anytime soon, either." So again, I'm not so much talking about the fabrics themselves, as much as it's just sharing some of the frustrations of shopping at Joann's which is meant to be a fun experience and which has been for me on numerous occasions in the past, but less so in the present. And for me, the "buy three, get three" sale and the coupon games, which again, I'm used to, but there's something about being somehow encouraged to come into the store two to three days a week, which is a bit much. Even though I have a pretty flexible schedule, I also have, as again, as I'm older, some flexible income. And there's a time that, you know, when you get to the point where, you know, the cost savings, it's like, I'll pay a little bit more not to have to put up with bull. I will just pay more. It'll come here. I don't have to do all this mental gymnastics. I don't have to do all the coupon calculus that's required to figure out what's gonna work and not work. And so that was something that I think is pretty interesting and at least from the Instagram page that we've been talking about this on, I know that I'm not alone in this frustration.

Lisa 41:04

You're listening to the Stitch Please podcast, the official podcast of Black Women Stitch, and we're talking today about Joann the Scammer??? (question mark, question mark, question mark), where we're listening to and thinking about some of the challenges that shopping at Joann Fabrics presents for some of us, myself included. Someone made a really great point on the Instagram thread about this topic. And I thought this was a really interesting way to think about the secret pattern sales. The reason I mentioned the pattern sales was that, there was a time, in the flyer, you would study the flyer to see when the pattern sales were on sale and recently, at least in the last, I'd say three to four weeks, they were not listed anywhere. You just couldn't find these. I just happened to go to the store and there they were. And this person writes: "you know, for me, it works in my favor, I will admit that I would waste a lot of money on patterns, just because something was new. Now I'm forced to really take inventory, study the pattern and decide if it's something I need. The unadvertised pattern sales can be annoying, but to me, it's no different than their flash sales on other items. My pocketbook says 'thank you' to Joann's inconsistent ass. I will be stopping in today, though, because I need a tape measure." So people incorporate Joann's into their regular sewing even as other folks say "there's nothing in there that I need to sew with. I can get my sewing supplies elsewhere." So this leads me to think about what are some of the solutions that Joann's might do? Again, it's not my job to keep Joann Fabrics in business, though I feel like I have considering, like, almost so many of the clothes I make are made with fabric from Joann's. So I thought one thing they could do is incentivize shoppers by making this experience a fun and relaxing one, rather than an elaborate game that you have to play because that's irritating and frustrating. I think they should be advertising pattern sales. That seems like a basic. I think they should also override sale prices to give people the greater discount since almost everything in the store is on sale. Like, I don't know, I guess, if you look at the store itself, I'd say maybe 20 to 30% of the items are regular price and everything else is on sale. That's what it looks like when you're walking through there.

Lisa 43:30

And I say all this because frustrations lead to people spending, you know, at least myself, they have led me to spend my money elsewhere, or even to spend more to shop elsewhere because, I might not be saving money, but I'm saving the emotional energy and irritation from shopping at Joann's. And again, there's lots of other places that people have been using to get things. WAWAK is a very popular one. There's lots of other online fabric stores including, I think I've mentioned, Blackbird fabrics, LA Finch Fabrics, Fabric Mart, fabric.com. There's lots and lots and lots of places to get fabric. Though I do enjoy touching fabric. I enjoy touching it, I enjoy seeing it. I enjoy handling it before I decide to make something and so that's why I really appreciate having a brick and mortar store for apparel. The point is that for many people, Joann's is the only game in town. But no one needs to feel like they're a captive audience or a captive consumer base, and everyone should feel like they are appreciated. And I know sometimes when I go to Joann's I do not feel appreciated -- not because I'm treated poorly by the employees but because I'm just exhausted by the whole process that's required to gear up and go in there. It does, I think, take some type of study and diligence and focus ahead of time and that's really too much work just to go shopping. So, on that note, thank you all so much for listening to today's episode of the Stitch Please podcast, the official podcast of Black Women Stitch. If you are interested in continuing this conversation, please tune in to our IG live videos on Thursdays at 3 pm Eastern Standard Time. I'm sure we could talk about this some more later on this week. That's Thursday at 3 pm Eastern Standard Time. If you want to support the Stitch Please podcast and the Black Women Stitch project as a whole, there's lots of ways you can do that. One of them you're already doing. By listening to the podcast, it is a big help. Tell other people about us, rate and review us on places where you can rate and review podcasts like on Apple and other places. In addition, you can buy a really cute little enamel Black Women Stitch pin, a lapel pin, it's $15. You can drop $15 in our PayPal, or Venmo accounts and we will send you the pin directly. And again, thanks again for listening to the Stitch Please podcast. Please be sure to visit us on the socials which include our Instagram page and our Instagram Live. And until next time, be sure to join us again and we'll help you get your stitch together.

Hosted by Lisa Woolfork

Lisa is a fourth-generation sewing enthusiast who learned to sew while earning a PhD in African American literature and culture. She has been sewing for more than twenty years while also teaching, researching, and publishing in Black American literature and culture.

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