I am reposting this article from my Needlepoint News blog, where it ran last week. Why? Because it’s important. Too many shopowners are getting yelled at by customers for something they have no control over. Too many finishers are working nearly round the clock to get your items completed and sent to you. I realize these items are important to you and that they carry love with them. But, in the end, the important thing is the love, not the needlepoint.
Please be understanding, polite, and patient!
This year has been a difficult one for the needlepoint industry. On the one hand, stitchers are at home and are stitching more, creating demand from the consumer side. On the other hand, shops are struggling with government mandates restricting their ability to operate and difficulties with their suppliers.
Threads are not available, and canvases take six months to arrive. . . Today, though, I want to talk to you about finishing because the consumer’s response to their very real difficulties has gotten out of hand.
Normally, and we all know this, finishers are slammed at the end of the year. If you have been paying attention, you have seen Christmas finishing deadlines get earlier and earlier. It’s worked up until now. By making deadlines earlier, finishers were able to spread out their work and get everything done.
In response to the virus this year, that’s what finishers did: they moved the dates forward significantly.
Unhappily this did not take into account other factors. First, the restrictions on businesses have affected them as well. They may only be able to work reduced hours or with reduced staff or both. Their employees may have to work from home where they could work more slowly or with poorer equipment.
Second, supply chain problems have affected them as well. What do you do if the red velvet to finish 25 stockings came from China and is now backordered. What happens if all the local wholesalers and regular sewing shops are out of thread in a particular color?
Finally, they got an unprecedented number of projects to finish. That’s because we kept busy stitching and turned it all in before the deadline, which appeared to be reasonable at the time.
What would you do if your business had limited staff, restricted supplies, and too much work? You would do what finishers are doing, working longer hours themselves to get precious projects out by the holidays. But it would not be easy.
Now let’s go back to thinking about the shopowner. She knows how slammed her finishers are; she hears from them often and can call them. She knows that the finishers take their work seriously & are working long hours to get your pieces back.
And how do you repay these people — you yell at them! I hear more and more reports of customers treating shopowners rudely and yelling at them because the finishing isn’t done.
This is unfair to both the shopowners & finishers. It won’t get your project to you faster. It might make you feel better for a little while, but presumably, you want to continue using that shop. Will it serve you well in the future to yell at them?
Take some advice from the title of PJ O’Rourkes most recent book: Please Calm Down!