Of Craft Stores, Wal-Mart and Striking Back

Good morning Everyone!

I love craft stores.  All I have to do is enter one, and I fall into a trance even worse than the one that hits me every spring when I go by a garden center.  (See, Spring, Roosters and Butterfly Farm.)  One of the reasons it is worse is that I only enter the garden center trance once a year, at springtime, while the craft store trance is guaranteed to hit each and every time I walk through the door of a Michael’s, Hobby Lobby, Jo-Ann’s Crafts or Hancock Fabrics.  (A.C. Moore’s used to be included in that list, but alas, the one in our area closed about two years ago.)

It is thanks to this quartet of stores, with an assist from a small store in Pigeon Forge, Tennessee that sells wood craft patterns (I can’t remember its name, but if you are familiar with that area, it is in the shopping center behind the Old Mill Restaurant on the right as you travel away from the main highway) and the local fabric shop in one of the cities in our area, the Opelika Sewing Center, that I have one of the finest craft closets for its size anywhere.  In addition to a copious stash of supplies for counted cross-stitch, craft painting, sewing and scroll-sawing, (all of which I have done sometime in the last two years),  along with various supplies for art class I have garnered, I have beginning supplies for a number of things I intend to try some day, including beading supplies, modeling clay and knitting supplies.  I just can’t leave a craft store without buying something; there are days I manage to restrain myself to just a skein of cross-stitch thread or a bottle of craft paint, and other days when my buggy is full by the time I hit the check out counter.

Cross-Stitch Magnet I Made, 2011

Wal-Mart used to have a craft section where it sold cross-stitch supplies, craft painting supplies, yarn and knitting/crochet supplies and fabric.  In fact, the cross-stitch supplies were one of my reasons for going to Wal-mart – it is a well-known corollary to Murphy’s law that no matter how many different DMC thread colors you have, you will always be short at least one color when you start a project.  However, in the last two years all of those items have been phased out of all Wal-marts and I suspect I am not the only person who mourned their passing.

Craft Painting on Mini-pumpkins in 2005 - Mine is the one on the left; Kayla's are the three on the right

For those very select few who might live somewhere where a Wal-Mart does not, Wal-mart is a store that generally sells a little of everything.  Originally, Wal-Marts were relatively small, and made a living by moving into a plethora of small towns.  Over time, however, the Wal-Marts mutated into these giant stores called “Wal-Mart SuperCenters” which added full service grocery stores onto the other part of Wal-mart and in doing so created a store where you can pretty much buy anything from live fish (as pets) to asparagus to bed linens – but apparently not fabric or counted cross-stitch threads!

However, here where I live, we have one of the last original small Wal-marts in existence, and it took longer than most to ditch the craft supplies.  Finally, though, even it was forced to bow to the pressure put on it by corporate, and it put the fabric and other craft stock away.  In my small town, we are now left with one generic craft aisle that sells a few sewing notions, a few skeins of yarn (but no cross-stitch thread or supplies), a few craft painting items, and a huge array of Crayola products for children.  

The 2007 ornaments I painted for people at work, Part I

That being said, you would not think I could manage to enter my craft trance at a Wal-mart anymore, but yesterday I managed to do so.  You see, some enterprising buyer had the thought to put some “I learned to knit by myself” and “I learned to crochet by myself” kits immediately beside the yarn skeins.  I went in to buy needle threaders (Singer has a three pack for just under $1) and before I knew it, I had added two skeins of yarn and the crochet pack to my buggy.  It took an enormous effort of will, which wouldn’t have been possible in the old craft section because it was big enough to induce the trance for a much longer period of time, but I managed to argue myself into putting the crochet pack back.  (The yarn had to stay because Kayla is working on her first needlework project – do you hear the tone of motherly pride in my voice? – and somehow the dark blue and black yarn that came with the kit had been lost.) 

2007 painted ornaments, Part 2

So take that Wal-mart!  You lost at least $8 in revenue yesterday because you decided to emasculate your craft section.  Just imagine how much more you may have lost in the meantime!

Have a great day everyone!


10 responses to “Of Craft Stores, Wal-Mart and Striking Back

  1. Now that’s away to sticking it to them! Do you find knitting difficult? I have always wanted to learn and thinking about taking it up this winter.

    • I never could figure it out; I could get the first row of stitches done, but then never could figure out how I was supposed to finish it off to go to the next one. I don’t think it is really super complicated, but if you could find someone to show you instead of trying to figure it out from a book, it probably would held.

  2. You tell ’em! I was never a craft person, but oh my, while I was in the U.S., I had to buy a bunch of things for my daughter’s Sao Paulo birthday party in November (yes, I have lost my mind) and I went into Michael’s almost every other day. But it’s so big and there are so many things I would start to get really panicky. I walked the aisles back and forth and back and forth while my heart raced. I guess maneuvering these mega-craft centers is something you have to work up to…

    • I have spent so much time in them for so many years that I can’t remember what it was like at first! However, I also suspect that your Michael’s up near Chicago is probably much better than the one I went to in Montgomery, Alabama. Did you have to pay a lot to bring all the November birthday party supplies back to Brazil?

  3. I have to agree — used to love our two WalMart stores — until they took out the material and depleted the scrapbook section from one complete aisle down to 1/4 of an aisle. And I know what you mean about AC Moore. I could spend hours in there, just looking. Oh, wait, I have spent hours in there! Just ask my husband! 🙂

  4. I love craft stores but have no crafty talent. Sometimes I buy craft supplies thinking I will changes my stripes and create something, but then it just stares at me reproachfully from the corner. 🙂

    • THAT is why you need a craft closet. Then, rather than staring you reproachfully from the corner, the craft supplies make you feel virtuous not only because of your good intentions to create something but also because of the way you have, more or less, neatly stored them away! It changes the whole complexion of things.

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