This blog has been a heavy place lately. Our world has been a heavy place lately. And today, for most of us, is a very heavy day. So here is my attempt to bring some levity to a heavy place and maybe make you smile, or at the very least, perform a fist pump of camaraderie.
Many people throughout the years, upon hearing of my abhorrence of a certain craft chain store that shall be named henceforth in this posting as “The Crafting Vestibule”, have inquired upon why I despise this edifice of the Pinterest gods. It is worth noting that these same people are usually making their inquiry whilst holding a hot glue gun and sequins or are in the process of puffy painting the Mona Lisa on their daughter’s backpack…for fun. It is usually at this point that I inwardly question my love for this particular person and when I call to mind all of their other positive attributes and decide that our friendship is indeed of value to me, this is what I say:
Think back to the very first time that you entered into The Crafting Vestibule. I know for some of you, this is a difficult process, because it was literally a decade ago and you have been darkening its door once a week ever since, but try real hard to remember. You might have had a list in your hand of all the gloriously discounted felt swatches, glitter pens and hot glue sticks you needed to take on whatever Pinterst-y awesomeness you had decided to tackle that weekend. You take inventory of your list and bring to mind the first item that you need to find, and you do what any God fearing, informed, intelligent American has been taught to do upon entering a vast warehouse like store: You look up.
You raise your gaze and look for the clearly marked signage that will guide you on your crafting quest. You look for brightly colored banners that will scream “Fabrics” or “Floral” or “Art Supplies” but alas, you are in The Crafting Vestibule and signage is apparently for the faint of crafting heart. To have clearly marked signs guiding you along your way, or heaven forbid, even markers at the ends of aisles to help you out, is just a laughable request. “This is no problem”, you think as you realize you have no godly idea where anything is located. “I’ll just find an employee to help me find these items on my list.”
Bahahahahahahaha! You’ll find an employee! That is such a cute idea. You are very clearly a newbie to The Crafting Vestibule. You can walk down every single unmarked aisle in that place and you will never find an employee. You can even stumble upon the Fabrics Department, where everyone knows you are guaranteed to find a kindly grandmother like figure behind a large desk and armed with a remarkably sharp pair of scissors. But, no. At The Crafting Vestibule you will find only a bell. Which you may ring until Jesus returns to this earth and still no one will appear.
But let’s say for the sake of argument that you actually find that elusive unicorn of an employee. You accidentally discover the secret door from whence they arrive after eating their lunches or taking, what I can only assume are one of their 50 fifteen minute breaks they are entitled to daily, and you are now face to face with a real honest to goodness Crafting Vestibule employee!
You ask them for guidance on your quest. You show them your glitter covered list and you ask them if they might know where some of these items are located in the great warehouse that birthed Pinterest. And to their credit, they do actually know where those things are but they can’t actually give you solid directions, because there are no aisle numbers. There are no signs. The best they can do is give you vague directions by saying things like, “Head in this direction and when you see the wooden dowel display on your right, make a hard left, as if you were heading to the random selection of Home Decor in the middle of the store, but instead you are going to want to bypass that and continue left. When you smell the fake eucalyptus scent that seems to linger at all craft stores, you have arrived at your destination.” If Lewis and Clark had had access to a Crafting Vestibule employee, there would have been no need for Sacagawea.
And that is just assuming that The Crafting Vestibule actually has in stock all of the items on your list. For most of them, you will stumble upon their place in the store only to find an empty shelf and if you are so unbelievable lucky to find an employee again to inquire if they have more of such item, perhaps in “the back”, which is a magical place that all stores have in order to make you feel like the employee actually cares about what you need and wants to help you find it, at The Crafting Vestibule you will be told rather gleefully by this sullen employee that The Crafting Vestibule has no back room. You will be told that your options are to wait for the truck that arrives once a week or to travel the 50 miles to the next Crafting Vestibule that might possess your missing item.
So, at this point you have found all that you will be able to locate on your list. Your shopping cart is full, your heart is eager and you have conquered The Crafting Vestibule. No. No, you have not. You now have to proceed to the check out counter. This is where The Crafting Vestibule delivers the final blow to your soul. Because unlike other large chain stores thriving in the year 2016, The Crafting Vestibule has not adopted the automated scanner at their registers. Their employees are forced to key in every number on the SKU located on your item…and please Jesus, let there be a sticker on your item. If there is no sticker, my advice to you is to let the item go. Because you will stand there for hours while you wait for an employee to come off their 15 minute break and go search the unmarked aisles for your one item as to attain a sticker with a similar SKU that they will key in…number…by…number.
On a good day, assuming your items all have stickers and that the employee can read all of the stickers and that your 40% off coupon, the entire reason you came to The Crafting Vestibule and not the Michael’s down the street, is accepted with no issue (meaning that the employee jotted down your coupon number in her little spiral notebook, because that’s as high tech as The Crafting Vestibule gets) you are now free to leave The Crafting Vestibule and embark on your Pinterest dream wave.
But as you walk out, you can’t help but think, “Why does my soul feel a little darker than when I came in?” Because, my friend, you have just survived The Crafting Vestibule…and it takes no prisoners.
And that is my beef with The Crafting Vestibule. Godspeed to you die hard crafters. I do not understand your passion but I eagerly seek you out when Levi’s teacher informs us that we need to send our child to school the next day dressed head to toe as a koala. I’ll meet you at The Crafting Vestibule. I’ll bring the wine.