Julie Barrett is a freelance writer and photographer based in Plano, TX.

Sewing Machine Snobs

Fresh when it gets here from Julie Barrett
Monday, September 17, 2012

Imagine walking into the big box home improvement store for a bit for your Black and Decker drill. The only bits you find are by Ryobi, but they're standard bits, so you grab one off of the pegboard and take it to the front. What does the checker do?

1. Takes your cash or plastic and tells you good luck with your project.

2. Balks at the product and says, "I can't sell you THAT. And the Ryobi guy isn't here."

Of course, it's the former. They may sell a lot of Ryobi gear, but they know you're not going to buy a new drill just to replace a broken bit.

So why is there such snobbery in selling sewing machine parts? 

Tonight I misplaced my quilting guide. It's a simple tool: A bar bent at a right angle that attaches to the foot. It's used to help produce evenly spaced lines of stitching. (Well, maybe if you're not a klutz like me, but that's neither here nor there.) Those of you following along know I can't drive after dark until after my eye surgery, so I asked Chris to drive me out to the one fabric store that was still open.

Do you think I could find a quilting guide? It's a common accessory. There were absolutely none. I finally found one hiding in a case near the Viking sewing machines. Damn thing was $15.95. For a stupid little piece of metal. I dug around on my phone and found a 50% off coupon and so I was set. Went up to the front of the store, and the lady at the checkout looked at the tool as though it carried the plague.

"I can't sell THIS to YOU. It's from the VIKING WALL!!!!!" For those not versed in sewing machines, it's not a wall of people in horned helmets. Husqvarna makes a line of sewing machines they call Viking. They're darned good machines - and they're not cheap. And neither are accessories. They have a special saleslady who does nothing but push Viking machines. (This was the same lady who looked down her nose at me a few weeks ago for wanting sewing machine lube. Why would I want to fix up an antique machine when I could have a brand new Viking?) So only she could sell Viking parts, and she wasn't in.

O-kay. "Well, do you stock that part elsewhere in the store?"

"Well, no!" They have a huge quilting section with lots of cool tools. But no quilting guides. And, I noticed, no feet and darned few accessories for the Singer machines they carry. How bizarre. 

By this time it was almost 9:00 and I didn't have time to go anywhere else.

I did find the quilting guide and got part of my quilting done. I'd hoped to finish it tonight. That's what I get for misplacing the thing, I know.

But still, why do people have to be so snobbish about sewing machine parts? 

Filed under: Sewing            


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