Friday, May 10, 2002

Rule number one in business is not to take criticisms personally. My rational mind knows this, but every once in a while a particularly grumpy reader manages to sneak through my defenses and push me over the edge into serious annoyance. Lately this has been happening a lot. Since Clara's Window is about everything that goes on behind the scenes with Knitter's Review, I've decided to share a particularly annoying example with you. Misery loves company.

The star of this month's crisis is a woman I shall refer to as Hagtilda of the Canadian Plains. Quite out of the blue, she wrote me, "I am very disappointed in you. When I first started receiving your emails they were informative. Now all they do is push different yarns. You have become nothing but an advertisment for yarns. I am not impressed."

After a moment of initial indignance ("Our tagline is 'experience the world of yarn,' helll-oooo?!!") I began to wonder if, indeed, I'd become a totally useless resource. Worries compounded upon worries, and pretty soon I was doubting the merits of Knitter's Review (all 20 months of it) altogether. I felt somewhat better when I discovered that Hagtilda had only joined us a month and a half ago. Nothing like a seasoned veteran to tell you how you should do things.

So I finally worked out a kind, informative, helpful, understanding, thoughtful email back to her. "Was my series on knitting-related careers not useful to you?" I asked. "I did criticize this week's yarn, but perhaps I wasn't harsh enough on it?" And on and on.

I then went out into the garden and hacked away at the dirt with a shovel. Scenes from "Fargo" played in my mind as I worked out my frustrations. Hagtilda hadn't given me a penny for all my hard work, yet she felt entitled to complain that I wasn't giving her what she wanted.

Days passed, I'd almost put Hagtilda out of my thoughts, when an email from her popped up again. "Thank you for your reply. When I first started receiving your emails, they had tips for knitters in them. Now I have a request for you. I am trying to buy a vest pattern for hand knitting or machine. One that has the pointed front and does not close, but hangs open."

And that was it.

No, I didn't spend hours searching through my pattern archives to find her the perfect vest pattern, one with a pointed front that does not close. (I'd do this for any of you, but not Hagtilda.) Furthermore, even if I'd found one, Knitter's Review doesn't sell patterns. Sigh...

Now that I've gotten this out of my system, let's get back to the world of knitting, topsoil, and... cross fingers... the arrival of black fly season! Ahhhhh, life in Maine.

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