Friday, July 18, 2003

One of the privileges of running KR is that I get to hear from readers all over the world. Most of the time they are interesting, thoughtful, considerate, and helpful. Other times they provide a deep splinter into the flesh of an otherwise decent day.

This missive was waiting for me this morning. It comes to us from Because she gave me permission to share her words with other readers, I thought I'd do so here:

"clara, just read your review re: patternworks. a comment and question:
you must be on their payroll somehow. so how much did they pay you for
the review you wrote? the glowing customer comments are all over 2 years
old, their website rarely - and i do mean rarely - works, and their store
in center harbor is still not open though they've been announcing the
opening since nov 2002 (hello this is a resort area. it's mid-july and
the season here is nearly half over).

i live just a few miles from keepsake (not keepsale) quilting and looked
forward to a quality yarn store in NH's lakes region. but i guess i'll
have to continue to travel to portsmouth and exeter to smaller and lesser
known shops that understand the importance of true customer service and
follow through (i.e., stores that are open; websites that work -- in other
words, real businesses).

in praising patternworks, you provide a real disservice to anyone who
visits your site. shame on you."

And any of you who know me will also know that I've never, ever, ever received a dime from any company in exchange for a review, ever, period. It's unprofessional of me to reveal just how much this kind of accusation bugs me, but there you have it. I'm bugged.

However, the Patternworks review was out of date and I've pulled it from KR. Thanks,!

Friday, July 11, 2003

It's a grey, rainy day here in Brooksville. I'm in my shop, perched behind the makeshift counter, munching on my peanut butter sandwich and listening to Hawaiian slack-key guitar music. There's a mirror to my left, which reveals a tired Clara with large circles under both of her red, puffy eyes.
We begin my update with a shot of the much-anticipated sign, as seen through my front window. (Humor me, I was going for an atmosphere shot.) at last, a sign
But more important, I didn't miss the peonies! Here's a close-up of one...a Parkes Peony
I must say, what I miss the most about being at the shop every day is this little fellow, pictured at right gazing out of our new screen door. People understand a work-forced absence (at least their rational half does, even if they resent it), but I'm not so sure Casey understands anything other than I was there and now I'm not.Casey's view of the world
Things at the shop continue to be an adventure in human relations. I haven't really been exposed to the truly dark underbelly of retail, but I have had a pretty good introduction.

One day, however, I was treated to a lovely surprise. A car pulled up, I heard a door slam, footsteps coming up the steps, and in walked a woman carrying a much-used KR tote she'd bought online several months ago! Her husband's family had a summer place on Deer Isle, and she'd insisted they stop at my shop before making the two-hour drive home.

Another time, a woman walked in and stared at me disbelievingly. "Are you really Clara, of Knitter's Review?" she asked. "I've been reading Knitter's Review for about a year now, and when I heard that you lived here I didn't believe it." Sure enough, we've been passing eachother in the grocery store and on the roads for months now with no idea of our online connection.

And then last Monday I kept the shop open for the Monday-night street dance, where they close off the so-called main street of town and everyone dances to the music of... get this... a steel drum band. In the course of two hours, dozens upon dozens of people passed through the shop. A few people made purchases, but mostly they were grateful to have a place to browse. I was a nervous wreck, but it went well.

Meanwhile, I missed a week of KR, which is tantamount to a lifelong vegetarian suddenly feasting on a slab of steak. It's a sign that I'm temporarily overextended - or, at a minimum, really lousy at managing my time. We'll see.