Monday, April 18, 2011

Jo-Ann Fabrics and the new Vogue Patterns

As the rest of you pattern-a-holics know that April 10th through the 16th, Vogue Patterns were on sale at J0-Anns (my store is #2169) for $3.99. Of course any true pattern-a-holic mark these dates on their calendars! Well, when I get in the store bright and early on the 10th for the new releases? No patterns. BUT -- the new catalog was on the table. Are they really wanting to play with my emotions? See, I had already purchased a couple of the new patterns directly from the VP website during one of their sales because Hancock Fabrics did NOT have the new patterns in stock. But as we know, the more patterns you purchase, the more the shipping rate increases. And I just can't make myself do that when I live only a little over a mile from Jo-Anns AND Hancock! So, back to my story... Okay, I ask the ONLY Jo-Anns associate I could find, the one lady at the cutting counter if the patterns were in and they just hadn't put the out? She gave me a "BLANK" stare and said, "They could be." I'm standing there tapping my fingernails on the counter giving her the "well, are you going to find out for me" look. So she gives me her story about being the only one there and that she couldn't leave the cutting area. Fine. It's only the 10th and the sale runs through the 16th.

On the 14th, Hancocks is having their pattern sale. So I do my damage over there and run by Jo-Anns. Still no new Vogue Patterns. I inquire yet again. This time the sales associate attempts to insult my intelligent by telling me, "Well, they ARE on sale. We've probably sold out." Even though in my mind, I'm thinking BULLSHIT! But instead, I give her a tight-lipped smile and just say, "Highly doubtful. I was just in here the other day and they hadn't even been placed in the cabinets. And also, the new pattern number tabs aren't there." Again, I'm given the "we've been busy and they're probably still in the back story". I tell myself, it's ONLY patterns and it's really not that deep. So I leave Jo-Anns once again empty-handed.

On the 16th, the LAST day of the sale, I was determined to get my patterns. It's just the principle now. So I march in with determination and list in hand. I walk straight to the drawer. Sigh... no patterns. I grab the VP catalog off of the table and stalk down the first associate that was not at the cutting counter or the register. He gives me the same ol' story of the patterns probably not being there and the days they get a shipment. I tell him, "Look! You're not dealing with a novice. I know when those catalogs come in, the patterns come with them!" He flips to the back of the catalog and the date of receipt is written there. It had been in the store a week! He saw that he was dealing with a crazed woman someone that really wanted those patterns and so he tracked them down. We went through a very unorganized box of assorted McCall's, Butterick and Vogue Patterns and found each one on my list. I wish I remembered that male associate's name because he was extremely helpful!

All of this to say that it was utterly ridiculous for that catalog to be placed on the table if the Jo-Anns associates were too lazy busy to put the patterns in the drawers!

85 comments:

  1. Same story here in Illinois. i gave up and figured Joanns does not want my business. Fine with me!!!

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  2. Terrible - I hate service like that - I hope you complained.

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  3. What an ordeal! I haven't had any issues at the Joann's near me, but kudos to you for having a backbone!

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  4. Oh, I went through the same thing with the Hancock's sale. Great that you have the perseverance to get your patterns. And now today VP has patterns on sale and free shipping with a $25 order. I'll finally get mine, too.

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  5. It seems that the big sale always coincides with the new pattern release. My JoAnns didn't have the new patterns the last time they released them. I think they don't put them out so you will have to wait and pay more. I find it really annoying!

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  6. Ugh....Joann's service is miserable. I always leave there totally frustrated because no one ever has a clue about anything. Glad you got your patterns though!

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  7. I have issues with Joanne's service every single time I've bought something. Not really rudeness just....lack of organization.

    I'm new to sewing and wanted to take a class. I get the list of pattern and materials and the pattern # on the sheet was NOT the correct pattern. After "I" figured out what was going on I 'suggested' to the management they make the change in the computer. HELLLLLOOOO

    I'm new, excited and ready to spend...but they just didn't get it!

    Can't wait to see your new stuff!

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  8. How frustrating for you to waste 3 visits trying to get those patterns, and good that you finally got them. I don't bother with JoAnn's for patterns. I'd rather pay shipping and get the patterns I want when BMV has a sale. I've never seen a Hancock's, and JoAnn's is an hour away from me.

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  9. Hancocks is the same, I noticed that several times now. I was in SA and went to Hancocks on Bandera Rd, the cutting table was backed up, the register was backed up and new Vogues were not yet filed. Very frustrating.

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  10. Wow that's crazy! The new patterns have been at my Hancocks for weeks, but I do live in a smallish town where the only place to buy Big 4 patterns on sale is Hancocks.

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  11. I hate that! I go through that with Joanns over and over again! I even drive to multiple locations just in case.

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  12. So nerve racking! I guess Joanns may be that way everywhere. What is so hard about designating someone to do it. It is a fabric store and you can't sew the fabric without the pattern! I can't believe it took three days.

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  13. You go girl! I'm glad you got your patterns.

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  14. Whenever the girls see me at Joann's they ask me if their patterns are on sale.

    You were very patient, and I totally understand about shipping on the website, for my last order they charged $12 for shipping when the package arrived, the actual charges were closer to $5.00... so I lost out on two more patterns.

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  15. I didn't know that about the patterns coming in with the books, Erica. Thanks for the heads-up!

    When I didn't see what I wanted in the drawer I just moved on to something else, figuring I probably have too many patterns anyhow, lol.

    Next time I'll know to persist. ;-)

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  16. Well hopefully we will be seeing an improvement. Walmart has announced that they will be carrying fabric again (drat I don't have the link). With a little "put you out of business" competition, Joanns might improve.

    PS I haven't been to my Joanns in 2 years. But you can always hope.

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  17. I also think that they purposely keep them in the back to force people to pay full price once the sale is over. This is a retail tactic that is tired. More customers need to demand better service. I bet that guy had quite the story to tell his co-workers after you put him to work, lol!

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  18. It may not be the employees. When I worked for joanns in 2001-02 the store wasn't given enough payroll hours for us to get all of the merchandise on the floor. It was a losing battle. We worked our butts off in vain. I quit in frustration.

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  19. It's not just your store. It happens here in Punta Gorda, FL all the time. Drives me nuts, and they all know me by name when I walk in the door so there is no pulling the wool over my eyes. Very frustrating! Unfortunately, there usually aren't enough employees to go back and go through the boxes to find the ones on my list, or maybe they just can't be bothered to do it. I typically wait until the next sale, because I refuse to pay the regular price.

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  20. Same old story at Joanns and Hancocks in middle Georgia too.

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  21. And now you know why I will pay whatever shipping costs Vogue wants! I get the size I want, for every pattern I want, in a timely fashion delivered to my mailbox. I only have to go around the corner open it up and bounce all the way back to my apt with pattern goodness!

    Glad you got your patterns!!!

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  22. I had the same experience last week here in CA, new patterns not available, unhelpful employees. I buy as little as possible at that store.

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  23. It's an epidemic! I went through the same here in Mobile, AL. I also knew the patterns come with the books, yet none of the associates knew where the patterns were. Then magically (cough, cough)on the Thursday before the sale ended, on rack of "overstock" appears at the back of the store. I politely searched for my patterns. Ta-da! There they were, in numerical order. Being a regular, none of the associates questioned me or my motives. I really hope Joann's gets it together.

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  24. I feel your pain. I had the same thing happen at Hancocks when they had the sale on. No new pattern book - no patterns. To add to that, the power went out as I was leafing through the books and I had to find my way out from the back of the store in pitch dark!!! I find it really quite sad that there are so few 'sewing knowledgeable' employees at both the Joann's and Hancocks I frequent. Or that even speak english that well!!

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  25. Yay, Erica! Thanks on behalf of all us that are too worn out and just give up instead of insisting on being given the service we deserve! I also did not know the patterns came with the catalog, so thanks for that tidbit too. Like most of us, Joann's and Hancock are the only act in town unless you are a quilter, and I think it's just too bad that it appears Joann's does not have enough individuals with ANY sewing knowledge to pick from in their pool of potential employees! That being said, I feel pretty fortunate that most of the employees at my local Joann's do have at least some sewing knowledge and attempt to be helpful. But then there was the time the poor guy did not know what wool suiting was, but was pretty sure they did not have any....sigh.

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  26. Unfortunately, this is typical for JoAnns. Whenever they have a big Vogue (or even McCalls) sale, they rarely, (if ever) have the new patterns in stock. In fact, mine doesn't even usually have the new catalog. I wonder if they have the big sale to get rid of stock just so they have room when the new patterns do come in. Next time I'm in a hurry for a pattern, I'll get it from Club BMV

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  27. I think they do it on purpose. They lure you in with the promise of new patterns hoping that you will buy the old stuff instead. Either that or hoping that you will pay the $15-20 retail price for the patterns instead of waiting for sales.

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  28. The exact same thing has happened to me in the past. An associate finally pulled them out of a box because they were too busy (lazy) to put them out.

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  29. Ugh, that is really frustrating. You should forward your blogpost to the Joann Fabric people online!

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  30. I don't know the store, being here in Australia but I have had similar experiences. I had to laugh as you sounded just like me ranting and raving like a crazed woman in that you got the staff to do 'their job' in the end. How frustrating but all ended well. I hope the patterns were worth it!

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  31. OMG! I'm trying to understand what the logic is behind keeping the patterns out of the drawers during a big sale, hmm. This has happened to me on more occasions tha I care to remember.It's VERY frustrating! I'm like Carolyn, I rather pay s/h before I go through that. I know that I'll get my size and EVERY pattern I desire at my door. As a matter of fact ( someone may have mentioned this already)BMV has their patterns on sale right now from $1.99~ $3.99.

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  32. Wow what terrible service! How you managed to not hit anybody I don't know! lol. At least you got them in the end :)
    Ashley x

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  33. Welcome to my Joann's. It is the same here. I usually have to wait anywhere between two weeks or a month before the new patterns show up. Um, if it is in the catalog, I want to be able to purchase it. Other than that, don't put out the new book! To think this is the only fabric store that sells apparel fabric in a 30 mile radius in my area. I will say that the customer service at mine is pretty good, or least it is for me. Almost all the people working there know me by name and sight since I show up quite a bit.

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  34. I'm glad you stuck with it and made them do right by you.Please complain to headquarters. That's the trade off with Jo-Ann -- for the most part the staff is less knowledgeable than Hancock's, but Jo-Ann's has a better fabric selection.

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  35. I have had the same experience here in MA. Except when I called, they told me they had the pattern, but when I got to the store, there weren't any in the drawer. Then when the woman (very huffily) brought out the box, she wouldn't even let me look through it, but made me read off each number that I wanted. To make matters even more frustrating, the last time I was there, the new patterns supposedly hadn't arrived yet, but really were just dumped in an empty drawer at the bottom instead of being filed by number. I guess I'm willing to put up with it for the great price!

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  36. I live in the Uk so usually have to pay full price for patterns;especially Vogue. Have you ever ordered patterns from Sewingpatterns.com. I have and it looks like I have made a big mistake?

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  37. I know that that attitude can be frustrating, but at least you do have pattern sales! Here in Europe we have to pay the outrageous shipping fees and pray that customs doesnt pick up your little parcel and tax it even more. To answer Mary in the UK, I've also ordered from Sewingpatterns.com, because the shipping rates to Europe are lower than BMV. And yes, it takes **forever** to reach here, but I've ordered 4-5 times from them and the orders always arrive.

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  38. I just had the most awful customer service experience EVER at my local Jo-ann's! When I tried to write an email complaint I couldn't find an address! Their form only allows a small amount of words, too. So I did what I could 6on the form. Just got an email back asking for more information, but I still think they've lost my service indefinitely. Sorry the story's the same where you live. :(

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  39. I have never worked for Jo-Ann's but I do have a very good friend who DID. This is a company that just sort of wants sewers to come in - they short staff on purpose and if you find someone on staff who actually knows anything about fabric or sewing, it's almost a mistake. They do know what the optimal staffing numbers are, but store managers are incented to make sure their staffing and the number of hours that are covered(and therefore paid) are under about 20-30% of that figure.

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  40. The same has happened to me and fortunately they were able to find them in the back. I agree, don't put the catalog out w/o the patterns. What a tease!

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  41. Doesns't Lindsay T have an in with Jo-Anns? I'd go up the food chain to complain or at least find out why this is happening. Maybe someone in corporate or the VP of customer service could do something. I know it's slim chances service will improve but you never know.

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  42. I love it! Good for you to make them help you. Our Joann's just opened a brand new shiny store (the old one was actually a scary dirty place). I just hope the customer service will be where it should--it sounds like they are all just universally BAD!

    Guess we should all just be writing to corporate headquarters to complain, doesn't it?

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  43. I've had the same experience at the Jo-Anns in New Jersey as a result my pattern shopping at Jo-Anns went from 100% to maybe 15%.

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  44. I've never had good service at a Joann's. It seems to me that management is just disorganized and the sales assistants are paid FAR too little to care.

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  45. It really depends on the store. I live in the DFW area so I have multiple Joann's and the one in Lewisville all the associates are nice and plesant and everything is stocked. Now the other one I visit not so much.

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  46. Sometimes the JoAnn's I visit pulls the books of the patterns that are on sale! Not a problem for me because I come with my organized list in hand, but the poor woman who wanted to browse the catalog was S.O.L.!

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  47. Gee, I thought it was just my store (Joann's in Owings Mills, MD on blast!!) with the lazy & rude service. I remain polite though regardless. I have been buying more patterns online instead of dealing with their stress. I do hope Walmart brings back patterns.

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  48. At my local Joann's there was no new catalog on site and no new patterns in the drawers, so I made do with the spring ones I hadn't found on the previous sales.

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  49. I worked at a JoAnns part time in the early 90s, the summer before I began college. I was expected to do merchandise stocking, cutting, and returning the bolts from the cutting table back to the floor. Patterns were (are?) a lower priority because that area was always neater than the rest of the store (people rarely browsed the filing cabinets). To this day, I hate it when people take merchandise off of a hook or shelf and then put it back ON THE FLOOR.

    You should always ask to speak with the manager. The one who was there when I worked was pretty laid back - she would have let you open the boxes and paw through to your heart's delight!

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  50. What I do is take my sales flyer to the other store. Thats the only way I am able to get the pattern I want. They both do price match. Although every time I do this, the cassociate has to get the manager to figure out how to ring it up.

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  51. Denise,

    My Hancock does NOT do price match on patterns. They'll accept coupons from other stores, but they do NOT do price match on patterns. However, Jo-Anns does!

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  52. I'm glad I'm not the only one that has become completely disappointed with Joann. They lost my business over a measly $1.50. I just started following your blog. Found you through Gertie. Can't wait to dig into your archives. I mean that in a non-creepy stalker way, of course.

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  53. This is something that just makes me grind my teeth in frustration-way back when Jo-Ann Fabric was Cloth World, I worked for them. I then worked for Hancock for a while, then again for Jo-Ann as a "closer" (night manager) and fabric manager (the person that makes sure the fabric is always in stock).

    What kills me-I have applied to both stores for a job in the city I now live in. I can not only cut fabric but I can grab a half dozen tabs and the corresponding patterns and get them put in a drawer between customers! Not only that, but I can do that all day long until the pattern drawers are updated!

    No joy-they clearly had no interest in hiring someone with both expertise and experience, as both places had loads of new hires shortly after I applied.

    The one interview I got was with Jo-Ann, and it consisted mostly of questions about how I personally would handle customer complaints.

    It occurs to me that if maybe, just maybe, they'd apply themselves to better serve customers, they wouldn't have to hire people based on how well they handle complaints.

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  54. Oh, and those aforementioned new hires? Can't answer a single sewing question (I played dumb! LOL!), walked AROUND a box of patterns multiple times in the hour I was in the store, and couldn't figure out my gift card.

    Honestly, they really do deserve the competition from Wal-Mart, maybe they'll start to bring their A-game.

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  55. I had the same issue with Joann's a little while ago. The patterns I wanted were not in the drawers, but the catalogues were out. I just went and asked one of the sales associates about it. They went into the back and got what I wanted. No run around, no smart answers, and a nice thank you from me.

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  56. It is laziness. My husband had to get some fabric for an upholstery project for a set he was designing. The sales people at Joann's couldn't have been less helpful. I think he ended up going to the Hancock next door. So stupid, Joann's! I was so excited when they moved in next door to the Hoover Hancock, and this is what has happened.

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  57. That is ridiculous! I worked in JoAnn's when I was in college (150 years ago) and yes, the catalogs do come in with the patterns. We would never put the catalogs out until all of the new patterns were in the drawers. I still work in retail and understand that hours are being cut back and they have more tasks than they can handle, but they need to work "smarter".

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  58. Customer service is sadly a lost thing these days! One would think with the economy being what it has that the stores would want every sale they could get.

    I could write a book on what we have been through buying tile at a major home improvement center. The attitude and lack of willingness to help was mind boggling!

    I drive 45 minutes to get to the closest JoAnns or an hour to another. So yes I to get frustrated when I go to get something and its not there. I have learned don't ask the sales people for help as they so don't want to be bothered. Sad isn't it.

    I just don't understand how we managed to reach a point that customer service has become so bad and that is the standard.

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  59. I hate JoAnn's fabrics with a passion! I only buy notions and patterns there, and everything else is horrible. I have a great fabric store in Berkeley Ca. that I go to that is magical.
    My hatred started when they did the very same thing with the Gingher scissors. They have been "out since way before Christmas, and I get the same story every time. They had a sale and they are sold out!! Really!!
    I'm glad you made them look for the patterns!!!

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  60. Toni you are so right-working smarter would get so much more done, but they pay people to just...stand at the cutting table. Or, the register. They've even, in my area, designed their stores so that the employees can no longer even SEE the cutting table or register from most places in the store, even further reducing the liklihood that the staff will bother to even attempt to stock items between customers.

    Elizabeth, once upon a time Jo-Ann ordered direct from the manufacturer for a lot of their merchandise, but about 15 years ago they changed to a system of ordering from their warehouse in Ohio, which means that the Ohio warehouse has to order enough for all the stores, get it shipped to Ohio, and then ship it out to the stores. So, the store I worked at in Ithaca, New York, which is CLOSER to the fabric manufacturers in NYC and New Jersey, had to wait to get their fabric sent to Ohio, and then pay to backtrack it about 2/3 of the way back where it came from.

    I'm so sorry Erica, I'm taking up more than my fair share of your blog-this just gets on my wick that much!

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  61. JoAnn's is frustrating to say the least...I can see you tapping those nails...looking all fab!

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  62. And this why I no longer shop for patterns at Jo-Anns. The nearest stores are a hour away. It's not worth my time and gas to shop the sales when the patterns are not in the drawers.

    And there aren't any Hancocks in PA. So Joanns is the spot if you want to buy patterns on the ground.

    The staff are nice but don't anything about sewing or the merchandise. You handled this well, I'm glad you got your patterns.

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  63. They should not put out the new catalog without stocking the new patterns. My nearest Joann's did have the new patterns in stock. They keep up fairly well with their pattern stocking. However the Hancok Fabrics, which is much closer than the Joann's, usually doesn't stock in time for their sales. Very annoying, especially when you are trying to plan a new project and save a few dollars. So glad you insisted and finally got your patterns with the sale.

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  64. I am truly sorry about your experience. The Joann's here has at least 3 associates working at all times to help and I was able to get my patterns on the 10th when the sale started.
    FYI- BMV is having a great sale this week on their patterns.
    Plus free shipping for orders over $25.00.

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  65. Well, I've noticed this many times at my joanns. I strongly believe that they do it so the people who desperately want a new release will come back after the sale and buy it at the everyday discounted price. Because after the sale they are always miraculously in the drawers. It sucks for those true pattern collectors out there though, it's messed up but it never bothers me.

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  66. Toy, that was the case at Hancocks. Right after their Vogue Pattern's sale ended, the patterns were "miraculously" in the drawers!

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  67. I swear people act like they don't want to make money these days...horrible customer service. I don't have any Jo-anns in my area (midtown manhattan rips you off for patterns). Thank God I held out when the new catalog came out because Vogue's having their online $3.99 sale...well worth the $6 in shipping :-) (sorry if I'm doubling up on website sale info).

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  68. Oh my! I have read a few different stories like this! I can hardly believe it. I must just be really lucky at my Jo-Ann's. They always have the new patterns out and the associates are very friendly and most know me since I am in there about twice a week. If you ever have trouble let me know and I will pick some up and send them down for you!

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  69. Love it love it! lol! No body is going to put one over you! Well they did say they were on sale . . .I'm going to remember your determination when it next happens to me and I just say feebly o.k. No if you can do it so can I. The worm has turned.
    Rae from Devon.

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  70. I have to say that at my JoAnn's they bend over backwards to help you! If I were having problems like you and others do then I would note them on their facebook page for all the world to see and say which store it was so that upper management can actually do something about it. JoAnn's was just bought out and I'm sure that the new owners want to put their best foot forward!

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  71. Wow is all I can say!!

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  72. I'm glad you found someone willing to help you out.
    I thought poor customer service at Jo-Anns was limited to the SF Bay Area. I had a similar experience except with notions. I left empty handed and never returned.
    My local store just closed and I hope the nasty employees don't turn up at the next closest store.

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  73. I feel your pain! I visited several Hancock stores the weekend after the Vogue patterns were released when they were on sale and called every store in my area every day. Everyone gave me the run around and claimed that the patterns had not arrived or they were still in the back. On the final Wednesday evening of the sale, I lucked up and called a Hancock location while one of the employees was on the floor putting out the new patterns. With one hour before close, I raced to the store and snatched up the patterns on my list. I also noticed that they only had two of each new pattern, which seems crazy to me. I'm glad you got your patterns! :)

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  74. Unfortunately, the Jo-Ann's in my area (North MS) is the same. With only that store and Hancock Fabrics in the entire area, both are always busy on the weekends and when they have pattern sales, you can bet they won't have put out the newest patterns. The fabric cutting tables are always backed up too, with only one person cutting, and sometimes even the check-out line is long because of ONE checker. I don't get it. I love browsing in a fabric store, but I hate spending so much of my day off standing in line. I thought maybe it was just me, or maybe it was just the weekends. Now I am wondering....

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  75. I really, really HATE it when I encounter bad service in stores. And it apparently happens a lot in JoAnns, judging by the comments here. I've had many bad experiences in JoAnn.

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  76. You should write to Joann's HQ!!! They are under new management, they would want to know.

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  77. That is rotten! It happens all the time! I hope you do write them!

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  78. That is rotten! It happens all the time! I hope you do write them!

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  79. Last time I went to the Joann's pattern sale the newest Vogue catalog was on the counter and as you experienced the patterns were no where around. I found the store manager and asked him about it. He insisted the patterns were not delivered and he knew because he unpacked everything. Ha, I say. The catalog comes with the patterns.

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  80. Could this be a way JoAnn gets us to clear out her old inventory before selling the new???? I know at all the Joanns in my area (3) there never seems to be enough employees to meet the store's needs and the ones that are there seemed to be overworked. Joann has her issues but she still is a convenient resource for my sewing/crafting needs. I'm just glad I now know not to simply accept "they must be sold out"!

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  81. ****CORRECTION****
    To my local JoAnn's credit, they did have one of the new Vogue patterns I wanted...the Kay Unger dress (V1241). I can't believe I forgot I bought that pattern! It's a great dress!

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  82. I don't know, it's also something Vogue Patterns needs to insist on with every Joann's store if they want to keep our business. Obviously Joann's is not taking proactive action re. the new patterns. I recently went to Joann's store and they had the box of new patterns sitting by the pattern shelves on the day the sale started. Fortunately for me, the sales associate let me raid her box of new patterns because I had the pattern numbers I wanted ready to go. They had the new pattern books on the tables already, so I knew the new patterns were in the boxes. It definitely sounds like a widespread problem.

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  83. In high school I used to work for Cloth World which was eventually bought by Jo Ann's. At that time, the employees knew either how to sew or knit. Now, they just hire people who can cut and ring things up.

    I have applied over the past two years trying to get a part-time job, always mentioning on my application my experience with doing the exact same job and my personal experience in sewing for over twenty years. Do they EVEN call me in for an interview? NO. What's up with that?

    By the way, I was the employee who shifted the new patterns in (my favorite part of the job) and it really doesn't take that much time even when you get pulled to cut or ring up. Also, if you have the box out throughout the day, customers who know what they want could help themselves. So even if the employees were lazy they could have at least done that. There is no excuse.

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  84. Hmm, after reading all of the comments, especially Schmoomom's similar Cloth World story, I have a strange feeling that if I applied and didn't mention my experience perhaps I would get an interview. I'm going to try it and I'll make sure to come back and let you know. That would really piss me off, but I'd have some extra money coming in and the customers would get somebody who knows what they're doing and loves fabric as much as them. By the way, one of our colleges has a large fashion department yet none of those students ever seem to get jobs there. Isn't that strange?

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