Friday, November 25, 2016

Black Friday: Things to Consider

When you are a quilter, and anticipating Black Friday to Cyber Monday sales, tell me what honestly goes through your mind? Great deals, gorgeous new fabric, the fresh smell? Oh, me, too! I love to shop for quilting supplies, but I have only once experienced a Black Friday in a store. It involved walking in with young kids in tow, and dropping my jaw. You had to be kidding! Where did all those people come from? I turned heel, and drove home. I know what things cost, and how most pricing structures work. That chaos is not worth the stress. Give me a comfy chair, and a lap top!

I will tell you that the best prices I found so far today on precuts was at Green Fairy Quilts--Judi Madsen's site. I have no affiliation--only admiration for her quilting skill! Fat Quarter Shop is 20% off site wide, again no affiliation. And then I stopped. I was after a few certain things, and kept pretty much to my list. Well...nearby.

What Do You Consider? 
(I am completely curious how you shop so let me know in the comments.) 

1. Does it make a difference to you if you buy from a large store like FQS or do you try to choose a smaller, independent store like Green Fairy Quilts? (By the way, her prices and shipping are cheaper, but there is less selection.) 

2. Do you keep a running list of what you're looking for, or do you buy what ever is deeply discounted? 

3. Do you impulse buy or pad the cart with at least one extra?

4. Do you shop in stores or online?

5. Where have you found the best customer service when you've needed it? Is it important to you?

No need to answer them all unless you'd like, but I am curious about other's shopping experiences. Thank you!

Here are a few more large companies with Black Friday sales you might want to check out. Again, no affiliation.

One I am affiliated with is Craftsy. I chose to become an affiliate after being a customer. I buy from them often, but want to share an experience I had this week.

When My Package Was Hung Up In Transit

I placed an order 2 weeks ago for several discounted quilt kits. I've said before that it can be quite a cost savings to buy the quilt kit with pattern vs. buying them individually. (I always buy on sale, too, and I still look around to compare prices.) The first day I had a confirmation email that the box had shipped, but days went by. I was not a happy quilter when it turned into a week, and more days went by. Craftsy is usually SO good about getting packages here early! 

I kept checking my tracking status, and nothing. Then I saw in the news DHL was strike. Hmmm, that was the carrier. My package was stuck in transit. I sent a quick email out to Craftsy's customer service, and had a reply in a few hours. Since it was over the 10 day window limit, Craftsy credited my account $10. Later that day I had a new email on my tracking, and the package arrived that night. It was 12 days, and very unusual. The point was even though it was way over the usual delivery expectancy, Craftsy was attentive. Follow up emails were quick asking if everything was okay. Another survey email followed asking if the contact had answered all my questions. They're on it, folks!

Craftsy's customer service is an important component to me, and keeps me coming back to where I know it's dependable. 

If you're looking for a class to gift or take, 
they don't get cheaper than this!

*If you click through the link in this post or sidebar and purchase items, I will received a small compensation. It costs you no more than going directly to the Craftsy website, and helps me bring you great content here. Thank you for your consideration, and I do appreciate it.

Come on, Doxie girls.
Let's go sew.


Unknown said...

O.k. you asked! I have never shopped Black Friday! And I try hard to KNOW what I need for future projects. I understand retail ( having been a store manager for 37 yrs).......and the hype and craziness is not something I want to spend my time with. All the extra energy, walking, waiting and maybe finding the item is NOT there??? I do prefer 'hands-on'-- I can look for hours and buy very little. It is the fun of dreaming, looking, then considering dollars out now - or later. Of course all of this is being said with the wisdom of age on my side. lol And of course great customer service is always the 'personal-hands on' kind. Eye to eye. The helpful advice from a fabric user/quilter is worth the extra money you pay per yard -- nothing is worse than having a question about a tool or pattern that the big-box sales associate says she doesn't know 'cause she doesn't sew or quilt. duh!! All this being said, I do support small businesses - even on line. And who doesn't like a real bargain!!

Rebecca Grace said...

I'm not a Black Friday shopper, either. Too many years of working in retail, having to be behind the cash register at the mall, trying to move the line of impatient customers through as quickly as possible for hours on end... So now the day after Thanksgiving is "Haul Out the Holly" day in my house. My husband is rearranging furniture to make room for the Christmas trees, and hopefully in the next two days we'll get the trees decorated, garland hung, and all the boxes put away in time to kick off Advent on Sunday. Who knows -- maybe this will even inspire me to get out those Christmasy Jingle blocks I made a couple of years ago and actually FINISH that quilt?!

As for fabric shopping... I like to shop in person at a Bernina dealer that is also an LQS, but they are 45 minutes away so I only go there if I need a bunch of stuff. I like the Fat Quarter Shop for online shopping, although I think of them as a small business, not a big corporation like JoAnn's or whatever. I also like, because their site is so well-organized and easy to shop by color, theme, collection, or whatever criteria I might have for something specific I need for a quilt. I love Judi Madsen, but I don't do precuts and she doesn't carry enough yardage inventory for me to browse and fill up a shopping cart. And that's key, because many stores waive shipping once you spend a certain amount, and even if they don't, I feel like it's not worth paying shipping and handling when you're just buying one or two things. UNLESS I am making a quilt with a discontinued fabric and I make a cutting error and find that I need more of that fabric, and no one has any except one small eBay or etsy seller... Then I will pay ANYTHING to get that precious fat quarter!! :-)

Janice Holton said...

I am fairly new to the online quilting world, including shopping online so I don't really know which shops are the big ones and which are the small ones. I recently decided to cut back on my fabric purchases because I realized I was just buying things with no plan and my stash was growing faster than things were being made. So now, I try to only shop specifically if I really don't have what I need and cut down on the impulse buys. I like shopping both online and in person. So far, every time I've ordered fabric online, it has come super fast! Everybody's service has been great. Now I have a question I hope you can answer for me. When we buy Craftsy classes, is there a way to download the class to give to someone who doesn't have internet?

Angie in SoCal said...

You asked some good questions for those who shop during a holiday. For myself, I don't shop before, during or after holidays. I feel it takes the meaning out of the holiday. Now Cyber Monday is a different story - it is past the holiday so that is fair game for looking, but then I'm hardly buying cuz I'm really into de-stashing. So if I buy anything it will probably be for backings or backgrounds. Other than that I'm not indulging. Happy Thanksgiving everyone.

PaulaB quilts said...

I am disabled and don't get out often. I do like Hobby Lobby for their weekly discount. I buy my batting off the roll there. The clerks are knowledgeable and helpful. I don't go to Joann's and rarely buy from them online. Too many limited coupons, confusing, and not a great fabric selection. I always take shipping cost into account, so if there is a free shipping day and something on sale or my wish list, I try to combine them. It's nice that some have a set price or lowered it, so I check their ads. If looking for something particular I try Hancock''s of Paducah sale fabrics, such a wide selection. But they do not offer color as a choice, and shipping is more. Some of the smaller ones tend to have mostly modern graphics and a limited color range. My first choice is Connecting Threads, good prices and variety. I hardly ever have shipping problems and always have very caring response if I call. Used to get mostly precuts, but with more stash after three years, I look for specific needs, usually yardage, mostly solids now. Hope this helps.

Sharon - IN said...

Such questions! Oh my! I have never been a Black Friday shopper. But I did go to the mall one Black Friday with my girl friend visiting from out-of-state. We took along our daughters. Neither one of us are big mall shoppers, so why oh why did we go to the mall on BF?? For some reason we thought it would be fun and something to do! We could not believe how crowded it was! We just walked around being jostled in the crowd and bought nothing from any of the stores. If memory serves me right, we did get pretzels before leaving. I decided to never go on a BF outing again. Phew!

But, ask me about Small Business Saturday shopping, and I'll tell you that hubs and I do like to support some locally owned businesses. Saturday we went to 2 with our lists. One is an outdoors store. I needed new Smartwool socks and wanted to look at winter boots. Hubs wanted a wool hat and gloves. 20% off everything! Nicest ever shop owner. Then we went to the local quilt shop for thread and to check out their 50% off table. I picked up some items for Christmas gifts for my sewing buddies. Everything in the store was at least 20% off. Again, one of the nicest ever shop owners and lovely staff too.

If I need a large item, I will shop Cyber Monday. I got a roll of batting last year and have not used it all. I too love Craftsy and shop their sales. There are a few things I'm watching on my favorites list, but don't really need, so I can pass on them at this time.

KaHolly said...

I rarely shop online, unless it's a fantastic sale and shipping to Canada is free. I wouldn't be caught dead out shopping on Black Friday because I don't tolerate crowds well. Mostly I shop as needed whenever I'm in the vicinity of a brick and mortar store.

Kate said...

I don't shop black Friday in the stores, just not my thing. I usually have a list worked up that I shop from, but I have a sister who loves trinkets and odd things, so if I find something unique it often ends up in the cart. I typically shop from stores I use during the year, I know what to expect from them. Good luck with the rest of your holiday shopping.