Thursday, April 15, 2010
I've written before about my love/hate relationship with Jo-Ann's. I love the convenience and the prices, (those coupons are fantastic!), but the quilting fabric quality has been unreliable and until recently I never bought any quilting fabric there. Mostly I bought batting, notions, and craft supplies.
Another reason for my ambivalance is that I worked for House of Fabrics for several years. I started working as an Assistant Manager when I was in junior college and transferred to the one in my university town when I went off to college. It was a great job because they were thrilled to have an Assistant Manager who was willing to work nights and who also knew all of the bookkeeping and ordering procedures. So, in exchange for free weekends I worked four 6 hour shifts a week. Since I lived in the dorms those paychecks went a long way.
It didn't hurt that the store was near a McDonald's and every night I took orders from my dorm-mates. They paid me .50 per order for delivery. In those days .50 could buy a burger so it wasn't a bad deal, except for the greasy fry smell I couldn't get out of my car upholstery!
Anyway, in the late 90's Jo-Ann's bought out House of Fabrics and New York Fabrics so all of our local stores suddenly became Jo-Ann's. They eventually closed the mall shops and only the ones in strip malls were left. Then they started building supercenters and closing a lot of the strip mall stores. My local store was the last one left in our area.
Today when I went into the store I had a shock. My old, tattered, House of Fabrics store is being upgraded to a fancy, schmanzy, up-to-date Joann's.
Now, I probably should be happy about this. Before the store had a limited selection of merchandise, and I admit it was pretty rough around the edges. However, those were all things I loved about it!
I used to know where things were, and had all the little clearance areas staked out. Now, there's no clearance section and I couldn't find anything! The worst thing is that I no longer have my House of Fabrics flashback moments. There were actually a few clerks who dressed in the white blouses and long green skirts from years ago. Now they're all wearing crisp aprons, they have a number system with an intercom, and not enough cutting tables. The old store had twice the cutting space!
I'm really sad about this! I guess that I have to accept that so many of the places I have fond memories of have changed forever. It's part of getting older. However, I don't like the new Jo-Ann's as much. It's lost its' character, its' funky charm, its' specialness. Now it's just like every other Jo-Ann's and another piece of history has been swept away.
Now that I'm middle aged I look at change differently. When I was young I thought it was great, but now I realize that change may bring benefits, but it always brings losses. I look at my son, growing into a man. I know that it's a change that has to happen but as the softness goes away, the voice gets deeper, the shoe size gets larger, I mourn all that I've lost. Those cute round cheeks, that high pitched "Hi Mom!" and buying shoes in the kid's department, all of these things are lost to me now and will never return....
Just like my funky Jo-Ann's.
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