The Straw that Broke the Camels Back


We live in a small town in Montana. When we first came here in 2004 we thought we were moving to Mayberry. Everything seemed so quaint that I had expected to see Barney Fife to walk out of the local doughnut shop. About a month into our relocation we discovered that we were not in Mayberry. Instead this town started to take on a persona of its own, filled with mean hearted gossip and hurtful rumors about anyone who was “not from ‘round here”.

We have tried over the years to fit in, but to no avail. We are outsiders and in the locals eyes we always will be. Even people from larger cities in Montana have negative things to say about our town, so sadly our community has a reputation that precedes itself. I wish we knew that before coming here.

Anyway, to avoid all the idol chit chat, I spent years driving 60 miles a week (one way) to do my shopping in another town where there is a bigger selection and the sales people are friendlier. When I took my current job in 2014, it became clear to me that somethings had to change in my life to make more time available to me and my family. So I started shopping locally because it saved about an hour and twenty minutes off of my weekly commute. When I would run out of thread, I head over to our one and only quilt shop and I pay 2x the amount that I would in a larger town, but hey I’m saving time and I am being a good person because I am supporting local business even if it is costing me more money. It is in fact this local quilt store that this post is about.

I have never liked this particular shop because for twelve years now every time I go in there the sales people stop what they are doing and just stare at you. There is no friendly greeting just open rudeness. The owner of the shop once even had the audacity to make a rude sound when she found out that I am a hand quilter. In her mind hand quilting is inferior to machine quilting. Yet, because I am often pressed for time, I would go back whenever I ran short of something. Lately I have been going in to pick up supplies for my heart quilt, because that is where I found the fabric for it on sale.

On Saturday evening, my husband and I went at our local Safeway store to do some grocery shopping. While we were in one of the isles, a man came walking toward us and behind him was one of the sales clerks from the quilting store. I did what my mother taught me to do when you see someone you know, I smiled at her and intended to say hello, but she fixed her gaze ahead of her and walked right past with a obvious snubbing. I looked at my husband to see his reaction, but his mouth was pursed in a tight line, so I thought it would be best if we discussed what happen after we left the store.

Once outside my husband made some angry comments about the man who had walked in front of the quilt shop woman. It seems while I was being wrapped up in my own thoughts about how discourteous the woman had been, my husband was busy listening to the man openly make fun of us, with childlike gestures included! The icing on that proverbial cake was that he was talking to the quilt shop woman because she was his wife! I was dumbfounded!! I don’t even know these people, in fact after living here for 12 years, I just recently learned her name. What could we have possibly done to offend them? Why had this man imitated someone who has a physical handicap and directed his gestures at us?

boxingglovesWell that was the straw that broke my camels back. I am so over trying to be nice. For 12 years I have swallowed my pride in an effort to to nice to those who have been hurtful towards myself and my family, but all of that is over now.


So yesterday when I ran out of embroidery floss, instead of heading over the the local quilt store, I headed to closest Joann Fabric store in Butte, Montana, 60 miles away.


My lovely husband took a few hours out of his day to accompany me on my quest for more DMC floss. It was a beautiful sunny afternoon and the company was completely enjoyable. Joann’s had everything that I needed in stock and I even met a woman from the next town over from ours who also sews and crafts. She gave me her business card and told me to call her so we could get together and visit. She even offered to help me get my easy shop up and running again as soon as I figure out what I want to make and sell. WOW! I took back my power by flipping the proverbial middle finger at the local quilt shop and it’s employees and in exchange I had an enjoyable afternoon with my husband, made a new friend and I saved $0.49 on each skein of floss that I purchased. That $6.86 savings on the floss, paid for the fuel to get there and back.


WAHOO! This is what happens when we finally say ENOUGH IS ENOUGH and start taking responsibility and control over our lives, we get to create the life we want. I’m only sorry it took me so long to stand up for myself.


I was able to find everything on my list at a fraction of what it would have cost me at my local fabric store. To top it all off, the staff at the Butte, Montana Joann’s were friendly and very helpful.

Happy creating (and don’t take any crap from anyone today!)

10 thoughts on “The Straw that Broke the Camels Back

  1. I agree, they do not deserve my business. The sad thing is that I have heard from 3 other quilt stores in a 100 mile radius of where I am, that other quilters have had similar experiences there as well. Quilters LOVE to talk, and apparently they are. Thanks for your comment!


  2. We have a local quilt shop, in our local town that Mum & I only use if we have too. It’s in a tourist place, but we come from here, they are very rude & unhelpful, simply because we know how to quilt, & do not need her advice or go to her over priced simple quilt classes. ( this is England) , she didn’t know why you use freezer wrap for appliqué ( she even tried to tell us fusible web as it would be better). We have now totally given up.
    Incidentally, further along is a lovely art & embroidery shop that’s fantastic, & offers a local discount card ( even better), funny but she does now stock freezer paper now and hand quilting thread.
    I just think some people are plain & simply rude.

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  3. My goodness, after all these kind and understanding comments, I fell like raising my glass (coffee cup) and toasting all the mean people of the world. They seem to make the nice people shine all that much brighter.


  4. I’m so sorry you had that experience. People can be so small minded. Good for you for finding an alternative source for your floss and there’s nothing wrong with saving a little money.

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  5. I’m sorry you’ve had such a bad experience in your little town. My daughter moved this year to a larger one, because of gossip among other things. I’m especially glad you had a good day with the JoAnns visit. Hopefully that nourishes you for a while.

    There’s no big point in confronting the quilt shop owner or employees. However, you’ll probably need to go in there again for one thing or another. You can decide if you want to share any thoughts on their service, prices, or friendliness, or why you only come there if you absolutely have to. 😉

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