Joann's, I'm breaking up with you. An open letter to the craft store giant.

Dear Joann's, I am breaking up with you.
I just don't have time for you anymore.
Your lines are too long, your service is sub par, your return policy sucks and just stepping into your store is one of the biggest time sucks of my day.
all I wanted was some Styrofoam balls for 40% off.
Is that too much to ask???
You try to lure me in with 40% off regular priced coupons that never seem to work on any of the supplies I come in for.  You skillfully mark down anything I would ever want {are you some witchcraft mind reader?} to a measly 25% off just so I can't use my coupon.
I attempted to avoid the lines at the store and order on-line only to find that the item I ordered, that just didn't work for the project I was making, isn't returnable in the store.
According to the delightfully unhelpful customer service lady at the counter of my local Joann's, it's because on-line and in store are two totally different stores and therefore have different policies.
What the heck???
So now I'm stuck with clock mechanics to make a clock that won't fit on the vintage film canister or {plan b} the old bike tire.  Both cool projects that didn't work and now the supplies I can't use just taunt my inability to create.
Your selection of low price fabric makes it hard to shop elsewhere,
though once you started your DMV like take a number cutting counter, the lines are unbearable.
People take a number and then do their shopping.
{guilty as charged}
but when you have to be called back to the cutting counter over the loud speaker, 
the people waiting for you to traipse back after your skillfully planned shopping jaunt are none too pleased.
The choice then is to stand and wait.
Lingering around the cutting table like you are waiting for some rock stars autograph listening to the thump thump of the fabric bolts being rolled out and inevitably being stuck behind some quilter getting 24 different 1/8 of a yard cuts of fabric.
I try to be patient, but it's hard to keep from being annoyed at the long lines at the cutting counter making me probably less than pleasant when I finally get my number called to have my fabric cut.
Which is why the employees who are cutting my fabric are anything but enjoyable to work with.
Speaking of the employees,
I find them less than helpful.
After a store remodel last year, I could not for the life of me find the mod podge.
{insert audible gasp here}
It's not often that I don't know what I am looking for, so on the few times that I ask, I expect for the people who get paid to work there to actually be helpful.
After wandering up and down the store aisles, I finally found a person who actually worked at the store.
I asked her where I would find the mod podge and you know what she did?
She pointed.
I decided to venture in the direction of her point and once again turned up unsuccessful.
So I attempted once again to find another store employee that could possibly help me.
As I write this, I realized I really wanted that mod podge somethin' fierce!
Once again, the employee pointed me in the right direction.
I had to ask her to physically show me.
True story.
And while I was finally successful in locating my mod podge, I found that it was marked down to 15% off so I couldn't use my 40% off coupon and we all know that shopping at Joann's and not using a 40% off coupon is the closest thing to dancing with the devil that I can think of.
Typically, after getting my fabric cut, I bolt off and do my best to jump into the cash register line only to find that it's been snaked through a maze of cheap merchandise in tall racks.
Two lines are open with 12 people in line in front of me.
If I kept my cool in the cutting line, I no longer have it while in the register line.
Why must a "quick" trip in take no less than an hour?
As my friend Mandi likes to say, any line that long better end in a Disneyland ride.
I've tried shopping you at various times throughout the day in hopes that I will find that sweet spot.
The possibility of walking in, getting my fabric cut and walking back out in a timely manner has been like an elusive creature I've been trying to capture for the past six months.
Because your clientele of crafters are mostly upper middle age women with nothing but time on their hands,
there is no secret hour that I have found to shop.
Your shoppers come out of the woodwork at all hours.
They are waiting when the doors open, they are clogging the lines on their lunch breaks, and they are shopping after work or to fill their evenings.
I've come to one conclusion,
Joann's, you are the store that I love to hate.
And because I'm tired of being a hater,
I'm breaking up with you.
I will hardly know what I will do with all the time I will be saving while shopping at those other craft stores.
Thankfully, I have many at my disposal, but for those who don't, please take a moment and read this letter with a open mind for change.
Adios old friend,


Heather Ogle said...

this is PERFECT! customer service is so important and so many businesses are SEVERELY lacking! I respect your letter!!! get em mama!

Andrea Kelly said...

YES! Love this letter!

It's pretty bad when a store that has locations across the country is known for its poor customer service no matter where you live. I have rarely gone into Joann's and had a positive encounter with someone on staff - in fact, usually I walk away feeling downright frustrated by the service! I wonder what's going on in the upper levels of the company that is having such a poor effect on their customer service training??

And the way they've set up the ticket system for cutting fabric really is a drag.

Jill said...

This is spot on!

Tammigirl said...

I quit them a few years ago because, no seriously, corporate is full of HORRIBLE people. I hate them all. And this is not something I say lightly.

When you steal from me and then have the gall to accuse me of trying to steal from you, it is over. I don't care if everything in the store is free and it's open just for me. I'm out.

Ashley Bogard said...

Agreed! 100%

Stacie said...

Totally agree!!!!

Stacie said...

Totally agree!!!!

Suesan Kennard said...

I've lived in 15 cities in 7 different states and every single JoAnn's store I've been in has the grumpiest, unhelpful, miserable employees of any store I've ever been to. They act like you are stupid for not knowing where to find things. I wish I had more options in our town to choose from but they really are bad in places where they know they are the only game in town!

Betty said...

I agree 100%. Being stuck with them because they are the only large fabric store in town makes it awful. Have to say the staff in Helena, Montana, went out of their way to help and were very knowledgeable.

Diana Miller said...

This was a funny post! Our store is small and I usually go in the morning when it just opens and have not had any issues with long lines. I will say the employees are not terrible - I actually find some of the Hobby Lobby employees less friendly - not overly friendly - sometimes grumpy though. My biggest pet peave is the maze I need to go through just to get to the register. I always have my 2 year old with me and it is torture trying to zig zag my way through the dollar bins, all the while following the red taped arrows on the floor assuring me that I am headed in the right direction when my son just wants to grab everything. It's craziness! I have a Hobby Lobby, Michaels and JoAnns within a few miles of my home and I can't really say that any of the employees stand out to me as being super friendly. :/

Tonya Jastad said...

I can't count how many times I have just set down what I went in to buy and left the store because of the long lines! They have at least six registers with only two open and one is the return/help desk where phone calls get answered and helped in the middle of your purchase! It's crazy but they have the best prices in my area so if I need something right away I don't have a choice otherwise I buy online. The online return thing is just dumb.

Suzy JoyIsAtHome said...

I could have written this entire post, down to the store remodel and the fabric cutting DMV lines. Seriously... I have gone up to the line when I'm the ONLY person in the store, had the employee tell me (in the most monotone voice) to "take a number" and when I did, she called off FIVE numbers. None of which came, because remember, I'm the ONLY person in the store. And then when no one came I could finally get my fabric cut. Yes, I literally stood in a line with NO ONE ELSE BUT MYSELF for 5 minutes! I am a very forgiving person, so I give many chances, but I have come to the conclusion that every single person who works there is a grump and they never, no matter how busy it is, have more than 1 cashier. I have given up also... unless it's Sunday and I'm desperate :)

Carolyn said...

I also hate the number thing at the cut table. If you are not ready to have your fabric cut you should not take a number and wander around the store, just my opinion. I work for a fabric and craft store for years and our customers would have voiced their opinion loudly about that. The majority of the employees are nice, though, at the one closest to me. I just hate that about half the times I go there I have to turn around and get back in line because they messed up something ringing me up.

Beth@Under A Pile of Scrap! said...

Our local small town Joann's only has 2 checkouts & rarely has the 2nd one open. A long line at ours would consist of 3 people. LOL I will say that ours has great customer service since they must have gotten rid of the previous manager, but they don't carry everything that the larger stores do - especially the fabric selection. You are correct about their slick choice of giving you the "barely there" sale price on just about everything, just so you can't use all those amazing 40-50% coupons. I don't know why they waste the ink & paper on them.

Lady of the Manor said...

I'm relatively new to shopping at Joann's and thought it was just me. Crabby employees, long lines, prices. Apparently my experiences are typical. Thanks for the post!

Megan Willis said...

This. is. awesome! I don't shop there often, there isn't one even close to nearby, but anytime I've been there, it's hardly been enjoyable.

I wish you luck in your quest to find a better craft supplies provider! :D

megdalena said...

You know.... Joanns doesn't have to mark their stuff down. At all. They don't have to offer 40% off coupons. Ever. And it's not their damn fault that your craft projects don't coincide with their sales or lack of sales so you can use the coupon. How about instead of whining you show some appreciation for a company that puts most of their stock on sale for most of the time??? Not many places do that.

megdalena said...

You know.... Joanns doesn't have to mark their stuff down. At all. They don't have to offer 40% off coupons. Ever. And it's not their damn fault that your craft projects don't coincide with their sales or lack of sales so you can use the coupon. How about instead of whining you show some appreciation for a company that puts most of their stock on sale for most of the time??? Not many places do that.

Caroline @ BBB said...

Spot on! I have never been in a Joanns where the staff are plesant. Now my Hobby Lobby, they know me by name (probably not a good sign).

Tracy said...

I hate bad customer service, however, my experience at Joann's has been stellar. I went in last week with measurements for my window but no idea how to make curtains. The sales person helped me figure out how much yardage I needed, and pointed me towards the liquid stitch since I also can't sew.

I specifically chose a fabric that wasn't on sale so that I could use my 50% off coupon. When she went to ring it up, she said that it was on sale for 40% off, so I couldn't use the coupon. I told her that there was no sign or anything indicating that it was already marked down, so she went ahead and gave me another 10% off.

I appreciated their help and their service.

Tracy at

Karen Brown said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Karen Brown said...

The single negative review here cracks me up. Of course, they don't "have" to mark anything on sale or issue coupons, but they (like every other retailer) know that sales and coupons bring in the customers, and if they had the reputation of no sales, they would have no customers. Period. Few people shop where they know nothing is on sales (except Tiffany's, and it ain't Tiffany's). They know that once you are in the door with your 40% off coupon that you won't be able to use, that they will get you to buy anyway with their measly 15% or 20% sale, because you're already there, already parked, etc. Michaels, Hobby Lobby, and Joann's are within blocks of each other here; it's easy to divorce Joann's and to decide to stop playing their game.

Carissa Bonham said...

I broke up with online Jo-Anns years ago when I ordered yarn online, paid for expedited shipping at the beginning of December so I could knit and mail a christmas gift. 2 weeks before christmas and it had not left their warehouse yet. The best they could do was get it to me on the 20th and offered no compenstaion whatsoever. Their online store cust service was beyond unhelpful. So frustrating!

Carissa Bonham said...

To be fair, I should add there is a rather small Jo-Anns store one mile from my house. Customer service these is usually good and people are friendly. Sadly, since it is a small store they frequently don't have what I actually need and I have to drive across town to go to the Super Store which is the fabric store equivalent of factory farming

Rach said...

Yes...everything you mention has been my experience. I too "broke up" with them, and it's so freeing! I won't miss them at all. Blech...

Constance Gammeter said...

That's so funny, you breaking up with them and me in Myrtle Beach just praying they would come to town. Ever buy craft supplies or fabric from Walmart? I'm just gonna leave it at that....
Have a Merry Christmas!

the cape on the corner said...

this letter was hilarious. I especially liked the comparison to waiting for a rock star and the going in the direction of the point.

I have tried to stop in on my lunch hour, and like you said, there's always a huge hold up at the registers.

ChaoticallyCreative said...

Agreed! I rarely go in there because of the disorganization and massive lines. I also can't stand Hobby Lobby but sometimes have to go there. Hobby Lobby's employees seem to find anything and everything else to do but help the customer! Sad really !

The DIY Homegirl said...

It sucks that your Joann's is like this! Have you contacted them with a link to your blog? If not, it could be beneficial for them to hear this feedback.

With the exception of the amusement park-like line for the cutting counter, our stores in Toledo have great employees. When I have to wait at the counter, I like to sit down in the pattern area and browse patterns. Or I'll pick up a magazine and flip through it.

I find going to Joann's much more rewarding than Michael's, because their coupons are not as frequent. I know every time I get a new Joann's flier, there will be a coupon I can use. So I usually go there for my craft needs.

Kim M said...

Bummer! A store just came to our town and I was looking forward to checking them out.

Linda Bouffard said...

Joann's prices are jacked up in the first place so the 40% coupon makes the price almost normal, but not quite.Fabric prices are way jacked up, too. Without a coupon they are ridiculous!I've had some run ins with at the cutting counter also. I wonder if there is something about cutting fabric that makes people cranky?
They still are a favorite store of mine. I can sit and peruse their book collection and get lots of ideas (it's a pleasant way to spend some "me" time).
You had lots of valid points ... Linda

Toodie said...

I kind of have a love/hate relationship with JoAnn's. While I'm seriously peeved that they don't stock things like they should - every time I go in there, the exact same aisles are nearly empty - I cannot complain at all about the customer service where i live. I was looking for something in particular and they only had five in stock (I needed 26) and the employee went out of her way to hunt some down on an aisle that held a couple extra and she even went to the back to see if perhaps there were some that hadn't been put out yet. Nope, no luck...however, she offered to order them for me and I declined because it would take much longer to get them than I actually had time for. She even called the other store and asked if they had my item. I really, really appreciated her effort.

sweetpeasblogdotcom said...

Well said! Unfortunately I can 100% agree with you in every aspect of your letter. As a stay-at-home mom with a 9 month old, I totally understand that it is NEVER a quick in and out, although it needs to be with my little ticking time bomb.

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