yarn shop yesterday. It is actually not that local as it takes me quite a while to pedal there and a good deal of it is "up" rather than "down".
It would not classify as a yarn shop in other parts of the world as it also sells haberdashery, nightwear and some craft books. It is also an agency for dry-cleaning and runs classes on Fridays. Last year they also had a little work done and extended the place slightly. It is still tiny and crowded.
I know the owner. The owner knows me. We call each other by our given names. I imagine she just makes a living out of the place and, if she chooses to retire, the place may not continue. Oddly enough she is not a knitter herself. She knows the basics but she is not particularly interested in the craft.
When I went in there were three customers in the shop and a "rep" from one of the companies.
I needed a single ball of yarn to mix in with some yarn I had been given. The yarn I was given was left over from another garment. Far too much had been bought so there is enough, with the extra ball, to make a vest for someone. I have worked from the top down and the time had come to get a ball of something that would blend in order to do the bands.
I am happy to look around on my own in there. I know the yarns. I know how to read a ball band. I know about dye lots and what should or should not be used for what. It is information I have picked up over the years. The owner knows too - after all it is her role to sell the yarn. Not everyone else does.
The owner asked me if I would mind helping another customer by showing her where to find the appropriate yarn. I did and explained that she needed to look at one sort rather than another for safety reasons. It is generally considered unwise to dress tiny babies in fluffy yarns.
The owner dealt with the other two customers. The "rep" prowled around. The other customer went to the counter with her choice.
I went to find out what I wanted and the "rep" followed me. He wondered if I had ever done that before? Well yes I have. Was I not doing the owner's job for her?
No, I am not. She asked knowing I would have the knowledge to help and that, as someone she is friendly with, I would help if I could.
I would do the same thing in the local bookshop. In the past, when there was a small clothing store in our shopping centre - no longer there - I would mind the shop for a few minutes so that the single person in there could run to the bathroom or the bank. I have answered the 'phone there and in the bookshop. I can take a message and it is better than letting the 'phone go unanswered. The owners are grateful. Just because it is a commercial enterprise should not stop me giving a little help when it is needed.
The "rep" clearly thought I was, to say the least, a little odd. Am I? It helps me in the end because, ever so slightly, it helps to keep the business going and that means I can keep going there. Yesterday, it being the last available ball of that variety of yarn, I was also given a discount but I did not expect it - nor was it why I did it.