Friday, February 22, 2008

being a woman in a man's world

Warning - if you're a guy - bug-off.

A local drapery & upholstery shop that had been in business so long it was part institution & part landmark - as in "turn at..." recently went out of business. Sad for them but oh so happy for us. If the original owners had been on site it wouldn't have been such a joyous occasion, but the guys who were there were being paid to tear down the warehouse innards and were filling a dumpster with - I swear - down pillow forms, vintage trims and fabric scraps that were almost a yard big!The store front was piled with rolls of high quality fabrics and a handmade sign in the window announced "$3-5 a roll" yep, not a yard - a bolt! Dana's skills at sniffing out a bargain were at their finest as she found this city sale, a whole a county & an hour+ away from her rural mecca thanks to Craiglist. On Wednesday, she'd called me frantically on numerous occasions as I stood in a warehouse waiting for those #@!* Girl Scout cookies. As she was waist deep in free fabric scraps. Imagine my horror!!

She loaded her Suburban with fabric. For a really, really unreal price. Not like when you're at Joann's and even after the coupons and red tag prices, they hand you your fabric and it's a tiny bag for far too much money.

So she picked me and Liv up yesterday with a plan to fill the Suburban again. It was like Christmas morning. We arrived with cold hard cash to the warm welcome of the new building owner who was waiting for a dumpster to be delivered. He just wanted the stuff out of there and to get on with his real estate purchase. He mentioned that anything not sold would be tossed or donated. And he was ready to make some deals. And was happy to see us piling up the fabric. And then as our piles grew, his mood changed and he started to get antsy and even voiced concern that WE may be taking advantage of HIM. WHAT? Seriously, his trash was suddenly invaluable, and maybe he didn't know what he was doing by selling it in volume. Yeah - he was concerned that 2 women might be getting a better deal than he was. Like he was going to sell it by the yard at retail prices and hadn't bought this highly sought after commercial property to make a killing of his own. Greedy bastard. And it was absolutely an ego thing. Have you ever been on the receiving end of this type of thing? It brought back not-so-distant memories of being at the mercy of unscrupulous plumbers, contractors & slum/landlord at my tearoom. And being treated like they were the ones holding the cash and calling the shots. Ugh.

So it was a tad uncomfortable but not so much that I won't be going back for more today. DH was very impressed by my haul and wants me to negotiate even harder. After 2 days there, Dana was much more annoyed by him, and refuses to go back - but she got a few hundred bolts of fabric to my measly 24 bolts. I also got about 30+ fabric sample books for FREE. Less dumpster space for him, and many, many gorgeous swatches to use on my totes and sewing projects.

Wish me luck! And that the snow doesn't interfere with my plans...

UPDATE: Well, it wasn't a great social exchange w/ Sir Surly, the grumpy & greedy old dude, but I got what I wanted - 25 more bolts of pretty fabulous fabric! And my personal favorite - a BIG bolt of this vintage shabby chic polished cotton (Dana - would that make this chintz... I never know my fabrics) It was stuck in a box with some really bad 80s watercolor florals. I think the girls would look adorable in little shift dresses. Or there might even be enough to cover all my outdoor cushions. Oh happy spring - I can't wait to start sewing!

2 comments:

BumbleVee said...

I'd be back there too! Hopefully nobody else wants any more of it and the idiot will be happy to unload it. I sure hope he hasn't upped his prices. Check the dumpster as you leave too ..... who knows what they have tossed out. What a great find. Even if you don't want it..you could sell it through your blog, or ebay or Etsy... little bundles etc...

good luck today!

I used to buy up dozens of little stuffed animals at a local thrift shop; the ones in perfect or new condition. I use them for Christmas Child Shoeboxes ... I make up about 20 or so each year. At first, the prices were all under a dollar. Each month the manager kept putting the price up.. I quit buying them. One day he asked if I didn't want them anymore... I said sure...but at your prices I can get them cheaper at the dollar store now. His prices are back to 50 cents and the like.

Claire said...

Why is the world would he get grumpy when you are willing to pay him MONEY for things he would otherwise THROW AWAY?? Idiot.

Sorry for dissin' on Darcy. Can't help it he's a meanie, even if does reform later. But I do love the movie and book in spite of his 'tude. You actually reminded me that I need to post my cupcake recipe!