Would You Like to Pet My Alpaca?

Friday evening I went to Dayton Ohio, for the air show, concert, and fireworks at Wright Patterson Airforce Base. I saw Erin (Hi Sweetie!) and her husband Andy, my little grandson Ian (a cutie pie). I don’t remember exactly what day it was, Friday or Saturday, when we were talking about fiber animals. Andy as it turns out was trying to figure out what an Alpaca Rabbit looked like. Erin dutifully explained to him that an Alpaca is not a rabbit, and then playfully asked him “Would you like to pet my alpaca?” (of course I found this really too funny and was glad I wasn’t drinking anything at the time or I would have sprayed someone).

This became the joke for the weekend.

It of course can mean different things depending on how it is said, and it came to my mind today when catching up on some of the lists I belong to for designers.

I enjoy Ravelry, but I find it frustrating when groups of knitters (or anyone for that matter) just start bashing someone. In this situation, there was a knitter who lost their pattern, and expected the designer to replace the pattern. When they did not get that, they flamed the designer on Ravelry.

I don’t know about you, but if I walked into Barnes and Noble and said I lost my issue of Knitters, and that I expected them to replace it they would without a doubt be laughing, at least on the inside, while explaining that what I did with my purchase was my responsibility not theirs.

In the world of the needlearts, things are often a little warmer and fuzzier, and kind hearted independent designers, in the spirit of good customer service, often give in to unrealistic expectations for fear of angering the customer. In the scenario above, not only did this person want a new pattern, they wanted one with no receipt or record that could prove they had purchased one in the first place. When they did not get what they wanted, they smeared the designer on Ravelry. By the time the designer had a chance to respond, the damage to her name had been done in thousands of viewings.

We have a lot to be thankful for in this country. I think of this often, and not just near the fourth of July. If this is all we have to be upset about, that we in our own carelessness are expected to take responsibility for ourselves (particularly if there is nothing to prove a purchase had been made in the first place), life really isn’t all that bad.

This is where we can all make a huge difference in the world. We talk about world peace and we worry about current political events, but what are we doing in our own corner to set the bar? Do we set good examples even on the internet, or do we become mean and snarky because we feel like we can get away with it since we don’t see anyone face to face. Why is abusiveness thinly veiled in sharp wit something we let slide?

Our choices can make it a much happier place. I think we all need to pet some alpaca.

Peace and Knitting, JoLene Treace

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3 Responses to “Would You Like to Pet My Alpaca?”

  1. Erin (AKA "Sweetie") Says:

    You just WILL NOT let me live that one down…
    But yes, a select few have it in their heads that “the customer is always right” includes when they want to pull the wool over your eyes (no pun intended, but it does fit). They are being dishonest and they know it, but because they are the customer, THEY ARE RIGHT. Well, a retailer will be happy to work with you if there truly is a problem with the product, but we cannot just keep throwing money (or an equivalent) at customers over every little thing. That would be less of a blow to a huge retailer, but it could drive a smaller company out of business.

  2. jolenetreace Says:

    Indeed, it was too delicious to let slide. VBG.

    Retail is very demanding, which you know all too well. People don’t think (there are some that just don’t care, but I think most just don’t think) that it might not cost them anything, but it costs someone something.

    Why ask manufacturers or retailers to purchase our business (bribe our good will) by replacing what we loose or damage? That is beyond good customer service, it is taking advantage of another person with careless regard to the fact that we are saying “I want this and you are going to pay for it”.

    I guess that is the part that really bothers me. The angry, figurative stomping of the foot to get out own way – a free replacement – when it was our fault it was lost in the first place. If it is my error, I expect to pay for it, not someone else.

    I know we could go on about this all day.

    Cheers, your loving stepmom

  3. Lynda in Oregon Says:

    This is more about the latter part of your post and not about the humor of “pet my alpaca” — which was indeed a funny comeback.

    But I wanted to hone in on the Ravelry flame, and — by extension — the incredibly nasty political c**p that’s going around the internet. I’m not going to tell you my political convictions, and frankly I’m not interested in yours. But the recent primary campaign, like the 2004 primaries and presidential election, have been marred by the endlessly circulating internet “did you know!?!?!” rumors and allegations, most of which on closer examination turn out to be misinterpretations, misquotes or quotes out of context, and outright whoppers.

    I’m really tired of getting this “politinography”, and have taken to hitting “reply all” when I get one to (a) refer people to Urban Legends or other debunking sites and (b) ask them to think about what they’re doing when they help spread this scurrilous nonsense.

    There’s an old saying (Chinese, I believe) that says “Rumor can run three times around the world while the truth is putting on its boots.” The Ravelry flame, like the political smear messages, prove the truth of that in most discouraging terms.

    If there’s a moral to this, it’s to check on the reality behind the flames, and to not take as gospel everything that lands in your in-box.

    Thanks for providing rant-space! 😉

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