I know that many locations closed down in March because they were forced to by state regs. The Hobby Lobby nearest to me closed last Saturday. I was there the Friday before for a few things I couldn’t find elsewhere, and was gonna get some bandannas for extra face protection so I didn’t have to do laundry every day.
Well, it was pretty chaotic in there. Plenty of people–not as many as normal– but other than face shields in front of the cash registers, I didn’t notice much effort in helping people keep to the 6 foot rule. Or any other kind of crowd control. Some people were oblivious to the others around them, totally in their element while browsing.
I kept my head on a swivel, gloves on and away from others much as I could be, bandanna on my own face.
I ended up getting some yarn colors that struck my fancy, looked around for more canvas to needlepoint (they had none), decided I’d better order online (which was a ripoff on the shipping–grr), and hightailed it out. I was so unnerved by the sheer amount of people in there, I totally forgot to get bandannas. I went back this past Monday and saw the store closed sign.
The reason I didn’t go right back in that Friday was the sheer amount of people.
Odds are, they ran out of bandannas anyway, but with such a huge selection that they’d normally have, I figured it was worth a shot to go. And yet, I figured I wouldn’t go back. The employees looked tired, like they were trying to do what they could, but didn’t look like they had a plan given to them to really help out beyond the checkout lanes.
It’s hard to describe. I wonder if they’d just gotten the notice that they were gonna be shutting down soon and were in their own heads, trying to figure out what they were gonna do next.
So, they still didn’t have all I needed, so I stopped by Michaels on Monday, hoping for more bandannas.
Michaels had a system in place. A few people were outside the store, waiting. They told me that this was the line to go in, that there were only 10 people max to be in the store. I waited in line with the rest, well-spaced apart, and had some short chats. I think they were in the process of making a sign for the line and the rules, but at the same time, had one person come in the moment another left. I got a cart and went looking for what I needed.
I found it, and helped someone look for something they needed, but since it’s probably the smallest Michaels in the area, they didn’t have everything. There was still enough I found to keep me busy this past weekend, and to fill some holes in my craft colors list.
Checkout actually had a table set up in front of the counter to keep people 6 feet from the cashier. I thought that was pretty clever, and gave me a bigger space to set out my purchases, anyway. Things went nice and speedy and I got my stuff and left. No issues.
Hobby Lobby will always have the edge because of the tremendous selection of stuff compared to the Michaels stores that I’m used to (also the local HL store is easily 3-4 times bigger). However, with all the crap Hobby Lobby’s owners have been up to the past few years, I’m more than pleased to say I’ve seen the last of that company.
They got the last dollar out of me a couple Fridays ago.
I hate what they’ve been doing to their employees. I hate their not-terribly friendly website that then stiffs you on the shipping charges (amazing how you spend about $30 on supplies and they want $9 in shipping–no free shipping for a certain amount minimum? Everybody else does!). I hate how the owners try to dictate the personal lives of their staff and won’t pay for birth control meds (which are used for hormone regulation and other purposes, not just birth control, dammit). I hate the crazy crowding and the aisles and aisles of cheap furniture rather than hobby supplies.
Some things they could have much more of rather than a dozen of the same type of cabinet on the floor in six different places. Sheesh. Isn’t that what the large storage area in back should be for?
Don’t get me wrong, I got some good furniture from there, as in just the right size and a relatively decent price. One’s a cabinet I use in place of a “sideboard” in my dining room, and another is office storage with my printer on top. That’s it. Other than a few wall decorations I got when I got some gift cards and needed to use them up (and decorate my new house), I’ve pretty much kept to Michaels instead. And now, I might do it for the long haul.
The staff are more attentive and friendlier at Michaels (which could be because they’re not stretched out over a near-football field, going from department to department all day long). They are also on the ball regarding this Covid-19 thing we all have to deal with and are taking it quite seriously. And anybody walking the floor had masks and gloves on to assist and keep distancing requirements intact. That helps ease my mind for sure.
And ordering online is so useful. I’ve done it oodles of times for picture frames and all, store pickup or shipping to my house. They’re on top of any shortages or changes to the order that have to happen, and very helpful overall.
So, yeah, with HL closed down now, and firing so many of their staff… I gotta wonder what the hell they think they’ll be able to do to open up when things go to some semblance of “normalcy” again. I mean, all the trained people who’ve been screwed over, I doubt they’ll be running back there unless they absolutely have to (and probably polishing their resumes, making them ready to go in a few months). How are they gonna start things up quickly when they’re allowed to re-open?
I feel like this will be an interesting train wreck to watch in the near future… while I’m shopping elsewhere, of course.