Stuck in the 90’s?

Recently I ran into a little problem with repairing a project for a client and after consulting an expert on many sewing matters who teaches at a famous NY institution my mission was to find a special item that is quite obscure.

The expert mentioned a supplier in the NY area but I thought maybe I could find one closer to the West Coast so I used Google to track it down. No luck!

Then I wrote to about 8 other companies across the US who might be able to sell me a small amount of this adhesive taffeta cloth to use as a backing. After waiting a week for someone/anyone to reply to my emails the next step was to check out the original supplier in NY. Since they have a website it started out pretty good.

The website looked basic for a company that is the only distributor of this product along with many other specialty items that a regular seamstress would never come across. They had a catalog in pdf format and also just a list of their products with a note saying they have other things so just ask for what you want. There was a contact page with an email form so I filled it out and expected someone/ anyone might write to me about the price, size, color etc of the product since there were NO prices or sizes or colors listed anywhere.

Patiently I waited a few days and then wrote another identical email to them asking for help. Finally a rep wrote back to me and said they had the item in 2 colors, the width was 29 inches and the price was $8.99 a yard and the minimum order was $15. Great now to go back to the website and do some quick ordering…

When was the last time you went to a website and there was no feature for ordering??? No little boxes to list the number of items, no drop down menu for selecting colors were there. In fact there was no shopping cart facility or secure processing decal familiar on other sites. It makes you wonder how the only supplier in the US of this line of products can function with parts missing. All they gave was a phone number.

I wrote back to the rep and said I would like to do this all on-line and he answered that they only deal over the phone.

The next day I called the number listed and got an annoying recorded message that this recipient could not process my call at this time and to try again later. It was 10 am in my town and 1 pm in NY so either they turned off their phones, were flooded with orders or the Rapture had come to the East Coast. Back to the website to find a toll-free number and start again. This time Eureka!

A woman answered and I told her I wanted to make an order and could she please connect me to someone who could help. Next I hear a pre-recorded series of ads for a loan company using a parrot’s voice to claim they will loan money to anyone. How strange, I thought, companies advertising loans in this economy…well maybe things are different back East.

Finally a man answered “Hello”…not “Hi this is Jack and I will take your order”. He had a real NY accent so I was relieved thrilled that I was speaking to a local consultant. I had to ask if he could take my order and he just replied “Yes”. After explaining that I had been directed to the solitary way of ordering after trying to do it on-line I told him the 2 items I would like to order and gave him the credit card details. At the end I foolishly asked if I would receive any sort of confirmation of the order by email and his answer was “No”. Then I asked if all that would happen was that the package would just “show up” when it was ready and he said “Yes”.

So fingers crossed, the nameless man who took my order, credit card details and mailing address was actually an employee and not the janitor on his lunch break gathering information to use to buy Christmas presents for his friends and an airline ticket to Rio for the winter. All will be revealed when the Visa bill shows up, I guess.

Back to the sample garment making for a local fabric store, whipping up a Cinderella 3 layers sparkled organza skirt and alterations to many many Chico’s jackets for clients and thinking of pumpkin pie…can you smell it yet?

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