The towels I wove Thor for a Valentine’s Day surprise were, of course, cotton. The yarn I used was “Peaches & Cream” (14 oz. cone, 706 yards). This was my first time using it – a yarn spun in Canada from cotton grown in and imported from the U.S. Thor loves the towels, and I was impressed with the look of the waffle weave after washing and drying. Today Thor asked if I would weave a throw out of the same yarn. I called my local yarn store, which didn’t carry it, and the owner suggested I try Walmart.
After reading “Nickled & Dimed” and watching a documentary about Walmart’s effect on local small business, I have always endeavored to shop only at local stores. However, I have also read lately that Walmart, in an attempt to change this negative reputation has been making attempts over the last few years to try to be more community focused. So I decided to go to Walmart.
Walmart indeed had yarn – the sorts of yarn carried by stores such as Jo-Ann’s and Michael’s – and about 5 colors of Peaches & Cream on cones and a couple more in skeins (though few cones and/or skeins of each color). We bought several cones.
What did I learn from this experience? Well, it took us a nearly one hour round trip driving to get the yarn. There’s a cost to that (mileage, wear and tear on car, time), but ordering the yarn on-line would incur a hefty shipping charge. The price per cone ($7.99) at Walmart was $1 lower than the lowest price we found on-line. I would have gladly paid $1 or $2 more per cone to buy from a local yarn store owned by an individual or cooperative versus the largest retailer in the U.S. (world?). The Walmart clerks were friendly and helpful, but the store was dingy. Thor has worked in retail management and the first thing he learned was that stores have to have good lighting and clean floors. This Walmart failed on both counts – which surprised us both.
Would I buy Peaches & Cream from Walmart again? Given that (1) after a 45 minute search on-line, I found no local retailer that carried Peaches & Cream, and (2) the significant shipping charge I would incur ordering from a yarn store, I might.