Tuesday, May 01, 2007

If Sewing were Cooking (An allegorical grumble...)

If sewing were cooking, I bet I'm not the only one who would've heard the following:

'Oh, you cook? I used to cook but I don't any more. I made all my kids' meals when they were young, but I just don't enjoy it any more. My stove quit working and I just never got it fixed.

But, you know, I've been looking for someone who could cook! I've got a favorite dinner that we haven't had in a long time, and I was wondering, could you fix it up for me? I mean, since you've got a stove that works I'm sure it wouldn't take you very long.

I'd even be willing to pay you if you would do it for me.'

My reply would be that I'd be happy to show them how to use a new stove so they could do it themselves...

'Oh, no, I don't want to get back into cooking. I just don't have time for cooking. I just need a couple of things fixed, you know, just this once. It's my favorite.'

Oh, you're giving up eating after this? You'll never need anything fixed again as long as you live? Tell me...what's your secret....

(end of allegory)

That's been stewing for a *really* long time...friends of long acquaintance who are backed into a corner are one thing, but when someone I barely know asks if I could fix something before I've even got their name committed to long term memory, well, it just gets under my skin a wee bit.

I need to stand in front of the mirror and practice saying, with a straight face, "I'd be happy to hem your pants for you. S&K Menswear charges about $75/hour for five minutes of pants hemming...I don't have their overhead, so I'll do it for half. But I'll have to do it by hand, since I don't have a blind hemmer, so it'll take an hour. It'll be $37.50. I prefer cash. Are you *sure* you don't want me to show you how?"

Hm. I wonder if it would work... ;)
(end of grumble)


  1. Oh, Lisa, I have *been there*! What's worse is when they want you to make a 4-course meal out of last week's leftovers!

  2. Oh, you are so right! And I'm tired of being treated like they're doing me the favor by asking me to do their sewing for them. There are people who do mending and alterations for a living, and I'd be happy to give you their card.

  3. I love this allegory and it's oh so true. When I get asked to do alterations most are shocked at the price I quote them because they're sure its "easy to fix". But, I'm always more than happy to show them how to do it themselves at no charge.

  4. This is the ugly dark side of sewing, LOL. And sadly, my family is the worst! Except that I will never tell them no. (Um, I have "forgotten" a couple of projects until said projects were "outgrown". Unfortunate, I know.)

  5. BINGO! Perfect allegory! And stick to the high prices....we need to let people know that those of us who sew are professionals, worthy of our hire. Keep the standard high, Lisa:)

  6. I'm not so sure that you should have thought to 1/2 your prices...seems to me that the people who can do what others can't charge the highest prices without thinking 2x. But then again I have been through the same scenario numerous times and have just learned to say no firmly and with meaning. :)

  7. I'm a bit late to the part but AMEN!

  8. Well I'm even later than Gigi, but have to add my 2 cents. Lisa you are so right. I'm thinking about asking the professionals in my town for their business cards so I can refer my requesters to someone who can really do the job for them.

  9. Bev, that's a GREAT idea! But the little alteration shop I used to refer people to has closed down; dunno if they moved or went out of business. I guess I should ask around and see who does good work so I can refer folks in the future...