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Today we visited my beloved Johnny LooLoos (John Lewis) to buy an invisible zipper foot for my sewing machine.  I can’t believe I’ve only recently discovered the existence of such a beast, but I’m thrilled and looking forward to testing it on the shell top I’m sewing at the moment.

However, this isn’t a post about feet, but about commercial craziness on a scale I wouldn’t have expected from such a venerable organisation.

In case you’re not familiar with them, Johnny LLs is a fabulous department store that prides itself on high quality goods sold with high quality service and value for money.  It’s not a pile ’em high, sell ’em cheap kinda place. I love it because you can pootle round for a couple of hours and pick up something to wear, something for the house, yarn, fabric and shoes, all under one roof and get a good cup of coffee and a nice cake too boot.

And if something goes wrong, they’ve never failed me on service.

But today they floored me with what I think is a really rather stoopid decision they’ve made.

Whilst choosing my machine foot, and browsing the new knitting patterns, I overheard a conversation between a couple who were potential customers for a sewing machine, and the poor assistant who was trying to help them make a choice.  The couple were asking really reasonable and quite basic questions about the differences between machines,why one cost more than another and what the dials were for on the machine.

The assistant was really struggling to answer these questions, so Miss Nosey Stitch (aka Me) stepped in and helped out. Thankfully both parties were very grateful, and the assistant afterwards admitted that she really was very new to sewing and didn’t understand everything about the machines, but that Johnny LL has stopped employing the sewing machine specialists they used to have in store.

Which begs the question…….JLL, HAVE YOU LOST YOUR MINDS?

In the current economic climate, with sewing machine sales up anywhere between 50% and 500% dependent on model, surely these specialist are the last people on earth you should be letting go from your business?

Today I, who am anything but an expert, spent 5 minutes chatting to two ladies, and they both bought sewing machines, and both bought the next model up to that they had originally been looking at.

What could the specialists have achieved?