Letter to the owner, Personal Threads Boutique, Omaha, Nebraska

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I'm mailing this off Monday. I'd comment, but I think the letter is clear enough to stand alone. Cross-posting this to Livejournal and Ravelry.

Joe Lewis

Personal Threads Boutique
8600 Cass Street
Omaha, NE 68114

Saturday, February 6, 2010

Mr. Lewis,

I've visited your store several times over the last couple of months since I joined Ravelry and discovered we have Omaha-local yarn options other than Michael's, Hobby Lobby, and Wal-mart. I was thrilled! Your inventory is well-considered, beautiful, and extensive - it would be hard to imagine a project for which I could not find the perfect yarn in your store. Your prices are reasonable, and I've found most of your staff to be warm, engaged, helpful, and courteous. All of this is to be applauded.

However, last time I visited Personal Threads, I had a brief conversation with you that deeply discouraged me from patronizing your store. I mentioned that I find it difficult to find patterns that are appropriately sized for my plus-sized body, and you showed me several examples of patterns that are written for sizes to include my own. I appreciated that, and had the conversation ended there, the interaction would have been wholly positive. Instead, you went on to say that you'd decided not to carry one of the recently-published books featuring plus size knitting. Rather than citing shelf space or a lack of interest, you said that some of the people in the book weren't like me (tall and proportionately larger) - they were just fat. I responded that big girls probably want to knit nice things too, and you said that these girls were really fat. It was, you said, ridiculous.

In a business that sells yarn at higher yardages and therefore higher revenue to fat people, there is no logical basis for anti-fat sentiment and action. It is pure aesthetic bigotry. It is also entirely dehumanizing. You've made your feelings clear, and elected not to carry an item that is of interest to part of your customer base; you don't deserve that business. But you've also been inexcusably rude; the fact that your comments were not directed at my physique matters not at all to me. I think you'll find that such rudeness does not serve you well, in commerce or otherwise.

I have no plans to shop at Personal Threads in the future, barring an obvious and explicit change in how the plus-size and fat community is considered and treated. Though I do not intend to expend any effort dissuading others from shopping there, I will be posting a copy of this letter online; I believe that everyone should have access to sufficient information to make their own decisions, particularly when money is changing hands.

Sincerely yours,

Erica Tesla

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This page contains a single entry by Erica published on February 6, 2010 6:14 PM.

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