I had a pretty miserable time during my most recent trip to JoAnn's, mainly due to people not really knowing what they're doing.
I went to JoAnn's for a quarter yard of brown fleece to finish a hat that someone requested. I selected my fabric, pulled the very full bolt off of the shelf, and grabbed a number from the cutting counter. At the time, there was one employee cutting fabric, and only two people in front of me, one woman in line, and one woman getting her fabric cut. She had three bolts of fabric, so I was hopeful that this would go quickly.
The customer in front of me was chatting with the employee cutting her fabric, which is cool, she was just being friendly, but since she was taking up time, the employee called for another person to help cut fabric. Cool, now things should go even faster.
The first customer was talking about what she was making, and said something along the lines of, "But I don't know what to use for the edge. You only have dark blue..." then she wandered away from the cutting counter to go look at fabric again. Alright, if she were just going to grab a fabric you forgot, fine, but she just went back to browse.
I directed my attention to the other customer at the cutting counter, hoping she'd be going faster. She also had three bolts of fabric, so I was hopeful. Then she handed the employee cutting her fabric this mass of pink sheer fabric and said, "I want this, but I don't know how much it cost." The employee asked her, "Was there a piece of cardboard on the shelf?" The customer says that there wasn't. The employee suggests, "Oh, I'll come help you find it," and walks around the counter toward the fabric. By this point, I already knew she was going to take forever.
Meanwhile, the other lady is still browsing fabric. She calls from one of the aisles, "Oh! I like this white fabric!" The employee says, "Oh, that looks good! Wait, what about that bright green one there?" She looks at another fabric the customer brought to the counter, "You've got some green in this other fabric here!" The customer in the aisle says, "Oh, yeah! That could work!"
The employee searching for a fabric price is wandering, the customer telling her, "It was in the next aisle over!" Turned out it wasn't in an aisle, it was on a display stand (the kind they use to push sale/seasonal fabrics). The employee searches for all of five seconds, pulls out the cardboard that the pink fabric was supposed to go on, and brings it back to the cutting counter. She tells the customer, "This fabric is $9.99 a yard, and so are these other fabrics," picking up two other bolts of fabric that the customer wanted. The customer decides that she doesn't want those three bolts of fabric, and offers to put them back on the shelves. While this was a nice gesture, I'm sure she just wanted to save the employee the trouble, it would have cost so much more time. Luckily, the employee at the cutting counter took the fabric from her and put it in the racks behind the cutting counter.
Back at the other end of the cutting counter, the customer asks for three inches of her chosen (white) fabric. She then offers to put back some other bolt of fabric that she didn't want. As the customer left, the employee called in on her walkie-talkie to ask if she could even sell three inches of fabric, usually they sell by the yard, smaller amount are sold as half-yard, quarter-yard, etc. Apparently, she got the go-ahead, because she started cutting the fabric.
The other customer's daughter walked up to the counter with another bolt of fabric, and the two marveled over how pretty it was. The daughter disappeared back into the rows of fabric. Some time during all of this, another woman had come up behind me to wait in line. I don't know if she took a number or not, but I wasn't really concerned.
The customer who had gone to put a bolt of fabric away had gotten distracted by the bias tape and was happily chatting away with another woman who had been browsing bias tape. The employee cutting her fabric had finished cutting the three inches of her white fabric, and began laying out the customer's third bolt of fabric. At this point, I think the employee was just killing time until the customer came back. She laid out the fabric, straightened it, and cut off the uneven edge.
The other customer had disappeared, and her daughter had taken her place with a bolt of sheer orange fabric. The employee was laying it out and measuring it. When she got to the end of the bolt, she told the daughter that there was nine yards. The daughter then shouts this to her mother, who was returning from somewhere, and the mother says something along the lines of, "Oh, okay, we'll get six yards." The daughter relays this to the employee for clarity, as her mom was kind of far away when she said this, and the employee starts to re-roll the fabric onto the bolt. I don't understand why she couldn't have cut the fabric first and rolled the extra later to save time, I've seen other employees do this, but okay.
The first customer returns from the bias tape and tells the employee that she wants two yards of the last type of fabric. She then leaves again! I hear the woman behind me sigh, and I turn around to see her facial expression and get her opinion on these goings-on. She rolls her eyes, struggles with her two or three bolts of fabric, and says, "These people are taking forever." I turned back around and tried to convince myself she was referring to the customers, not the poor employees, who were I'm sure doing the best they could.
Another employee was called over, as obviously all of this was taking too long. She picked up the intercom microphone and called "Now serving guest number 32." She looked expectantly at me, and I disappointingly told her, "I have number 33." She shrugs and says, "I'll help you anyway." Seriously, all I needed was a quarter yard of brown fleece. It took maybe twenty seconds to lay out the fabric, cut it, and print out my receipt.