One of my goals this year is to quilt more. Which means, just quilt...because I technically made my one and only quilt last year (in December)!
I thought to myself, "self," you need a walking foot! Yes, I did use one when I made Abby's quilt...long story. Basically, I wasn't happy with the quilting part and I have a very strong suspicion that it wasn't my fault...! DH would tell me, "it's a poor carpenter who blames his tools." But I'm blaming my tools, deal with it!
After reading what I could find and researching the options, I decided to bite the bullet and get an actual Bernina walking foot as opposed to a generic one. It was a HARD decision, as we're talking about a significant difference in price. But from what I understand, it really does make a difference. And this is something that I'm planning on using for many years. And if I don't...if something goes horribly, horribly wrong and I end up swearing off quilting forever...I can at least resell it at a decent price. Not that I'm expecting to do that or anything.
So I looked on the internet, where I generally assume things will be less expensive. The best price I could find was almost $200. Ugh. The generic version can be found on ebay for $67 - tempting... But after calling around to "local" dealers (the nearest one being 40 miles away!), I found prices of $159 (on sale) and $136 (all the time). Bingo! I was all set to do the $136 option (at this point that actually seemed like a reasonable price - still outrageous, though, if you ask me), and a crazy thought popped into my head: why not call the local repair shop? They're not a Bernina dealer, but I've dealt with them before for other machines here and there, and maybe they'd be able to order it...it was worth a try.
So I called, gave the lady the part number...and she came back with a price of $99. I was like, "Really? The Bernina one? #50?" She was like, "yes that's the one!" I was thrilled (again, relative thinking here), and ordered it!
So I got there the other day to pick it up, and the store owner (not the lady I had been dealing with) came out. She got the foot out for me, and I could not believe it when she pulled out a generic foot. (Cue the screeching record here!)
I said wait a minute, this is supposed to be an actual Bernina foot, not a generic one. Immediately the room temperature dropped about 50 degrees. She gave me the stink eye and indignantly informed me that she is not a Bernina dealer, and if I wanted a genuine foot, I'd have to pay at least twice what I paid for that one. I told her that I was aware of that, which is why I was so happy that they could order it for me for so (relatively) little. *I promise you, I was being as pleasant as humanly possible here! I'm not trying to paint myself as the "nice" one and her as the "mean" one - promise!* I said that if I'd wanted a generic one, I'd have paid $70 for it on ebay and saved myself the $30. I also told her that I gave the part number to the person who ordered it for me, and was under the distinct impression that this was a genuine part that I was buying.
She motioned to the wall behind her and said, "I sell generic walking feet ALL DAY LONG. I'm not an EBAY seller, I have WALLS. And COSTS."
At this point I was regretting ever being born.
She said, "LOOK. This was a special order and I can't return it. NOW I'm just going to have to EAT it. Just give me your [debit card]." And no lie, she held out her hand and looked away from me.
How crazy is that??? If I owned a struggling business that gets
precious few customers as it is, you can bet I'd be kissing the butt of
every single person who walked through my door. Or at the very least,
not being outright rude to them!
She didn't lose potential business from me, she lost actual business. I was almost ready to leave the store with that foot and take my chances, because I know the store is struggling and I felt badly (not that it was my fault...that's just me I guess). I had been planning on bring in machines to get serviced there. But from the way she treated me, I can definitely see why she may not be getting the business that she wishes she was getting.