Once upon a time, I was the assistant manager of a mall music store (Sam Goody, if you’re old enough to remember them). I thought it was going to be fifty shades of Empire Records, but alas, it was not. Oh it had it’s fun moments, to be sure, but Rex Manning never came to visit and schtupp the resident minx, nor did manager look like Anthony La Paglia. It was just another mall job; Hollywood lied to me again. The best part of the job, by far was not chasing shoplifters through the mall, but playing Name That Tune with the customers:
Customer: I’m looking for a song. I don’t know who sings it.
Me: ok…do you know the lyrics..?
Customer: I don’t know who sings it, but it kinda sounds like two guys
Me: gotcha. Can you hum it.
Customer: random tuneless humming and mumbling of lyrics
Me: um. What about the chorus…?
Customer: something about “bright eyes”
Me: do you mean “turn around/bright eyes”..?
Me: um yeah...that’s Bonnie Tyler; Total Eclipse of the Heart
Customer: Great! Gimme the single!
Me: the song is 15 years old; there’s no single
Customer: oh…then forget it.
Bear in mind, this was before iPhones with Shazam or Soundhound or Songify. I was Shazam. Better than that: I was CawfeeBoy: Music Detective, able to use my ridiculously eclectic music taste (and those of my friends who I’d call when stumped) for good and help those who needed it; I was performing a public service for those in need. i used to love those customers, but mostly because I felt superior to them for their ignorance. Never did I think I’d ever become one of those customers.
See, the rainbow yarn I’m using, for this amazing cowl I’m making, I got when I 1st started knitting; It was the 1st time Magenta Sequins had ever taken me to her LYS in Westport, Connecticut. I absolutely fell in love with the variegated colorway (which I’d yet to see in true rainbow colors) and the soft richness of the yarn. The problem is, at the time I didn’t know the value of keeping the yarn label and/or logging everything in my stash on Ravelry for later use, and have now (2+ years later) lost the label.
I know: I was totally aghast, too. if you need a minute to compose yourself, I totally understand; I’ll wait here.
All I know was that it’s a small skein in merino wool and that it’s worsted weight. or aran. Or maybe DK. Everything else is a mystery.
I looked on Ravelry’s yarn database and tried to Google search it, but it was impossible. I knew too little about, so after half an hour of searching, I bit the bullet and called Wesport Yarns. As you can imagine, the conversation went something like this:
Me: Hi, this is going to sound completely nuts and I’m almost embarrassed to call, but you’re my last resource. I’m looking for yarn I bought from your shop 2 years ago. I threw the label away and now I have no idea who makes it or anything.
Me: YEAH. I KNOW. It’s pretty and soft and in rainbow colors! Definitely merino; almost definitely worsted weight.
Me: it was on the back wall to the right of the counter, when facing the counter. It wound up into a REALLY small cake, so it’s can’t be more than, like 100 yards.
Me: did I mention it’s merino? In crayola colors? Small cake?
Her: yeah…that may be ABC’s Yarn You’ve Never Heard Of
Me: did you carry it two years ago?
Her: no…it’s brand new.
Me: That’s not it, then.
Her: well I’m stumped. The only merino we carried back then was Crystal Palace Mini Mochi
Me: did it come in a variegated “Gay Pride” colorway?
Her: no idea.
Me: ok…well that name sounds really familiar, I’ll check out their colorways online…thanks for your time.
FYI: It’s not Crystal Palace Mini Mochi
Ten minutes later, she called back to say that she could look up my info in her database, as long as I gave them my info at purchase. Turns out, my 1st purchase (in March of 2010) was for ArtYarns Super Merino color 136.
the (obvious) moral here, kids, is a) don't chuck your yarn labels and b) someone out there always knows a little more than you; be free with your knowledge and other people will be free with theirs.