This week is CHA. I told Kendell that it’s like Comdex for scrapbookers but then, I’m not certain they still have Comdex. Anyway. CHA is a convention for crafters, and it’s when all of the scrapbooking supply companies show off all of their new stuff. For the past two or three weeks, you could go to the blogs of said scrapbooking supply companies and see sneak peeks of the new stuff, and enter to win the new stuff, and imagine yourself using the new stuff on layouts. I was even optimistic enough to enter a few of the giveaways, which I only do in order to help someone else win. (I am not a lucky person. Seriously. I never actually win anything. My theory is that I am gathering up all my luck together for the one day when I really, really need it, or to win something that’s really, really amazing, not just some paper and alphabet stickers and maybe a stamp set or a spool of pretty ribbon.)
And I’m really sort of sad that CHA is here.
Not because I am not going. I’ve never gone to a CHA because A—what would I do there, as I am B—not on any design teams, nor in any way important. People who go to CHA are the people who work for the scrapbooking supply companies, or the people who work for the companies that sell scrapbooking supplies, or the people who are Famous Scrapbookers and thus are important enough to just show up. Since I am none of those things, I’ve never gone. Besides, hello, it’s me. I’ve accustomed myself to always being on the outer fringe of things. That’s me: not even cool enough to go to CHA.
But really, I’m sad that CHA is here because it means that all sorts of new scrapbooking supplies will be released. And, despite my current goal of using the stuff I already have, I am not immune to the power that is a New Sheet of Alphabet Stickers. The lure is irresistible. (I can resist almost everything else. Everything except the alphabet stickers. You had me at A. Especially if the "A" in question is not glittered. Not even alphabets can convince me to put up with glitter which, despite all assurances, never actually stays put.) But all of those new scrapbooking supplies? Will not be showing up at my favorite place to buy scrapbooking supplies. Because that store, which was called Robert’s, is closed.
And despite the lure of "store-closing sale," those two words—"store closing"—are just about the saddest ones I know. I’ve shopped at Robert’s since 1995, when my sister-in-law (one of the many, many people in my life who used to be a scrapbooker) introduced me to the power of the 40% off coupon. Since then, I’ve bought nearly all of my scrapbooking supplies on sale. And pitied the poor souls who couldn’t do so. Every week, something was on sale at Robert’s, and they always had at least a 40% off coupon. Sometimes even a fifty. And they were pretty good about getting new stuff in, too. Not all the new stuff. But enough to keep me happy, and I could fill in the rest of my desires with stops at Archiver’s and Pebbles in my Pocket, stores which almost never have sales. (Although, last November I just happened upon an Actual Sale at Archiver’s, which even the salesclerks pointed out was notable.)
A few years ago, Hobby Lobby came to Utah. And that spelled doom for Robert’s. They didn’t only sell scrapbooking supplies—they sold all sorts of crafty stuff. But when Hobby Lobby showed up, Robert’s just sort of...wilted. Their selection got smaller, especially in decorative stuff. Instead of fighting hard against the Big Guys, Robert’s diminished. I’m certain there was some sort of business-y MBA-inspired reasoning behind this. But obviously: wrong choice. I think that they should have pushed harder, been more aggressive, had cooler and better stuff, and counted on the loyalty of their customers. (I’ve still only been in Hobby Lobby two times in my life.) Of course, who am I to offer business suggestions? I’m not, remember, even cool enough to go to CHA! But there’s my opinion.
So now I have joined the ranks of people I used to pity: the ones who have to pay full price for their scrapbooking supplies. This puts me in all sorts of panic, especially when it comes to adhesive. I can’t imagine coughing up $10 for a roll of double-stick tape, especially since for the last 16 years or so, I’ve stocked up on it during those 50%-off sales. I might even have to start doing something I really don’t enjoy: shop for my scrapbook supplies online. I know: thousands of people do this every day. But I don’t like it. I can’t get a textural sense of products online. I don’t trust the colors. And without seeing the products in real life, without touching them, I can’t for certain envision how I will use them. Which means that when I buy scrapbooking stuff online, I either buy too many of items I will probably never use or buy too few of the items I should have bought more of.
And I also know: wa, wa, wa. This is what Haley would call a "rich person’s problem." Put inside the perspective of poverty and war and starvation, my little "I have to pay full price for scrapbooking supplies" whine really is fairly silly to stress over. But still. The closing of Robert’s will change the way I scrap. Maybe that change will be a good thing—it will push me to stick with my use-my-stuff goals. It will reduce my tendency to think "but I don’t have the exact shade of green ink I need, so I’m just going to run to Robert’s to find some" as well as the tendency to pick up just a few other things while I’m there. Even with having to pay shipping, maybe I’ll actually spend less because I’ll make fewer impulse purchases.
But I’m still fairly bummed about all that new stuff that’s coming out, and knowing it will be harder for me to acquire (and use, as really: I do really, really and truly, really use my scrapping stuff). And knowing that when I really do find it in an actual, real, live scrapbooking store (Archiver’s and Pebbles now being my only options) (because I sort of don’t want to shop at Hobby Lobby mostly out of misspent loyalty and then the only other option is Michael’s, which I actually checked out the other day and which still had some of the same supplies they had the last time I checked it out, back in 2002) I will have to pay full price for it? Well. That rubs against every single one of my shopping habits. Will my I-don’t-pay-full-price-for (almost)-anything frugality be overcome by my I-must-have-that-alphabet-set compulsions? Only time will tell.