Back Story:

I didn’t realize it until this week, but Hobby Lobby kinda gives me the heebie-jeebies. (The heebie-leebies?) It’s not the aisles full of Pinteresty home decor that a certain breed of middle-class white women really seems to enjoy, although I can’t help feeling like I’m invading someone’s severely overdecorated house when I’m there. (I also just don’t like to decorate so the abundance of themed but purposeless knickknacks is both confusing and stressful.) It’s not the bizarre pricing model, common to many craft stores, where everything is *always* “on sale” so I can never use the damn 40% coupons printed in the Sunday comics. (More on coupons in a bit.) It’s not even the temptation of endless craft supplies because I have *ironclad willpower* and only ever buy what I’m going to use immediately.

No, it’s the same sense of unease I feel walking into megachurches, anything called a tabernacle or ministry center, and Chick-fil-a. What if I drop something and swear loudly? Or someone asks why my quiver isn’t fuller of children? What if I set off the IUD detector? Do you think they can smell my science degree and love of public radio? What if there’s a sword drill?!


Despite all these misgivings, I went to Hobby Lobby this week to get fiber-fil for a Christmas gift I’m making. My other options were hauling my offspring to the Joann’s across town, or putting a bunch more carbon into the atmosphere by having it shipped to me in a superfluous cardboard box. Since Hobby Lobby is right next to the nearest grocery store, I put on my modest evangelical panties (but not shoes on my child, apparently) and braved the holy crafting wilderness.

While waiting in the checkout line, I found myself surrounded by about half a dozen college students who looked suspiciously like frat boys. I was tempted to ask if they were lost, but I was too busy juggling a large box and my shoeless offspring. (And that’s why my quiver isn’t full, okay?) They were purchasing an odd variety of items that looked like costume pieces, which would have made sense except Halloween was three days ago. The best part was when one of them turned to the another and said, “Dude, just google, ‘Hobby Lobby coupon,’ and it’s like the first thing that comes up, man.”


While I was thankful for the hilariously improbable sight of a bunch of bros searching for Hobby Lobby coupons, my real moment of gratitude came when I was carting my large box of fiber-fil and shoeless offspring to the exit. (This is why my wallet and keys all have wristlet straps.) I got to the brazenly emblazoned “Automatic Door,” and stood there for a full thirty seconds waiting for it to open. I’ve tripped the IUD detector, I thought in despair. I’ll have to redecorate my way out of here.

Fortunately, a middle-aged Hispanic man heading toward the store saw my plight and rushed to open the door for me. (Was it non-traditional customer evangelism day or is there some large male crafting movement that I don’t know about?) Then he asked if I needed him to carry the box to my car, saying, “I remember what it’s like having little kids!” For one silly, irrational moment, I thought about saying, “No thanks, I’ve got it!” before a kick from my squirming, sockless child assured me that I really did not have “it.” I gratefully accepted his help, and we chatted a little about how toddlers and ten-year-olds really aren’t that different in the ninety seconds it took to reach my car. It was the nicest thing I can remember anyone doing for me for awhile.

I then promptly turned around and marched into the grocery store still without putting shoes on my offspring. Some things never change.