Thursday, June 23, 2011

Helpful Hint #6: Is this yarn a good deal?

…or, they should really teach this sort of thing in Calculus.

Did you, like me, tear your hair out in school over the following:

“Jimmy is traveling by train, going 80 mph, and Suzie is traveling by car, going 55 mph. Jimmy is 100 miles from their motel and Suzie is 50 miles from the same point. How many minutes will it take each to reach…”

And people wonder why our children have no math skills.

Instead, they should be giving our young entrepreneurs of tomorrow word problems like THIS:

Brand Name Yarn is on sale at your LYS for $5.99 a skein. It is also advertised on your favorite on-line site for $6.99 – this is the cheapest you’ve been able to find on-line.

Shipping for the on-line site, if you buy 10 skeins: $5.99

Your LYS is 10 miles away. Your car is currently getting 24 miles to the gallon, thanks to the A/C, and gas is running at $4 a gallon. So, $.17 * 10 = $1.70. Oh, and tax (if your state taxes yarn at 6%) would be roughly $3.60.

LYS total = $65.20 and the On-line Site = $75.89.

Even if you get some sort of on-line deal to waive shipping, you’d still end up paying $69.90 for the on-line option. So, in this particular instance, the LYS wins out, hands-down.

This is the sort of thing I figure out every time I try to decide where to buy my yarn. Sometimes the LYS wins, sometimes an on-line site wins—depending on the price/shipping/gas/tax combination.

Of course, there are a myriad of other variables to consider:
1) The aggravation of driving vs. getting yarn delivered right to the door.
2) The actual driving cost is actually higher, when you figure wear-and-tear to the car.
3) Do you want the instant gratification of getting your yarn RIGHT AWAY?
4) Do you need a particular color that your LYS may or may not carry, which would necessitate a special order and ANOTHER car trip back again to pick it up?

Of course, there is also the most important issue facing us all (yarnsters and non-yarnsters alike)…do you want to support your local business?

And, also, is Jimmy’s girlfriend Marsha aware that Jimmy and Suzie are messing around behind her back?


  1. That's almost as bad as trying to figure out what brand of toilet paper gives you more sheets per buck lol!

  2. I heartily agree with your opening lines. Too many children today are incapable of performing consumer math tasks...which is probably used more in life than say...Trig.

  3. But shouldn't you figure in the 30 dollars you have to pay for the Mohair on special offer in your LYS? Only, is that 30 dollars more spent than planned (= more expense), or is that a fantastic deal on a yarn you've always wanted to try (= great saving)?

  4. Practical math is always the best way to teach kids. If it matters to them they are more motivated to learn.

    Followed your Crochetville thread.

    I end up buying most of my doll making yarns online because I can't get them locally. I buy my worsted weight locally and online. It depends on the price and if I can get a deal on shipping. The heavier yarn is costly to ship. Without the shipping deal the savings is often wiped out by the shipping costs.

  5. Oh how I hated those math problems. I still have nightmares about high school. LOL