Why I'm no longer shopping at Joann and Michaels (and have never shopped at Hobby Lobby)

Posted on July 19, 2020

So. Kinda heavy topic today. By the way, how the heck are you? I haven’t posted since April (it’s now JULY holy crap) because I just haven’t had the mental energy. I’ve had enough to work on crochet projects and patterns so at least there’s that!

I think we’ve all changed a lot over the last few months. At least, I hope you have, especially if you’re reading this as an American. We’ve learned we need a lot less stuff than we thought we did, we’ve learned just how deeply ingrained racism is in all aspects of American life, culture, the way laws have been and are still being written…

Look I could go on about all that, but what’s the point. You all know. I’m gonna jump right into the subject of this post and talk about why I’m not shopping at my former beloved craft stores anymore.

First, let’s talk Hobby Lobby.

I was lucky to grow up without a Hobby Lobby within 20 miles of my house, so I’ve never given them a single penny.

For those of you who have been living under a pile of yarn for the last 10 years or so, Hobby Lobby is run by horrible human beings. The Greens are judgmental, hateful, evangelical Christians; the kind people make documentaries about. They regularly donate money to anti-LGBTQ hate groups. Let that sink in nicely. They pay lots of money specifically to the “national christian foundation,” which is straight up a hate group funding charity.

From Newsweek:

The nation's eighth-largest nonprofit donated $56.1 million to a series of organizations identified as hate groups from 2015 to 2017, according to a report from Sludge.

Feel free to fall down a rabbit hole and search for all of the anti-LGBTQ organizations that the Green family, owners of Hobby Lobby, donate to.

 

In 2012 they filed a lawsuit to allow themselves to ban insurance coverage of birth control for their employees, including but not limited to IUD’s and Plan B. Ugh. Uuuuuuugh. And they bloody won. But then Obama made birth control free for us. But well, he’s no longer in office, so who knows what the future holds.

 

More fun! In 2010 the Greens decided they wanted to open up a Bible Museum and spent about 1..6 million USD on a bunch of old stuff from the UAE. The problem is that many of these old artifacts were stolen. Many of the items they purchased had little to no information on them…because they were stolen, and the Greens didn’t question a damn thing. Why should rich people care about such trivial details?

From Wikipedia

Archaeologists say some items may have come from the National Museum of Iraq which had been looted after America's mass-destructive invasion of Iraq in 2003.

 

Uuuuuuuuuugh. In 2017 they opened their museum and got into trouble, finally.

 

In early July 2017, US federal prosecutors filed a civil complaint in the Eastern District of New York under the case name United States of America v. Approximately Four Hundred Fifty Ancient Cuneiform Tablets and Approximately Three Thousand Ancient Clay Bullae.[15] On July 5, 2017, Hobby Lobby consented to a settlement requiring forfeiture of the artifacts and payment of a fine of $3 million and the return of more than 5500 artifacts.[16][10][17]

In the early hours of July 30, 2017, Israeli authorities raided several private residences and storefronts in Jerusalem belonging to five antiquities dealers of Palestinian origin and confiscated several historical artifacts, including a papyrus fragment from the Egyptian Book of the Dead and a Pompeiian fresco, and more than US$200,000 in cash.[18][10] They also found evidence of money laundering and tax evasion, as well as receipts bearing Christian Green's names. The Israeli Antiquities Authority had been contacted in 2016 by the United States Department of Homeland Security, and provided Israeli authorities with evidence of money transfers between Green and Israeli-licensed antiquities dealers. In all, five individuals were arrested for tax evasion.[19] Biblical scholars in the book Bible Nation: The United States of Hobby Lobby report that the Green family's philanthropic activities—including antiquities donations to its own museum—have always followed a set ratio of 3:1, of the appraised value to the purchase price.[14][page needed] This is reportedly with the goal of a large profit margin by way of tax write-off, wherein "the government is effectively paying the Greens to amass a collection of dubious antiquities".[3]

The 2019 book Tablets From the Irisaĝrig Archive mentions the scandal in its analysis of more than one thousand cuneiform tablets, possibly stolen from Irisaĝrig, a 4,000-year-old lost city in Iraq.[20] The tablets, purchased by Hobby Lobby, were studied over a four year period while in the company's Oklahoma storerooms. "The new find shows that the company Hobby Lobby — whose co-owner, Steve Green, helped found the Museum of the Bible in November 2017 in Washington, D.C. — had far more cuneiform tablets obtained (possibly illegally) from this city, and other sites in Iraq, than previously believed." Up to 1400 artifacts to be returned to Iraq appear to be missing from the Hobby Lobby collection.

 

So uh yeah, you know. Really great. It’s also rumored, though not provable at all, that some of the money they spent actually went into the hands of ISIS. I kind of enjoy the thought that they directly funded terrorism. It fits.

Don’t give Hobby Lobby and the Greens any more money unless you are as terrible as them. In which case, please leave HELLOhappy and never come back, thanks!

Joann Fabrics & Michaels

When the pandemic started to hit here in the USA, and states were closing things down, lots of company execs were trying to argue their stores were essential. Michaels and Joann were two such stores (and Gamestop…wtf seriously, even if one could argue that video games were somehow essential, we all have the internet. We can download games. And gamestop is like 75% pokemon plushies now anyway omg BUT ANYWAY.) When the virus hit, the CEO’s of these companies clearly thought making money was more important than the health of their employees or their customers. They kept saying their stores were being cleaned regularly and safety measures were in place and blahblahblah.

How many of you have worked retail in the last decade? You know every single store is understaffed and every employee is over worked. And let’s talk about the hundreds of fabric bolts at Joann that everyone touches…how exactly were those being disinfected? Oh, right, they weren’t, cuz that’s literally impossible.

Michaels wasn’t really posting on social media while they were fighting to stay open, which was pretty smart, because Joann was posting as if there was no pandemic at all and they got soooo many negative comments on every post. They were regularly deleting and re-uploading facebook posts just to get rid of comments. I wish I had saved some screenshots lol. Many comments were from Joann employees saying they hadn’t been given enough cleaning products, and that they weren’t being given enough time at the end of the day to clean the few things they physically COULD clean. Hundreds of comments on every post demanding they either shut down, or switch to 100% curbside pick up only…but they refused. They didn’t even try to limit the amount of customers in their stores if they didn’t have to!

Some states forced them to go curbside, some didn’t.

Michaels got closed most places, being officially deemed non-essential. But Joann managed to stay alive because people needed fabric for mask-making. They insisted. And it worked. Even though according to the comments I was reading, they had no elastic in stock, like ever. And they kept posting ads about having mask kits for people to buy that also seemed to be permanently out of stock. Kinda seemed like that entire thing was faked.

They weren’t providing masks or gloves for their employees. Employees weren’t allowed to turn people away who weren’t wearing masks (until states started mandating it), or limit the amount of customers (also until states started mandating it).

I worked retail on and off for 10 years. I was already well aware that companies didn’t give two sh*ts about their low-level employees, but forcing your people to work unnecessarily during a freaking pandemic is a whole ‘nother level of not caring. Of valuing your profits over human lives. And it’s not just not caring about their own employees, they happily put their customers lives at risk as well.

The BLM movement has made me think hard about human rights and wealth and…everything

People are literally protesting for their right to live. And we’ve all started waking up. Waking up to see all of the inequality in this country, in this world. And we’re angry.

Money is one of the few ways us little people have to say something.

We can’t boycott everything that relies on human rights violations to produce items. It’s literally impossible. But we can try our best to avoid them. There are hundreds of garbage companies in the USA alone. Ugh.

Donating to organizations to fund BLM, bail charities, defunding police organizations, neighborhood groups-it can’t solve the problems we face. But it helps.

There’s…a lot to say here and I’m not a good enough writer or thinker to say any of it.

Boycotting Lion Brand, Red Heart and more

I mentioned earlier that I grew up without a Hobby Lobby. So I was unaware of the specific yarn they sold, except for a couple that I’d seen on instagram. Well I went on a little insta-rant and someone messaged me that I was being a hypocrite for telling people not to shop at Hobby Lobby while I was using Lion Brand yarn.

I was shook lol.

So I went over to hobbylobby.com and my heart just kinda fell outta my chest. A bunch of my fav brands were, in fact, selling through Hobby Lobby. That means they accept money from Hobby Lobby. That means they have zero morals about who they sell to, who makes money off of their product.

Brands I’ve previously purchased from that sell at Hobby Lobby:

  • Bernat

  • Lion Brand

  • Red Heart

  • Lily

  • Scheepjes

  • Patons

  • Clover

  • Susan Bates

  • Aunt Lydias

I want to call on all of these brands to stop accepting money from Hobby Lobby, to stop providing them with stock to sell in their stores! It’s with a heavy heart that I can no longer support any of these brands until they do so. Granted I will be the one suffering, not them, but at least I’ll be able to sleep at night knowing I’m not helping Hobby Lobby in any way.

And that brings me to the end of this post. I don’t have a way to close this off all pretty and nice. Just…this is the end.

Think about your money. Think about where it’s going, and what it’s supporting. Think about what you can comfortably live with. That’s all.


Share this post



← Older Post


  • I just read the whole of this and an blown away!! So well written and has really made me think about how I’m spending my money and where. I honestly don’t think you are missing out much by not buying those brands or shopping at those stores!! I’m in the UK and although we have big craft stores, the only decent yarns you find are in small local yarn stores or online from people who soon and dye their own yarn. I’ve used a lot of Adriafil yarn which is an Italian brand and it’s wonderful to work with. I don’t know about their ethics but I’ll be researching my product choices from now on. Thank you 😊

    Elkie Lonnkvist on

Leave a comment

Please note, comments must be approved before they are published.