Tuesday, March 9, 2010

My Sewing Machine Adventure with the Treasury Department

I started today just wanting to help a friend, Virginia Spiegel, get her sewing machine back. I didn't know I would walk away having an adventure. Our largest and oldest quilt shop (nearly 28 years), Stitches N Stuffing, didn't pay their taxes so the Treasury Department stepped in. Unfortunately, the shop didn't tell Virginia. Today was the auction and an opportunity to get her sewing machine back. I arrived about 20 minutes before the auction as instructed looking for Deputy Gillenwater. Virginia had told him that I was coming. There was a crowd of about 100 people waiting either to get an auction number or waiting to get into the auction. I walked up to the door and was quickly admonished for not getting in line. When I explained my mission, calm was restored. I handed the email from Virginia to the man at the door. He explained that I would not be admitted into the shop until Deputy Gillenwater could verify my story. There was also a teacher hoping to get her class sample. After about 5 minutes, we were allowed in with Deputy Gillenwater annoucing loudly "They are okay. They are with me." I was instructed to wait next to a table while he dealt with the teacher. The heat had been turned off and the coldness of the place (not just temperature) struck me. Only two people were allowed into the shop at a time to be issued their number. The process involved copying down all the info off each person's driver's license. Only 10 people per page. (I had to do something while I was waiting.) Unfortunately, the teacher wasn't successful. Her only proof was a photo on her phone of her blog entry. My heart truly broke for her. A large man came from the back of the store holding my piece of paper and demanding my driver's license. Paperwork was filled out and one copy given to Deputy Gillenwater. The man explained he would not be giving me back my piece of paper. Fine with me. Deputy Gillenwater had placed the sewing machine in the back of his squad car which was parked out front. He was worried what people would think. I told him not to worry. "I can run fast." He laughed. The focus was not on us so I quietly walked to my car. Deputy Gillenwater is a wonderful person. The Treasure Department people never smile and are a little scary.

Lessons learned:
1. Viriginia had the serial number something I have never written down. I will in the future.
2. Label your sewing machine and case with your name.
3. Be prepared for the worse.
4. Make sure all quilts left anywhere have your name and contact info somewhere on them.


  1. oooh - what a scary story. Glad you were able to work a deal and get her machine back.

  2. Wow, that was a super-fast auction. It was only a couple of weeks ago that the property was seized. Glad Virginia got her machine back.

  3. I bought a new sewing machine from this business and never received it. They kept saying it was on back order. I bought half on my credit card and half cash. I am SOL on the cash. Another lesson to be learned.

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  5. It's so incredibly sad to me that so much pain and stress has occurred from a place we thought we could trust.

  6. This is so scary. I just took my machine in last week for a tune-up. I guess you just never know.


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