Very Dark Brown

It’s time for today’s Retail Tale of Horror! A lady rang up this morning asking if I could put aside two balls of Heirloom wool for her. Sure, what colour is it? “Nigger.” Excuse me? “Nigger.” I incredulously told her that the Heirloom wool doesn’t have names, only numbers, and that I wasn’t sure which colour she was talking about. I directed her to the website to have a look and she dutifully rang me back five minutes later. “It’s colour 717,” she said. “The very dark brown.” Of course it is, madam. Where do these people come from?!


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  1. What the … that’s so … “????”

  2. Any chance you can ban this woman from the store, preferably from the planet?


    I can’t beleive people would actually still think that this type of language is acceptable!!!!

    Ooooh… Hall of Shame for that woman!!

  4. I was trying to justify it afterwards, like maybe I misheard her or she was a non-native speaker… but no, I’m pretty sure. I just don’t get where she got it. That brand of yarn doesn’t do colour names. So either she got the name off a pattern or the place where she bought it, or she just invented it herself.

  5. It was a very common way to describe very dark brown a few years ago. I’m not sure that ‘nigger’ was ever such a common term of abuse here as it was in the US. But it’s certainly not acceptable now!

  6. Hi,
    I know this is a really old post, but I came across it when looking for some references to heirloom patons wool. I picked up a patons booklet today at the op shop. I’d say it’s circa 1950s. It has a men’s fair isle vest in it, using Patons beehive fingering 4 ply which I hadn’t heard of before. The colours are listed and it includes a dark brown colour that is called “nigger”. I really had to look twice (and I’m a historian!) Maybe that’s where this query was coming from, a similar old pattern?

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