Wednesday, November 05, 2014


Thank you so much everyone who replied yesterday and those who emailed me. It was lovely waking up and knowing I've been gone but not yet forgotten, at least by some of you :-)

I promised I would complain today. Thinking about it, maybe we should all set aside one day to complain per week. Some weeks we might realize we have little to complain about. Other weeks we might need to add an extra day to the roster. But seriously, complaining is not one of my strong suits. I am generally the person who is pretty laid back, eats my steak that might be a little too done, smiles and says "have a good day" to the grumpy-puss cashier who seems to be having a bad day. I generally don't make someone's bad day my own. I move on.

As I mentioned, I am participating in Christmas in Williamsburg and have been working toward that goal all summer by designing at least 8 new samplers. I thought I would send at least 6 of them as patterns to be sold there. But of course, they needed framing, so a friend suggested Hobby Lobby, which I have to say has the best prices out there PLUS they lace the needlework, no staples, no sticky board. It seemed like a good thing. I tried them out with a piece I stitched for a friend's birthday and a piece I had stitched for my daughter's graduation last year and they did an excellent job. See how nice? Excuse the glass glare:

So off I trotted with two friends and six pieces very early in October and was instantly met with a roadblock. The framing manager was not pleased to see my six pieces. Two pieces on my last visit was fine but six was simply over the top. He explained they can lace no more than one piece per week which begs the question, "what if there are other needlework pieces ahead of mine?" I didn't ask that question as I didn't think of it until now. Imagine if all the needle-workers in Tucson decided to bring their pieces in at the same time! It could be years and years before a piece could get to the top to be framed. People would have to write in their wills and remind their loved ones to pick up their heirloom in 10 years.

I digress,but he strongly cautioned me to leave a couple and take the others elsewhere. I've never known a business to refuse business but I took him at his word and chose two to take elsewhere, left two with him and on his advise decided to bring two back for framing when I picked up the first two. Confused yet?

I picked up one about 2 weeks later (nice job too) but the second piece I left was having problems with frame size so there was a delay to order another frame. Still, I left the other two that were on delay the first time I was there. I even took a photo of each as they lay on the framing table as I was so pleased with the frames chosen, no thanks to me but to my friend with the good eye for frames.

Pretty nice don't you think?

Another two weeks pass and I received a call that one of my pieces is ready so back into the car for a long drive across town to pick up a piece that turned out to be framed way too close to the border. It was wrapped in plastic and I noticed the top border was a bit iffy but I didn't notice the side borders until I was at a stop light half way home. The poor sampler had no room to breathe with the frame squeezing her so close. I could almost hear her gasping for air.

Well, I knew I would be picking up the last two pieces in about a week so instead of making the long hike back, I decided to return it when I picked up the last two which was yesterday. I was pretty excited and when I walked in the same manager greeted me happily and I explained the problem. He was not pleased. A big chill dropped over his usually friendly personality. I'd gotten to know him, hey we were on a first name basis, we had chatted at length each time I was there and suddenly I'm "Ms Thorpe". Okay, maybe he forgot my first name, I can grant him that though it was spelled out in big letters on the order form. At least he had my last name correct and perhaps the seriousness he was feeling was cause enough to use last names.

I think he knew something I didn't know which was the fact that my last two pieces were framed even worse than the one I was returning. See that one at the top? The birds heads were covered! That might be okay for a Halloween piece where severed heads are expected but not for my piece. The second had two stitching rows of the flowered border covered by the framing. Sigh. In what world is it okay to cover half a piece of artwork with the frame? I exaggerate, it wasn't half but it still looked shitty.

He brought them out, slowly I might add, as if he were stepping up to the guillotine. Hey, I've worked customer service in my youth, I know people can be nasty. And as a nurse, I've worked with people who are so ill they haven't a nice bone left in their body or the strength to be polite. I have always said people need to work a customer service job at least once in their life and they will never treat a waitress, a cashier, a phone operator or anyone else with disrespect again. That's one reason I never do and I generally never take a mistake personally, and I never think someone is out to get me because my order was wrong.

I understand it is not fun to say you have made a mistake but guess what? He didn't say that! Instead I had to convince him this was a serious problem and then be told it was going to take at least 30 minutes to re-write the order. Fine. I still wasn't upset, I'd say I was frustrated but I really just wanted to ask, what is your problem buddy?

So off I went to leave him alone to re-write the order, nothing worse than someone breathing down your neck, so I had fun actually gathering up some supplies I needed and even bought a bow maker which looks like fun. Anyone ever use one? Do they work as well as the bows shown on the box?

After more than 30 mins I returned, still not done so I disappeared again. 15 mins later he was done. I asked him "Do you not see what the problem was?" I was truly concerned he thought I was making a mountain out of a molehill. Yeah, he saw the problem, "now look, these frames are bigger so they will cost you more". I think he enjoyed telling me that. I told him "I really don't think I will be paying the extra, I don't think I should." He caved, "yes, I agree." The chill remained. I am so not looking forward to returning to pick these pieces up.

So, I will be writing Hobby Lobby. I can overlook a lot but the big chill feeling that somehow I was causing him problems for no reason is something I can't let go. And I will stick with the other framer who had my two pieces done in 10 days, no muss, no fuss. This is just a warning for those who go to Hobby Lobby for framing, my experience is probably not likely to happen to others but it has been a huge waste of time and gas and because of this I will not be sending any of my new designs to Christmas in Williamsburg this year.

And on the bright side, at least I wasn't this guy:
Uh-oh, I hope I didn't jinx it, he still has 3 of my pieces, anything is possible.


marly said...

Yikes. I used them only once and had mounted the piece myself. It was great as was the employee. They told me the frames are cut and assembled elsewhere, then shipped to them for the mounting. There is no excuse for the terrible service you received. I don't know if I would have been as diplomatic and calm!

Robin in Virginia said...

It sounds like inexperience or no experience at measuring, cutting and assembling a frame. At least, your stitched pieces were not ruined. I don't use the big box stores (Hobby Lobby, Michaels, AC Moore, Joanns) because unless they have an experienced (and qualified) framer, their "framers" receive minimal training.

Robin in Virginia

Katrina said...

Okay first I am thrilled you are designing again :-)!!!!!!!!!!!!!

I use hobby lobby but I typically baste my piece, order the frame glass and acid free foam core and I pin my pieces myself and finish the framing at home. I also always print a 40% off coupon for the good glass. Hope everything works out!!!!!!

Melody said...

That's too bad about your experience with them! I've never used them. How could he possibly even think it was acceptable with part of the design covered by the frame!!!??? Wow. You handled it well, and yes, you should write a letter to the store. If for no other reason than your satisfaction.

Deborah said...

Hi Everyone, it's good to see you again, I am only now realizing how much I missed blogging and stitching. I don't miss framing, lol. Katrina, I wish I had your skills, a friend helped me lace and frame a piece once and I was in such a cold sweat that I swore never to do it again! But thank you for the advice about the coupon, hadn't that of that.
And Robin, I agree about minimal experience. Tucson only recently opened a Hobby Lobby, not even sure if it has been there a year. I understand being understaffed, having corporate make you do things you aren't quite ready for etc. I am glad he was upfront about taking some of my pieces elsewhere but now wish he had just said to take them all elsewhere. And Melody, a letter is forthcoming plus a link to my blog as I pretty much laid it out detail by boring detail here. And Marly, I really wasn't calm on the inside, I was screaming in my mind lol, but have an ability to keep it together even when I want to shout and carry on.

Shebafudge said...

Gosh! I hope the 3 they have all come back better than their first attempts! Sounds like an awful experience.

Sharon said...

Deborah! How wonderful to see you back! I have often thought of you and most especially when I run across any of your designs. Loving that you are designing again and I already see that my wallet will be crying whenever you start releasing. So sorry to hear about your framing troubles. I hope when you go back, they will be resolved. Shame on that manager, really he knew better as shown by his demeanor.

Robin Hager said...

Hi Deborah,
I'm sorry you had such a bad experience with your framing, but I'm not at all surprised! I am a professional framer, and have been for over 35 years. I know frame shops such as mine are perceived as having much higher prices than "big box" stores, but that isn't always the case. I can usually beat any of their prices, even with their discounts. I also 100% guarantee my work, so there wouldn't be a fiasco such as you experienced. We are trained how to design and properly handle all types of art, and needlework is an art form that inexperienced framers just don't understand. I hope next time, you will give your privately owned frame shop a chance. We need you! I love your designs, and look forward to getting them in my shop. I forgot to mention that I am also a needlework shop as well as a framer. Best of luck to you!
Robin at Spring Robin Custom Framing and Needlework

Deborah said...

Hi Robin, I completely agree with you, have had wonderful framing from private shops. When I heard Hobby Lobby laces the needlework I thought I would give them a try. And they eventually got it right but it wasn't worth the hassle involve at all! Thanks for writing.

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