Just say NO! to Michaels custom framing…

Just a bit of a rant for you today… do NOT use Michaels–The Arts and Crafts Store custom framing department.

Towards the end of August we took a beautiful print of Klimt’s ‘The Kiss’, which we had picked up at the Tate Gallery, Albert Dock, in Liverpool, to Michaels–The Arts and Crafts Store in north Edmonton to have it properly framed. We had a discount coupon in hand. Even after the discount, the pricing on the framing job was, in my mind, exorbitant. However, G. really, really wanted it done so I gave in, and we placed the order.

I wandered into an independent framing shop some weeks later, and just for the hell of it, asked for a quote. Even without the discount, and with a slightly better quality matte, the job would have been $100.00 cheaper… Okay. I shrugged it off by rationalizing that the guy was probably trying to impress me and get me to bring in loads of stuff to be done.

About a week later, we got a call from Michaels asking if it was okay to trim the edge of the print to make it fit. Well, yes. We remembered the original conversation where we had expressly said to trim the white border. In fact, we gave very clear instructions about all of that sort of thing, which was written on the work order…

Several weeks later, we called at Michaels to ask about the framing job. After the counter clerk pulled out the work order and rushed about for a few minutes, she came back to us empty handed. Oh, dear… the matte that had arrived was cut wrong, so they had to re-order. “Didn’t anyone call you?” Uh, no. And we didn’t have any idea that they needed to send out for the matte to be cut in the first place. There is a sizable assembly shop in the back, which can be seen from the counter. One would expect that the work was being done on site… especially given that we could see a worker fitting a canvas to a frame as we waited. However, it appears that matte cutting is not done on site. Odd. I shrugged.

Weeks went by. We called Michaels. Oh, yes, the matte was in and the job would be done really soon.

Wednesday we got a call asking if they could trim the print. Uh, yes. I just shake my head.

And then Friday we got the call that the finished job was ready. Our lives being as chaotic as they are, we didn’t get to the store until after 3:00 pm yesterday. There was no one at the custom framing counter. Wait a minute. Saturday, and there’s no one on the counter? There’s got to be someone in the area. We could see a young woman working away in the shop area, assembling frames… so we got her attention. But she was not ’empowered’ (my word, not hers) to find and give us our order. We needed to wait until counter staff came back. We waited for fifteen minutes while she checked the lunchroom, paged over the intercom, and finally put us on ignore and went back to work… There were two other customers who showed up, who also told of their three month delivery time horrors on simple jobs…

Eventually, the senior member of the counter staff did show up and without any fuss, walked directly to the wrapped, framed print and presented it to us, commenting on how lovely it was, and wanting to know how we got it from England without any creases… It does look lovely.

I went to hang it this morning and discovered that they attached the hanging wire (on the back of the frame) so that the print hangs SIDEWAYS! I couldn’t believe it! I moved the wire myself. Maybe I should bill them for that.

And yes, I have sent an email to corporate head office complaining… not that that’s going to do a lot of good. Head office is in Texas.

I normally don’t have a problem with Michaels–The Arts and Crafts Store… G. and I use them a lot for different things, but I definitely have a problem with their custom framing department. This is the second time that I’ve used that service. They are slow, expensive (in spite of their 50 and 60 percent off coupons!) and their understanding of customer service is non-existent. Please, consider using an independent! At least an independent is interested in you as a customer, and might have a passing familiarity with famous art!

As a sidebar, I noticed yesterday that almost all of the cashiers at the Michaels in north Edmonton (137 Avenue) seemed to be lethargic and morose. I got the impression that Michaels is not a happy place to work.

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