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Impossible customer

Discussion in 'The Grumble' started by alacrity8, Jan 13, 2019.

  1. alacrity8

    alacrity8 MGF, Master Grumble Framer

    How does one deal with an impossible customer?

    I had a customer in earlier that 2 frames done by us.

    The art on both is of barns.
    Approximately the same size.
    We used the same frame style, and similar double matting on each.
    She hung them on opposite walls of the same room.
    One is hung slightly above eye level, and she finds it perfect.
    The other is across the room, and is slightly below eye level.
    She cannot see the white bevel the top and right, but can see it on the bottom and left.
    The matting is cut perfectly. If she flips the picture over, the new top and right bevel disappear to her.
    I talked to her about the lighting, and the angle of viewing.
    I told her how the bevel on the mat cutter is fixed. I cannot cut a mat with more white on one side than the other, and even if I could, how much different do they need to be.

    We spent an hour going back and forth on this.
    I was fortunately saved by an artist customer.
    She left to see how her "imperfect frame" looks in the perfect frame's location.
    I had considered just rebating her money.

    Just before typing this I realized that a spliced mat may be our way forward.

    It's been a strange year so far.

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  2. i-FRAMER

    i-FRAMER MGF, Master Grumble Framer

    I would have suggested reverse bevels, so no white bevel shows at all from any angle.
    alacrity8 and CB Art & Framing like this.
  3. shayla

    shayla WOW Framer

    As careful as we are, it's impossible to think of everything, and you had no idea this woman would it a bother. I've had the same effect happen when cutting narrow reveals at times, but no one's come back about it.

    We once had a fellow come back obsessing that, when he sat in a chair and stared at his frame, the imaginary diagonal line extending from the corners of his mat window outward didn't perfectly align with the real diagonal lines of the frame corners. He perseverated enough thereon that, after trying to explain why and not getting anywhere, I finally just said that there's a range of acceptable difference in picture framing, and that 1/32" fell within this tolerance. Within a year, he was in care for dementia, and I wondered if his fixation had been somehow connected. Or maybe it was the same skill that had served him well as a police detective, but in retirement, had gone rogue.

    That said, yesterday, a middle-aged customer came in to quibble on the teeniest of details re his frame backs. I told him I'd write his requests down and put them in his file, which I did. I wrote kind of big, because I was feeling a bit mad. He doesn't know that he's one of about three people who has this kind of file. But, as I told our helper after he left, his sticklishness* with details is probably what makes him a gifted oral surgeon.

    *If that's not a word, it should be.
    alacrity8 likes this.
  4. Philliam Phulgor

    Philliam Phulgor CGF II, Certified Grumble Framer Level 2

    I've said it before, customers are Not always right, but they are king (or queen).
    Ask her to step outside with you for a moment (no, sillies, not to duke it out) and have her look at her car with you. Sans dings, it's exactly the same on the right and the left. Yet, with sun and shade, reflections, angle, they will look different. Sometimes vastly different.

    I think she wants the white bevels so, for extra $$$, there are solutions (which will still look different because of distance, angle and height).

    (A.) 8-ply mats
    (B.) Solid core mats
    (C.) Painted bevel mats
    (D.) Specific color that does not come in 8-ply? Mount that perfect color to another mat and make it 8-ply
    (E.) Separate the double mat with a mat raise inbetween. She may not even realize she just wants a new creative idea from you
    (F.) A V-Groove - If one white bevel is cattywampuss* to her, enhance it with more - again, a new, creative idea from you - you are the designer!
    (G.) Hand-wrapped fabric mats - bevels will be uniform and solid fabric color

    * "adjective. The definition of cattywampus, often spelled catawampus, is not lined up or not arranged correctly, or diagonally. An example of something cattywampus are the positions of the items on the top of a coffee table after a two year old has been playing with them and moving them around."

    Your adventure as the designer/framer is to keep the dialogue open and do the impossible. Good luck, Brian.
  5. neilframer

    neilframer PFG, Picture Framing God

    I have always said that you can show me a $100,000 car like a high end Mercedes etc, and I can find flaws in the paint, bad stitches in the seats, and other flaws.o_O
    In framing we are dealing with imperfect artwork, imperfect moulding, imperfect mat board and even imperfect glass sometimes.

    The "perfect" does not exist.
    When we frame artwork we do the best we can and strive for perfection for framed artwork that will most often be looked at closely once when it's hung and then after it's on the wall, it just becomes a background and you're lucky if they even clean the glass or dust it off once in a while...

    I work with a young framer in the shop who is kind of OCD.
    He's a great guy but he often focuses too much on absolute perfection.
    He will try to pick off a microscopic speck on a mat that can't be seen without a magnifying glass.
    Almost every piece of glass might have an issue.
    Almost every frame might have an issue.
    The downside is that it takes him a lot longer to frame something than it should, even on bottom line very inexpensive quick jobs and I sometimes have to step in and move it along.

    I have heard him telling customers lately, when he is designing and selling, that the moulding might have finger joints and they need to be aware of it.
    I asked him about this later and he mentioned that we "once" had a customer who picked up their framing and complained about the finger joints which weren't apparent in the corner sample.
    Now, these finger joints were only barely visible when the light hit them just right...o_O
    Maybe one in a thousand or more folks would ever notice this and once hung on the wall, you would never see it.
    So now, he is bringing it to the attention of all customers so that for sure they will now be looking for flaws in the mouldings.
    I have explained to him that we do the best job possible and strive for perfection but if you point out flaws to customers during a sale, they will be looking for every possible slight flaw in everything when the job is finished.:eek:

    I have very sharp eyes and I can see everything.;)
    For some reason my eyesight is perfect for framing and I don't wear glasses.
    I was once called "Eagle Eyes" by a girl in the shop because I saw an issue in a job she was working on as I walked past her in the shop.
    We're not trying to put anything over on anyone and we will respond to any issue appropriately.
    We are just working to a standard that is very high but not a "perfect" which doesn't exist.
    We work with a mirror company that supplies all of our mirrors.
    I've been working with them for about 20 years.
    We're doing a 300 piece framed mirror job now.
    The mirror company uses a "2 foot rule".
    If you can't see an issue at 2 feet away, it doesn't exist.:cool:
    Last edited: Jan 14, 2019
  6. prospero

    prospero SPFG, Supreme Picture Framing God

    I have framed pictures - mostly photos where the image does look a tad odd if you align the edges with the mat dead square.
    On it's own it looks fine, but when matted it doesn't. Many times I have had to skew the photo in the mat until it looks right, often
    to a quite extreme angle. In isolation, you mind accepts geometric anomalies in a photo, but confine it a dead square frame and
    the mind rebels.
    It's a similar phenomenon to the bottom-weighting issue.
    If you do it 'right' it looks wrong. o_O It's a subconscious thing: you observe the world with your eyes - not with a ruler.
    Rick Granick, alacrity8 and i-FRAMER like this.
  7. prospero

    prospero SPFG, Supreme Picture Framing God

    This is what I call "The Framer's Radar". :cool: I think you develop a hard-wired instinct for 'niggly bits'. Once you spot one it
    won't go away. I've had people bring frames in (for glass replacement or to swap pictures) that have enormous dings/flaws in them.
    Of course you point out these defects and they say they have never noticed them before. You wonder why not. They aren't framers. ;)
    alacrity8 likes this.
  8. alacrity8

    alacrity8 MGF, Master Grumble Framer

    That may be our best option.
    Unfortunately I think she likes the white line.
  9. alacrity8

    alacrity8 MGF, Master Grumble Framer

    Another option may be to go to museum rag mats.
    No white bevel to deal with.
    But that may not work.
  10. shayla

    shayla WOW Framer

    Are the dimensions such that you could add a white mat inside this, to widen what she sees?
  11. alacrity8

    alacrity8 MGF, Master Grumble Framer

    We could add white mats under each mat.
    If we added am 1/8" mat under each mat, I'm pretty sure that she would see it as being uneven, but we will see.
    shayla likes this.
  12. bruce papier

    bruce papier MGF, Master Grumble Framer

    I always find it so comforting to hear that other people have these problems too. We had "the disappearing bevel" problem a couple months ago. The customer had to admit the bevels reappeared once he moved the framed print from where he had it hanging. We tried the reverse bevel, but that cast a shadow which was just as bad. He finally moved the picture to another spot in his house.

    Another couple of "favorites" - we had a lady who came in and said her husband had measured the mats with his "measuring instrument" and one side was narrower than the other three. It was- by about 1/32". I went into the back room, moved my arms around a lot, and showed her the "adjusted" mat.
    She was fine with it. We had a fairly regular customer who always thought her artwork was crooked (it never was). It got so bad that she came in one time and said "that's crooked!" before I had even taken the picture out of the bag. I thought she was kidding. She wasn't. I went through the usual ritual of measuring everything in front of her to show her everything was straight. She paid for her order, but was still sure it wasn't right.
    shayla likes this.
  13. bruce papier

    bruce papier MGF, Master Grumble Framer

    Just remembered another one. We had a customer who placed three or four orders with us a short period of time. Each time, he raised a ruckus over the flaws in the work. None of us could ever see anything wrong. The last time he came in, he was going into his usual snit when, suddenly, the tone of his voice changed and he says "I'm sorry. I have a head injury from a traffic accident and nothing looks right to me anymore." He picked up his work and left.
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