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Things Customers love to say......

Discussion in 'The Grumble' started by GUMBY GCF, Dec 14, 2008.

  1. davidagladish

    davidagladish True Grumbler

    My favorite was when I was a wee framer at Hobby Lobby (a whole different grumble in itself) in junior college. I had just gotten promoted to lead framer and I was feeling confident in my abilities. An older woman comes in, which was 99% of our customers anyway, with a print tube. I immediately walk up to the counter and greet her with "Good afternoon, Ma'am. How can I..." Before I can finish my greeting she chimes in with...and I'll never forget how mad this made me: "Don't you have any females working here? I just can't deal with a male framer, I never like what they have to offer."

  2. Lorrel Mae

    Lorrel Mae Guest

    My two favourite questions:

    "Does glass break?"

    "A magnet? Like it sticks to metal?"

    We eventually started a list of the best questions!
  3. prospero

    prospero SPFG, Supreme Picture Framing God

    Silly question -> "What will you take off for cash?"

    Silly answer -> "Everything except my earings"

  4. JRB

    JRB PFG, Picture Framing God

    I haven't made it through every post, so someone may have mentioned this one.

    Lately I have been having a whole lot of people ask me how my business is doing. When I tell them we are doing fine, they are either looking at me like I'm a liar or they seem downright disappointed. Even very good, long time customers seem disappointed I am not planning on going out of business in the next few weeks, really strange.

    The truth of the matter is, we are indeed doing fine, even showing a small profit for the year. I have had to forgo a few paychecks to myself, but not enough to worry about.

    I think next year is going to be the big shake up for our industry, but maybe not. Now the government is talking about printing tons more paper money and getting it out here, who knows, it might work?

  5. j Paul

    j Paul PFG, Picture Framing God

    I used to really get asked that question a lot more when I was in the contracting business. I could never figure it out.
    I guess being an honest person, it just never occured to me that what they were really saying is, "I'll pay you in cash so you don't have to report this income" ,"so how much are you willing to discount it, since the IRS isn't going to know"

    Cash, check, credit all the same to me. Actually bank loans were even better as we received a couple of points back for writing the paper.
  6. Jim Miller

    Jim Miller SPFG, Supreme Picture Framing God

    A magazine editor said recently about retail framing business performance, "Flat is the new up", and I think he is probably right about that.

    He was referring to the dire effects of the present economic downturn, but there has been a "shake up" going on in the framing industry for almost a decade now. It started with the entry of mass marketers (craft stores) into framing, followed by numerous other influences negative to retailing in general, but particularly negative for our industry.

    The framing industry "shake up" started in isolated suburban markets and has spread steadily throughout the nation. My business suffered complete upheaval in 2000, and I have adjusted accordingly. Today, few markets remain intact. Yes, the shake up will continue in 2009, and considering the economy and world events, it will probably intensify.

    It's good to hear you're doing OK John. We are, too. Through November we were up a bit more than 15% from last year, with improved net profit and steady COGS under 18%. December performance is down, but it is OK, and we will finish better than last year. Unfortunately, most businesses in this market are not doing as well.

    Best wishes for the new year.
  7. Pangolin

    Pangolin SGF, Supreme Grumble Framer

    Okay, this isn't from a customer, but still in a frame shop...

    My mom is a fantastic needleworker, but she almost never has her pieces framed... When I was about 10 I went with her to a small frame shop, we're working with the framer picking out mats and a frame when the framer's husband comes in with their toddler (yes, he was toddling). The framer stops helping us, come around the counter to pick her her little boy. The kid says in a squeaky little voice "mommy, hungry". Right then and there she sits down on the couch by the door (the "waiting area"), whips one out into plain view and starts breastfeeding the kid. Even at 10 I was stunned, but my mom was very cool about it. The framer looks up at us and says "I'll be right back with you when we're finished". Mom said "take your time we'll be back later" and we left. I still don't think she ever had that piece framed!
  8. davidagladish

    davidagladish True Grumbler

    Co-worker, after spending all day framing an order of 20 Ducks Unlimited prints with double mats, etc. says to me: "If I see another Duck print, I'm going to Fletcher (point gun) myself in the head."
  9. JeffreyPrice

    JeffreyPrice True Grumbler

    questions that sound stupid to framers

    "do you make frames for mirrors?"
    "remember that frame you made for me about fifteen years ago?"
    "would you like me to pay in advance?
  10. EllenAtHowards

    EllenAtHowards PFG, Picture Framing God

    I love it when a customer brings in a frame from 20 years ago.

    C: I want something like this.

    F: We don't have that style any more.

    C: It doesn't have to match. Something close would be OK.

    F: How about this? It's the same color, but a little wider.

    C: It's too wide.

    F: How about this? It's the same width, but a little lighter.

    C: It's too light.

    F: How about this? It's a little darker.

    C: It's too dark.

    And so forth, until the customer says, I thought I could at least find something CLOSE to this!

  11. prospero

    prospero SPFG, Supreme Picture Framing God

    Not too long ago I got an enquiry about a frame someone wanted matching to one they already had. They said the frame had a label on it if that was any use. The label had a date on it. 1908.:icon11:
  12. JRB

    JRB PFG, Picture Framing God

    I had a couple come in yesterday that wanted a frame with peacocks on it. It seems her mother loves peacocks. I told her that I just sold my last frame with a peacock design about ten minutes earlier. She wanted to know how soon I would be getting more in? I told her they had been discontinued, I can't get them anymore. She asked if I thought Aaron Brothers had some. I said, "You know, I'll just bet they have tons of them, peacock frames being all the rage now."

    Her husband by this time had figured out I was yanking her chain and joined in on it. "I think I saw some down at Target, I'll bet we can get one there if we hurry." Well, I guess she new her husband because she started to get a little cranky when the light went on, and she figured out what we were doing.

    Oh well, gotta have a little fun now and then.

  13. prospero

    prospero SPFG, Supreme Picture Framing God

    A man once asked me (with a perfectly straight face) if I had any original Constables in. No says I., not at the moment.... He then asked if I would be getting any in the near future. As if I could pick the phone up and order a batch.:icon11:

    I told him (trying valiantly not to be sarcastic) he would have to wait until one came up in auction. Price? I think the last one I remember went for >£2 mill.
    He didn't bat an eyelid.

    Thing was, I knew the family and - how can I put this?
    They have a LOT more money than brain cells.
  14. Luddite

    Luddite PFG, Picture Framing God

    Actually could be fun...and very simple to sculpt/carve in Peacock plumes....hmmmm. L.
  15. PaulSF

    PaulSF PFG, Picture Framing God

    Yes, my favorite are the folks that come in right before Christmas, needing it in 3 days, and wanting their pick of any moulding on the wall. And simply not understanding the concept of "having in stock". And even then, they pick up 2 days after the day they absolutely needed it by.
  16. Luddite

    Luddite PFG, Picture Framing God

    OH YEAH.............

    I was given(2days ago) 2 Photos of dogs. The owners want a 12x16 portrait,painted by yours truly here......For Christmas!!!! Least they didn`t ask to have it framed as well.They`re gettin a clearbag,and that`s IT...It`s too fricking tight of a deadline there! L.
  17. EllenAtHowards

    EllenAtHowards PFG, Picture Framing God

    "Do you want it right, or do you want it right away?"
  18. prospero

    prospero SPFG, Supreme Picture Framing God

    I had an idea of doing something like this once. I had some peacock tail feathers and thought if I mounted them on a board (just the 'eyes') and laminated them in some way I could use strips as an inlay on a flat moulding. Could look spectacular. Never did it though.
  19. TopGun

    TopGun CGF, Certified Grumble Framer

    I'm sure a few of you might have experienced this....

    A customer coming in with a shoe box full of photos and wanting to have an oversized, multi-opening mat cut with a cheap frame for a funeral memorial service? "Oh, by the way, I'm on my way to it now, can I just wait for it?" :nuts:

    I feel like saying, "Sure, he's dead anyways, a day or two more wont matter."
  20. shayla

    shayla WOW Framer

    Oh, Top Gun. That's good and bad all at the same time. :icon21:

    I'm amazed that someone would think such a complicated thing could be done in so short a time. My guess is that you handled it graciously, though. We bend over backwards to get funeral things done, as I'm sure you do, too, but there are limits. At least she had immense grief as a reason for being so scattered. It'll do it to ya'. What gobsmacks me are the folks who come in expecting miracles for no good reason at all. Sometimes I think, "Lady, if I had such magical powers over time and space I wouldn't be working here." Talent like that needs to be used for things like preventing the magnetic poles from reversing.
  21. Rick Granick

    Rick Granick SPFG, Supreme Picture Framing God

    Or how about, "Lady, if I had such magical powers over time and space I would be played by Jim Carrey."
    :popc: Rick
  22. PaulSF

    PaulSF PFG, Picture Framing God

    Well, I just tell my customers that Harry Potter works part-time for me when Hogwarts isn't in session.
  23. Paul N

    Paul N In Corner

    Happened today, still fresh:

    "Do you have a ready-made frame for this poster (39.5 x 14.75)??"
  24. couture's gallery

    couture's gallery PFG, Picture Framing God

    or how about..do you have a standard color mat already with a hole in it to fit about this big ?( she holds her hands out to indicate the size )
  25. surferbill

    surferbill SGF, Supreme Grumble Framer

    I had a guy call today that needs a 40 x 72 inch map framed for Christmas.

    He told me he can't bring it to me until Tuesday afternoon, and would that give me enough time to frame it by Christmas Eve?

    It took all my powers of Christmas good will to calmly tell him something that size had to be drymounted, plexi cut, and frame made, and I would need more than a half of a day to finish it by Christmas Eve.

    He said he would call around Tuesday, and see if anyone else could do it by Christmas.

    I nicely told him good luck, and I hope he finds someone.

    GUMBY GCF SGF, Supreme Grumble Framer

    Okay funny!~
    Who sent this guy to me?
    This happened Sunday.
    "I have this Wicked theater poster I want framed really special for xmas but not too expensive" He had it rolled & it was kinked in several places insisted to have it drymounted.
    I pull couple things down in the mid range, His reply was "I can get that at Walmart!~"

    He Says" I really like the suede look & maybe a 3"-4" really ornate gold frame"
    Showed him what he asked for gave him a price he says, "Wooo way to much told you I did not want to spend alot"
    I said, "Sorry about that I just got carried away. What price range were you trying to stay in?"
    He says" About the $100.00 range."
    Okay the thing matted takes about 9-10 feet of moulding. I reach down in my I would love to get ride of this moulding area pull out a 3" ornate, change the suede to b7506 glass to regular give him a price of $165.00.
    Still to way to much. So,he is haveing it drymounted & matted B7506 & the glass cut. He would make his own frame.

    Here's one just had this one Sunday;
    "I have my frame could you put a mat & my picture in it?"
    "I want as little as possible of the picture to be covered up."
    It is an 8x10 photo to be put in a 8x10 frame!~
  27. johnny

    johnny SGF, Supreme Grumble Framer

    <3 customers who call to see if we're open but they don't say anything... if a human answers the phone they assume we are and just hang up then come in.
  28. artfolio

    artfolio SGF, Supreme Grumble Framer

    This is one I get all the time.

    My shop is owned by my wife and I and our business card has "Colin & Rosemary Ballard" printed on it.

    Every second customer I hand one to looks at it, looks at me and says "are you Colin?" One day i will reply "No, I am Rosemary, my parents really wanted a girl.

    GUMBY GCF SGF, Supreme Grumble Framer

    Phone call:

    I answer "Cook's Art Supply & Framing"
    Caller "I am looking for the Hobby Shop On Portage Rd. Could you tell me the name of it?"
    Me "sorry they went out of business 7 years ago"
    I say "You might want to come in and see our store we care some cross over items that they might use."
    Caller "Can you tell me any other hobby shops in the area?"

    Hello information Please>>>>>>>>>

    Colin ... get a hair cut LOL (Just kidding)
    Please dial 1-900-ask a question
  30. johnny

    johnny SGF, Supreme Grumble Framer

    What is it with oversized maps this year anyway?

    And most of them want to put pins in it, which somehow translates into "it should just be framed for less than $30"
  31. prospero

    prospero SPFG, Supreme Picture Framing God

    I guy I knew once had a framing shop/gallery. He seemed to attract more than his fair share of headbangers. This was slightly unfortunate as he had more than touch of the Basil Fawlty about his personality.
    He told of of one lady who came barging in one day just as he was on the point of clinching a big sale with another customer. She told her politely that he would be right with her in a few minutes, but she would not be put off and demanded to be attended to forthwith. He apologied to his customer and asked the pushy lady how he could be of service...

    "I want to know the way to the Eastgate Hotel", she said.

    He escorted her to the door and pointed down the street.

    "You see that building across the square?", he said.

    "Yes", says the pushy lady.

    "Well that's the ####ing Tourist Information Center". :smiley:
  32. MabSadie2

    MabSadie2 PFG, Picture Framing God

    My 15 month old daughter's name is Rosemary. Her hair is still quite short. My husband likes to buy her little versions of the clothes he would buy himself. I think she looks quite smashing in them, but people come up to us on the street and say, "Oh what a sweet little boy, what's his name?"


    People look at me like I'm crazy and walk on.
  33. shayla

    shayla WOW Framer


  34. phatgamera

    phatgamera Grumbler

    To turn the concept on it's head a bit:

    We had a gentleman come in on Tuesday early afternoon getting a quote for an odd sized poster he had, and he needed it framed for Christmas. After one of my employees wrote up the quote, he said: "Michael's has a 50% off coupon, do you have that?" The employee said back to him "Their 50% off is usually higher that our regular price" , but he wanted to see for himself.

    4 hours later he was back with his poster, I stayed late to have it for him Wednesday morning, and he was one of the first customers at the door.

    The question I have is: how many customer's do we lose as an industry because they go to the McFramey's of the world FIRST and give up after that?
  35. EllenAtHowards

    EllenAtHowards PFG, Picture Framing God

    All too many.... all too many [sigh].
  36. Paul N

    Paul N In Corner

    True but don't forget that many have a price misconception about framing to start with. Many think that framing an oversized object should run "about $50"

    It's just a piece of wood, glass and a mat after all....
  37. surferbill

    surferbill SGF, Supreme Grumble Framer

    I have an M's right across the street.
    I would guess they get at least 10 or 20 frame jobs, to every one of the frame jobs we get, because of the 50% off advertising.

    I'm really sick of it, and in 2009 I'm going to change my advertising, and pricing to try to get back some of that business.

    GUMBY GCF SGF, Supreme Grumble Framer

    If you are right across from A big box....

    How about we accept all competitors coupons sign......

    They always give a % off never a $amount
  39. Thedra

    Thedra CGF II, Certified Grumble Framer Level 2

    better yet so you don't fall into that inflated price pit. we will beat all competitor prices or give you _____ Free!


    GUMBY GCF SGF, Supreme Grumble Framer

    Thats a good one too Tom
  41. Janet L

    Janet L SGF, Supreme Grumble Framer

    Your "gentleman" that needed the poster framed in two day's time, discovered Michael's couldn't get the job done by Christmas. Price may not have been a factor in the big picture. That's where, we as indy's, have the advantage.

    Janet Lowry
  42. surferbill

    surferbill SGF, Supreme Grumble Framer

    The problem is customers are going to the big box first, and then if the price is too high, or they can't get it done in a timely manner coming to us.

    We are getting the scraps that are left over, and that's not a healthy financial situation for indie framers.

    Any indie who doesn't think the big box framers are not taking business from them are living in la la land. IMO
  43. tedh

    tedh PFG, Picture Framing God

    So why don't all we "indie" framers get together, and stop being "indie" framers? We can contribute to the hiring of a libel lawyer, put together a vetted statement that attacks the BB's AOS policies and prices, and throw this in all our front windows?

    Something like "X's always-on-sale prices, in our opinion, are based on highly-inflated and unrealistic list prices, and their resultant discounts may be bordering on _____. Our day-to-day prices, on the other hand, are much lower than their "regular" prices, and in many cases have been proven to be lower than their quoted Sale prices. In addition, our quality, service and craftsmanship are far superior"

    This group can decide how extreme we want it to be, or not be. But until we unite and attack as a coherent body, we'll continue to give up ground.
  44. Janet L

    Janet L SGF, Supreme Grumble Framer

    Bill, I'm in 100% agreement with what you're saying...I was only referring to the one guy that wanted the poster framed two days prior to Christmas.

    Janet Lowry
  45. Jim Miller

    Jim Miller SPFG, Supreme Picture Framing God

    The situation of small independent (smindie) framers versus mass marketers has been covered in many previous threads.

    As in this thread, price is usually discussed as the main sticking point, but that is a mistaken perception. In truth, most smindie framers's retail prices can beat the mass marketers' discounted prices. Price is not the issue.

    The real issue is marketing. They have won the marketing war, as evidenced by the fact that typical consumers choose to go to the mass marketers first, and may not even be aware that smindies exist nearby. Price is not the issue.

    Cutting prices and advertising more has been a disasterous strategy for many smindies, as costs increase significantly and profits decline. Every market is unique and maybe it really is possible to beat the mass marketers at their own game. But I doubt it. That didn't work in my market, and I have yet to meet a smindie who has succeeded with that strategy.

    My strategy has been to operate more efficiently, more profitably, and to specialize in the kinds of framing they can not or will not do. It works for me.
  46. tedh

    tedh PFG, Picture Framing God

    Hi, JIm:

    I haven't been following the Grumble long enough to have seen other discussions on the battle between the indies and the BBs. I'll check them out this week.

    But I'd like to discuss "price is not the issue".

    Every one of the customers that I've won over, I've started by winning them over on price. They came to me out of curiousity, and stayed based on perceived value. Price is part of this. I've heard every horror story imaginable about how they were overcharged. A lot of their perceptions and conclusions are based on how much they paid at a BB, and how they left feeling overcharged, for want of a better word.

    The BBs are making price the issue. They are making us look expensive, and themselves looking cheap, and at the same time, winning the perception war.

    Do you not think that we should include some of the theme of "price" in our marketing efforts? We can indeed meet them on price, and at the same time win on perceived value.
  47. Jim Miller

    Jim Miller SPFG, Supreme Picture Framing God

    You have it right, I believe. Perception of price is the issue, but actual pricing is not. That is what I meant by "they have won the marketing war." We generally can beat their net prices, but consumers simply do not believe it. Our presence in the consumer market has been reduced to almost zero. But when we do manage to get their attention, we can win with our better value.

    In my limited experience, the best promotional strategy has been to promote value and special capabilities rather than low prices. I seldom advertise discounts anymore, because that only encourages consumers to compare bogus discount percentages and to overlook what is really important. That is, what we provide for a certain net price, aka value.
  48. tedh

    tedh PFG, Picture Framing God

    So my pitch is price, value and service. Catch their attention on price, show excellent design, fast turnaround, and even free delivery if necessary. But first get their attention on price.

    In our tourist town, I get their attention using a number of rotating signs in our excellent front windows: one of them is entitled "Paying Too Much For Framing?"

    This is the hook. We set it once they come in and look around, interest piqued.
  49. Jim Miller

    Jim Miller SPFG, Supreme Picture Framing God

    Maybe that will work for you, but it did not work for me. When I led with promises of low price, consumers thought I was lying or offering sub-standard framing. After all, a smindie couldn't actually compete with a 50% discounted mass marketer, right?

    Bottom line: We probably don't have enough advertising budget or marketing expertise to change the consumers' perception that our prices are higher.
  50. Franchesca

    Franchesca CGF II, Certified Grumble Framer Level 2

    Not to mention the extra work needed to make the paperwork and invoice disappear.
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