Letters To No One: Michaels
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Let me tell you a little story about how Michaels (the Arts & Crafts store), and specifically the framing department at the Victory Place location in Burbank, is the worst place on Earth.
Our story begins on October 30th, 2013. I had just purchased two BEAUTIFUL silk-screened, limited edition of 50, hand-numbered concert posters that I wanted to display in my home. I went to Michaels to look at frames. I figured I’d bring them to work (we sometimes deal in vintage posters and other framed items). I did not intend to have either of them “professionally” framed because my co-worker could do it for free. As one of the posters was made with glow-in-the-dark ink (cool, right?) I asked the guy behind the counter whether or not the plexi on the frames was going to prevent the thing from looking as badass as possible. We got to talking, and stupidly I allowed the guy to talk me into letting him take the posters and frame them for me. I agreed because the hooks were facing the wrong direction. So I asked if he could remove the hooks and attach a rope along the back of the frame so it would hang vertically instead of horizontally. He said it would be no problem. He asked if I wanted anything else done to help “preserve” the posters, like adding spacers, using a different plexi material…I imagine it was his usual sales pitch. I said NO to everything. And I especially made him note on my order form that since I was letting the art out of my hands I did NOT want the posters mounted in any way/shape/form. Just put the poster in the frame, seal up the back, attach the rope and be done.
You can guess where this story goes. Two weeks later I returned to retrieve my posters. Everything looked fine at the time, but when I got home I noticed that the hooks had not been removed from the back of the frame so they were jutting through the paper used to seal up the back of the frame. It looked shoddy and there were tears in the paper but I let it go. No one ever cares what the back looks like…
After a few week hanging in my house I noticed one of the posters wasn’t sitting straight. I took it off the wall and realized the rope was attached unevenly. So I took both posters into work with me and asked my co-worker if he could remove the rope and align it properly. It was easier than going all the way back to Michaels. My co-worker said he’d probably have to remove the paper backing and reseal the frame. I don’t know why this crossed my mind, but I told him so long as he was opening up the frame, remove the hooks they’d left behind, and — for a lark — check to make sure they didn’t mount the poster. Sure enough, about 10 minutes later he came back laughing and said the poster had been wet-mounted (the worst possible, most-destructive and de-valuing process there is). I immediately told him to unseal the other poster. It too was wet-mounted. I was livid.
I called the store and asked to speak with a manager. A guy named Wayne came on the phone and I explained the situation to him. I said I specifically told his employee in the framing department not to mount the posters. Wayne told me†that Michaels had a special machine they could use to un-mount posters, and he could run it through the machine and fix the problem. Although I’ve never heard of such a device, I told him I would consent to bring back the posters if a) they assured me they could undo their mistake or b) refund my initial $71.93 payment for the frames. Wayne agreed.
I went to Michaels with my posters and asked for Wayne. To my surprise, IT WAS THE SAME GUY who I initially dealt with on my first visit. As I retold the story, he shook his head with feigned empathy, then told me that the employee who originally helped me had been fired and was no longer working there (!!!) and that he would fix “that other guy’s” mistake. I was too stunned to call the guy out on his BS. As I ran through all the possible scenarios in my head in which I called him a fucking liar and told him HE was the one who made this mistake, not “that other guy”. Wayne reiterated how Michaels had a machine they could loosen the adhesive and separate the poster from the poster board. And, oh, by the way, if it didn’t work Michaels would buy me another poster. I told him how there were only 50 in the world and I doubted I could find another one. He assured me it would work, told me to call back in two weeks, and sent me on my way.
After not hearing from Wayne for a month I called the store. When I reminded him who I was his voice softened. He said the process didn’t work as he’d planned, and that if he tried any harder he could ruin the posters for good. As a consolation, he offered to help me out by replacing the frames with top-of-the-line custom replacements to make up for their mistake. In response I said, “Better yet, why don’t you give me with your store’s insurance information so I can open a claim with them and hopefully get enough money to one day buy the posters on the secondary market, which is now the only place they are available.” He said he could do that for me, just come back to the store on a specific day and†and ask for him. When I showed up he was not there. I asked the girl who was working that day for the store’s insurance information. She said she spoke to Wayne and was given permission to offer me those totally awesome custom frames free of charge if I wanted. She could not give me the insurance contact information. I asked for my refund for the initial cost of the frames ($71.93). She could not do that for me either. So I asked for the posters and I left.
To reiterate: Michaels ruined my posters, the manager of their framing department, Wayne, both lied to me and misrepresented himself when promising to help fix the problem HE caused. As such, I’ve been left with NO recompense or hope of resolution for this egregious and careless mistake. I’m usually a calm and easy-going guy but…just thinking about that moron Wayne and his complete and utter FUCK UP makes my blood boil.
Hans Zimmer – Letter Writing [MP3]
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