The day was long but it went well, and I had to make an hour's trip to do some other visiting after the Expo, and was planning on looping around to Allentown after, to drop off my newest pastel painting to be framed. I usually do my own framing, but not with pastel. My local framer had closed shop and moved, so I decided to give the chain store, AC Moore, a shot, since I saw a coupon for 50% off custom framing, and thought, "what the heck."
What a fiasco. Plain and simple. The sales clerk was about as rude as you can get, and the price was completely, ridiculously over-the-top....
I arrived at the custom framing counter, and was completely ignored. I mean literally. The one clerk was helping an older woman, who was picking through a stack of mats, and literally didn't even look up to acknowledge me, for close to 10 minutes!! I was in shock. When I finally cleared my throat, she glanced at me, and went straight back to looking at the mats without so much as even an smile, a handsignal, or a word. Flustered, I began to look for a manager to help me.
After I found the manager, she sent another sales clerk back, a young man, who was helpful, but rather timid. We again reached the counter, and the other clerk and the customer had taken up the entire counter with their "spread," so I could not so much as even lay the painting down. The young man looked at her (I'll call her "Nasty" from this point on, since she was not wearing a nameplate) and Nasty threw me a baleful look, and then grudgingly moved some of the items out of the way so I could place the painting on a small portion of the counter. Now, mind you, the painting is only 12" x 16".
I was now in the store for over 30 minutes, and fatigued from the whole situation. I knew exactly what I wanted, so very rapidly, in under 10 minutes, we had the entire frame order figured out. Now, we are just staring at each other. "So, now what?" I asked the young man. He glanced over at Nasty and the computer, as she was STILL going through mats with the indecisive customer, and said, "Can I use the computer?" Nasty looked at me, and said, "Sorry. I am working with a customer, and you can't write the order. 'She' (making a motion at me) will have to come back another time." I couldn't believe my ears. Now I was boiling.
I remained steady, and said, "What on earth do you mean by telling me I have to 'come back another time,' I did not know you needed an appointment in this store, and I live 40 minutes away. I simply would like to write this order, and I can't understand why you would not allow a sale to go through, when your customer is no where even ready to place her order!! What kind of bad business is this?" Nasty looked at me and sniffed,"we can't interrupt another order to write an order." So, patiently, I said, "When do you expect to be finished with your current order, since I have been waiting here over 40 minutes now, and no offense to you Madame (I acknowledged the other customer, who was now looking sulkily down her nose at me), but if you don't know what you want, I would think that etiquette would dictate your graciousness in allowing my sales clerk to utilize the computer so I can check out." The woman customer looked at Nasty, and also ignored me as if I was not there.
Again, with great patience, I asked Nasty, "Do you have any idea how much longer you will need then? I do have another engagement for dinner, and I would like to be done here in the next 10 minutes or so." Nasty looked at me square in the eye and said, "That will not be possible. I need at least 20 minutes to write Mrs."so and so's" order. You will need to come back another time since the store is closing in a 45 minutes."
I put the painting back into plastic, and said to the young, flustered man, "I'm sorry, but you just lost your sale. I will not be back." He looked at me sadly, and Nasty looked up and smirked!
As I was walking out, I found the general manager, and explained the whole fiasco. I also told him as a professional artist, I was giving his store a "test run" and if things went well, I would literally be bringing him a ton of business...so not only did he lose this sale, but he lost the whole "kit and kaboodle" due to the very rude young woman he had working back there. The manager snapped to attention at this, and convinced me to go with him back to the counter, and he "would straighten out the matter."
We got back there, and the manager demanded to know what was going on. Nasty and her customer were still sitting there, and Nasty began straightening up her area, and put on a straight face, and said, "I'm sorry 'Ed', but I don't know what the fuss is about. I am checking Mrs. 'so and so' out now, so you can have the computer." Then Nasty looked at me quite innocently and said, "May I help you?"
Now, as enraging as the whole incident was, I really did not want to waste my time transporting the painting back home (since pastel is so delicate). I decided to go ahead with the order, which came out to at least double of what my other place used to charge. The only difference was the museum glare free glass, but paying an additional $100 dollars for glare free glass is, in my opinion, completely overpriced, but glare free is not an option when dealing with exhibitions and photography, etc. so I had no other choice but to pay it.
Bottom line for me: I will NEVER use A.C. Moore in Whitehall, Pennsylvania, again for any framing. If you are going force customers to wait an hour for an order, at least have a personable and knowledgeable sales staff. A.C. Moore sales staff told me they don't offer appointments, and it is on a "first come first serve basis," and they also only have ONE computer in the whole store to write up custom frame orders, so they certainly need to fix their custom framing service. Expect rude service, slow and frustating orders, and God only knows what condition my painting and frame will come back in in the slow turnover time (over two weeks for the framing process). Definitely look for a Mom and Pop place, or some other big box service, if you are looking for a satisfactory and worry free sales process.
So, that is my rude business story for the day! Just thought I'd give my fellow artists and friends a head's up!!