D@mn Husbands


PFG, Picture Framing God
Mar 20, 2001
Powell, OH

I just got a call from the husband of the customer I just finished with. Seems he just bought his wife an expensive watch and is now feel straped and wants to cancel 2/3 of the order his wife just placed.

I have all my customers sign the invoice disclamer that jobs may not be cancled.

How do others handle this auckward situation. I belive in customer service. But I hate spending my time making a sale only to have someone who has not even seen the design squelch the deal.

I informed the husband that the frames had all ready been cut,(in-stock moulding) so he would need to purchase them but the mats,glass etc could be cancelled for the time being.

His wifes deposit covers the whole job,now. So I have no worry about being paid.
How dare he buy jewelry for his wife … he’s gonna louse it up for the rest of us.

You don’t want to lose him/her as a customer, so I would do the 1/3 of the order and try to collect the balance of that order.

A few months down the road, call or send a reminder that she has stuff remaining to be picked up. That ought to give them enough time to get out of the hole they dug with the “Gee, I’ll bet it’s better than a Timex”.
If supplies have been bought, or cut, then they must pay for it. You do have a signed contract, and the law should back you up. However... there is normally a time period allowed for making large purchases that the customer is allowed to change thier mind. I think you have about three days when you buy a car. (It might also depend on the state.)

How soon did he call? The next day, or was it later? If it was the same day, I would try to accomidate them. But if a few days had passed, I would explain that supplies have been orderd, and the work has been started. After work has been started, there is no money back.

However!!! You could tell the husband, that you would be glad to spread out their payments so that his wife will get the framing she wants, and they will still be able to afford that expencive watch as well as your affordable framing. :D
Ohio's law is for in-home purchaces. I belive that they even did away with the buyers remorse law for cars here.
Hey Bill I was going to buy jewelry for my wife for mothers day. Changed my mind when a woman from down the street was selling day spa coupons for half-price!

Kinda sucks Dave, but don't get too mad. They may come back to get the pcs. done later on. I would ask them very nicely to come back when they're ready to finish the project.
C'est la vie. If you've ordered materials, save 'em for the next job.

Unless yer really fond of ulcers, don't sweat the small s**t. Forget it and move on ... if you're a prince about it, you'll (most likely) have pleased him, and he'll be back.

That happened to me once, then those *&^%$# people moved to your neighborhood.

My response would be to charge full price for the already-cut or specially-ordered items, and offer a store credit for the balance. That way you are assured of getting their money (or keeping it) for an order eventually.

In this case the guy seems to want the cash, so you probably couldn't do the store credit gracefully. I guess a refund of the not-yet-committed balance would be fair, especially if they understand that you are doing them a favor and want their future business.
Hey Bill I was going to buy jewelry for my wife for mothers day. Changed my mind when a woman from down the street was selling day spa coupons for half-price!
This year I’m going for white-wall tires. For some reason she didn’t like the teflon coated snow shovel I got her last year.
Odd tradition, buying a mother's day gift for your wife. I hope my wife doesn't hear about it.

Being legally right isn't always enough.
It's an in stock moulding...Bite the bullet don't **** the customer off. Its better that the customer come back later than to have them never come back again.
I don't understand the point of buying an expensive watch. I own 7-8 watches, ranging from $8.95 to maybe $75 for the really extravagant one and, if I average all of them, I get a pretty clear picture of what time it is.
This falls under the heading of "You win a few, you lose a few". It is a common, but frustrating part of our business.

It is better to let your customer cancel, and treat them with understanding and patience when they do. Be nice, give them their money back, eat the supplies.

This is the part of your business that actually ends up having a value that is worth much more than all the lost time and materials. It is called GOOD WILL. When you go to sell your business, a large part of the value of that business is the GOOD WILL you have created.

People will get caught up in the moment, and spend much more than they intended, or can afford. Let em off the hook. They will remember how you treated them, and they will be back. They will also be inclined to talk you up to their friends.

I know it's frustrating, especially if things are tight. Try to take the high road, do the right thing, it will pay off much more in the long run.

We had a situation similar and implemented a policy. Actual contract is with the wife if she signed the paperwork - she needs to call and cancel - technically.

Our policy:

Orders are custom - you have until the end of the day the order is placed to cancel; orders are placed at the end of the day or first thing in morning. If you wish to cancel after the end of the day, there is a 40% restocking fee. Right now we utilize the JIT production method and don't carry a lot of stock.

Most people won't cancel if there is the restocking fee. If they still cancel, we have covered our costs.

If it is for financial reasons, and everything is ordered, we offer to spread out the final payments over 3 months. 50% taken at order the rest over the next 3 months; similar to our layaway policy.

I never want to lose a customer, but I also know that as framers we can't afford their lack of decisiveness nor their lack of planning causing us a crisis. This may seem harsh to some, but the policy was implemented after being harrassed by PITA customers - some of which, once you allow them to do it, will continue and make it a habit.

a couple of cents for today

Elaine and others have mentioned in this thread and others in the past that after a day the customer has to pay for the goods because they have been ordered.

How many of you actually order every day? Seems to me that would increase your COG since you have to pay shipping on multiple orders (not every vendor ships N/C). Why not order once a week?
And one more thing,

It is not just the Husbands that do this, many wives do not ever trust their husbands when it comes to framing.
I suppose, right or wrong, policies are dictated by history.

My check acceptance policies have always been pretty loose because I've had maybe six returned checks in 28 years, with maybe three of those being noncollectable - totaling under $300.

My cancellation policy reads something like, "Custom orders may not be canceled after materials have been ordered or work has commenced." I might cut a mat before the customer has driven out of the parking lot or I might do nothing at all for a week. I don't believe I've ever had to enforce that policy because the canceled orders have been such a minuscule percentage overall that it's not worth the ill-will or aggravation.

I would certainly re-evaluate that if I recognized a trend.

I think custom framing makes a MUCH nicer gift than a watch.
I think custom framing makes a MUCH nicer gift than a watch.
The items were for his office.
I think I would probably suggest them holding off on the order if the frame is already cut rather than just cancelling. I'd probably work out a deal so they could get the framing when they can afford it a month later or so (kind of like a layaway) That way, since they've paid for the frames you don't loose what you worked so hard to come up with and the husband can afford the watch.... However, if they are really persistant in canceling, I wouldn't force them to do anything but pay for the work you done and what they want done.

Well good luck!!

I sympathize with you - I am sure we know how you feel! However - I can also sympathize with the customer. Haven't you ever changed your mind & regretted purchasing something.

I would advise all to charge enough to cover these expenses, and impress your customers with your compassion. If it seems to be happening quite often, you may wish to ask yourself 3 questions - are you presenting something within their budget? Are you "blowing them away" with your design? and Are you drawing the right kind of customer?

Hope that helps - esp. coming from one who knows the feeling in the past.
We had a sign in our store that said "HUSBANDS ARE REQUIRED TO BRING A NOTE FROM THEIR WIVES GIVING APPROVAL OF ALL PURCHASES!" It really solved a lot of problems when this was pointed out to husbands.

Jack Cee
If the phone call came within a couple of days of order placement, first I would offer to spread the order over several weeks or even months and let them pick up one item at a time. If that wasn't acceptable I would cancel what they wanted to cancel with utter graciousness, even if I had ordered the supplies. It doesn't happen often, but when an order is cancelled and I already have the chop, I'll usually make a sale to another customer within a few days that utilizes that moulding; and I'll store the mat for future use.
"The items were for his office.

When reading this topic, an episode of Darma and Greg comes to mind. This could be similar to the sketch that has Kitty decorating Edward's den. She makes all the choices and he has no say. In fact he hates what Kitty and the decorator are planing.

Maybe this husband is trying to save his space.