Unframed For 90 Days


True Grumbler
May 18, 2004
Southern California
I have a customer that left me some sports memorabilia to be framed; a jersey, trophy, baseball hat, baseball, and (3) 5x7 photos from his son's Little League.
That was a least 3 months ago!
I received one call that he had a car accident, no problem!
He changed the design and asked I e-mail him the new price. (which was less) and I haven't heard from him since.
How do I get this guy to commit to the job.
I've considered putting it in a box with a "storage fee" invoice and mailing it to his office. He is a mental health professional.

How do the rest of you deal with these people? In all my years, this guy takes the cake!
I had a guy about 8 months ago who came in when the shop was packed, tossed a crumby print on the table and shouted, on his way out the door, "Do it like you did the others..."

No idea who he was (even when he was here), how to contact him, or anything.....

The work lays in the to-do bin, waiting for instructions, address, name, ssn, date of birth, phone number, next-of-kin .... ANYTHING! ...(wanna buy it?)
Fool, I would definitely put it "out of my eyesight" because the longer I look at it, the more irritated I become! The trophy is almost 2 ft' tall glaring at me from my mat cutting table. I do have lots of patience but it's wearing thin!
We deal primarily with interior designers and commercial design firms, and I can't tell you how many times a decorator has left artwork with me and said, "I'll be in touch shortly to choose framing." Six months later I'm still babysitting their stuff. In the meantime I have to make certain it doesn't get damaged, misplaced, or lost. Now when someone asks us to hang on to their artwork "for just a little while," we politely decline.
Sounds familiar to me!

15 months ago a lady brings her son's ice-hockey jersey, medals, photos, etc for a shadowbox. "Don't start working on them though as I'll bring another photo to add to them...."

After 10 phone calls to remind her, I gave up.

Her stuff is still here.
Ha! I have things in my store that were left before the store was mine.
I have no idea who they belong to, but there they sit.

A man came in a couple of years ago and said he wanted to frame something that had been left...before my time.
Sure enough it was in the drawer.
He wanted to add one more item and said he would be back. Stupidly I didn't get any contact information before he left and haven't seen him since.

Maybe he'll show up again in another 5 or 6 years. :rolleyes:
I am holding a $125.00 deposit for a customer who wanted to add just one more thing to the collage. He has moved, changed his phone number, disappeared. Two days after I throw it away, he will appear, I just know it...
I'm feeling less irritated after reading about these other deadbeats (thanks), still any ideas on how to get this going,, in "some" direction?
man - this kind of stuff just drives me nuts!!!

We had one interior designer leave some old photos at our place............. 3 YEARS later she showed up and just wanted them back - I was so mad - I really wanted to charge her a storage fee - but ... well, you know - you don't want to make anyone mad. Heaven forbid you should make anyone mad! LOL!!

I DID give her the "oh - I think it's been more than a year - as a matter of fact, it's been 3 years... I sure hope I can find them....." knowing all the time exactly where they were. She didn't even have the courtesy to apologize for leaving them that long.

It really can get frustrating because people don't seem to realize that you may be pressed for space ( I know WE sure are) and that you can't just store stuff for everyone.......

We've got a huge frame that a woman's sporting jacket was framed in - she needed to wear it again. So we kept it for about 3 years empty waiting for the jacket. She finally brought it back for us to re-mount, and then we left it for a while and she wanted it back again. So now, once again, we have a huge empty frame sitting...

Lisa, have you tried mailing a letter to remind him that he left stuff there? with a note that states your policy regarding storage fees for anything left over x amount of days?
I usually give the customer 2 weeks from the date of the letter to pick up without any charges.

That usually gets a response...but not always.
This threat motivated me to call a customer, for the nth time, to pick up her shadowbox (was ready last August!!).

I 1/2 jokingly told her "if it stays here any longer, we may have to start charging a storage fee...".

She showed up within 1 hour, paid, and picked it!
This happened so long ago that I can't give a specific date, it was in the early 90's. I had a lady bring in her christening gown and a photo of herself wearing the gown that was hand tinted. She asked to have it mounted in a shadowbox and I gave her an estimate of under $$300 and she said OK on the framing. I still am trying to find that customer!!

About 3 years later I had one of her neighbors come in and she recognized the photo as one her next door neighbor showed her years before. I asked where she was and was told that she just packed up and disappeared one weekend and left no information as to where she was going or how to contact her.

The reason I would like to contact her to this day is to thank her for one of the best selling tools on my walls!! Because she left that shadowbox in my shop I have shown it ever since and have sold too many similar shadowboxes to count! I still have it hanging behind my vacuum press for all to see.

Sometimes deadbeat customers can be a blessing for a framer.

Originally posted by Framerguy:
I still have it hanging behind my vacuum press for all to see.

Sometimes deadbeat customers can be a blessing for a framer.

I'd like to nail the actual customer to the wall, as a warning to others!
People's lives can get really mixed up: lost job, illness even death... Give 'em a chance, but don't go nuts...

First, I would call 3 times a few days apart. After 90 days, I'd try once more. Next, if I had the address, I'd send a certified letter stating that the items will have to be disposed of if no response is given by a set date (20 days should be plenty).

Trash, donate, sell, burn, whatever, the items after that date. Keep good notes (call dates, copy of letter) just in case.

Originally posted by RoboFramer:
I'd like to nail the actual customer to the wall, as a warning to others!
After dry-mounting them first, of course...

(I have a feeling this will land me in that famous thread....things that sound... ;)
This is happening more and more often lately. People bring their work in, I give them an estimate, they tell me they don't want it until (some date in the future), but leave it with me. I can't get a deposit because they haven't actually ordered the framing. Maybe it's the rising price of gas and groceries, maybe it's just their way of getting rid of something they don't like without actually feeling guilty about sending it to the GoodWill. I don't know. It's irritating as well as nerve-wracking.

What kind of protection does a sign ("Not responsible after 14 days...$25 storage charge, etc.") on the wall give you. How long do we actually have to keep these things?

Thanks for letting me vent, too! Must be time for spring cleaning!
We are members of a business association (actually wife is on board of directors)
About 1 1/2 years ago the president resigned after 6 years (bug up his b about something).
The association wanted to give him something to thank him for his services. We framed up a drawing of our town main street and gave it to them at cost plus 10%. Well he never accepted it, so the new pres wanted to buy it for his inn.
He still has it and still has not paid for it after several promises. Told wife yesterday to bill him for the full price plus 10% interest.
There is a board next week, we will see what happens.
That would be new old which is old new which is new because the old is new again and the new is getting almost as old as the old.