Meghan MacMillan

SGF, Supreme Grumble Framer
Forum Donor
Nov 22, 1999
Baltimore, MD
I recieved an advertising mailer today (a collection of shiny colorful 3 x 5 postcards offering services - RSVP is the company name).

Included in this stack is a card for a local Deck the Walls. We can discuss the 60% off deal another time.

On the card are "Reasons for Doing Your Framing at Deck the Walls"

The second bullet point out of five is "Uniformed picture framers on staff".

I have no beef with Deck the Walls, or any other framing franchises, chains, or Big Box stores. In fact, I cold probably post this question about any industry.

Here's my question: How likely are shoppers to be swayed in a purchasing decision by uniforms? I understand the value of going into a place and peing able to identify who works there readily. Nothing about the card conveys anything visual about the uniform. A picture of a happy, toothsome framer in a green vest with a caption reading "For framing that's the best look for the green vest" would at least make sense in terms of cementing an image in the mind of the consumer.

Using another industry as an example. The reason I open ValPak, Money Mailer, etc. at all (since I rent and don't need replacement windows, a new deck, or floors refinished) is oil change coupons. Would any of you pick Monroe over Firestone because the coupon said "Our mechanics wear matching coveralls"?
Absolutely ... nothing inspires a customer more than a Gestapo-clad minion.

My uniform is shorts and spiffy t-shirt in the summer ... jeans and a work shirt in the winter .... oh, and my de rigeur "Big Guy" baseball cap....

If my customers object, they keep it to themselves...somehow, the superior framing and a glass of wine keep them happy.
Not that we have employees wear unforms in either of my shops but maybe the thought is to build brand. Having the store name/logo on a shirt/apron fully visible to the customer throughout the design/pickup process may be something to think about. I wonder how many shops have their name/logo displayed INSIDE the store? Would it be positive reinforcement to not only have exterior signage but also interior branding to remind customers of where they are once inside? Have you ever been in a store, browsed for a several minutes, left and completely forgotten the name of the store?
We could make a list of retail business that do have specific "matching" attire and those that don't.

I'll be the "do's" out weigh the "don't" 20 to 1.

Thats not by accident.
If I could swing it right now I would have just simple polo type shirts with our name on the upper right side (small).

This way I won't have to think can I wear the same shirt I wore to spackle the drywall in to work today.

I worked at shops where some other framers dressed like slobs. The owner was not the type of person to object to them so instead she ordered shirts that all of us used.

It had limited success.
My question is not so much about the relative merits of uniforms themselves as of announcing their existence in a mailing with no visual reference to them.
Here's what happened;
Owner of the DtW was busy. Ad person trying to close the sale looked around the store, noticed the uniforms, filled in the blank and the owner said yea... uhh ok, that'l work.
Maybe all the employees are the same. You know, "uniformed". :D

I don't understand why they would advertise that. I will admit, I am curious as to what the uniform might look like.

Does it include an apron covered with dried glue and putty?
I think David is right, and agree that it shouldn't be a determining factor when shopping. That's just silly, IMO

That said, we try to 'brand' everything. The logo is on each entry door, pos invoices, shirts, hats, website, roof signs, stickers on back of each piece, business cards, ads, vehicle, newsletters, and even a mirror in the center of the sample wall. And the field behind the shop....

ok, just kidding on that

Originally posted by FramingFool:
Absolutely ... nothing inspires a customer more than a Gestapo-clad minion.

My uniform is shorts and spiffy t-shirt in the summer ... jeans and a work shirt in the winter ....
Hmm, sounds like my "uniform"...

As for the wine, I wish we could do that, the town here requires insurance for that, otherwise, the Cabernet would flow freely!
That's a pretty far stretched reason why anyone would want to shop there.
Actually it's rather silly!
Years ago I applied for a job at a similar such franchise and was told I couldn't wear jeans.
One expects to see uniforms in restuarants, hospitals and Jiffy Lube not a frame shop.
In what way does a uniform convey any sort of "creativity"
I prefer the artsy look myself, a little different, colorful and always matching just like my frame designs.
Originally posted by FramingFool:
somehow, the superior framing and a glass of wine keep them happy.
So you get em drunk, and upsell the he11 outta them...I like it! :D

Originally posted by Mike-L@GTP:
And the field behind the shop....
:D :D
Let's maybe give someone the benefit of the doubt. Do you suppose that the cards shown were mockups done for the approval of various clients by the advertising agency? It's possible that that card, if it ever went out, could have been changed by the franchisee.

I can't imagine someone in marketing at the corporate office seeing that and not advising the DTW owner to change it.
I once got a Value Pak, and in it was a local oil change like a Jiffy Lube, but much more reputable and they also had an outdoor oil drive-over for big rigs.

The card for them showed a Ford F250, and the copy stated lube, filter and oil change on any truck $24.95. So I jumped in my Peterbuilt and ran on down. We always went there anyway... regular oil change with filter and full lube takes about 90 minutes and at that time cost $70. (5 gallons of oil, not quarts).

Turns out that the guy had never ordered, or signed off on the ad.... but the salesman had submitted it anyway.

I felt sorry for the guy, because he was going to do the $70 job for the $25... He insisted... because we got an oil change every 3 weeks on the rig...(we were running it to death between San Jose, CA and Portland, OR) So I sprung for a bunch of pizzas for his crew. They were happy.

So I wouldn't be surprised about what Dave said... it never passed muster at a corperate level.

Personally, I think some nice inexpensive polo shirts look a lot better in a retail setting then the framer wandering out of the back as you're wrapping up the deal with the local First Baptist Church Crusade for Peace, church ladies....

and the framer is wearing that "oh so creative and artsey" t-shirt that says "Kill 'em all and let God and Satan divey it up".

Not so much.
Dave, my understanding of the first post is that the cards actually went out in a mailing.

That being said, pretty stupid bullet point.

I would hope that the owners made a mistake and did not actually look over the proof and just signed off on it.

If you only hae 5 bullet points and uniforms is one of them then that owner needs a new sales rep from RSVP or needs some well needed marketing advice.

What were the other bullet points? Can you scan the card and post or email to me?

Frmallday, you can't wear jeans and work for me either, at least blue jeans.

Uniforms are not going to bring customers in the store, but a consistant message does and if you have people in business casual and people in jeans and t-shrt working at the same time, you are sending a mixed message.
I was wondering when you would set us straight Tim.

I fully agree with you on your final point. Not good to send that mixed message.
Frmallday could work for us. We provide nice Land's End polos with our logo. And the lower half is to be jeans or better (I wear better all the time). Some wear jeans and some wear khakis. Consistency is the key. And it was a whole bunch better than what they wore when we took over the place! And I hope I never run a business where I can only think of 4 good things to say in a 5 bullet format. I'd rather drop the last bullet!
I guess that probably not one ina million saw that card and said "That does it, I will never shop at a DTW BECAUSE they wear uniforms".

I'll bet most people ignored it, like about 90% of the rest of the ads.

We provide nice,expensive Polo's and they look nice. It reinforces who we are and does look better than the way I see most framers dress.

I had a framer that worked in the back. He always wore music group T's-Black Sabbath,stuff like that.

Why take the chance that someone might be offended

But, to answer the question, I think it is a wasted Bullet point. Among which, I would also add the following:

Conservation Quality Material

Needlework Specialsts

Creative Designs
Quality Framing

I'll bet you wil see those in most ads, including Yellow Pages
They might just as well advertise that they empty their trash cans every night. :rolleyes:

Seriously, though, the way we dress is important. Generally, I think we ought to look at least as clean and well dressed as our customers, maybe even a bit better. In my shop we do not allow T-shirts or blue denims, and nothing with shredded hems or holes -- intentional or not. We provide each employee with a few polo shirts with our logo embroidered, and expect them to be worn at least three days out of five.
My employees don't to wear t-shirts but they can wear jeans. I typically dress up a little more. We all wear magnetic name tags with the logo/name of the shop and our individual names. I wear mine from home to work and back... it amazes me how many people strike up a conversation about framing in the grocery or convenience store. Better money spent than the hundreds of business cards I give out.
We have been getting them from LL bean for 4 years. (one set per year, new style and color each year. Oldest ones are still fine and in rotation) The quality has been fantastic, and they guarantee them for life. Most of them are polos, but some are also dress shirts. I feel that it DOES make a difference, and we're happy with the response.

I think we just found a new poll topic!

Thanks Ellen!
And it was A Deck the Walls Tim, I applied at. I sure as heck wasn't going to spend a hundred bucks or so for non-jean pants for a 10.00 and hour job.
Jeans are my "basic" uniform and I haven't lost a sale yet because I was wearing them..
Some of those jeans can get pretty pricey! Who's impressed ? No one.

I personally think it's ridiculous but I naturally buck at conventionality to begin with, just my personality.
I objected to them when my kids school tried the uniform policy as well.
I find it hard to believe my customers would even care about such a thing.
A well groomed person with a neat tidy appearance is all I would ask,, and slogan T-shirts I agree are a no.
Surely some common sense would apply!
Another question for the store owners that don't allow T-shirts and jeans:

Do you give commisions to your sales staff?

I for one would have no problem upgrading my attire if I knew that it would probably help my sales.. otherwise I'd say just keep me in the back room and let me wear whatever I want.

From a practical point of view, where I used to work at (The Great Frame Up) jeans were waaaay better since I was kneeling all the time due to the angled magnet board most TGFUs use. I tended to wear out the right knee in my pants every couple of months..
And I found this on Monster.com:
Can clothing stores require employees to buy their clothes to wear at work?

Recently, several large retail clothing stores have been sued over what is a fairly common practice in the industry: requiring employees to wear the store's clothing while at work. Employees in the lawsuits have reported being required to buy new items every time the store's inventory changed, and that at times, they were spending their entire paycheck on new clothes for work. Some states, such as California, require the employer to pay for any uniform of "apparel and accessories of distinctive design or color" that workers must wear, and the lawsuits argue that this rule includes clothing worn by salespeople. Another argument is that by requiring employees to spend so much of their paychecks on clothing, the workers' hourly rate is falling below the minimum wage.

So far, few of the lawsuits have made it all the way to trial. Instead, companies such as Abercrombie & Fitch, J. Jill and Express have paid out millions of dollars to settle large class actions, with individual employees getting anything from $50 or $100, to several thousand dollars for the named plaintiffs in a particular lawsuit. Most legal experts predict that retailers will probably begin either allowing employees to wear any clothing they want, or else providing workers certain items for free that must be worn at work.

Laws about uniform policies cover more than traditional safety gear or other clothing that is only worn on the job. Requiring workers to buy and wear any particular item can get a company in trouble, even if the clothing at issue can also be worn outside of work.

--Paul E. Freehling, Labor and Employment attorney, Seyfarth Shaw LLP, with assistance from Melanie H. Berkowitz, Esq., Seyfarth Shaw LLP.
For the past seven and a half years in business oour attire has been AT LEAST a polo shirt with slacks, hilfiger or Lauren or Tommy Bahama-type casual shirt with slacks in summer; winter it's oxford type button down shirt with tie.


We consider ourselves catering to a better clientele--read "upper class--and I really don't think my customer base wants to see me in shorts, jeans, tee shirts with funny names or that sorta thing.

And while our franchisor does offer "branded" type polos and aprons and such, I just feel more comfortable in a nice polo shirt or shirt and tie. Plus it makes ME feel more secure, confident, or whatever.

Sorta like the school uniform I wore for 16 + years==white shirt, tie, gray pants and later in college khaki-type pants. But that was parochial school.