What happens to 50% off when...

B. Newman

SGF, Supreme Grumble Framer
Sep 5, 2001
Kodak, Tn. USA
...there is a "wage war" going on, as there is here in Knoxville now?

Scene: Local A C Moore is getting into framing. Local Michaels has some excellent, albeit dissatisfied framers. Head framer was making $9.00 per hour, part-timers make $7.00.

Moore offered $16.00 and $11.00 respectively to come and open their new framing department.

Michaels countered with $15.00 and $10.00 to stay where they were. (Manager said he had "special permission from the home office to offer this to remain competitive with the marketplace...")

Moore upped the ante to $17.00 and $12.00. That's the last I've heard.

What will happen to their 50% off advertising if this sort of wage is being paid? Or are they making soooo much money that it doesn't matter?

And Michael (LeCompte) - isn't that AC Moore within "hollaring distance" from you?
Oh, I hope framers all over the country get wind of this and Micheal has to start paying a deciet wage to it's framers and has to up their prices or go out of business!!! YEAH!!!!!

Sorry, I just got a little excited there for a minute.

Carry on
The biggest potential damage of just such a thread can easily be every framer that reads this will now go to their employeer an dnow ask for better wages

Imagine this scenario: "Hey, Boss, you keep telling us how much better (skilled and trained) we are than those Big Box goofs and now, I want $18"

Gee, thanks, Betty

Jennifer, I'm not sure that many Michael's will go out of biz, but with such a demand for the local guy...
Originally posted by J Phipps TN:
Oh, I hope framers all over the country get wind of this and Micheal has to start paying a deciet wage to it's framers and has to up their prices or go out of business!!! YEAH!!!!!

Sorry, I just got a little excited there for a minute.

Carry on
A deciet wage?? How decietful you want the wages to be...... ;) ???
Frankly, I wouldn't worry much about that happening, upping wages at M's. From what I experienced (and ask any current employee in the company) the incident of authorizaton for Betty's area is pretty isolated.

Too bad. Framers, no matter who they work for, deserve better wages for their talents and skills than what M's provides, especially at the framing prices M's gets, beause the profits certainly aren't going back to the people who produce the framing!
That full-timer expecting $600.00 gross on a weekly check will actually get $300.00 and a 50% off coupon.
That's funny Ron!

This SO reminds me of what happened with nursing salaries. Hospitals continued raising hourly wages to attract nurses until they couldn't afford it any more. Now, hospitals pay a fortune for "Travelling Nurses" or "Registry Nurses" because a) they don't have to pay them benefits and b) if census is low, they can cancel the employee w/o penalty.

The outcome is a hospital with FEW employees that are devoted to their patients and employer (the rest don't work there - they want a paycheck). And an employer whom demands MUCH, MUCH more of their own "highly paid employee" because instead of having say 5 patients to 1 nurse, you now have 7 patients to 1 nurse.

So.....when you go into M's or A.C. M's some day and see one employee running the entire venue - don't be surprised!

I think they call it "The Bottom Line".
Betty: YUP, sure is. About 1/4 mile away. Worried?? Nope. Also not worried about Joann's, Michael's or two Hobby Lobbys.

Never have been

Never will be
Just so there is no misunderstanding about which came first ( chicken or Egg)Sherry Lee,as I said there is a Michael's just blocks from my new home and I haven't seen but ONE Frame counter Person in the 8 months I have lived here and in all the trips I have made ( since I no longer can buy wholesale).

I sometimes wonder if she is paid Overtime or if the Employer relives her ,so she can get a day off? Come to think about it i know who she is But I have never meet the manager or know if he/she can frame or even take and order?

And around here framers don't make $17 /hr but many do negoiate their own rates just as managment and Celebrity types based on what they bring in to the business,as well they should.

And like the sports industry that sort of thing can get out of hand sometimes but it also can result in the best being paid what they are WORTH not what they can made to accept because that is what all employees will offer.

But I guess it is up to the employers to fairly appraise their worth and when they are just rideing on someone else's coattails say No and FAIRLY expalin why .I don't know ( I've never been one) but isn't that what empolyers do when asked for a raise?

[ 08-22-2006, 09:04 PM: Message edited by: BUDDY ]
We had a Michaels open near us a few years ago, and I was unemployed at the time, so I applied for a job in the framing dept. I got offered a job as the framing manager, which meant I didn't do any actual framing (I think), but would manage the front counter 'designers', and the production folks in the back. They offered me $10/hr. Which made me think, if that's what the manager gets, what are the people actually doing the work making? I turned down the offer, and remained unemployed until I found a job at a independent place... and I don't regret my choice for a minute.
I also didn't like the fact that I would have to work Sundays, and nights... and Michaels smell too 'fruity'.
Yes, Kristen, you'd do framing. And designing. And reports. And schedules. And cleaning. And receiving freight. And stocking the ready-made frames. And unpacking freight. And Saturdays and Sundays and nights and framing. And front end managing 2 nights a week, and cashier, and framing, and...

Good choice.
Originally posted by Val:

Framers, no matter who they work for, deserve better wages for their talents and skills than what M's provides, especially at the framing prices M's gets, beause the profits certainly aren't going back to the people who produce the framing!

I have long been a proponent of better wages for a skilled and experienced framer. There are a few key things that will keep an outstanding employee from jumping ship and looking for work elsewhere.

First, the employee should be told how much of a valuable asset they are to the business. I don't know anyone who isn't given a swift kick in the ego by the boss telling them that they are an important part of the business.

And, in conjunction with communicating their importance, the employee should be paid a wage commiserate with their experience and the implied importance put upon their presence in the business.

Case in point, I don't get a commission for any sales I make in the art gallery where I am employed. That was my choice because I felt I could be more productive if I didn't have to be on the floor selling when there were jobs laying in the frameshop to be finished. So I got a $2.50/hr. raise instead and that was only after 6 months of working for my present boss.

I look forward to going in to work each morning. I feel like I am an important asset to the success of the art gallery and I have the responsibility of everything that has to be done in the frameshop with the exception of the headaches of making sure bills are paid and rent and overhead is taken care of and advertising is kept paid and up to date and ................ well, you get the idea.

Second case in point, 2 weeks ago I made a sale of several thousand dollars on an original oil, it just worked out that nobody else could move this piece of art and I did. So my boss gave me a sort of bonus for the sale. It was only about 5% of the sale but it wasn't part of my responsibilities for employment to sell that piece either. She didn't have to give me anything but an "atta boy" and a pat on the back.

I have always maintained that, if you don't pay your key employees enough to keep their minds focused on YOUR work and occasionally let them know that you care about them, they will eventually become disillusioned and start looking over the fence at someone else's work and wage offerings and you will end up running a classified ad for another framer.

The arguement that the boss can't afford the raise is very flimsy when you take into account that you know exactly what you have in a good dependable employee and you have no idea what is in store for you with someone new and unproven. It has been shown again and again right here on the Grumble that it is a monumental task to find qualified framers. Ask Ellen or Edie if they had the chance to retain a qualified framer for a buck an hour raise, would they do it or just cut them loose and go to the want ads in search of somebody off the streets who may be good or may be a total dud??

The down time while searching for another framer and the possibility of having to completely train/retrain them to the ways of working in your frame shop is a tough alternative to keeping someone who you know is competent and dependable for the sake of probably a well deserved raise.

I have operated my own frameshop for most of my career and I have also spent some time recently as an employee of a Hobby Lobby store managing their frameshop. I know that what Val has said about Michaels and the added duties of their frameshop managers is also quite true of other franchises and BB's. As it stands now none of them are probably paying anything close to what a good experienced framer is worth. And the pile-on added duties are something that isn't talked about in the initial interview for employment. I know this to be true.

Finally, in my opinion, if an employee approaches their boss and asks for a raise for whatever reason, if they are worth keeping and the request isn't out of line with their experience, importance to the business, and they are experienced enough to be trusted with their duties without worry, that boss had best take stock of what he/she has now and weigh the potential loss against a buck an hour more to make that employee a happy camper. There are only 2 letters in the word "NO" and if the employee isn't worth a raise it behooves one to tell them the fact of the matter and go on from there.

My guess is the scenario will likely run:
Expensive Hired Manager sets up department.
EH Employees run it.
New hires will be Not So Expensive.
EHM and EHEs will find that their hours are trimmed back.
EHM and EHEs won't be able to live on 30 hours a week and will seek employment elsewhere.
New Manager and Hired Employees will be paid less.
Pretty darn shrewd, if you are a heartless corporation...
Ellen, sadly to say, I expect that is what will happen. I can't imagine anyone being that cold and heartless, but then again, I've never worked for a large corporation. (However, I do see, on a daily basis how my husband is treated - sad.)

Tom, I would hope that my employees would never have to "ask" for a raise. I hope they know that I will pay the highest that I can possibly afford. I put them before me.

Before anyone replies or criticizes that remark, that may not be good "business" but it is what I do.

And Michael, I knew you weren't worried about these, I just wondered if you had heard any of the "rumblings" that's all.
I respectfully submit that business decisions should not be made emotionally.

The corporate managers who planned to buy talented framers away from the competition probably did not make that decision out of greed or heartlessness. They surely concluded that the plan is in the best interest of their business -- or their career within it. And the plan might very well have been hatched by a loving parent during a boring moment of his/her kid's soccer game.

If the "greedy" label gets applied to the employer, then what about the money-grubbing framers who would forsake their good relationship with a fair employer, to take advantage of another's obvious bribe?

If I were an incoming manager, I would not have endorsed such a plan, because its short term benefit could backfire in the long term and cause more trouble than the gain was worth. I would have more respect for a steady growth course based on better performance, and meeting the competition head-to-head.

I would be looking for good potential long term employer/employee relationships, not just a transaction. If the management job is done well, then talented framers would flock to the door, wanting to be associated with the better-managed frame shop. From a job applicant, I would respect that reasoning more than a gimme-the-money mindset.
Ellen, I don't think you're too far off-base at all.

I was hired at M's as framing mgr. with the promise of $11 "to start" (!!) and the first day on the job was told the district mgr. backed it down to $10, a "miscommunication". I should've walked then, not because of the money but the red flag that was a warning of what lie ahead. After I got the deparment back in order (it was a mess!) and got thru the Christmas crazies, they didn't cut my hours, but everyone else's around me, and had I known all the pile-on, non-framing duties that followed, I would've stayed in the unemployment line, like Kristen. That stress didn't agree with my body one bit.

I was told time and time again "That's Corporate. Stop thinking of yourself as a framer, you're not, you're a production line worker, paid at production line worker's wages. It just happens to be in the framing dept. That's business, if you don't like it..."

There is no heart involved in the corporate world. My store manager's hands were tied, he fought for raises for me (49 cents at a time!!) he had higher-ups and so did they.

That same department is currently operating with 2 framers, one has never framed in her life, in fact, never even operated a cash register. Guess what she's paid? And the woman who took my place is even more frazzled than I was! And not paid much more than the new girl.

My problem now lies in that I'm ready to hire, ready to pay a decent wage and can't find anyone! Had one guy with a lot of framing experience, called me every few weeks to check in, but I wasn't ready to hire yet. Now I am, but he's been a no-call, no-show for two interview appointments now. Works at a sports bar, wants to get back in framing. Would've been great to have his experience, but that red flag tells me I'd be better off to keep working these very long days myself and keep looking. And believe me, if there was another framer in the area with a good reputation, I'd be trying to woo them away from their current position myself! There just isn't here.

Framerguy, I believe in exactly your same philosophy. I hope that's what you meant when you started your post with "Val,...." Good framer/employees are hard to find. I know, I used to be one!
Guys-Let's focus on how we can do as well for our own and quit worrying so much about them

Repeat after me: We are not them and they are not us.

Telling each other how bad they are doesn't make us better. It must make us feel better for a short while, but we need to convert that effort in determining what it is that drives clients to them in staggering numbers and see if we can't siphon some off
Bob I am a bit confused ( as usual) didn't you suggest that we study them and learn what they are doing so we could use that information to bring in some of their "Staggering Volume" of business? And isn't the going rate for paying qualified framers in a given area something all employing frame shops need to know? And since these BB are changing some of the rates and since as you said in another reply ,"Boss, you keep telling us how much better (skilled and trained) we are than those Big Box goofs and now, I want $18"
isn't all of this actually about some of US even while it is about THEM or because it is about THEM?

I got the distinct impression that what they did had a direct affect on our market so why doesn't what they do ( in our Market ) have a direct effect on US and our pricing and rate of pay which may indirectly affect our prices, even though we aren't the ones offering $17 /hr ?

But also shouldn't we be aware of what the really Good framers can be paid and how we can compensate them if we aren't able to match that, in order to keep the people who through their skill have a direct effect on how much return business we may do?

We can run our shops very efficiently but if we don't have skilled FRAMERS what will the customers come to our shops to BUY?