Tag Archives: michael’s framing

Map of the (Water) World

Since I’m out a camera this week I’m employing a reverse technique for posting. Usually I write what I want, then take a picture based on the subject matter. Today, instead, I’ve started with an image I already had–one I took some weeks ago–and tacked on the appropriate words. Is it what I feel like writing about? Not particularly. Is it something I have a usable shot of? Yes.

Voila. Decision made.

But really, it’s for the best. I’ve been intending to write this post forever. I need to write it. It’s my moral duty. For it’s a bit of a mea culpa, you see, to Michael’s. The store. The chain store. The overwhelming, coupon-spewing, made-in-China, filled with cheap crap, in every strip-mall, lines so long you want to hang yourself chain store.

Ahem. I beg your pardon. This isn’t sounding like an apology at all. Let me re-start.

You may remember some time back I left a picture to be framed at Michael’s. Embarrassment ensued. Shame, even. Profound chagrin at the amount of money that had been extorted from me. Regret, an attempt to cancel the order–heck, ashes on my face, the pulling out of hair, the rending of my clothing–it all basically followed. But the order could not be cancelled. The deed was done. The nearly $600 deed. My annoyance at Michael’s–and myself–knew no bounds.

Follow-through not being my strong suit, I never got back to you with the outcome. I’m sorry. That’s a character flaw. I love discussing my problems. Less interesting: recounting the resolutions. In short, it’s taken my camera being nabbed for me to finally get around to telling the end of the story, thereby offering you all some closure. I know you’ve waited. I know you’ve suffered. I know you’ve spent countless hours sobbing on therapists’ couches…

Mea culpa, readers.

Seriously. Turns out my framing debacle wasn’t such a debacle after all. The picture in question–a drainage map of the United States–actually came back looking pretty good. Oh, there are glare issues. I don’t love the faux aging of the wood. I doubt it even is wood. But all in all, once the thing was up, it added to the living room. My biggest remaining questions were what the hell is a drainage map? And what is one doing on my living room wall? But those were largely rhetorical. And meant solely for my husband.

All I am left with is the sticker shock. I still think the job was shockingly overpriced. A few months down the line, with Mike’s hiatus looming closer and closer, I’d never consider paying $575 for a frame. But we were flush back then, and flush folk make financial fools. (Like the alliteration? I just did that.)

Given the same situation now? I’d make the frame myself out of sticks, poster paint, and glue. And plexiglass. Glare-proof, of course. I’m sure you can buy all of that at Michael’s. And for a fraction of the price.

As it is, we’ve got what we’ve got.

And if you’ve got drainage questions? Turns out I’m your girl.


Dear Crabby

A reader writes in with some Michael’s-related advice:

When you go back to pick up the picture, say you don’t like it, and insist that they take the frame back. Call the manager, bring Mike, make a fuss. It’s a big company, they can take the loss better than you. Think like a Tiffany’s customer!!!  $560 is riducuous (sic). I love Michaels…but that’s highway robbery.

I print this mostly because — honestly? I love the idea of being an advice columnist. I know. I know. The above reader isn’t looking for help. She’s offering it. Still, I don’t get many chances to say “a reader writes…” I get still fewer to use “sic.” I love that word. Spellcheck has done it great harm, and, frankly, I resent it.

As for the advice itself? The advice given? It’s familiar. I got a similar suggestion from the guy at Michael’s. When I called him to cancel the order and found out it was too late, he suggested, rather apologetically, that I “register a complaint” when I come to pick up.

“You may be able to get some money knocked off the price,” he added.

But really, ought I to complain? The whole damn thing is my fault. I’m the one who’s impulsive. I’m the one who’s illogical. I’m so parsimonious that I routinely consider turning in plastic bottles for the nickels I’d get. Now I go to Michael’s and spend more money there than anyone since Oprah Winfrey? Do I deserve to “make a fuss?” I think not. I made a bed; I’ll lie in it. Even though it’s short-sheeted, bug-infested, and decorated in tulle.

I wonder whether Michael’s has a craft for that?


This afternoon — late — I tried to call Michael’s to cancel my order. I decided I would, after all, rather have a new dishwasher than a beautiful but badly framed picture for our living room wall. Especially as our old Gaffers and Sattler started emanating something that smelled suspiciously like woodsmoke yesterday.

Unfortunately, the man I spoke to in the framing department said it was too late. The deed was done. The picture had just left “the warehouse” an hour ago. Warehouse? What kind of Kafkaesque nightmare have I sent our cartographic gem into?

Sob. Goodbye $560. Goodbye self-respect. Goodbye new, mid-range dishwasher. Hello, tackily framed drainage map with ugly faux-glass cover. Or that’s my fear, anyway.

The only good news? It was woodsmoke. In the dishwasher. I found a wooden spoon trapped near the motor there this morning. It’s fried, but the dishwasher lives on.

It had better. At this rate it’ll need to last another 50 years.

Death By Michael’s

I am deep in a shame spiral right now. A shame spiral, true, trimmed with felt, glittered pumpkins, ersatz tree boughs — in fall colors — foam stickers, and decorative stones. But a shame spiral nonetheless. And yes, you guessed it. It’s Michael’s-related. I can barely bring myself to speak of it.

But I will try.

I went there with MJ today to make a return. We ended up not using all of the stuff we bought for crafting at the birthday party. I wanted to get it back quickly. Before, that is, I waited too long and wound up stuck with eight fall-themed rubber stamps, two packs of blank greeting cards, and two non-washable ink pads I would never use. Because that, folks, is forty bucks right there. Forty! You heard me right. Madness.

So I did the return. But then I made my fatal error. I had a picture — a large drainage map of the USA — that Mike just bought, and I wanted to see how much they would charge to frame it. Why not? I was there, right? The map was with me. They do framing, after all. So I proceeded on into the store, MJ in tow. We went back to the framing section. MJ had a lollipop she’d gotten for her birthday. We had time. The guy showed me some things. They were having a 55% off sale. I agonized. I called Mike. He suggested I get a second quote. I said he was right.

And then I ordered a frame. A really expensive one! One I don’t even know if we’ll like. And I paid up front for it. At Michael’s!

What am I, on crack? Whatever small amount of aesthetic credibility I ever had — which is, let’s face it, about a nano-speck — has just been sucked into a credit card machine in a strip mall in Glendale and spat out in the mega-parking lot outside. I ran over it on my way out. Whatever shred of it remains is now packed into the treads of my tires, mixed with old chewing gum and warm asphalt. I will never get it out again. Unless I use a toothpick. Which will break. And give me a splinter.

Nor will I ever get that $560 — yes! Agh! — back again. Holy shit. I can’t believe it.

I should’ve kept the party leftovers. I could’ve made a frame for the map out of pumpkin heads, acorns, and ladybugs stamped onto brown-paper envelopes. I’d be $560 richer. $560! That’s a dishwasher. Not a Kitchen Aid, but something better than our currently-owned antique. It’s a stove. Not a Wolf. An eighth of a Wolf. Still. It’s a month — part time — at a fancy school for MJ. It’s a plane ticket to New York for Christmas! A replaced window! Several rugs! Nine parking tickets! Five Trader Joe’s runs! God knows how much dry cleaning for Mike’s shirts!

Most importantly, I’d have my self-esteem back. For now? Look for it in the returns bin at Michael’s. It’s on sale, cheap. As is.