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I bought a nice 16 x 20 frame at Hobby Lobby in Shreveport, on Dec. 30 2017.

I needed a custom collage matt for six 4x6 prints surrounding one 4x4 print. I showed the framer a picture of one exactly like it that I had done a couple of years ago and stated redundantly what size prints were to be used. She seemed to understand and was friendly and pleasant as well. I noticed a wall with eight or more certificates for Hobby Lobby "Certified Custom Framer", so I felt confident the employee serving me would do a good job.

A few minutes later I had my matt and it looked really good. I told the Framer “good job”, and after doing some more shopping I arrived home and proceeded to do a trial assembly. I was shocked to see the 4x6 print drop right through all the openings. I measured the openings and they were all 1/8" oversize in each direction, instead of 1/8" undersize as they should have been.

A CNC matt cutting machine programing error, I imagine. Garbage in Garbage out - you know? Even a Certified Custom Framer can make a mistake ... right?

But seriously … that’s not my complaint here. It's eight miles in heavy Saturday evening traffic, but I needed this done by Tuesday and they are not open Sundays, and Monday is New Year’s Day. So I drove back to Hobby Lobby. When I got to the store my original Framer had left, and the only Framer there acted like I was in error.

I was not at all confrontational at that point. I had a standard 4x6 print and a precision steel rule and showed her very clearly the mistake. Still, she defiantly implied that it was my fault for not having a print with me earlier, even though I was not asked for one, and should not have needed one for a common standard size like 4x6. Realizing she was losing this argument she shifted to statements like "that's just how the machine cut it", and "sometimes they just come out like that", inferring that I just had to accept the scrapped matt as it was.

By now my blood pressure was rising along with the tone of my voice. Finally, without admitting the mistake, she agreed to make another matt, but said she was too busy to do it that night and asked for my phone number, supposedly so she could call me when the new matt was completed. I told her I needed it now and didn't want to prolong a resolution to the issue. She again said she couldn't do it right now.

Frustrated, I reiterated my protest to no avail, and asked to speak to the store manager. I told the manager that I couldn't believe the runaround and disrespect I was getting at Hobby Lobby. She also was not at all understanding or apologetic, but finally, though, after even more measuring and cross examination by the manager, a new matt was reluctantly cut, and a feeble apology was made. Honestly, while I was waiting for the second matt I was thinking "this is how seventy-five year olds have heart attacks and strokes".

I never saw any of this coming from Hobby Lobby. People make mistakes... I fully expect that to happen occasionally, and I love companies that back up their products unconditionally with prompt, friendly customer service (like Amazon and some local food markets) when something goes awry, and that is what I expected when I walked back into Hobby Lobby with a scrapped matt. All I really wanted was someone to say "oops, we'll fix this right away".

But, instead I encountered not one, but two Hobby Lobby employees who were incredibly rude and discourteous to a customer who was obviously right, and elderly as well. I am a conservative, and supported Hobby Lobby in their recent Supreme Court case on religious freedom. You can believe that or not, but after having the most stressful interaction with any store employees in my entire life, I feel compelled to write this honest account of my experience. You can talk about Christian values all you want, but in the end, actions speak louder than words.

When it comes to customer service, Hobby Lobby has a long way to go in training their employees the proper way to handle complaints and amaze their customers rather than disappoint them.

It would serve them well to go above and beyond what people expect, both from a “good for business” standpoint as well as for perception. I'm not going to say that I will never shop there again, but I will certainly be on my toes anytime I go there in the future.

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