A few people asked for what happened to the strange foreign lady who would pet my coworkers and I, so here it is in all of its glory, sorry it's a little on the long side. For these purposes, I'll just call her Pet.
Pet finally came in to get something custom framed. It was a large photo collage her brother had sent her. Because in addition to being one to pet the employees, she was also a talker, I learned her brother lived in Brazil, had sent it to her months ago, and a decent chunk of her family history. We picked out a frame and since it was so large, skipped the mat, though she said to do whatever we needed to in order to get it to lay flat.
If you want to do yourself a favor, when you order a poster, canvas, really any piece of art and it comes rolled up in a tube, as soon as you get it, take it out of the tube and squish it flat between cardboard or something similar. The longer it's rolled, the more likely the waves in it when you try to lay it out are permanent. Don't get me started on rolling, then squishing it. ("You mean you can't get those creases out?" With what? The magic wand I hide up my backside?)
It was so large and had been rolled so tight for so long, we couldn't get it to stay under the spacers so it wouldn't touch the glass (which would have also been bad for the piece). We tried adding a small mat, just to give it the extra weight at the edges. Again, it had been rolled so tightly for too long, and just projectile launched the mat off. Finally, we called Pet and asked her if we could dry mount it.
Dry mounting involves a machine that gets up to around 200 degrees Farenheit, heat activated glue, and a vacuum seal. Because once it's dry mounted, it can't be un-done and vacuum part of it very occasionally glitches, we ask specific questions.
1.) Can it be easily replaced?
2.) Will it take more than $250 to replace it?
We ask this anyway for liability issues. If it's more than that or irreplaceable, the art either goes home with them and we call when we're ready for it, or it gets hidden in the fire-proof cash office, but it doesn't come within 5 feet of the dry mount machine. Pet gives us the go ahead, and because our luck is awful, the worst happens, though in a way none of us have ever experienced before or since.
Because of a quirk with either the paper or inks that were used when it was printed in Brazil, the ink was separating from the paper, probably because of the heat used. Again, this was a new one on all of us, and we had never had it happen before, but that's why we called and asked the questions before we did anything. We all felt awful, but it's not like it was something we could have foreseen.
We called Pet, let her know what happened, and honestly, we did apologize profusely, and laid out the best way to get it handled- either have her brother re-print it in Brazil and ship it back over or have her brother send her a digital file of the piece and have it printed here in the states. Either way, she just had to bring us receipts for the printing and shipping, and we'd reimburse up to the $250 limit.
Suddenly, it was no longer her brother, it was 'The Artist'. 'The Artist' is not willing to send her a copy of the file because the image may be stolen. (Most artists won't send digital copies to people for that reason, but since it was her brother, didn't think theft would be at the top of his list with her, though I don't judge interesting family dynamics.
More to the point, she started denying she ever said he was her brother.) 'The Artist' wanted more money to print it out a second time for his trouble and inital destruction of a masterpeice. 'The Artist' wanted it shipped wrapped in rose petals, escorted by carrier pigeons. All said and done, they wanted over $2000 to have the thing re-printed.
She tried to sue. It didn't work so well. Those of us who were her regular head-petting/touching victims bought a pizza to celebrate.