Monday, July 02, 2007

Company Comparison: Crescent vs. Bainbridge

As I wrote about several weeks ago, one of the things I was trying to do was change some of my matting. In trying to evaluate the different matbaord options available and choose a color, my ideal plan was to obtain corner samples of the Crescent RagMat, Michael Graves, and Moorman Suede series. However, there in lies a problem.


In looking around, very few places sell matboard corner samples. Of those that do, many don't do it for the RagMat series, many more don't have the Moorman Suede series, and nobody that I could find carried the the Michael Graves line. Furthermore, one seller that I've been dealing with for a while has had a message on their website for a long time stating that they couldn't get the samples from Crescent. That message went away for a short time, and now it's back stating that crescent isn't providing their distributors with corner samples and that they needed to be contacted directly.

I figured dealing with them directly shouldn't be a problem. However, I couldn't have been more wrong. First I called their phone number. The only option I came up with was to leave a phone message and they said a local rep would contact me back in 24 hours. Well, 48 hours later (96 hours counting the weekend) and I hadn't received a response back. This time, I decided to email them and make the same request. A day and a half later and I still hadn't received a response.

At this point, I was getting a little bit fed up, so I posted on the ArtShowPhoto message board asking if anyone knew how to contact Crescent and explained my problem. Well, it may have just been coincidence, or maybe not, but a mere 10 minutes later I finally received a call from a crescent representative.

I explained that I was looking for corner samples for a few different lines of matbaord. Unfortunately, the rep informed me that Crescent did not have samples for the Michael Graves line and wouldn't have them until later in the summer. However, she informed me that she could send me a specifier sheet for those mats. I accepted the offer and asked if I could also get corner samples for the other mats I was interested in. She said she could do that.

Well, it was more than 2 weeks before I received my samples in the mail. When I received them, I was a bit disappointed. I received no corner samples...only specifier sheets. And I didn't even receive all of them (nothing for the Moorman line). For the most part, the specifier sheets did at least have actual mat samples glued to the page, so what you saw was the actual material (color, texture, and all). However, for the Michael Graves collection, it was just printed on the page. In addition, I believe the printing is not very accurate. I've seen a few of the Michael Graves mats before and was quite impressed. However, what I saw in front of me wasn't the least bit impressive.

So what I receieved was some samples that were good and some that I believe weren't very accurate, and none of which I could actually use like corner samples to see how it looked on a print. In summary, what I received is only slightly better than nothing.

At this point, I'm very disappointed with the lackluster support I've received from Crescent. Either they aren't very interested in promoting their products, or they just don't care about smaller customers like me. I could accept the latter...many big businesses don't want to deal with small customers. However, by failing to provide even their distributors with the necessary corner samples, they've left me no real good options here.


At this point, I decided to give up on Crescent and give Bainbridge a see if maybe THEY want my business. After my last experience, I was expecting another nightmare. However, I was very happy to be proven wrong.

Upon phoning their toll free number, I was presented with a very simple menu selection. I only had to make one menu choice and was put on hold. Within 30 seconds I was speaking to a real person. I asked her how I could go about obtaining the corner samples. She told me that they supplied them for free, that I only had to pay for shipping, and that they'd be shipped in 3 or 4 business days. She took a credit card, and I was off the phone in less than 5 minutes. Shipping cost ended up being something in the area of $20-$25 for around 300 different corner samples.

In less than 2 weeks, the samples arrived. I had everything I had asked for

To sum it all up:

Crescent: Left voice mail, waited, sent email, waited, finally got a response, made my request, waited 2+ weeks, didn't receive what I asked for.

Bainbridge: Got a real person in less than 60 second, made my request, waited less then 2 weeks, and received exactly what I requested

Needless to say, I'll now using Bainbridge matboard instead of Crescent.

On a final personal note, I really hate when companies do this sort of stupid thing. I'm a bit sorry to say it, but I've been using Crescent all along and the thought of switching to another company never even entered my mind for a second. Through sheer stupidity, the company has driven away an unquestioningly faithful customer and sent them straight into the arms of their biggest competitor.

1 comment:

Jen Went Green said...

Where do you get bainbridge directly? They sound great, but I can't find them on Google... sorry to sound like a moron!