When you think of fine art and drama, you probably think of high-end galleries and glamorous art thieves. But don’t sleep on Hobby Lobby. What started as a simple framing job at the arts and crafts chain store has become a saga worthy of its own heist movie.
Photographer and TikToker Laurel Place (@pics.by.place) thought she had a simple enough job for the framing department at Hobby Lobby. Place acquired a print of the latest painting from celebrated Western artist Mark Maggiori and brought it to the store in order to have it framed.
In a video posted on Saturday, Place said she expected the process to take some time as other Maggiori fans would also be ordering frames for the artist’s recent “drop.” But she recounted the drama that unfolded in a four-minute TikTok, which went on to receive over 1.7 million views as of the time this article was published.
After several weeks, Place said she received a call from Hobby Lobby telling her to contact them. She said an employee told her that her print was taken by another customer.
“Someone who brought in the same print as you to get framed the same week took your painting,” she recalled being told.
Place said Hobby Lobby claimed the customer who left with the painting didn’t say anything when she received the extra print.
Place said she was told the customer requested that Place send proof the print did belong to Place.
“You mean she took and extra, and now she wants me to prove that it’s mine?” Place asked viewers.
Luckily, Place said she did have video of herself opening the print that showed the print number. She said she sent the video to Hobby Lobby and was told it would be forwarded to the customer.
She was later told that the customer, who lived two hours away in Flagstaff, would bring the print back to the Phoenix Hobby Lobby when she would be in the area again.
“At this point, already a month had gone by,” Place said. “I had to wait, I think it was two more weeks for this woman to mosey on back to Phoenix and drop my print back off.”
@pics.by.place Replying to @kennedygfinn why i avoid #hobbylobby 😂 #customframing #customframingstorytime ♬ original sound – pics.by.place
Place’s video was met with an outpouring of sympathy, especially from her viewers who were fellow fans of Maggiori.
“My heart sank when you said Mark Maggiori. This would be so devastating,” Saasaa (@rightwhereazleftme) wrote.
“Oh my gosh I’m going to get my mark Maggiori print framed TOMORROW , I was debating between a small business or hobby lobby! Thank god I saw this,” one viewer responded.
“I would have immediately called the police,” another added.
However, it appears Place may have been prudent in not involving law enforcement. In a follow-up video, she claimed that Hobby Lobby, and not the customer, was entirely to blame.
Place said she was contacted by another person who claimed to know the customer in question. According to them, they allowed the customer to take both prints in the first place.
Place said a Hobby Lobby employee told the customer that “there must have been a second print stuck behind” the original.
“Then they called back a week later telling this woman [the customer] … that they had misplaced my print,” she told her viewers. “The issue was that they framed my print into the frame that she had requested so they had gotten them mixed up.”
“It wasn’t her fault. Hobby Lobby really screwed the pooch on that one,” she said.
Place said Hobby Lobby “straight up lied to me” by requesting proof the print in question was hers. She said they needed the number in order to tell which print belonged to Place and which belonged to the customer.
The Daily Dot has reached out to Hobby Lobby via its newsroom contact page for a statement.
“They made this woman who unknowingly took my print [out] to be the bad guy,” Place said. However, she claimed the customer received a full refund, while she only received a discounted price for her frame.
“Why did I pay?” she asked. “They gave this woman a refund.”
The Daily Dot has reached out to Place via her website for further comment.