Clients from Hell

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August 22, 2014

A client ordered a product from me that required pickup. He called to ask about the status of it.

Me: Your order is ready for pickup. I’ve tried to call multiple times over the past few days, but your voicemail box was full and I couldn’t leave a message.

Client: So my order has been ready? Why didn’t you let me know!?

Me: I’m sorry, but when I called the number you provided, I couldn’t leave a message for you.

Client: Thanks a lot. The closing was yesterday. Now I’ll have to give it to them after the fact.

Me: Again, I tried calling multiple times, to no answer and a full machine –

Client: Well of course I didn’t answer! I assumed someone calling that much was trying to spam me. 

I had a job photographing a corporation that wanted me to somehow portray their middle aged, grey-suited employees as young, colourful hipsters. After the job was completed, the feedback from the company was positive, and the agency managing the job signed off on it.

A few days later, the CEO of the company got back in touch, asking if I could do another half day to try a different idea he had for the hero shot for their website. The idea was completely different from what they had included in their initial brief, but the agency told me to humor him.

I went back to shoot his new idea. While doing so, I heard the marketing manager tell my assistant how great the photography I’d done was. The CEO then said:

Client: Yeah, so great he had to come back to do it again.

August 21, 2014

I was contracted by a local business to create a logo and a website; my client said that a mutual friend referred me.  We discussed his project over the phone and he agreed to meet me at a local coffee shop to start work after the contract had been signed. 

After receiving the signed contract and deposit, I tried to set up a meeting at our agreed upon location.  He refused to meet at the coffee shop because he said it was too loud.  He insisted that I meet him at his home at noon that day. I offered a variety of other public places – I didn’t know him, have never met him, and as a small female, I definitely did not feel comfortable meeting him by myself in his home (especially since his office was apparently in the basement).  When we couldn’t agree on a location, he asked me to go ahead and get started on the logo. We would try again another day.

I sent the logo for review and, after a couple weeks, I received a response from him.  He demanded that I meet him in his basement at noon that next day (by myself) to discuss the logo and the website.  He (again) refused a variety of public options. I offered to meet him at his home when his wife was home from work and my husband could join us. I offered a Skype call with screen sharing. He refused both.

It had to be at noon. At his home. In his basement. By myself.

After we couldn’t agree on a location, he sent a series of angry emails cancelling the contract and demanding the non-refundable deposit back.  Including this:

Client: ​And yes, my business is too important to me to discuss it in some, nasty, noisy, public, coffee shop…​

And that mutual friend?  I called him the next day and found out that he wasn’t friends with my now ex-client and that he had never actually referred me to him!

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"I am going to fax over some pictures that I took from the internet."
August 20, 2014

I was working with a client on a cover for his band’s latest album.

Client: Can you Photoshop me with blue eyes?

Me: Sure, do you want to use this photo for the album cover instead of the one we already have?

Client: No, I just want to see.

It was a strange request, but I do it anyways.

Client: Cool. Now can you do it in this photo, where I have a mohawk?

Me: Uh, I could - but am I getting paid for this?

Client: I’d rather not pay you for this, it’s not for the album.

Me: In that case, I’d rather not do it.

I’ve recently had a client who needed posters for an event happening a week later. 

Even though I followed her instructions to the letter, she complained with each draft I sent. Finally, all was agreed upon and the poster was sent to a printer.

The day before the event, she called me in distress.

Client: These posters look terrible - it’s missing the date and some of the colors!

Me: I’m looking at the final example here - the one we agreed on – and it looks like I didn’t forget anything. But maybe —

Client: You know we have a deadline TODAY, right ?

Me: Yes, of course I know that - but I don’t know what went wrong. If you could send —

Client: It’s not my job to know what’s wrong, IT IS YOURS.

Me: If you can just send me the PDF you used for a quick look, then —

The client hung up on me.

I called around to discover that printer’s raster image processor was unsupported, and it had therefore removed some of the colors. This was a somewhat common occurence for them.

I called the client back and tried to explain what had happened

Client: What are you going do about this?

Me: I have had them make you some new posters, free of charge. Because the rush the method is a little different, so the quality won’t be the same, but —

Client: Jesus f****ing Christ! How in the world can you be so unprofessional, dumbass?

Me: As I’ve told you; the problem lies with the printer you use. Apparently —

Once again, the client hung up on me.

August 19, 2014
"How much bigger is 10 millimeters compared to 8 millimeters?"

I’ve been working on a copywriting project with a new client. After sending her my first draft, her comment was that she wanted something “edgy.”

I went back and made some changes, but her feedback was the same - it needed to be “edgier.”

After numerous back-and-forths, both through email and phone calls, I finally found what she wanted: she meant she wanted the word “edge” to appear in the copy more.

August 18, 2014

The Proof is in the Poster

I was working with a client on a poster project and I hadn’t heard anything back in a while. This client is often bad at communicating, so I was concerned something might go wrong. Though I’d provided a proof that she liked, she hadn’t filled my invoice yet.

Once I finally reached her, the job was approved, I got paid, and I provided a print-ready PDF.

A few weeks later, she emails me to say that the printer had trouble matching a colour from the PDF. This was confusing, since I had converted everything into CMYK, and I had cannablized parts of this poster from another project I produced for this client (which had printed just fine).

After trying to troubleshoot with the client as the middleman, I asked if I could contact the printer directly.  She was actually relieved I took the initiative and said it wasn’t a problem.  

I asked the printer was what areas were causing the problem and if he could send me the PDF he was using to print.  Sure enough, the PDF that came back to me had a big ol’ “PROOF” right in the middle of it.  Neither the client nor the printer had questioned this.

I resent the print-ready PDF and, miraculously, there were no more problems.