Clients from Hell

Submit your story
October 22, 2014

I’m in the early stages of scoping content presentation for a new B2B site and show my client some HTML wireframes to show how structured data is presented on various page types:

Client:  Yeah, that’s okay, but can you add some animation?

Me: Sure, what have you got in mind?

Client: I want all the headings to fly in and spin into position, then hide the text and make people click a button so it flies in from the right and fades in slowly.

Me: Isn’t that a bit over the top? That’d make it hard for your customers to find the information they’re looking for.

Client: I don’t care; I just want fancy effects on the page. Customers will be impressed by that.

Client:  I don’t see the updated information on the website

Me: Did you refresh the page?

Client: I don’t see why that should be necessary.

Me: Well, it is if you want to see the updated information. Just hit the refresh button, or press the F5 key.

Client: In all my years of using computers, I’ve never heard of that requirement before. Please update the information like I requested and let me know when it is done.

October 21, 2014

I worked on a poster for a client. He signed off and told me he loves it.

Around 1am, he texts me.

Client: Hey it’s me. I just got word that I can’t use the girl’s image in the poster because we don’t have the copyright. Here is another image. Can you get it to me by 8am?

At 6am…

Me: I don’t think I can get it to you that early. I have work at 8:30am and I just woke up. I have to get ready to go in.

Client: Can you try?

Me: I can try. But because it is such short notice, I am charging for revisions AND a rush job fee.

Client: Wait. Why do I have to pay you again?

I am a freelance Network/Systems Designer. I was contacted by a statistics lab at a university I attended. They asked if I could make time for an interview.

They wanted to build a moderately sized cluster for the department’s faculty/grad students. We did a phone interview, and man, they talked the talk. They wanted a Beowulf, they had bought a bulk order of 100 systems, and they had all the networking equipment. This sounded excellent, so I flew out about a week later to assemble everything.

We sat down in a conference and everyone seemed to know exactly what they wanted. Before signing the contract I asked to see the purchased equipment.

I’m so glad I did.

Me: Hm. We have a bit of a problem.

Client: Anything you need, we can fix. We have some remaining room in the budget.

Me: Alright, here’s the issue, there are three completely different sets of computers here. We have Sun SPARC systems, Mac PPC systems, and surprisingly new Dell systems. We can only use one of those sets, unless you return the whole lot and we start over.

Client: What?! Why?! You told us this would be easy!

Me: If you can’t return it, that’s fine. We have the dells that we can use, you just wont get all 100 into the cluster. If you want to add more, then as you’re able, you can buy new nodes. I can teach a faculty member or someone from IT to—

Client: Wait, wait. I think I have a solution. So we can’t use the Dells, Suns, and Macs together right?

Me: Yes because the proc—

Client: We can get someone in here to paint Dell on all of them. Problem solved!

October 20, 2014

I was making gift cards for a client’s small fundraiser. I made a gift card and emailed it to her; no problem. She replies back saying thanks.

Ten minutes later, I get a call.

Client: Hi, you know I have to print out three gift cards, but you only sent me one.

Me: It’s just the image. You just print out multiple copies.

Client: But there’s only one gift card. I need three of them.

Me: Since the gift cards are all the same, you can just print it out three times.

Client: But I only have ONE gift card. I need THREE of them!

At this point, I just gave up and emailed her again. This time, I reattached the same file (with slightly different names) three times.

She replied to thank me for churning out two more cards so quickly. 

I had an elderly customer who often commissioned me for the creation of legal forms for his business. He was tired of having to print out paper documents and hand write everything, especially because he had terrible penmanship. I agreed to the work, but was leery of it, because this man hardly knew how to use his PC to access email, let alone download, edit, save and print digital forms.

One day, I got a call from him regarding the most recent file we’d created. I had sent it to his email with instructions on how to download the attachment, save it and use it for his business — none of which he read, apparently.

Me: Can you tell me what’s showing up on your screen right now?

Client: It’s my document.

Me:  Err, okay, but I need to know if there are any error messages, if anything looks strange, if anything’s missing from the document… 

Client: I don’t know! It’s my document and I can’t edit it, and my tech guy says you can’t edit PDF files!

After some time troubleshooting the problem, I figure out that he’s ignored the instructions I gave him and clicked “preview document” in his email instead.

I told him that I’m going to give him some instructions over the phone to solve the issue, and if he follows them, the problem will be solved in no time. He agreed, and I started from downloading the attachment, all the way to saving a copy of the downloaded document with a test file name so that he could learn how to do this for future reference.

We spent a good half hour talking, going back over things the client didn’t understand, until…

Me: Okay, so — did you see how that saved two versions of the same document on your desktop?

Client: No.

Me: No?

Client: I didn’t do any of the stuff you said! None of it was telling me how to fix my document! Just tell me how to fix it!

October 19, 2014

[DEAL] Need to make it more ‘elegant?’ This font is for you.

For a few hours more, the Gioviale Script Font is over half-off at a mere $15. This gorgeous script font includes 300 swashes, more than 1,000 glyphs, 20 ornaments, 20 discretionary ligatures and a bunch of other words I don’t really understand!

The handcrafted font is a good balance between a heavily formal font and a more playful one. There are a bundle of projects it will work with.

Check out the deal here. 

I created a PDF of some gift tags for a client. They were arranged in portrait orientation so they would print on an 8.5” x 11” page like a regular document. I sent them to her, she said they were perfect, and I forgot about the transaction.

A few weeks later, she writes to me in a panic.

Client: Your file is corrupt. When I print it, the bottom and top are cut off and it’s centered on the page with a bunch of white space on the side.

Me: Did you make sure to change your printer settings to print in portrait?  You probably have it set to landscape.

To further prove my point, I printed out the exact file I sent her, took a picture of it, and sent the picture showing it printed correctly.  I also attached the same file I originally sent her and replied again.

Me: I just printed it and it worked perfectly (as you can see by the photo I sent you). I also reattached the file. You’ll just need to change your printer settings to portrait.

Client: No, it’s not that. This file is corrupt. I’ll just have to have someone else fix it since you won’t.

I let it go. The next day:

Client: So, I figured out what the problem was. I was printing in landscape.

October 18, 2014

My client sent me a .PSD, wanting a website based on that with content he provided within. I did all of it, and I did it damn well.

This is the conversation that followed after the completion of the project.

Me: I take it your happy with the end result? Can I lock the project?

Client: Yes, it’s very nice. What do you mean by locking it?

Me: As in, my job is done, so I’ll send you the bill and we shake hands.

Client: Right, well, I need my friends to look at it before I’m going to pay you. I’m not sure they’ll like it, so there might be things you need to change.

Me: No problem, but note that I don’t do extra work on a project before I’ve gotten paid for the initial job.

Client: You might need to change the entire design and functionality; I’m not going to pay you for something I don’t want.

Client: I want you to use this logo, but, just have more letters, you know?

Me: No. I don’t know what you mean. 

Client: Just… more letters.