Clients from Hell

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September 02, 2014

We got a request from a regular client (a large marketing firm) for some major work that needed to be done in two days. The work required staff overtime, multiple disrupted schedules, and a lot of favors from some freelancers we work with, but the client was willing to pay a premium for us to meet their schedule.

We received numerous phone calls from the client during this time, each one a request for updates and reassurances because “if the project is delayed by even a day it will cause all sorts of problems.”

We uploaded the final project to our secure downloads site. All the projects here are available for three months. Afterwards, they are moved to an offline archive

The client thanked us for working so hard to meet their deadline, and they confirmed receipt of the download details.

Six months later, my supervisor got a frantic call from the client asking where the download is. My supervisor explained that it was online for three months, but it has been archived. She reassured the client that we can restore it from our archives.

While this is happening, a get a phone call from someone in another division at the client’s workplace, asking the same question, demanding that the link work within five minutes, and wanting to know if we treat all of our clients this poorly.  

After we reposted the files, I decided to check the download logs for the original posting. The client never visited the original download link.

Needless to say, any further rush jobs from this client were taken with a grain of salt. 

"I thought I asked you to make this idiot-proof. Somehow, I manage to keep breaking it."
September 01, 2014

I sent a client an HD video, created at the customary HD 16:9 aspect ratio. 

Client: Please send me a 4:3 thumbnail of the video. 

Me: Okay, sure.

I cut a 3:4 thumbnail out of the 16:9 one and sent it. 

Client: I can’t see the whole screen! Please send a 4:3 thumbnail that preserves the 16:9 aspect ratio of the video. 

Me: Okay sure. 

I letterbox the thumbnail so the total image is 4:3 but the 16:9 aspect ratio of the video is preserved. 

Client: Great! Now can you just make the image a teeny bit taller on the top and bottom to get rid of the black bars? 

I resent the 16:9 thumbnail. The client had no further requests.

Client: I love the layout and the logo! It’s perfect.

Two weeks later

Client: Can we change the logo to a meditating frog?

The next morning

Client: Ignore what I said yesterday, I was drunk. It still looks great.

Just prior to the due date

Client: I want to change the entire layout and make the logo a rocket ship.

August 31, 2014

From an animated YouTube series I was a voice actor on: 

Client: Hey, I just wanted to let you know that [a fellow cast member] killed himself last night.

Me: Oh my God! That’s terrible! 

Client: It’s okay, I’ve sent out emails to potential replacements, and we should be back on track with recording by the end of the week.

Me: Wait, what? I’m really not comfortable with that. Can we at least take a break before recasting him, since this is a not-for-profit series anyway?

Client: He would have wanted the show to go on. 

Me: What?

I got no response to this. That night:

Client: False alarm guys, [the cast member] is alive and well! I just assumed he’d killed himself because he was acting really depressed and he didn’t answer the IM I sent him a couple of hours earlier. Everything’s back to normal, so let’s move on to episode three!

"Just force people to like my website. You do design, it shouldn’t be hard."
August 30, 2014

A potential client asked me to design a marketing campaign for his new soap and body products store. I sent him a detailed proposal and my rates.

He responded that it all sounded great, and that he was excited to bring me onboard. But, a few days later, he told me that with the budget constraints of starting a new business, he couldn’t afford to hire me just yet. I told him I would be happy to discuss this all again when he was ready, and we left on good terms.

I went into his store once and it was mostly empty, so I bought myself some nice soap and we chatted about politics and the news. It was all very friendly.

Over the next month, he sent me several emails asking questions and making suggestions about his campaign. I answered his questions, assured him that his ideas were great, and I told him that I would be happy to implement some of them if and when he could hire me.

Two months after our initial discussion, he emailed me in a panic, angry about how his sales weren’t increasing. When I responded, asking what sort of marketing he was doing, he was shocked.

Client: You mean to tell me that you haven’t been working on my campaign at all over the last eight weeks? All this time you’ve been sitting there doing nothing!? 

Me: I’m sorry, there must have been a big miscommunication. We never signed a contract and you made it clear you didn’t have a budget to hire me. So no, I have not been working on your project for the last two months. But we can fix this- let’s meet tonight and get this campaign started!

Client: Why bother? Don’t you know the first few months of business are the most important time for marketing!? I thought you understood. This is a disaster. I can’t believe you did this to me.

Needless to say, his fancy storefront has since shut down. 

Client:  I need you to create an interactive planning app on the web page, like Google calendar.

Me: No problem, we can use JavaScript to achieve that

Client: No, don’t use JavaScript.

Me: Why not?

Client: We don’t use scripts.

Me: You want a fully interactive app without scripts?

Client: Yeah. I don’t trust scripts. The word bugs me.

August 29, 2014
"You act like your job is so hard! You only push two or three buttons, and you’re DONE!"

After getting out of the movies, I looked at my phone to find 10 texts from a friend explaining how, exactly, she wants me to design her son’s second birthday invites.

I had never discussed this with her, she didn’t ask, and she simply assumed I was doing it.

Client: Toy Story themed…. Paste his face on Woody’s head… Maybe Buzz Light Year to the side, I dunno you can design however you want… Toy Story fonts, Toy Story backgrounds, etc.

After the texts stopped coming in, I texted her back:

Me: We need to talk.

To which she responded:

Client:  …but I don’t want it super themey.