The client and I had just begun our meeting when he pulled is iPad out and started playing elevator/baby-making music at the highest possible volume. I laughed at first, thinking he was kidding…except this continued for the next 30 minutes during our meeting. It was an extremely awkward situation, for all 20 of us in the office.
“As a company, we’re all about change. The marketplace is always changing and people are constantly evolving. We’re about innovation. We were thinking of having several logos, all rotating on the homepage; no more than twelve but no fewer than 8 — we want to keep things fresh.”—
Client: “I want to be honest with you. The money that I’m budgeting for this project doesn’t come from this business. It comes from my porn chat. You know, I have a phone sex business. But I don’t need marketing and design for the porn business. Nobody wants to admit they use it even though everybody does. Anyway, that’s where they money comes from. So I make a lot of money.”
Client: “This layout looks absolutely amazing; I completely love it! However, my husband is from Germany and so he has a natural born sense of design (I’m from the South, so I have to trust what he thinks) and he doesn’t like it at all. He’ll be calling you shortly with his revisions.”
A particularly picky client wanted a PDF proof of his artwork e-mailed to him to approve before printing. Since he had originally supplied his artwork as a PDF, I simply e-mailed him back the original file. After reviewing this proof, he complained that the quality was not good, that the graphics were muddy, and that the text didn’t “pop.” I promised to “fix” it before printing and assured him it would look identical to his original artwork.
I work on an in-house design team and our boss consistently walks past our monitors and peeks at what we are doing. On occasion, there will be something on screen that bothers her. One day she walked by and asked, “Are you really putting pink stripes on that?” The pink stripes were my grid guides.
An anonymous reader writes in to tell us about the How Low Can Your Logo contest. In true crowd source fashion, participants compete to design shitty logos for Excellencico, “a global leader in providing a focused, broad range of services to a world-class, international, region-centric clientele.”
Excellencico harnesses evolving, dynamic e-technologies to provide unparalleled levels of synergistic e-products to a heterogeneous set of unperpendiculated e-applications…
We prefer that the logo convey the forward-thinking nature of our company without looking too futuristic or flashy but we also don’t want anything too conservative or neutral. “Just right” is the vibe we are looking for..
I’d been working with a client for awhile when I was called into the president’s office.
Client: We’re going to have to ask you to leave.
Me: What? Why? I thought you liked the work I’ve been doing.
Client: Oh, your work is terrific. But er, you’ve become known among some higher-ups as a … “quirky” guy. (he makes air quotes with his fingers)
Me: Haha, well, there’s lots of quirky folks around. It’s a design office.
Client: Yeeeahh. Well, some folks aren’t too comfortable with… “quirky” people like you. I think you’d be a lot happier working somewhere else… maybe in another city like San Francisco where there’s lots other “quirky” people like you. (lots of air quotes throughout)
Me: Er… can you tell me what you mean by “quirky”, just so I’m clear?
[I was working late at night to get a website I had been working on for a few months launched. After putting up all of the files I decided I would text message the client seeing as it was late at night.]
Text message to client: "Website is launched."
Text message from client: "OK. Great. Now that the site is launched I wanted to let you know that these past few months have been terrible. You are a bit difficult to work with. And now that the site is finally up I want to let you know that I will not be paying your final invoice. Sorry."
I FTPed back onto the server and deleted all of the files.
“Our clients are dynamic and well educated people; they don’t waste their time by watching videos or reading blogs!”—Client in response to my suggestion that we utilize social media and youtube in a marketing campaign.
About ten years ago, I was contacted by a tech recruiter about a tech writer position. The client had accidentally seen my resume, and insisted upon talking to me. I went to the interview, and the client painted a wonderful picture about the job. Problem was, the position was in Austin, Texas, and for about two-thirds of what I was already making. I told her that while I appreciated her taking the time, I had no interest in moving to Austin, and thought that would be that.
The next week, I received three calls from the recruiter, telling me that the client really wanted me for the job. Then the client called, after bullying the recruiter for my home phone number: ”If you can’t afford an apartment, you could always stay at my apartment!” After I informed her that I was married, she suddenly realized how far over she’d gone, and explained that she had no ulterior motives. She just REALLY wanted me on her team.
Fast-forward about a year. I’d been laid off and I ran into a colleague of hers at a networking event. It turns out that I wasn’t the only person to whom she’d offered space on the couch, and her company had decided to shut down her entire department when they found out about it.
Client: “I’ve put the DVD in my computer but it won’t recognize it in Windows Media Player. Normally it works without any problems.”
Me: “Your computer has two drives and only one of them can read DVDs. Which drive did you put the disc in?”
Client: “What do you mean? They’re different? You’re supposed to be the computer expert, why can’t you just tell me what’s wrong?”
Me (Ignoring everything wrong and insulting about the previous comment): ”Each of the two drives have a little insignia on the front. One says ‘DVD’ and the other says ‘CD’. Make sure the disc is in the tray that says ‘DVD’.”
Client: “Are you f***ing kidding me? You can’t just tell me what’s wrong? How do you expect to get paid for what you do if you can’t make a f***ing DVD work on my computer? I can’t see anything on the computer that says ‘DVD’ or ‘CD’.”
Me (With my finite sense of decency quickly draining): “Try the top one.”
Client: ”Oh wait, the disc is still on my desk. (She puts it into the computer and the DVD starts playing instantly.) Well, I figured it out by myself. I guess I didn’t need your fancy tech support after all.”
My company made an interactive timeline showing the history of how this large Telecom company grew to be one of the leading companies in the world. The communications manager was satisfied with our work, but she wanted to display the timeline on more than just the little screen on the PC. We told her that it wasn’t a problem, and advised them to buy a flat screen TV to mount on the wall.
Client: “But how do you do that?”
Me: “Do what?”
Client: “Get the PC signal from the PC onto the TV?”
Me: ”Oh, we won’t need to create a signal.”
Client: “Why not?”
Me: ”The timeline will be mirrored on the LCD.”
Client: ”That’s smart!”
Me: ”Well, it’s a common feature actually…”
Client (interrupts): ”But, where shall we place the mirror?”
In 2005, I was in London working as a typesetter for a magazine from a small publisher. My client, who was a foot taller than me, got very upset everytime my phone rang. Not that the phone rang that many times a day, but anyway, one day he asked me (not very politely) not to answer any phone calls.
Obviously my phone rang at that very moment. It was my wife. The client started to yell at me. I thought that it was just too much and so I told him to fuck off - I was leaving.
Before I reached the door the client grabbed me by the t-shirt and tried to punch me in the face. I was lucky that he was really clumsy and managed to avoid the blow. After punching the air a couple of times, I think that he came back to his mind and offered me a couple hundred pounds extra so that the matter would be settled, but I refused. By that time people from neighboring offices had come out to see what was happening.
I left the office and went to a police station two blocks down the road. Unfortunately, I was leaving England in a month and couldn’t press serious charges against him. Moral of the story? Don’t tell your clients to fuck off.
After my boss met with a sailboat captain, which we did the promotional website for, he calls me up to his computer. He explained that the client’s wife had burnt some discs for us with photos from their latest trip to the Bahamas. We were to use them to update their photo gallery and blog.
My boss proceeded to click on a random picture, and to our surprise, the photo showed the client in a t-shirt, with no pants, peeing overboard.
I do a lot of work for a church, and in one of the projects there was a small mistake. After chattin with the church elders, they concluded that the best way to make it right was to punish me by not paying me, but continuing to work with me in future projects.
"I don’t think we can pay you for your time, that’s what we’ve determined is the best way for redemption"
Sometimes, clients get violent. Sometimes, we find it funny. Other times, it’s down right wrong. In anticipation of our forthcoming book, the CFH editorial staff are looking for stories about your most belligerent client. We’re looking for hostility, emotionally-abusive insults, racism, homophobia, the punching of inanimate objects and pet-sacrifices (among other things). Clients like these are the worst to deal with and we want to hear all about ‘em. Come join hands with us, send us a submission.