Client: Can you, like, convert a JPG to HTML?
This client worked for a very large design-centred corporation.
My aunt recruited 14-year-old me as a videographer for the church’s theater performance of the “Passion of Christ” at the church. There were three cameras: two were owned by the church and stayed mostly still once they were set up on either side of the stage, and I brought a camera with me to get a dynamic front view of the stage. The play went off without a hitch, all the cameras worked to perfection, and I was all set to hand off the flash drive with the video file from my camera to the pastor.
Client: Thank you so much for doing this for us. Now on the topic of payment…
Me: Oh I wasn’t expecting payment for this, just tell my aunt that I had fun!
Client: Oh no you misunderstand, YOU need to pay US.
Me: What? Why?
Client: Rental fees for the 2 cameras of course! What did you think we would let you use them for free? 3 hours of use means you owe us $30!
Me: You mean to tell me that you want me to pay for the use of cameras owned by the church, to use within the church, to make a video for the church, of a play performed by the church?
Me: …Tell my aunt I will call her tomorrow, I’m going home.
I work in a small mobile phone repair and accessories shop.
One afternoon an older gentleman and his wife came into the shop carrying a plastic shopping bag that looked like it had a box in it.
Client: Our phone isn’t working.
Me: (imagining they have been given a new mobile phone by well-intentioned family) Ok, what’s the matter with it?
Client: We can’t make or receive any calls and it’s very inconvenient.
Me: Ok well I’ll take a look at it, maybe there’s something wrong with the network settings.
They open the bag and dump onto my counter a “wireless” landline phone complete with cradle.
Me: This is a landline phone.
Client: *blank stare*
Me: I work with mobile phones.
Client: Well it is mobile. It’s one of those cordless ones that you can walk around with in the house.
Me: Well, yes, in that sense. But it’s still a landline phone. I can’t fix it.
Client: (looking equal parts annoyed and desperate) But we NEED to be able to make calls!
Me: Have you tried replacing the batteries in the back?
Client: Do you sell those?
Me: … No. But your local supermarket will - they’re standard AAAs.
Client: Why don’t you sell them?
Me: Because this is a mobile phone shop and mobile phones don’t use standard AAAs.
Client: But this IS a mobile phone!
They might have said more, but I didn’t hear them over the banging of my head against the desk.
I’m an Etsy store owner. I state clearly in my listing description that I do not provide the images and that they must have permission to use any kind of design/artwork they submit.
This one client sent me a bunch of images that they clearly found on Google that they did not have copyright for. Some had watermarks, one was even a link to someone else’s OneDrive account…
Me: I can’t work with these. You clearly don’t have copyright for these.
Client: Oh, I’m sorry. I didn’t know.
Then they sent me links to stickers and t-shirts on Redbubble and Teepublic.
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Me: Okay, I’m halfway done with your report. What do you think?
Client: Good, it’s still only $10 right?
Me: That's not what we agreed. The end price will be $40 because it’s 4,000 words. I’m not even including the $5 editing fee that I usually do with such big projects.
Client: That’s ridiculous! I have five other people doing this report for me and you are by far the most expensive. I’m not going to be paying.
While reviewing our Google My Business page I noticed a bad review from a former “client.” She was a website project that one of my former employees took on as a contractor and out of charity, I picked it up to finish what he couldn’t.
Prior to the project, I had a call with the client to sort out the mess. The client had no contract with me and never paid my company any money and I made it clear that out of the goodness of my heart I was helping her out because it was so close to done.
The project essentially had to be redone as she changed her mind about everything she wanted every week. Since I had no scope or contract from the original project (and didn’t bother setting one up for my crack at it) I had to take her word for what was included and what wasn’t.
Needless to say, the project tripled in hours from what was budgeted but throughout the whole process I never got an indication she was unhappy with the work, quite the opposite. Her emails stated things like, “You rock!”, “This feature is awesome!”, “Great work!”
When it was time to launch the website I went through my normal pre-launch checklist, getting approvals from her to launch, etc. After we launched the site, she demanded we take it down as she “hadn’t looked at the site” and that we had launched it without her permission.
We quickly redirected the domain back to her old site. I told her that I can’t continue to work on the site as my paying workload can’t allow further free work and introduced her to another developer to fix and finish what she couldn’t make time to review before.
Weeks went by and I reached out and asked how things were going.
I then found the review stating we were poor communicators (we communicated by email at least three times a week), took too long (a month of that she was on vacation and said, “don’t worry about it till I get back”) and lacked professionalism and customer respect.
After following up by email to get clarification on the bad review she stated that I should have gone above and beyond her expectations so that I could have received referrals from her family and friends but now that she was going to use her experience as a Case Study of what not to do with her business students.
I just thought, “Right…because giving you triple the hours for free and a far superior product than you had before at no extra cost wasn’t going "above and beyond”
Client: Listen I just want to say something, I hope you don’t take it the wrong way. Anyway, you’re smart. But you’re also clearly attractive and I just feel like that’s what’s really going to get you anywhere in life.
Client: Anyway, thanks for the work. I hope you enjoyed yourself.
I teach piano and very occasionally do playing gigs. I stupidly agreed to play for free at the wedding of a church acquaintance who was throwing everything together very last minute. I met her at the wedding venue a couple of days beforehand to scope things out.
Me: Where’s the piano?
Client: There isn’t one. Aren’t you bringing yours?
Me: Pianos really aren’t portable. If you want piano music, you need to find a venue with a piano.
Client: You have a piano. You could bring it.
My piano is digital, but cabinet-style and still quite heavy. She’d seen it herself. I never transport it to gigs, I didn’t have a vehicle big enough to transport it, and she had never mentioned that I was supposed to supply my own piano in order to play for free at her wedding.
Me: No, I can’t bring mine. Maybe you could just use recorded music.
Client: (angry and panicking) You’ll just have to find a way to get a piano here!
In the end, her more reasonable father procured a portable digital piano and amplifier for me to play. It looked and sounded pretty awful, and the client never talked to me again.
I think I’m okay with that.