Clients from Hell

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September 26, 2014

A friend of mine got married some weeks ago. My wedding gift as a professional photographer was to take the wedding pictures. Everything went really well. The pictures turned out great and everybody was happy.

They showed the pictures to some friends that were going to marry next month. The soon-to-be bride called me and asked whether I could take the pictures for their wedding, too. For a six hour shoot, she offered me free cake and drinks. When I politely declined and told her I usually only do professional work for money, she decided to call my friends and tell them what a greedy b**ch I am.

After making a simple MS Word newsletter template for a client (who is the head of a large company)…

Client: Can you remove the red lines under the text? I don’t think it looks very good with the design.

Me: I don’t see any red lines.

Client: It only happens when I start working on the document.

Me: You mean the incorrect spelling underlines?

The template uses lorem ipsum, so EVERYTHING is underlined.

September 25, 2014

A few hours after the site went live.

Client: I don’t see us on the Google. Shouldn’t the Google be impressed with my website??

Me: No matter what we do, it still takes time to index. The site should start appearing within a month or so. Your brand is very unique.

Client: That’s not fast enough. Should I call the Google?

Me: …You can try.

Not quite a client from hell but a story of a boss from hell that involved a freelancer.

The old boss at an agency I worked was working on some copy for a website and had sent it to a freelance copywriter to make changes and polish it up. My old boss was a perfectionist and believed that he could do anybody’s job in the agency better than they could.

The freelancer sent him a revised Word Document and discussed over a (loud) speakerphone. The conversation between the freelancer and my old boss went like this (in earshot of the entire office):

Boss: I just read the copy you sent through.

Freelancer: Oh yeah? What feedback do you have?

Boss: It is quite possibly the worst written piece of crap I have ever read. Nothing makes any sense and it feels like it has been written by a 3 year old.

Freelancer: But…

Boss: I don’t know how you can call yourself a ‘copywriter’ if you can’t even spell. Most of these words don’t mean anything relevant to this project and I feel that I have wasted my time hiring you for a job you quite clearly can’t do! Once again I have to do these things myself.

A slight pause.

Freelancer: The document I sent has not been changed from the original you sent me. I only added a couple of questions in red at the end that needed answering before I could proceed.

After a long pause my old boss rather sheepishly made his excuses and ended the call. We didn’t see him again for the rest of the day

September 24, 2014

I was once put on the naughty step by an agency I freelanced for. Everyone in the building was working like Roman galley slaves, constantly under pressure, literally seven days a week, putting in stupid hours every day. It was great for my bank balance but family life took a major hit.

Anyway, the boss recognised that things were getting out of hand (especially freelance costs – who’d have thought it?) so he sent round a memo entitled “Work/life balance.” It basically thanked everyone for putting in so much effort and time to help the business, and said that he realised things were going too far and that something had to be done (the first thing would have been to stop telling clients they could have the moon on a stick by 6pm).

That was sort of ok. But then the email said:

“Most importantly, we need to find a way to solve the problem of our work/life balance. So if you could all have a think about it over the weekend and get back to me with some ideas on Monday, that will be a great start.”

They never forgave me for how loud I laughed when I read it.

Client looking at the perfect circle images on their team page.

Client:  The circles aren’t round enough.

Me: How so?

Client: They aren’t as round as I was expecting.

It took a while to figure out, but they were trying to refer to the size of the circles. 

September 23, 2014

A client of mine runs an international student recruiting program.

Client: We don’t want our flyers to look like all the other American companies. Can you please change the colors from red, white, and blue to something else? And please get rid of the statue of liberty at the bottom.

Me: Okay, here is the new flyer with a new color scheme and no statue of liberty.

Client: This is missing something to show that we are American. Can you use patriotic colors and put in a national landmark?

A few years ago, I was working for an ad agency on a business-to-business campaign. The concept we came up with called for illustrations of exotic birds (a Bird of Paradise, a Secretary bird, that sort of thing), and the client agreed to hire probably the best bird illustrator around.

Five illustrations came in at over £2,000 each, but they were worth it. The finished work was astounding - you could count not just the feathers, but even the little bits of each feather - and the client was stunned. He eventually had each one framed for reception in his company’s head office.

That client wasn’t the issue, though.

While we were still working on the campaign, another client came in and saw the originals waiting to be used.

Client: What are they for?

Confidentiality notwithstanding, we gave him a brief outline.

Client: Really? Hm. They look expensive. How much were they?

We told him ‘a four figure sum - each.’

Client: What? You’re kidding? Seriously? Have you paid him yet? I’ve got a CD of clip art with pictures like that on. I could let you have them for a tenner.

We respectfully declined.

September 22, 2014

I was working with an older store owner who just recently had our advertising department build him a new website. He knows that he needs a website but doesn’t know much else about the internet. We’ll call his store “Owner’s Store” for the sake of this story.

Client: We’re having problems accessing the website.

Me: We are completely aware and are working on it. Your previous web provider hasn’t finished pointing your domain to our servers. The main portion is up and running though.

Client: I can’t get to that either.

Me: That’s odd. Are you going to ownersstore.com?

Client: Yes, but I keep getting an error.

Me: How are you searching for it?

Client: On the internet! o-w-n-e-r-APOSTROHPE-s-s-t-o-r-e-DOT-c-o-m!

Me: There’s the problem. Domains can’t have apostrophes. You own ownerstore.com. Try it without the apostrophe.

Client: No, I ALWAYS use an apostrophe!

Me: I promise you, you haven’t.

I’m a college student who is working towards getting my degree in graphic design. While at my part-time job, I was asked by a co-worker if I could design a couple of posters for her part time cleaning business. While discussing what she wanted her “mascot” to look like, we had a interesting conversation:

Me: Ok, so you said you wanted a woman in a maid costume, holding a duster in one hand, and a vacuum in the other?

Client: Yeah, but I don’t want it to look slutty or anything.

Me: Ok, got it. Anything else before I start sketching it?

Client: Well, I want it to look sexy, but family friendly.

Me: O-okay. Let me see what I can come up with.

She ended up picking a design with a maid in a short sexy dress vacuuming next to a group of toys. And as an added bonus, the phrase “I’ll Beat Your Sweeper” was featured on the eventual posters.