Clients from Hell

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July 08, 2014

My school wanted a digital log for grades to be visible online. I offered them a solution, and asked for 200€ (which is very low, even for basic database work). They waited for a month, and then…

Client: Can you show one of the English professors how to make it?

Me: Okay, when do you want it done? Also, I would want to remind you that my price is fixed at 200€.

Client: Oh no, you don’t understand. We want you to show it to him so he can make it for free.

It is worth noting that I was in a school for information technologies. All the professors in programming laughed when they were asked to do it for free.

Client: I need a quote for my book.

Me: I’ll be happy to offer a quote, ma’am. Can you tell me a little about your book and the services you would like, please?

Client: It’s just a book.

Me: Yes, I understand, but there are many different kinds of books: fiction, non-fiction, technical, medical. I need to know a little more about your book, like how long it is, to offer a quote. How many words are in your manuscript?

Client: Can’t you just give me a price?

Me: Yes, I could, but I would just be guessing, and that wouldn’t serve either of us. Wouldn’t you rather have an accurate quote?

Client: That’s ridiculous! It’s just a book! 

July 07, 2014
"This “Internet Explorer cannot display the webpage” text would look better in red on a gray background."

Client: Everything is looking really good. Can you go ahead and move the site to my server?

Me: Absolutely, I’ll send you an invoice and move it over as soon as I receive final payment.

Three days pass with no response from my client…

Client: Hey man, why isn’t the site on my server yet?

Me: I sent an invoice and haven’t received payment yet. As soon as the payment is received, I will move the site.

Two days pass with no response from my client…

Client: After reviewing the site you have been developing, we have decided that it is not the quality that we are expecting. Per our contract, you can either move the site to our server or refund the initial deposit.

Me: I don’t remember the contract stating that I built you a website for half price. Also, if you hate the quality, why did you say it was looking good earlier, and why would you want it on your server?

After a week of silence, the client paid my invoice and I moved their site to their server.

July 06, 2014

Client: Ideally, we’d have you come in every day of the work week, from 9am to 5pm.

Me: I’m sorry, I thought this was a contract position.

Client: It is! But we’d like you around in case anything comes up.

Me: Sorry, I’m a bit confused. This contract only allots 20-hours of my time. We’d burn through that within three days.

Client: Oh, I see why you’re confused. No, we just want you around. Just in case, you know? We’ll only pay you for the work you do. 

We’ve been setting up a campaign for a chewing gum brand for over the past five months. With two weeks until launch, the client still hadn’t sent any copy for the final screen, which was supposed to comprise of one or two lines as a call to action. Everything else was ready.  

Me: Hi guys, just a reminder that we haven’t got the approved copy for the share screen. We’re still using Lorem Ipsum as a placeholder. Do you know when we will have it?

Client: We’re sorry for the delay! Hold tight, the copy is being created as we speak.

One week prior to launch…

Me: Hi guys, we’re a week from launch and we still don’t have the approved copy. Where are we on this?

Client: We have great news! The final copy was approved! Please set everything up so we can go live as planned. Thank you.

Me: That’s great! Though, we still don’t have the approved copy. Can you send it our way?

Two days before launch…

Client: Oh, sorry guys! Looks like no one copied you on that email, but as (previous person) said, the copy was approved! Please proceed. Thanks.

Me: Could you send us exactly what you want the screen to say?

Launch day…

Client: Oh ok, sure! It’s “Share this content.” Thank you.

July 05, 2014
"Can you please add “today” at the end of the pitch? It should be emphasized, but not as a dictatorial order (e.g. Hitler-style). In a way gentler than Hitler, please."

I’m an in-house designer for an office product manufacturer. We offer custom marketing materials for our wholesalers. This exchange took place after creating a double-sided print flyer…

Me: Attached is a PDF of the final draft of your flyer. Please look it over one last time. If everything is as it should be, please give me final approval to print.

Client: Everything is right, but can I have an HTML? 

Me: I’m not sure what you mean. This is a print flyer. Why do you need code? 

Client: What don’t you understand? I want an HTML. I thought you were a designer?

Me: I think you may be asking for the wrong thing. Can you explain what you plan to use the flyer for? Can you put me in touch with your marketing or web department?

Client: I’m most certainly not asking for the wrong thing! I know I need an HTML. I want to put a picture in my email. It should only take you one minute to make an HTML. Why don’t you know how to do this?

Me: I think what you’re looking for is an image file of the flyer. I took some screenshots of the PDF for you, in .jpeg format.

Client: Finally, was that so hard? Also, you messed up the phone number, so please fix the flyer. Now you can print 100.

The number was identical to the one she had provided. When I asked for the correct number, she resent the initial resources, which still featured the incorrect phone number.

I responded by pointing this out. She told me to check the resources she had resent, which, again, featured the same incorrect number. After a few more back and forth communications  like this, she eventually approved the flyer with that number - after berating me for wasting a week’s time. 

July 04, 2014

Client: I should have an answer for you by the end of the day. Also, in the future, send clean emails only please.

Me: I’m not sure I understand what you mean by “clean emails.”

Client: You just did it! We have limited bandwidth! Please clean emails before you send!

Me: Are you talking about attachments? I don’t think I’ve included any. What exactly are you seeing?

Client: You keep doing it! If you’re going to send me emails, I need them cleaned first!

Considering she reacts like this to each attempt at clarification via email, I call her on the phone.

Me: Hi, I want to make sure I understand this situation with the emails and I didn’t want to risk sending you another one. What are you seeing?

Client: It’s just that we don’t have a lot of bandwidth here and we don’t have enough space for emails that aren’t clean.

Me: But what do you mean by “clean?”

Client: Look, I don’t know the terminology. Do you see how I clean all of my emails before I send them to you?

Me: Hang on, are you talking about the conversation thread in the body of the email when we reply to each other?

Client: Right! All of that is stuff I don’t have room for on my computer. I just don’t see why you need to remind me of what I just said. I know what I said, I just emailed it to you! Just clean it out before you send.

Me: Uh, that’s fine, I can do that. Just so you know, though, the conversation thread in the body of these emails takes up almost no file size whatsoever. Text is very tiny, space-wise.

Client: Well, it adds up.

Me: Right. Anyhow, the voiceover has been edited if you’d like to hear it. I’m not sure how best to have you listen to it, though.

Client: Why can’t you email me an MP3?

"Is there a way to view the HTML without seeing all the coding?"