Me: So what direction from the mood-boards would you like to pursue? I can have a few rough drafts ready by the end of tomorrow.
Client: We think this will work best if you just dive in, focus, and make it your own. Just produce us a WIN. Can you have it ready by 7pm?
Editor’s Note: This story was submitted with the client comments in green comic sans, which was impressive to include, but something I don’t want to subject our readers to.
I work as a photographer in the Middle East, where aesthetic value is depressed across all industries. The demand for Western imagery is low, so I usually take what I can get to pay the rent. I agreed to shoot a one hour portrait session for the CEO of large food distribution company, a service offered for free by the middleman I work for so he can acquire future business. I asked a fee less than my standard rate, as I would be working for this client in the future. After having the middleman hang over my shoulder, dictating every small detail for 300 shots over two exhausting hours, I asked him for payment for both hours. He proceeded to pull my ear and giggle before walking away.
Wanting to get the project over with, I edited 90 very redundant images (the standard portrait crop of 15 or 20 does NOT exist here) and sent them at 4MB via Dropbox.
I then received multiple emails (in lime green Comic Sans), asking for all 300, in color, b/w, and unedited, (in case he wanted to edit them).
Client: Hi pls remove the shadow behind him. need all the photo colored black white need all the photo high realization big big as u can urgent soon as u can this photo and i need the all of them tomorrow pls
He insisted he come with his ‘usb hard stick’, where he would take all images at maximum possible size (which would be hours of him sitting at my dining table, trying to talk me into a pyramid scheme his family joined while images transfer. It’s happened before). I sent about 5 emails explaining how this process is usually done, and I explained that what I sent was more than sufficient considering his needs, my pay, and the free nature of the service.
After ignoring what I was saying, he started blowing up my phone, which I ignored. To which I received:
Client: OH CAN U CALL ME ON PHONED RESPECT MY PHONE CALL http:// ALL
I sent him a final email explaining that I have no interest in working with anyone who devalues my time and undermines my skill.
Client: I was thinking, could we get gold staples for the program?
I check with the printer.
Me: No, sorry, it’s not going to be possible. They can only do silver staples.
Client: Oh, that’s alright. What do you think about slipping some wax paper under each staple and coloring them gold?
Me: For 400 programs?
Me: For tomorrow?
Me: Will I be getting paid for the time?
Client: No, of course not - that’s only, like, a hundred staples.
A client came to my office to discuss an ongoing project. She brought her one-year-old, who was very grumpy. She didn’t think to bring any toys, so the infant began playing with various things on my desk. When I left the room to get some samples, the infant had grabbed a sharpie and proceeded to draw on my walls while the mother texted someone on her phone.
Me: Dear Client, please fill out our online form to setup your project. No matter what, please DO NOT attach anything to the form. Our server is acting up right now and attachments are causing issues. We are working to fix this, but can’t be certain it will be fixed by day’s end.
The next day…
Client: Hi, I submitted the form yesterday but didn’t receive confirmation. Did you get it?
Me: No. Did you attach something to the form? That might be the issue.
Client: Yes, I attached our logo. I wish you would have warned me that there was an issue with attachments because now I’ve wasted my time and have to do this all over again, and as I stated earlier (and I expect you to actually read my emails), I don’t like wasting my time.
Subject: Need this started ASAP!
Message: I had to take an emergency trip to the Bahamas for a yoga meditation retreat. Can you get started right now, so I can have it by Monday?
I’m trying to set up a phone conference with a client whose website I’m designing. I had sent him an email with my availability the day before. Note: I have a part time day job that I do my freelance work around.
Client: I need you to call me tomorrow at noon so we can go over more website details.
Me: Unfortunately, as I mentioned, I’m unavailable at that time tomorrow. How about 5pm? Or I’ll be available all day Thursday.
Client: No. None of that will do. Tomorrow at noon.
Me: Unfortunately, that is outside of my posted office hours, which I sent to you on Monday. You could always email me your requests, and I can contact you about them on Thursday?
Client: I don’t want to contact you on Thursday!
Me: Can I ask why Thursday won’t work for you?
Client: Because I don’t want to have to call you outside of my normal office hours!
I had notified a client three times that I would be away for the week following my wife’s surgery, beginning two months prior to the surgery, and one last time the week before. Each time he sounded surprised, but just as concerned about her health. Imagine my own surprise on the morning of the second day of my wife’s convalescence:
Client: Are you there? My contact’s really anxious to get their site moving. Can you get started on provisioning the server?
Me: No. I’m not available for at least five more days.
Client: What? This is critical for me!
Me: My wife’s on vicodin and the baby’s teething.
Client: So by tonight at least?