“I can’t afford to pay you, but I can sign you up to my email list if you like.”
A client reached out to me for technical support, even though I designed their website a decade ago. It's bad enough that they think I'm available for support for eternity, but they also don't take good advice.
Client Sorry I’ve taken so long to reply. I don’t actually send any big emails so I’m not sure why I am using up so many mega bites [sic] on email.
Me This could suggest you have a virus sending spam out from your email account. In the worst case this could lead to your personal data being compromised. I suggest you run a virus scan.
Client Thanks. I think I’ll leave it for now.
Client: This is a total disaster, you’ve printed all these stickers with the wrong date on them. It should be 30th October as per the email below. I am very annoyed that you can’t follow a simple instruction!
Me: I’m sorry for the error, I’ll fix that right away. Just to check though, your email says 31st October. We do have a sign off procedure and that is the date you signed off on.
Client: Well I didn’t read it when I signed it off. I’m a key account holder, I’m too important to check details like that!
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I was working with a client who was a non-native English speaker, putting together his books, websites, and product descriptions. We sometimes butted heads, and frequently had problems understanding each other.
He had just come back from another country and was trying to describe a photo he had taken. This conversation was a roller-coaster from beginning to end.
Each entry was its own email.
Client: Their hands were all up.
Me: They were waving?
Client: Sorry. It’s not waving. Just like Hitler way.
Client: They raised their hands up.
Me: Like… a Nazi salute?
Client: Not exactly.
Client: Up until their eyes.
Client: You know like military.
Me: So, a regular salute?
Me: Is it 32 or 64 bits?
I’ve worked directly with the Managing Director of an industrial company for years. He’s always been pretty good to work with, but constantly changes his mind. I’ve gotten used to this.
One day, I got an email from some kind of agency who were apparently doing other work for this client, asking me to supply samples of my work for consideration when they “move forward with the project.” The only thing is I’d already been working on that project for six months. Apparently, the client had another change of heart and hired an in-between without telling me.
Me: If you’re looking for the work I’ve already completed on the project, that’s fine with me, but I do have an outstanding invoice at the moment. Honestly, as far as I’m concerned, I already have the job.
This seemed to confuse the agency person. She hemmed and hawed, clearly going back to the Managing Director who hired them for clarification.
Agency: Okay, fine. Can you confirm a firm quote for this upcoming shoot?
The shoot was two hours away and included a HUGE list of content sections for a video running only two minutes.
Me: Well, I can give you a ballpark, but I’m really not sure exactly what you need here so I’m leery of giving you a firm quote until I have a more clear idea of the job.
Client: Well, it’s urgent. Please let me know ASAP.
I thought about it for a day and then came up with a number.
Me: Okay, I can commit to $[X] for the shoot.
Client: Thanks for getting in touch! I’m out of the office until [after the shoot is scheduled] but will get in touch with you as soon as I’m back.
I think I’m walking away from this one.
"Can I get these double-sided?"
— A client asking for fridge magnets.
I’m a photographer and aspiring photo archivist. I was asked to digitize photos that were on display at a funeral/viewing. There were 65 photos.
Me: Sure, I could have this done pretty soon, no problem!
Client: Great! I didn’t have tape and didn’t want to use glue, so (with pride in their voice) guess what I used?
Me: (with pronounced fear in my voice) Uh… what?
What was going to be an hour and a half project turned into two days of scraping and cleaning photos.
My department manager was looking for an intern.
Boss: It doesn’t have to be a graphic designer, just someone that can use Adobe Illustrator efficiently and has an eye for detail and composition.
Me: So… a designer?