Client: I want light red.
Me: Okay! How does this look?
Client: No, that's pink! I want light red.
I asked the client a series of intake questions to update a vinyl window treatment. (e.g. size, resources, etc.). His response:
Client: I don’t know how big it is. No one with the key is free to go in and check the actual size. I think we have some assets for you to use, but we won’t be able to get them to you until next week. It’s fairly big, and it’s a window.
Me: And when did you say you needed it?
Client: Tomorrow would be ideal.
An impossible deadline from the Clients From Hell archives!
A client didn’t show up for a consultation and I could not get a hold of them. Thinking little of it, I rescheduled for a later time.
The next time I talked to them, I swear to god, this is the conversation that ensued.
Client: Why didn’t you call 911?
Me: What? Why?
Client: If you had a disabled parent and you couldn’t get a hold of them, what would you do?
Me: I would wait for them to get back to me.
Interestingly, I actually have a disabled parent who can’t easily answer the phone - the client didn't know that.
Client: You should have called 911!
Me: I’m so sorry, did something happen?
Client: No, but you said you couldn’t get a hold of me. Something could have happened. You should have called the emergency line to do a check on me!
Me: I’ve never called 911 because I couldn’t reach someone. I’d only call if I suspected an emergency.
Client: If you can’t reach me, assume it is an emergency.
Me: Are you always available when there isn’t an emergency?
How's this for a compromise: whenever I can't get a hold of you, I'll call 411 and ask why I work with these people.
I handle most of the technical support problems for complex machinery that our company sells. This machinery has multiple control boards, with SD cards in them that control vital functions of the machines. Occasionally, when the machinery is mid-cycle and there is a power loss (like power to a whole building), an SD card can get corrupted. We have very clear documentation that explains why this happens, and how to formant an SD card on a Windows computer or Mac. This effectively fixes the issue. A computer literate person should be able to do this in less than 2 minuets.
Client: The machine is not working.
Me: Is it partially working or not starting at all? How long ago did this problem start? Are you able to run the test program?
The test program runs a full diagnostic of the machine and gives a full read out of what is wrong, if it fails to run then an SD card is corrupted, it takes 3 seconds to complete.
Client: Only the power light is on, nothing else works.
Me: Are you able to run the test program?
Client: We have not tried that.
Me: Can you try running the test program and tell me what happens?
Client: We will try that and call you back.
They hung up.
Three weeks went by.
Client: You have not fixed our machine yet.
Me: I believe I spoke with you a few weeks ago, are you able to run the test program?
Client: We will get back to you.
They hung up.
One week goes by.
Client: We want to return your machine and have you send us a new one.
Not only is this nearly a logistical impossibility, it would cost tens of thousands of dollars, which the client wants us to pay for.
Me: I'm showing that there is still an open case with your machine, were you able to run the test program?
Client: We have tried that dozens of times, nothing works!
Me: I understand that sir, if the test program fails to run then the SD card must be corrupted. Was there a power loss to the machine or your building?
Client: No, never!
Me: How is the machine hooked up to your circuit breaker, is there a chance it can be disconnected?
Client: Do you mean when I turn the breaker off at lunch to save money?
Lengthy conversation on how power loss to an active machine is bad.
I agreed to pick up a test print of an ad campaign and brought it to the client in their office before *waves* all this. This is why I stopped doing that, though:
Me: Okay, here's how it turned out. I think think it looks pretty good.
Client: Aren't you forgetting something?
I wracked my brain to think if I'd missed a deliverable.
Me: Um... I don't think so?
Client: "Here's how it turned out, sir."
I blinked at him for a few moments before I could even understand what he was saying. It took less time to get really, REALLY angry about it.
Client: I want a logo redesign, but don't change it TOO much. I don't want to have to replace all my signs. Ideally, any change you make should be able to be painted onto what I have.
Me: Won't it take more money and effort to repaint your signs than to have new ones printed?
Client: Sure, but my son paints and this will give him something to do.
A few years ago, I was working on a major project for a client who frequently overestimated the strength of our relationship.
Client: I have an ask. My kid is doing a science fair, and the prize is pretty prestigious. They've put in a lot of work on it, but neither of us have an eye for making the poster look good. I know you're busy, but is that something you can take on? It would mean a lot to me.
Me: I mean, I guess? I'm pretty busy with my project for your business, but if you already have all the text and photos I could probably whip something up pretty quick.
Client: Oh, yeah, no, you'd have to write the text and source some photos.
Client: But you can have his notes! That's most of the work, right?
I was working with a band recording an EP. During one song, the guitarist could not get the solo right. After a few takes, I noticed she was improvising a different solo with each take.
I informed her she would either have to write the solo and play it the same way so I could edit it, or get it down in one take.
Client: Why can’t you just edit all my takes together?
Me: Because they’re all different.
Client: Of course they’re different, I’m playing something else!
Me: Well, that’s why.
The rest of the band agreed with my decision to cut the solo out of the song during mixing.
A reason to break up the band from the Clients From Hell archives!