I’m a graphic design contractor for a large government agency. I’m the only contractor on my floor, and also the only “arty person” as they call me. One morning at about 8:27, a client walks into my cube.
Client: G’morning, I was wondering if you could help me with a graphic I need for this presentation.
Me: Not a problem, I’m actually just finishing up a few things this morning and can jump right on it. What are we doing?
Client: It’s actually really simple…
She goes on to describe what is actually a pretty simple graphic, and by simple I mean 4-6 hours or work, but easily doable by the next day.
Me: I like it. That’ll be really fun, and I definitely see what you mean about it tying the presentation together.
Client: Oh good, I knew you could help! I was so panicked when they gave me this for the staff meeting today.
Me: Wait, the staff meeting, TODAY?
Me: The one at 9:00
Me: The 9:00 in 18 minutes?
Client: Yes, it’s a really simple graphic
Me: There is no such thing as a 15 minute custom graphic!
Client: But I explained, it’s really simple. Give me the 15 minute version.
Me: I don’t want anyone here seeing a product coming from my desk that I only had 15 minutes to do.
Client: No one will know I got it from you!
Me: I’m the only graphics person here!
Client: But I’m really over the barrel here, can you please help me out?
Me: I’ll see what I can pull off. Please get out of my cube and come back in 14 minutes
Client: I’d really like to stay and watch.
Me: No, get out, and come back in 13 minutes.
It was awful. But what was worse: she loved it.
UPDATE: she has done this to me 2 more times. I have now officially told her no matter how simple I will not help her without 48 hours notice before her presentation.