I worked at a very small grocery store (four aisles) to help pay for grad school. I was the manager of the restocking shift.
My job consisted of preparing the space for the delivery truck to arrive by asking people to move their cars or having them towed if they blocked access. I would then remain onsite until the truck arrived at any time from 8:00 pm to 2:00 am. Once it arrived, I would text the rest of the shift members to come in and we would restock shelves.
The signs in our parking lot clearly stated that the driver had to remain on the property with their vehicle or risk a tow. Still, many people would miss this. I became very used to dealing with upset people whose cars I had gotten towed.
One shift was on a holiday, so the store had closed early and I was the only employee present. All other stores on the property were also closed. A single car was parked in a spot directly in the way of the truck access and directly in front of a parking sign. I had to have it towed.
About an hour after the towing, I came out to the parking lot to do one of the various small things I had to do to prep and found a group of teenagers standing in the spot. I approached and asked if they were the owners of the car. One girl stepped up and said yes.
Me: I'm afraid that your car had to be towed because it was blocking access to the property for the delivery truck. You weren't on the property with the vehicle, as required by our parking policy.
Driver: I was just visiting my brother.
She gestured to an apartment complex across the street.
Me: I'm afraid that the sign clearly states that you have to remain on the property with the vehicle.
She was upset but seemed to accept it. I returned to the interior of the store. I left the rolling door for the back storage room up - a mistake - as I'd have to go back out soon to make sure no one moved the traffic cones blocking spots and parked to block access. About forty minutes later, I heard this.
Voice: HELLO? IS ANYONE HERE?
I came out to find the girl and her mother standing in the middle of our storage room. I informed them that they were trespassing and directed them out into the alley behind the store.
Mom: Are you the one that had my daughter's car towed?
Me: Yes. I-
Mom: That's ILLEGAL! You can only have a car towed during store hours!
Me: Actually, our parking agreement, as stated on the signs, does not specify any time, only the location of the driver. This is becau-
Mom: YOU SPECIFICALLY TARGETED MY DAUGHTER! YOU WATCHED THEM PARK AND THEN IMMEDIATELY HAD THEM TOWED!
Me: Actually, I first found the car at 6:15. I left a note on the window and checked in over the course of the next hour before I called the truck. I'm required to clear that space by 8:00 pm as we don't know when the truck will arrive.
Mom: SHE WAS JUST ACROSS THE STREET!
Me: Which isn't part of this property, putting her in violation.
The next twenty-five minutes or so involved a phone call with the store owner and the mom repeatedly lying about what the signs said. After the fourth time I corrected the mom about the signs, her daughter went to go read them and tried to tell her mom. Her mom covered the receiver and told her to shut up. When the mom lied a fifth time, I again corrected her.
Driver: Stop it! I already told her!
Me: If she wants me to stop correcting her, she is free to stop lying.
In the end, she got nothing new from the owner. I got a lot of threats; at one point, the brother walked by later and said that he would beat me up because the truck hadn't shown up yet, so I was clearly lying. It showed up as he was talking. The mom threatened to take me to court if I didn't pay for the tow. I didn't pay. She didn't sue. Shortly after this, I quit. The little bit I was saving on student loans wasn't worth that.
I had a client reach out to me that she wanted me to join her team on a new SaaS (Software as a Service). I kept asking her what exactly she wanted me to do and her answer was always, "Little things, ideas, architecture." We scheduled a Zoom meeting which lasted two hours. She explained how her current architecture worked and asked me if I had any ideas. I did have some and she told me that she is definitely interested.
A week later, I heard back from a mutual friend that she gave my ideas to her current developer and even thanked that friend for introducing us.
The worst part is that after that, she opened a group for me and her developer so that I could share ideas directly with both of them. My partner eventually told her that she had to pay me for that, so she asked for a quote on a huge project. I gave her a good price based on an hourly rate and this is how our conversation went.
Client: I am not really ready yet, so can you give me a better price?
Me: The proposal is based on an hourly rate, so we can spread it out over a longer period until you're ready.
Client: So, how do you plan on doing it?
Idiot me went on to repeat the same mistake, and wouldn't you know it? She actually implemented it. She requested a meeting with me after that, paid, but I told her unless she accepted a proposal from me, I wouldn't talk to her.
What's the rudest thing you've ever had a client do to you?
My wife and I are artisans and sell our work at renaissance festivals. She is a hat maker. Last fall, at the only show we had in the last three quarters of 2020, I'm alone in our shop, and in comes a lady with a thick Russian accent. She spends some time looking around and trying on hats, never asking for prices. Finally, she settles on one.
Me: That'll be $139.
Lady: I give you $100.
Me: No, thanks. I'll keep it.
Lady: Perhaps you need a few minutes to think about it.
I thought she was going to make me an offer I could not refuse for a minute.
Client: I need to talk to you. I don't like my website at all because it is boring and why are my Google Ads not showing up?
Me: Oh Hi! It's been so long since we've last spoken. I've been emailing and calling you for months now trying to set up a meeting to get feedback on your new website and to get your credit card to finally get your Google Ads going. Let's meet now to go over those items.
Client: Well, I just don't like my website.
Me: I'd love to hear your feedback so that we can make those changes for you.
Client: Why are my Google Ads not running?
Me: Well, just like we spoke about months ago, I need your credit card so that Google can bill your ad account. We have your ads set up and ready to go as soon as we have that.
The client explains how he's concerned about Google Ad billing his card, and I explain to him how budget limits work to put his mind at ease.
Client: Okay, I'll get back to you.
I won't hear from him for another six months again.
This occurred back in about 2006. I worked for a membership-driven organization as their in-house web developer.
A new PR Director was hired (the latest in a long line of short-lived PR Directors) and immediately wanted to change our website from a largely member-focused portal to a "billboard to entice new people to sign up."
I made mention that we still need to provide our members their portal or we would get a good deal of complaints. I advised that at the time our site got about 15,000 of its members logging in per month. Most of our membership was older and less technically inclined, and very, very vocal when things didn't go their way. I was shot down like I didn't know my job and his plan was rammed through.
His plan focused on replacing our homepage with a Flash video-centric message and removing most of the links to support material our members used. I requested either additional training in Flash or permission to hire an outside consultant more versed in Flash than me. I got the consultant.
Over the course of the next six months, our editorial and video departments wrote, recorded, and edited a video, I spent several thousands of dollars to retool our website to rebuild our site in parallel to our existing site to be his vision. He was constantly demeaning and confrontational if I was unable to read his mind and on several occasions brought the CEO down to berate me in front of him as if I was stonewalling his efforts.
After about six or seven months we were ready to throw the switch and launch the new site, without ever mentioning a single word of it to our existing membership. So on Friday afternoon, I made one last backup of our existing site, stored it in several locations, threw the switch on the new site, turned my phone off, and went home for the weekend.
Monday morning was chaos as email boxes filled up with complaints, the phones never stopped ringing, and I just forwarded all the complaints I received to the new PR Director (BCCing the CEO on the particularly juicy ones, ie., major donors threading to quit, bomb threats - yes, we got a few - etc.)
By 10:30 that morning the CEO was in my office asking politely if I could put the old site back up as the PR Director stood wordlessly behind him looking like an eight-year-old that got caught playing with matches.
By lunchtime, I had the old site up and running again and I never saw that "PR Director" again.