Client: Can you make the thingy less?
Client: You know, the thingy, can you make it less?
Turns out she was asking if I could make the logo smaller.
This conversation took four minutes.
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A client was three months late in paying. I suspected it was due to additional charges for requesting changes after a project had been finalized. They claimed to have sent a check after paying online didn’t work out, but it never arrived. I arranged to meet in person at a coffee shop near my 9-5 job (which is not related to my freelancing services). The client didn't show up.
On my day off, my boss from my 9-5 calls and tells me to come to work immediately. I arrived and my client was there, chatting with my boss; they handed me an envelope and kept chatting. I excused myself while they continued to talk.
I opened the envelope to find a check for a little over half the amount owed. Suspecting shenanigans, I took a second to print out a copy of the signed work order and caught my client as they were about to leave.
Me: Hi there, it’s been a while. Is it ok if we go over this real quick before you leave?
Me: I just wanted to verify if this envelope contains the $XXX for the project here in this work order.
Client: Yeah, that’s the correct amount.
Me: Ok perfect. Is it ok if I open it now to double-check or can I trust that it contains the correct amount?
Client: You can check. It’s the correct amount.
I pulled out the check.
Me: Oh, I’m glad we looked. The check is written for $XX. I need an additional $XX to complete the total of $XXX for the project as agreed here on the work order.
Client: It’s $XXX!? No, let me see the work order. I don’t remember it being It’s $XXX.
Me: We went over it just now and you agreed that was the correct amount.
Client: Let me see if I have cash.
The client took back the check and paid the full amount in cash. I later found out they had a habit of bouncing checks.
Client: I'm actually a designer too - I even wrote a book on the subject! I just hired you because my business is growing so fast I need to be fully hands on with all the other stuff.
I looked up his book. Or rather, eBook. A thirty page free pamphlet with embedded links from where they'd copied and pasted other people's Instagrams.
Client: I don’t like the T-shirt design. I’m going to want my money back.
Client: The logo turned out black.
Me: Well, yeah - that’s what you asked for.
Client: It doesn’t show up on a black T-shirt.
Me: You said it was going to be printed on a white or coloured T-shirt.
Client: But the black T-shirts were cheaper…
Me: I’m sorry, but I was pretty clear you needed to print on a coloured or white shirt.
Client: Yeah, I remember now. But to afford ordering more T-shirts, we have to cancel your payment nonetheless.
A head-scratcher from the Clients From Hell archives!
I used to be a software developer who also did technical support for a highly niche market (churches). After several minutes of going through the application with one of the church ladies, we get to this point in the conversation:
Me: Ok, now use the left arrow key to go to the beginning of the line.
Client: You mean the Enter key?
Me: No, ma'am, the left arrow key?
Client: You mean the Backspace key?
Me: No, ma'am, the left arrow key.
Client: I don't have a left arrow key.
Me: You don't have a left arrow key? Do you see the Enter key?
Me: Now move your finger down one row, and over to the right a little bit and you should see four arrow keys.
Client: Oh, you mean the left arrow key!
I work for a hotel amenities company designing custom toiletries, like shampoo and conditioner. We offer free design services so our clients get an idea of what their custom program will look like before they commit to a contract.
One particular client forwarded us a design done for them by one of our competitors. They said that they “didn’t like that the logo was just slapped onto the bottles.” They were giving us a chance to take their project and create something more “designed”.
Please keep in mind most of these products are 1oz with very little room to design on, so it’s not always the easiest to really do much. Still, I felt up to the challenge. I began working right away comparing my designs to the competitors and making sure I displayed the logo in an interesting way. I finished the presentation and sent it to the client for their review.
A few weeks passed and they finally sent us feedback. They loved one of my options and would like some changes on another one. Unfortunately, the option they loved was my least favorite. In fact, I was almost hesitant to send it because the logo was on the front underneath the ingredient name – nothing “designed” about it.
The second design they wanted “changes” to was, in my opinion, the most unique and designed. I had taken the logo and cropped it into a frame, creating a nice graphic that fit very well with their bathrooms. The client wanted me to take it out of the frame and just “place it on the tube.” Or, in other words, to “just slap it on the bottle.”
At that moment I felt all of the creativity just drain out of my body. Then I went home and poured a glass of wine. And another. And another.
I feel better now.
From the Clients From Hell archives!
Client: Look, I got this email via my contact form on a website.
They sent me a spammy message where the sender says he analyzed their website and could improve ther SEO and traffic.
Me: Oh, this is a spam message, I will try to enhance security in forms to avoid such messages.
Client: I dont care, spam or not. I dont care about that message. Why does somebody analyze my website? And why my SEO and traffic is not improved? I want my website to be found on Google as they are suggesting!
Me: Your website is among the best Google results in your market, and your traffic is huge by the way. You can see this in monthly reports we send you.
Client: I don't need your excuses, fix it.
So I enhanced form security and they stopped receiving those spams. After a month without any spams:
Client: Thank you, it seems my SEO is OK again.
Client: Your portfolio is quite strong, but we'd like some assurance; could you give us some references, your strategy, your credit score...
Me: Sorry, did you ask for my CREDIT SCORE?
Client: We would find it reassuring to know how responsible you are.