Clients from Hell
I work as an architectural draftsman. Once I made a concept for a house. I send it to the client as...
I work as an architectural draftsman. Once I made a concept for a house. I send it to the client as PDF via e-mail so that he could review it and make changes. Instead of making the changes directly in the PDF or print it, scribble the changes on it with a pen, scan it and send it back via e-mail, he calls me:
Client: There are some changes that I want you to do in the draft. Some walls need to be moved. Starting with this wall.
Over the phone, I heard an audible tap on a piece of paper.
Me: Sure, no problem. I can do that, but can you be more specific about which wall you mean?
Client: This wall right here!
Once again, I heard him tap on the paper.
Me: I’m sorry, but I don’t know which one you mean because…
Client: (cuts me off) If you go from the living room to the kitchen and then to the next room, that wall there!
At this point, the tap on the paper is angrier.
Me: Sorry, but I can’t see which wall you’re pointing at.
Client: (shouts) WHY NOT? CAN YOU MOVE THAT WALL NOW OR NOT?
I work at a small company in a position unrelated to any design discipline but have a strong background and a good eye for design. I’d volunteered to take on designing some things like posters, banners, and images, mostly because my boss won’t pay anyone to do it and it physically hurts me to look at our poorly-designed elements. What I hoped to accomplish was change my boss’ mind when it comes to the importance of good design, and open their eyes to the time and effort that goes into designing anything.
That was mistake number one.
Recently, I had re-made our entire company website, keeping all of the content but completely revamping the look, functionality, images, and overall quality. I spent days on research and actually building the website so that the result was something I could be proud of. I worked on my hours off because there was no time to do it at work.
Mistake number two.
Me: Here’s the new design; I’ve incorporated a company logo, included images, call to action, company info, cleaned up the clutter, and made it more user-friendly.
Client: I don’t like the company logo, we don’t need one. The design and colors look too plain.
Me: Ok, how about I show you the rest of the website – this is only the landing page.
Client: The design looks too distracting and busy.
Me, already at a loss for words because it was the same design they called plain a second ago: Ok, I can look into tweaking the design.
Client: It looks too… (insert a bunch of adjectives here that all contradict each other) Oh, I know! Let’s get everyone here to look at it and see what they want to change about it!
Me: That’s not… it’s not…
Too late, everyone gathers around.
Client(s): Why did you put that photo of clouds there? What does it mean? It doesn’t “speak” to the other images. The clouds don’t have anything to do with what we do.
Me: They’re not there to showcase what we do. It’s a passive image, there to add texture and keep in line with our blue color scheme.
Client(s): But what does it MEAN?
Me: There were flowers on the home page and no one asked what those meant.
Client(s): Yeah, but those look nice.
Me: That’s why the clouds are there. To “look nice”.
Client(s): How about something more abstract? Like a picture of wood?
Me: How is wood abstract-
Client(s): I don’t know. I just think it needs to be something else.
Me: What do you suggest?
Client(s): I don’t know.
No good deed goes unpunished. I’ve started looking up freelance designers that they can pay to do the work for them.
Client: How’s the project coming? We are approaching deadline.
Me: I’ve asked you for a due date several times and you still haven’t provided one. What is the deadline?
Client: There isn’t one, but we are approaching it.
I guess I’m on schedule.
I worked as a web dev on this client’s business site. I was not being paid to troubleshoot.
-All emails sent to the client’s business email address bounced – and that’s just for starters.
Client: When I click the “email us” icon in Chrome, it doesn’t work. What did you do?
Me: Hmm… that functionality shouldn’t have changed at all. Maybe it’s your browser settings – can you use the “mailto” function on other websites?
Yes: Yes! Just fix it.
At this point, the client proposed a ‘solution’ that doesn’t address the problem at all and called me “incompetent” when I informed them of this.
Turns out, the client had “mailto” functionality turned off in chrome and lied about it working on other sites.
Client: Wait, did YOU draw this?Me: Well, yeah… that’s why you hired me.Client: Oh! I thought you...
Client: Wait, did YOU draw this?
Me: Well, yeah… that’s why you hired me.
Client: Oh! I thought you just took this from google and changed the words!
Me: No… that would be illegal.
I was doing marketing for a restaurant, and the client needed a full-page, full-color newspaper ad...
I was doing marketing for a restaurant, and the client needed a full-page, full-color newspaper ad for a local paper. After nailing down the details on what to include, they gave me a “timeline.”
Client: We have some time now – can you turn that around in the next five minutes?
Me: Uh… no. No. No way. This will take a couple of hours at least.
Client: You’re being confrontational. Just say “yes” and make it happen.
Already pretty bad, right? Well, they added insult to injury:
Client: Okay, take three days. But just to let you know, we’re also going to design an ad in those three days and I’ll decide which one is better.
I quit the next day.
I work for a translation company and we have a frequent client who simply refuses to make things easy.
Client: (emails order form without any attached files) This is a preview form and it will also be sent to you by fax together with the actual foreign text.
The administrative staff are about to lose it since the client always sends duplicate orders this way. A fax with the actual order arrives 30 minutes later. They want a translation of a printed text from the internet. In addition, the print has become all pixelated and unreadable. Of course, they additionally want this on express delivery….
Me: Could you please email me a better copy of your order since the translator won’t be able to read this here source file? Your fax made it pixelated on transmission.
Client: Sure, I’ll send it by snail mail.
Me: Fine, that would do. Please write your postal address and booking number so we can put the papers in the correct folder.
The client does not respond to my reply. Two days later (!) the text arrives. Remember, they wanted express delivery… But that’s not all. The client has printed out my request email and ignored that I kindly asked for a postal address and booking number.
When the translation is ready, I’m unable to fax it because of an error. Their fax machine can’t be reached. I send them another email about it.
Me: Our fax won’t come through since your machine doesn’t respond. That means we can’t send you the translation by fax. Would email delivery be okay?
Client: No. Please don’t email it! The translation contains confidential information! Someone could snatch it if it gets on the cloud.
Well, it’s actually a printed webpage that has been on the internet for a few weeks, maybe longer… It was obviously not confidential at all. I contacted them again and asked for the postal code. No response. I actually ended up googling where to send the delivery. I know I got the right address, but nevertheless
A month later the client sends a message:
Client: It seems like we haven’t received this particular translation. Would you please be able to check what has happened to it?
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Me: (Fixes clients computer problem for the agreed price in a couple minutes)Client: You only did a...
Me: (Fixes clients computer problem for the agreed price in a couple minutes)
Client: You only did a few minutes of work! That’s not worth $50.
Me: Price sheet is right here. You agreed to it. Also, I fixed your computer, so…
Client: I’m not paying for that, you hardly did anything!
Me: Well you won’t get your device back until you pay, so good luck with that.
Client: You can’t do that!
Me: I can when a shitty client doesn’t pay for work they couldn’t do themselves.
Client: I need some postcards for an event I’m going to in August. They need to explain our services. And please don’t leave it too late, I want them ready by July.
Me: Thanks for your request, we can definitely help you with that and there’s plenty of time to get it done. We’ll need some content from you though before we can get started. Can you send me over some information about your services and an idea of the kind of images/logos etc you’d like to include?
Four weeks later and no response from client…
Me: Hi there, I was just wondering if you’ve had a chance to have a think about what you’d like your postcards to include? We’re only a few weeks away from your deadline so I need to get started on the designs ASAP. I’m happy to meet up for a chat if you’re unsure of what to include?
Another two weeks go by…
Client: How are my postcards coming along? I need them this week. Don’t forget, I told you not to leave it too late!
Me: (Curls up in a ball under desk and sobs…)
Me: What’s your budget?
Client: Our budget is the best we can get for the least amount of money.
Client: What’s taking so long with my sign? It’s been a few weeks since I ordered it, and I still...
Client: What’s taking so long with my sign? It’s been a few weeks since I ordered it, and I still didn’t see any designs yet.
Me: Didn’t you get the sketches yet? I mailed them last week.
Client: Oh… so that’s what it was? I did get something from you, but I thought it was a bill, so I trashed it.
This story is completely true, and utterly ridiculous at the same time.I’ve been doing some video...
This story is completely true, and utterly ridiculous at the same time.
I’ve been doing some video editing jobs as part of my position at a digital design agency. I was recently briefed on a job that would be recurring monthly, and as a result, I needed to create a template that could be edited for future variations.
Client: The background is rather dark.
Me: Yes. It’s black. If you’d like we can try experimenting with different colors?
Client: No, no, I quite like the black, it’s just…very dark. Can we lighten it a bit?
Me: Well, sure. It won’t be black anymore though. Lightening it even slightly will make it a dark grey/charcoal.
Client: Hmmm. I don’t like that. Any other ideas?
Me: Well I could add a white pattern overlay. That should break up the monotony of the black a bit and add a little character?
Client: But won’t that make it even DARKER?
I’m not even kidding.
Me: *asks important questions about how a thing could be possible*
Client: *gets offended*
I’m a senior copywriter in an in-house marketing department.
Client: We need you to write website pages for these suites of programs.
Me: OK, can I get some guidance here so we don’t run into problems later? Can I see a design so I know what copy is needed and the general structure? Are there specific features of the program the brand team wants to mention? Etc.
Client: You’re a senior copywriter, I expect you to know this stuff.
Client: We printed the file you sent us to see how it looks in scale and I don’t think you set the...
Client: We printed the file you sent us to see how it looks in scale and I don’t think you set the size correctly. It’s very small.
Me: Hmm, the artboard size reads 36 inches. How are you printing this?
Client: We used our printer and printed on a letter size paper.
Me: Okay, you will have to check “Do Not Scale” and print them out on several papers and tile them.
Client: But we have to fit it on a letter size, so we clicked “Fit to Page.” Now how do I make this bigger?
After 30 minutes of explaining how to print, I ended up calling the youngest available person in the company (an intern) to eventually get them to print in size.
A client who I had worked with for some years came back to me after an initial draft with a long list of changes. I sent him back EXACTLY the same brochure and EXACTLY the same video but 10% brighter.
Client: I am impressed. Let me check with the guys but I think we’ll get a thumbs up here.
Either I’ve delayed actually having to make those changes or I am a genius.
- Someone else’s client overheard in an otherwise quiet café .
I am a 3D print artist. A client wanted 4 keys 10 cm long 2.5 mm thick. That worked, but barely – at...
I am a 3D print artist. A client wanted 4 keys 10 cm long 2.5 mm thick. That worked, but barely – at this size, they can’t be made any thinner and still be printable in the desired material.
Client: I want another set of keys in 1/6 scale.
Me: I can design that, but it won’t be printable.
Client: Ok, well design them anyway.
Client: Hey! These 1/6 scale keys won’t print. Make them printable.
Me: I told you that at 10 cm long they couldn’t be any thinner and still be printable. I can alter them to make them printable, but they’ll have to be thicker.
Client: Okay, do that.
Client: Hey, why are these keys so thick?
After about four more rounds of the keys have to be that thick to print, vs yes they aren’t perfectly 1/6 scale, I finally convinced her to print 5 cm, 2.5 mm keys.
Six months later, I got an email asking for printable 1/6 scale keys and the loop started over.
I received an email from a guy who needed help with compositing one green-screen shot. He sent the...
I received an email from a guy who needed help with compositing one green-screen shot. He sent the files to my Dropbox, along with a text file containing clear instructions on what to do. I completed the task and sent it back to him.
The next day a different shot showed up in my Dropbox with a new set of instructions. I finished that as well.
The next day, I woke up to find my Dropbox completely full. He had given me the rushes for his entire film, plus 6 text files detailing where to cut and how to arrange the scenes. I hadn’t agreed to this AT ALL.
Me: Sorry! I didn’t realize you wanted me to edit your whole film. There’s no way I can finish it before the deadline you’ve given me unless you offer someone to help or compensation for my time.
He was incredibly upset. He didn’t speak to me again and edited the film on his own.