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Ugly By Design

, | Working | June 18, 2015

(We do design and printing for various bars and restaurants around town. I’ve only been working here for about a year. I’m assigned a job to create a ‘Now Open’ banner for a tropical-themed bar, but the sales rep has returned the job with vague changes.)

Me: “Hey, [Lead Designer], I don’t understand what these changes mean. Can you take a look?”

Lead: *looks at my design* “Oh, wow! That’s so pretty and presentable! It must not be ugly enough. Sales reps like things big and ugly.”

Me: “So… change it so the text is ugly and impossibly big and crowds out the logos and background?”

Lead: “Yeah, that should do it.”

(I make the text so ridiculously huge and cramped you can’t even tell what it’s for anymore. I submit the job and the sales rep approves it.)

Me: “…”

A Very Badly Written Plan

, | Working | April 3, 2015

(A friend of mine is also close friends with some people that do web-comics and develop their own card and computer games. They’ve asked him to see if he can find them someone to help out with a project.)

Friend: “So [Content Creator] wants to see if he can find writers to help him out with this project for [Their Universe].”

Me: “Really? That would be cool. I always enjoy their stories and the exposure could be good.”

Friend: “Oh, they don’t want anybody else’s name on the project.”

Me: “Okay, I’d have to hear more about the project before I can settle on some ghost-writing fees.”

Friend: “They don’t want to pay up front either.”

Me: “Royalties for such a small group as there’s are a little bit iffy.”

Friend: “He won’t pay any royalties at all either.”

Me: “So, he won’t pay a fee, he won’t give royalties, and he won’t give credit?”

Friend: “Yeeeah.”

Me: “Okay, how about a trade of services? Their art style isn’t really my favorite, but I’m sure I can find something they could do for me in return.”

Friend: “He’s not doing art trades either.”

Me: “How does he plan to pay for the services?”

Friend: “He actually refuses to pay for anything. He just wants me to find him some writers to help out with his project.”

Me: “…for free? He wants me, or someone else, to take time away from our own projects and just help him for no compensation what-so-ever?”

Friend: “Yeah.”

Me: “…”

Friend: “I’ve tried to tell him it’s a stupid policy, but he won’t listen.”

(Needless to say, I did not do the work for the guy.)

Armless Is Harmless

| Right | February 20, 2015

(I work as a freelance airbrush face painter. I’m at an event when two small children and their mother come up. The mother’s attention is elsewhere while I talk to her kids.)

Me: “Hey there! What design would you like?”

Girl: *pointing out which design* “…and can I have it on my arm?”

Me: “Sure!”

(I put the design on her arm, and her brother comes up next, wanting his design on his arm as well. I hear this exchange as they leave.)

Mother: “Both of you got designs on your arms instead of your faces? Man, I got some boring-a** kids.”

He Could Also Do With Less Hot Air

| Right | February 18, 2015

(I am working as a balloon artist and have a very long line. The balloons I ordered for this event weren’t in on time, so I have to buy some balloons of poor-quality at a craft store. Due to the heat of the day, the balloons are popping frequently, and I am getting super frustrated.)

Me: *to the next kid in line, who already has at least three balloons* “And what would you like?”

Kid: “A blue sword!”

Me: “All right!”

(Being one of my quicker patterns, I quickly pump it up and make it. When I give it the final twist, it pops.)

Me: “Oh, shoot, sorry about that!”

(I pump up another balloon, which again pops. At this point the kid’s dad has come over.)

Kid’s Dad: “You’re putting too much air in the balloon.”

Me: *trying to smile* “Oh, it’s not that. I’ve recently switched balloon brands, and these don’t like the sun as much.”

(The third balloon again pops, which rarely happens.)

Me: “Shoot, sorry about that! Third time’s the charm, right?”

Kid’s Dad: “No, seriously. You’ve got to put less air in it, otherwise it will pop.”

Me: “Oh, okay.”

(Having done balloons since I was 10, and having made hundreds of swords, I of course already know this. I make the balloon, with just as much air as usual, and it doesn’t pop.)

Me: “There you are!”

(The kid grabs it without saying thanks.)

Kid’s Dad: “See? I told you.”

(The dad walked away, also without saying thanks.)

The Art Of Telepathy

| Right | February 9, 2015

(I do pet portraits for extra money to make it through college. Most of the purchases are mundane, somebody’s cat or dog, but I am eventually approached by a very strange woman carrying a stack of papers.)

Woman: Hello. You’re the one who draws animals, yes?

Me: Found me! So, what do you–?

Woman: Oh, good! Because I have something I want you to do for me.

(She digs through her papers and hands me a printed photo of a taxidermy tree kangaroo. Needless to say, I’m confused.)

Me: Oh? Is this what you–?

Woman: Yes, yes. I went to the Smithsonian and I love that animal. I was wanting to know if you could maybe go out of the way of what you regularly do? I know it’s not a pet, but it’s still an animal…”

(As odd as it sounds, hearing it’s a photo from a trip made it make a little more sense. We discuss pricing and what she wants. She’s adamant that the photo is what she wants, so I work from that, but I keep her updated throughout just to make sure I’m on the right track. When I am finished, I call her to come pick up the piece.)

Woman: “Oh.”

Me: “Something wrong?”

Woman: “Oh. No. Except…”

(She fidgets, then gestures at the finished product.)

Woman: “It’s wrong. The wrong color.”

Me: “Excuse me?”

Woman: “There’s another color of tree kangaroo. I wanted the other color.”

Me: “You gave me a photo to work from. You said that’s what you wanted.”

Woman: “Yes, well, that was the pose I wanted.”

Me: “You’ve been approving it every stage of the way.”

Woman: “But this is the wrong color of tree kangaroo.”

Me: “Why didn’t you tell me you wanted a different color?”

Woman: *sighing heavily* I figured it was obvious.”

Me: “I should have just… known?”

Woman: “You’re the artist. I thought you knew those things.”

(She did eventually pay, but informed me that I should learn to ‘sync’ with my clients better, because, as the artist, I should just ‘know’ things. To this day, I still tell all my friends about the tree kangaroo lady who was convinced I should be telepathic.)


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