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A collection of client horror stories from designers and freelancers on CFH.

Thanks For Your Two Cents

, , , | Working | November 30, 2021

I work at a bakery in a thrift store. The owner, a multi-millionaire, comes in one day.

Owner: “Go into the employee breakroom and unscrew the lightbulb in the employee fridge. It will save me money!”

Really Should Have Checked

, , , | Right | November 29, 2021

Client: “It has been nine weeks and I haven’t received anything from you. Nothing! Where is the work I hired you to do?”

Me: “Your deposit invoice has been sitting unpaid for nine weeks. It’s in the contract that I don’t send anything until the deposit is paid.”

Client: “Oh, I saw that and just mailed you a check.”

Me: “I never gave you my mailing address.”

Client: “Oh, I just sent it to the guy at your office who did it last time.”

Me: “I’m a freelancer. I work for myself. I think you mailed my check to my competitor.”

Client: “Well, they cashed it!”

Do You Know How Trees Work?

, , , | Right | November 28, 2021

Me: “Your trees are all trimmed. I just need to pick up the branches, and I wanted to get your approval.”

Client: “I don’t like it! Put them back!”

Don’t Worry, We Had To Google “Ondes Martenot” Too

, , , | Right | November 27, 2021

I’m a session musician specializing in rare instruments, so yes, my fees are quite high because I have to pay back these instruments and I’m kind of alone in my field. Some guy tried to get a discount the worst way I’ve ever seen.

Client: “Hi, can you play The Fairy’s Dream bass, oboe, and ondes Martenot parts?”

Me: “Well, I don’t know this piece. Who wrote it? Do you have a link where I could see the sheets or at least hear the parts?”

Client: “What?! Don’t you know who I am?! I wrote this piece! Sorry, but I don’t like to work with people not knowing me or my music… or at least not for your prices. Maybe if you gave me a discount…”

My answer to that was saying “lol” and blocking him.

The Only Thing Not “Working” Is That Designer’s Brain

, , , , | Right | November 26, 2021

A few years ago, I designed a logo for a client. I delivered several versions, sizes, variants, and file formats, including the original design file. For many reasons, I switched to another range of professional and award-winning graphics software sometime before that. Although not the “industry standard,” this software is capable of everything and more to deliver professional and quality design for screen and print.

Some time ago, this client wanted to print the logo in a much bigger size. At that moment, this person was working with another designer that also did the printing whereas I outsourced that. The new designer requested the original design in the file format of that “industry standard” graphics software. I couldn’t export as such. I showed this designer the support page with all the file formats that I could deliver and asked for the dimensions of the print.

The new designer and I emailed several times back and forth, every time the same issue and story. My exported file didn’t “work” in her software. Every time, I technically explained why it did not “work”. Every time, I exported the logo in another file format she requested and believed would be the solution, knowing it wouldn’t. Every time, I asked for the dimensions of the print so that I could export it to PDF, which would work. Never did I get an answer to my question about the dimensions.

In the end, she asked the client for permission to just recreate the logo by tracing. It would only take an hour and the result would be the same. She had never experienced a design not “working” in her software. Normally, she would just get a design in that one “industry standard” proprietary file format. That works.

I never got an answer or reply from the client. A few weeks later, I saw a picture of the big print on social media: a flat traced version without the effects and finishing touches I had intuitively applied. Not the same result, of course, although both the new designer and client probably believe I lacked the skills.

Learning your craft with a certain tool doesn’t make that the only tool for the job, it doesn’t mean everyone should use that tool, and it doesn’t validate your technical knowledge in the craft, either.