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

Their Personality 180 Is Not Polished

, , , | Working | December 9, 2021

I work in the marketing office of a small college and we had a new department VP. She has been on the job for about two weeks, and she has yet to converse with me for more than five minutes. We have a half-page ad promoting some autumn homecoming activities due in the local paper.

VP: “I don’t like any of the established brand colors, logo, or typefaces. The ad needs to look more polished!”

I foolishly believe that someone whose last title had been Brand Manager would be super savvy about such things and can throw me a bone:

Me: “Okay, when you say “polished,” do you mean… um…. a serif typeface? A different sans serif? Script? Should I appeal to the likely audience for the musical act, or more to appeal to the wealthy local alumni of a certain vintage?”

VP: *Very confused look.* “Just make it look more polished.”

Me: “Okay, just remember that this is due by tomorrow, but I will be out of town, so I need to turn it in today.”

VP: “Okay.”

A couple of hours and several radically morphing versions of “polished” later, I get grudging approval on the design, which is still not “polished” enough, though she still cannot define what she means beyond that one word.

VP: “After these minor text corrections, it can go to the paper.”

An hour later…

Me: “Here are the text edits you asked for. I’m going to send it in like you said.”

Secretary: “Oh, she left for the airport half an hour ago and apparently she turned off her cell phone. I can’t hold of her either.”

Me: “Oh, okay. She never told me she was only working half a day.”

I send in the ad and it runs in the Sunday paper. On Monday we both get back from our time away.

VP: “You circumvented my authority! Don’t ever do that again! I am going to put a note in your file!”

Me: “Wow… nothing like that has never happened in the fifteen years I have worked here. I couldn’t get hold of you and the deadline was looming. I wasn’t trying to undermine you, and you did tell me to send it in after those text edits. I really was operating in good faith, sorry.”

VP: “Oh… I … ah… sorry…” *Turns to leave the room.* “Oh by the way… I really like your blouse!”

She later sent me a very formal and stilted email summarizing the “incident,” stating that it wasn’t going to be a written warning… just verbal. Pretty sure she totally BCC’ed her boss. In writing.

Laptop Flop, Part 32

, , , | Friendly | December 8, 2021

I am currently studying to become an IT Specialist and have become the go-to guy for my girlfriend’s friends and family with anything tech or computer-related.

Her father asks me to make his laptop “go faster”. The laptop was quite old and loaded with bloatware so I decided that it would be best to swap the HDD for an SSD and re-install the operating system along with the most important to him applications – all free of charge.

Before I start, I inform him of my plan.

Me: “What do you want to keep?”

I ask this a few times.

Girlfriend’s Father: “I just want my documents, photos, and music files, I don’t need anything else.”

I proceed with my plan and before I can get started, I already encounter a problem: he has forgotten the Windows login details, including his password. After scratching my head for a couple of hours and managing to successfully guess the password, I am able to log in and make a backup of all the files.

I then swap the hard drive (with a spare SSD that I had which I also didn’t charge him for), re-install the operating system, run all the updates and install a couple of basic apps such as Chrome and a media player.

I then copy all the backed-up files onto the laptop and even take some time to sort through some of the files to remove duplicates and the like; he has 60GB of music, half of which are duplicates.

I was happy with the end result, the laptop is running much faster, is not making a loud noise, and does not have tons of apps running at startup. Satisfied with my work I give the laptop to my girlfriend to give back to him, thinking that I will get at least a pat on the back or a thank you.

The next day I get a phone call:

Girlfriend’s Father: “What have you done to my laptop?! Where is all of my music?! Where is the Amazon Music App?! Where is Thunderbird?!”

Me: “Hi, I have kept all of your music, documents, and photos as you requested, they are saved in the respective folders.”

Girlfriend’s Father: “But where are my apps?! Where are all my desktop icons!? I had Windows Music Player on my desktop and now it’s not there!?”

Me: “Do you remember our conversations where I asked you more than once if there were any apps or anything else that you wanted to keep, otherwise it would be deleted?”

Girlfriend’s Father: “Yes, but that’s not what I meant! I just wanted my music, my documents, and my photos and now I don’t have Windows Music Player and all of my Amazon music is gone!”

Me: “Windows Music Player is still there, as it comes pre-installed with Windows and I will be happy to re-install Amazon Music and any other apps.”

He calms down and agrees. After meeting with him and installing Amazon Music and Thunderbird we encounter a familiar problem: he has forgotten his login details.

After explaining to him that there’s not much I can do unless he remembers his e-mail address, he gets annoyed and demands that I put everything back to the way it was.

Already frustrated at the situation and the wasted time I swap the drive back and gave him back his laptop. Shortly after I broke up with my girlfriend. Just over a year later, I received a message from him asking if I still remember the password to his laptop…

Related:

Laptop Flop, Part 31
Laptop Flop, Part 30
Laptop Flop, Part 29
Laptop Flop, Part 28
Laptop Flop, Part 27

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!”