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

There’s A Reason I Cannot Afford Clothes

, , , , | Right | October 18, 2021

After working for a designer for over six months at an unpaid internship, I finally had to tell her that I could no longer work without a paycheck. We set up a meeting in which we discussed details about working for her at certain one-night events and receiving pay for the event itself.

After three weeks of my emails going ignored, she finally emails me back a day or two before the event:

Designer “Sorry, my boyfriend’s wife died and we were taking care of him for the last three weeks. I couldn’t email you.”

I reply, gently:

Me: “Business is business and I need info on the details of the event and how much I was being paid for it in order to help.”

I hear nothing from her until the afternoon of the event:

Designer: “Hey, be here for the event at 5 pm, okay?.”

I call her to discuss payment with her (because I was not going to work an event for free, especially after she was notorious for borrowing money from me and never paying me back), and she says:

Designer: “Hey! I have a great idea! In return for working tonight, I’ll give you sample pieces of fabric I’m not using and you can take them home and make your own clothes since I know you can’t afford to buy them right now. Then, we can put my label on them and sell them and I’ll give you 10% commission!”

I politely told her that I could not help her out at the event because I needed to be paid in US Dollars.

Her boyfriend called me back to yell at me about how ungrateful I was being.

Young And Dumb

, , | Right | October 17, 2021

My first client as a digital marketing specialist was epic. I went to meet him for brunch and to discuss the timeline of the changes he wanted me to do on his website. I have to mention we initially talked on the phone. 

Everything is nice and good, I have already ordered one coffee, one tea (because he accidentally mentioned he’s more into exotic teas) and some cookies. He arrives at the lounge and I can see him from the table waiting inside, in front of the door and looking around.

On my way to invite him to the table, I can see his eyes getting bigger and suddenly a disappointed face shows up.

Client: “What? Is that you? I… I didn’t expect a child.”

I am 21.

Client: “Sorry, I don’t wanna waste my time.”

Me: “Nice to meet you too! I guess my voice and advice sounded pretty smart on the phone if you thought I was older! Don’t want to waste my time either, I’m going to finish my coffee and I’ll send back the papaya and kumquat tea I ordered for you.”

The client smiles genuinely and invites me to the table:

Client: “Show me what you got, kiddo!”

Leaving On A Jet Plane

, , , , | Right | October 16, 2021

My buddy has just decided it isn’t worth it anymore. He’s a screen printer/logo designer and garment prices keep going up and his customers want to pay less. He has sold everything, his house, his building, his equipment, and his cars, and left the country.

He wraps up his affairs, finishes up his orders, and notifies the majority of his customers that he is out of business. He then gives me all of his artwork in case a former client wants it.

Former Client: “I need a hundred T-shirts for this weekend.”

Me: “[Buddy] is out of business. I am an emergency contact.”

Former Client: “Tell him I’ll pay double; I need the T-shirts for this weekend.”

I look up the customer’s information and he hasn’t ordered in many years.

Me: “[Buddy] ave has left the building; find another printer.”

Former Client: “Tell him to die a slow painful death.”

I delete the client’s artwork and block the number!

My Photoshop Skills Are Nearly Extinct!

, , , | Right | October 15, 2021

I was having fun using my meager Photoshop skills by inserting dinosaurs into movie stills (Scarlet O’Hara getting attacked by a velociraptor, for instance). I would post them on Facebook and it gave my friends a few laughs. It’s the sort of thing that can get a chuckle in a group of friends who know each other but has no value outside of that. Any professional looking at one of them would probably spot a dozen mistakes or ways of improving them.

A few weeks after I posted these, I got a message from someone I didn’t know. Apparently, the dinosaur-movie mashups had gotten shared on someone else’s timeline and this person had seen them.

Stranger: “Hi. I love your dinosaur stuff! Can you make posters out of them? I’d like to sell them in my shop.”

I make the mistake of not simply blocking a message from a stranger.

Me: “I’m glad you liked them, but the images are hardly professional enough to sell and there would be copyright issues if I did anything commercial with them. Also, I have no idea how to produce a poster. I’m not a professional designer or artist.”

Stranger: “Oh, poo! They are so funny! No one will notice if you sell them! I just run a small curio shop. It’s no big deal and anyone who can use Photoshop is a designer. It’s something anyone can do nowadays.”

Me: “Sorry, but even if we ignore the sketchy quality of the images, there really are legal issues. I can’t help you out.”

Stranger: “This is silly. It’s a way to make money. Maybe it could be a new career for you.”

I gave up at this point and just blocked them. I was almost curious to find out what this person would be willing to pay for a poster of sketchy quality, but knew not to go down that rabbit hole. Whoever the stranger was, it was another case of someone who decides that “anyone” can do quality art or design work as long as they have a computer.

Lost In Cheap Translation

, , , , | Right | October 14, 2021

A potential client approaches; they have a complex website and they need to add another language.

Client: “We are losing a million euros a year because we do not have multilingual functionality. As we are an international company, it is very important for us to have another language.”

Usually adding another language (translations excluded) is very simple, but the website itself is very big and requires a lot of customised work, so the offered price is 1000 euros.

Client: “Are you insane? No, we cant invest such an amount of money, this is ridiculous. I can pay 50.”

Me: “This is a very complex website; it is not enough just to install a plugin; it requires a lot of customization. But the strangest part for me is that you say you cant invest this money. I am actually offering you to transform your 1000 euro to a million euros, and you say my offer is not fair? How is that even possible?”

Client: “What?”

Me: “You told me yourself, you are losing a million euros per year because your website is not multilingual. If you said that only to look cool, well… anyway, good luck with the project, I hope you can find someone who can do it for 50 euros, but we can’t do that.”

Never heard from him again.