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

Putting The Dead Into Deadline

, , , | Right | November 8, 2021

Client: “I need that brochure today!”

Me: “I’m sorry, but your deadline is two weeks from now. I have four other projects due this weekend.”

Client: “But I’m giving you a deadline now.”

Me: “It’s not feasible to meet it, I’m sorry.”

Client: “Fine! I’m taking your paycheque to hire someone else to do it.”

Me: “Well, that’s your right.”

Client: “Do you know anyone who can? Preferably for less than you were.”

Instead Of Choosing Between Money Or Sleep We’re Denying You Both

, , , | Right | November 7, 2021

Client: “We won’t pay you if you don’t submit the reports by midnight tomorrow.”

Me: “But you haven’t even given me the complete data sets yet! I only have six out of ten!”

Client: “We’ll give you the rest of them tomorrow, but we need to see your drafts time-stamped on March 31. Otherwise, you won’t get paid.”

After pulling a thirty-hour writing marathon, I sent six drafts off via email, with three minutes to spare before the midnight deadline.

Me: “Did you receive the drafts I sent to your email?”

Client: “Yeah, thanks. I’ve forwarded them to upper management.”

Me: “Right. So what about the rest of the data sets I asked for.”

Client: “Yeah, about that. We still haven’t received the data sets from the other project sites, so management is asking if they can send them by April 10th instead.”

Me: “…”

Client: “And we still need to discuss if we’re going to pay you for your time.”

Allow Me To Show You The Door

, , , , | Right | November 6, 2021

I used to do architectural visualization. This firm hired me as a freelancer to create multiple illustrations of new condo buildings, including exterior shots, interior shots, floor plans, etc. Lot of work laid out in a well-defined contract, with costs agreed upon. Half the fees needed to be paid upfront, and the other half at the very end (after final approval). Everything went relatively well until the final payment was due:

Client: “I cannot pay you the final amount. You see, in architecture, costs are calculated per door, and with the money that I gave you in the beginning, that more than enough covers for the work.”

Obviously, I had created tens of rendered images of the same building, which they considered to be the same doors, so the same work, thus refusing to pay for the actual amount of work that had been done.

After a bit of back and forth, the client kept acting like a condescending twat and I had to give up most of the amount. Lesson learned.

Nothing Stays The Same Forever…

, , | Right | November 5, 2021

Client: *Holding an old brochure.* “If you have this on your computer, we can just update the information.”

Me: “Great, that’s easy.”

Client: “But can you change the font?”

Me: “Sure.”

Client: “This picture doesn’t really work. And the background is a little too… frilly. And the title should–”

Me: “Why don’t you tell me what to keep first?”

Client: “I like the trifold.”

Who Edits The Editor?

, , , | Working | November 5, 2021

I was working as a contract copy editor for a well-known music magazine. The managing editor told me he had conducted a telephone interview with a fairly famous musician and wanted me to edit the transcript for clarity, in other words, to take out all the “um”s and “uhh”s and generally clean it up for publication. I got to work and began reading the transcript. About halfway through, the musician began telling a story that became increasingly pornographic and explicit, using a number of four-letter words and extremely demeaning language.

Me: “I don’t think we can run this section of the story, it’s not really appropriate for our publication. At the very least we’ll need to censor it.”

The client begins laughing hysterically.

Me: “What?”

Client: “Yeah, I know. He didn’t actually say any of that. I just threw that in there to make sure you were really paying attention. If you didn’t flag it, I was going to fire you. I do that every now and then to make sure people are doing their jobs.”

Me: “Okay, well… great?”

I was amazed that the editor of a major publication would intentionally add errors to his copy just to “test” his staff. Fortunately, I didn’t stay there long.