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

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.

Time Travel Is A Bit More Complicated Than That

, , , , | Right | November 4, 2021

Client: “What is the opposite of Z?”

Me: “…of Z?”

Client: “Yeah, I’m doing the ctrl+Z thing and I went too far back in time. You know that scene in The Time Machine where he goes too far back in time?”

Me: “Yeah.”

Client: “Like that.”

The Cheapskate Seed Was Planted Here Long Ago

, , , , | Right | November 4, 2021

I run a carnivorous plant shop, and construct unique enclosures and backdrops on commission. A regular part of the job involves clients who (a) want an incredibly rare (and therefore expensive) plant that they just heard about, and (b) don’t want to pay for than $25 for the whole thing.

Client: “I want a setup with a Nepenthes edwardsiana in it.”

This species prefers cool, nearly refrigerated conditions and is NOT for beginners.

Me: “Okay, I can do this. Have you raised carnivorous plants before?”

Client: “No, but I saw this plant on a YouTube video and I think it looks cool.”

Me: “Okay, noted. In total, the plant and enclosure will cost [X total].”

Client: “That’s way too expensive. Why are you trying to rip me off?”

Me: “Most of the cost is in the plant. It’s very rare and fussy in cultivation. I have one, and it cost me [Y total]. That’s the [X total] minus the bare costs of enclosure construction and materials, so I’d have to charge the same price.”

Client: “Well, I heard that you can take cuttings of plants and grow them for free. Just take a cutting off of yours.”

Me: “It doesn’t work that way. I’d have to wait weeks to see if it actually rooted, and this plant is too small to get cuttings without killing it.”

Client:Well. I saw someone selling one on Amazon for [Z total] so I’ll just go to them.”

This is considerably less than [Y total]. Fast forward six months: the client is back.

Client: “The seller I bought my plant from sold me the wrong plant. The storefront is shut down, and I can’t get a refund. I want to buy yours for [Z total].”

Me: “As I explained before, I can’t let mine go for less than [Y total].”

Client: “But they were selling ones for [Z total]!”