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

You Really Thought We Wouldn’t Notice, Huh?

, , , | Right | October 20, 2021

Client: “Your company is exceptionally slow compared to others in your field, but we’re willing to give you one last chance. We have a project that other companies can turn around in [number] weeks. What can you offer us in terms of timelines?”

Me: “We’re literally the only company in the world that offers the services you need on this scale, so I’m pretty sure nobody has offered you a [number]-week timeline. We can’t match it by any stretch considering the gargantuan scope of work, but hey, you’re free to go to these “other companies” you’ve mentioned. We wish you the best of luck.”

Client: “Oh, no, the companies are most certainly real. But… uh… hypothetically speaking, what kind of timeline would it be if we stuck with you?”

Me: “Hypothetically?”

Client: “Hypothetically.”

We’d be working around the clock and weekends just to make double that timeline. You better believe the expedite fees aren’t getting waived. Some part of me genuinely wants them to attempt getting quotes from other companies and getting the door slammed in their faces when they explain what they want and how soon they want it.

A Colorful Request

, , | Right | October 19, 2021

A client asks me to color some black and white pictures of his mother as a child.

Client: “It’s for her funeral next week.”

Me: “Oh, I’m sorry to hear about her passing. What type of hair color and skin tone did your mother have as a child?”

Client: “I’ll snip a piece of her hair off. You can scan it and take the color from there.”

Me: “…”

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!