Your Request Is Totally Criminal

| England, UK | Right | August 31, 2016

(I work as a freelance editor, including editing CVs and cover letters for jobs. I had a client ask me to improve his CV, “make it sound fancy and good,” as well as to write a cover letter for his applications, primarily for a teaching assistant job. I rewrote almost all of the CV and an impressive cover letter. About two months later I receive a phone call from him.)

Client: “I’d like a refund for the work you did.”

Me: “I’m sorry, what’s wrong?”

Client: “It’s been two months, and I still can’t get a job. The CV and cover letter are s***.”

Me: “You were happy with both when I delivered them, and also it clearly states in the contract that I do not offer refunds and that there is no guarantee of employment.”

Client: “The reason I’m not getting the jobs is because of this s*** you wrote. I want my money back.”

Me: “I’m sorry, but I don’t see how what I wrote would prevent you from getting a job. Are you sure there’s no other reason?”

Client: “No! I even had my brother look over the CV and he said it was s*** and it’s why I wasn’t getting a job. He’s a professional editor too, and he knows this s***.”

Me: “If your brother is a professional, then why did you hire me instead of him?”

Client: “Because he’s busy with a real job, unlike you!”

Me: “Look, I’m sorry, but unless you can prove to me that I somehow voided our contract, I am not giving you a refund.”

Client: “I CAN prove it!”

(The client continued to bug me until I agreed to meet up with him and go through his application form, proving that it was the CV and not him. I watched as he filled in every detail without any worries, until we reached the problem question.)

Me: “Wait, you’ve put that you have a criminal conviction?”

Client: “Oh… yeah… A couple of years ago I got arrested for assault. But it was total bull-s***. She was a lying b****.”

Me: “You’re applying to work in a school with an assault charge. That’ll be why they’re not hiring you.”

Client: “No, because I tell them first.”

Me: “You tell them?”

Client: “Yeah, in the cover letter. I added a note at the end saying that the assault charge was false.”

Me: “But you were found guilty?”

Client: “Yeah, that’s just because my kid said she saw me do it.”

Me: “Okay, it doesn’t matter to the employer whether you claim it to be true or not. You were convicted, you were found guilty, so they take that as truth and won’t hire you to work with children.”

Client: “But it wasn’t true.”

Me: “But the school will believe it is.”

Client: “But I tell them first it ain’t.”

(We went around in circles for a while until I just got up and left. He continued to harass me for a while, and even threatened to sue. Needless to say, nothing ever came of it. As far as I’m aware, he’s had a couple jobs, not in schools thankfully, but lost all of them.)

Capitalizing On The Situation

| Sydney, NSW, Australia | Right | February 3, 2014

(I work as a freelance editor. A regular client sends me a file to edit. I’m almost sure the client is dyslexic, because every sentence has a spelling or grammar error, and there’s never any consistency. Sometimes he will hyphenate phrases, other times he won’t. He often forgets to use proper punctuation and seems to randomly capitalise words.)

Me: “Okay, I sent you that document back.”

Client: “Sweet, got it.”

Me: “Let me know if there’s anything wrong or you have questions.”

(Often clients ask why whole sentences have been deleted or I’ve changed a word they really wanted to keep, even though it doesn’t mean what they think.)

Client: “Um, you’ve changed the layout! I don’t want it like this!”

Me: “How do you mean? I didn’t touch the layout.”

Client: “It’s showing me two pages!”

Me: “It was a two-page document.”

Client: “No, it’s showing me two pages at once. Here, let me send you a screen shot.”

(They send me a screen shot of the document.)

Me: “Oh, it’s just displaying it as two up. Two pages side-by-side. I turned that on because I have a large monitor and it’s easier to work with two pages at once. You can turn it off by clicking on the percentage in the bottom left on the screen and selecting ‘one up.'”

Client: “I can’t see it.”

Me: “It’s just in the bottom left of the window, down the bottom next to the word count.”

Client: “Oh, got it. That’s better.” *they pause* “What are all these dots and triangles everywhere?”

Me: “Those show where I made changes. You asked me to track changes so you could see what amendments I’d made.”

Client: “How do I get rid of them?”

(I explain that they can either accept all the changes or do them manually, one-by-one. They accept all changes because there are too many to do one-by-one.)

Client: “You’ve changed the formatting too.”

Me: “Yes, it needed to make sense. You put paragraphs in the wrong places, and a good document doesn’t use all capitals because it tends to make people tense.”

Client: “But it’s a marketing technique!”

Me: “I’m an editor, not a marketing agent.”

Client: “Put all the capitals back in.”

Me: “With all due respect, you should have told me not to change them before you gave me the document. You said you wanted editing; I gave you editing. Next time tell me.”

(I want to keep the client’s business. Even though he is a bit stingy, he does pay and it’s a good semi-reliable trickle if I need a bit of cash quickly.)

Client: “You’ve also changed the capitals on some words that were meant to have capital letters.”

Me: “I assure you, it is improper English to put those phrases in capitals. They’re not place names, product names, names of people, titles, or anything that needs capitals.”

Client: “But it’s—”

Me: “A marketing technique?”

Client: “Yes.”

Me: “Again, you should have told me not to change those.”

Client: “You weren’t meant to change the capitals. You were only meant to edit the text.”

Me: “That’s what an editor does. They make the text conform to English standards.”

Client: “Well, don’t do it in future.”

Me: “…okay.”

Client: “I’ll fix it this time, but make sure you leave those things the way they are in future.”

Me: “What if you capitalise one word in one sentence, but don’t capitalise it in another sentence.”

Client: “How do you mean?”

Me: “Well, in this part you capitalise the letter ‘A’. And in this other sentence, you don’t, but all the words around it are capitalised.”

Client: “Well of course you fix it then.”

Me: “So you want me to make sure the document uses consistently bad English?”

Client: “It’s marketing. It’s not bad English.”

Me: “So do I capitalise the second one, or put the first one in lower case?”

Client: “You. Oh. Er. Um. How about you just leave that to me?”

Me: “Sounds like a plan.”

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