The case of the gullible web designer and the insulting client.

“Here’s my story, sad but true” Dion

“Come all ye friends I’ll sit you down, and sing an doleful ditty…” – Great Big Sea

Last year I set up a website for a recent acquaintence. I moved her site over to host on my server, set up her site in wordpress, made a custom theme, met with her on several occasions to go over her requirements and teach her wordpress. I even made the site ‘responsive’ since, after the fact, she mentioned that mobile compatibility was important to her. I probably put at least 20 hours of work into this but since she was a local acquaintence and we hadn’t agreed on a price in advance (yes I realized, big mistake on my part) I was only going to charge for about 5 hours of work. (yes I know, I should have had a contract, we’ll get to that in another post). So be clear, 20 hours of work at my normal rate = $1500. I was only going to ask her for $375. That’s 75% off for someoene I had just met.

When I sent her a note saying ‘I think that’s it, I’d like to meet with you to go over the final details and answer any questions‘ she didn’t respond for a while, and then wrote back saying she was upset about the fact that the background photo credit in the bottom right of the photo wasn’t visible in all different size views (I had explained why this wasn’t possible without some additional work) and that her calendar display wasn’t to her liking (Something I had suggested we work on earlier but she specifically said she wanted it that way).

I offered to remedy those problems. But no, apparently these were urforgiveable offenses and she insisted she was going to find another designer to finish the site. But here’s the Coup de grâce, she offered me $100 “for my time”.

I refused to take it. I told her my reason was I didn’t want to accept money for work for something someone wasn’t happy with, which was true, but really it was since it was insulting to imply all the work I had done was only worth $100. I didn’t want to dignify her offer with the respect of accepting it.

<sarcasm>Yeah I sure showed her, she got her whole site for free, that’s showing them Matt! They wont cross paths with you again!</sarcasm>

The only redeeming piece of all this is I know I took the high road, even after being given every reason not to. (I even waited a whole year to post this rant and left her name and business out of this post.)

She’s since moved her site to another host and it’s still the same design. (and yes, for all you designers out there, even after all this I let her keep the site I had designed, and hosted it for months for free while she found a new host/desigenr. I know, I know if I was cold-hearted ruthless business expert, or perhaps just wise, I would have shut her site off the moment she refused to pay. I took the high road til it hurt. Oh well, “Next time”)

All I know is, if karma exists, she’s got something coming her way.

This post is related to another one I’m working on called ‘I hate asking for money’, it was just enough of a tangent that I thought I’d post it separately and then I can just link ro it from the other post for people who really want tor read ‘below the fold’

Don’t call me (maybe)

oldphoneI’m not a big fan of phone calls.

Don’t get me wrong, I don’t mind hearing from friends & family, or if you have something pressing that demands my attention or requires an immediate response, then by all means, call me!

But in my job, my attention needs to be prioritized, and a phone call pulls me off what ever I’m doing. It’s the equivalent of someone saying ‘Drop whatever you are doing and listen to me’. Yes I know I could just not answer, but (most of the time) I’m not that rude.

E-mail works much better for me because I can see it when I’m free and I can prioritize if it needs an immediate response or not.

Phone calls don’t give me that choice. It’s an ‘interupt’, instead of a queued task. (geek speak, sorry)

Examples of annoying phone calls;

  • I’ve run into sales people who just call to ‘check in’. This happens several times a week “Hi Matthew this is Deb from <Insert name of generic unheard of computer products sales vendor>, I sent you e-mail about <insert product du-jour> a few days ago and just wanted to make sure you got it and see if you had any questions.
  • Other people will send me an e-mail in response to a question and in it they basically say ‘Call me’.
  • Long lists that I need to write down. If only you had e-mailed the list and saved us both time.

I realize a lot more information can be conveyed quickly verbally than via e-mail. I don’t hate the phone calls per se, I just don’t like people who use it for ‘quick phone calls’. In my book, if you can e-mail me the info in close to the same amount of time it took to call, and it’s not urgent, then please please e-mail me.

This is also why I don’t often call other people. Usually if I have a question or want to share something, I’ll e-mail it. It seems rather arrogant for me to assume that my question or information is soooooo important that I need you to hear me right away. I save my phone calls for ‘Priority One Message from Starfleet’ type moments. So if I respond to your voicemail via e-mail, this is why, it’s not that I don’t want to talk to you, it’s that my response didn’t warrant your immediate attention. When/if I need it, I’ll call, I promise.

This feeling about time and immediate attenion extends to meetings and committees as well.

Seriously, you’re going to read a document out loud in a committee instead of e-mailing us that text in advance?

Or seriously, you have suggestions/input on a motion that was e-mailed in advance 30 days but you wait until we’re at the table getting ready to vote to share this because you don’t like e-mail?

I don’t mind discussion, it’s just moments where an e-mail would have saved 5 minutes of time x 20 people on a committee.. you just wasted 100 minutess of our collective time because you couldn’t spend 2 minutes to fire off an e-mail before we met. Nice. (I’ve noticed this action often comes from lawyers, and I’m guessing this is a ‘never put anything in writing cause people can use it against you’ type logic they must teach in law schools. I’m sure that applies in business negotiations and divorce settlements, but for a volunteer committee? Show some respect to your colleagues and e-mail.)

Anyways, just thought I’d share this minor glimpse in my warped persona. Agree or disagree, please e-mail me your response 🙂