Tag Archives: client

Demon PITA

firedBack when I was in the e-biz, we had two kinds of clients: Demon and PITA. Some things never change.

Tom’s Law #42
Like a boss or a customer in a restaurant, anyone paying you money to do work on their behalf believes it is their duty to make your life a living hell.

Demon clients are customers where you lose money. They are basically squeaky wheels that aren’t worth the grease to fix. (That’s not to say, however, that a fix would be having them greased.)

Consider: You and another person are customers of some product or service. You pay on time, are reasonable, and an all-around good egg. The other person, however, is slow to pay, constantly whines, excessively consumes your time and resources, and basically sucks your life away like the machine in the dungeon in The Princess Bride. Coincidentally they use the word “inconceivable” a lot.

What if you both pay the same rate? If so, then simply by being nice, you are getting ripped off. Big time. Essentially your function is subsidizing assholes.

Smart companies know this and charge demon clients more and good clients less. Generally speaking, less subsidizing that goes on the better. Subsidizing is an affront to concepts like fairness and equity.

PITA? That stands for, of course, “Pain In The Ass.”

When you combine demon and PITA into a single client? That’s where the magic happens. That’s when it’s truly something special. A singular experience worth writing home about.

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[More] Tales of the Webmaster


Let’s start with a little webmaster joke. I apologize, but this joke relies on some complicated insider industry jargon. Maybe some of my fellow webmasters will get the humor. The rest of you might miss it.

Q. Why did the webmaster throw in the towel?

A. Clients exist!

Now we move on to the following creepy tales of horror. These are true stories that actually happened. You have been warned.
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Tales of the Webmaster


Let’s start with an exceedingly simple logic proof:

  • Hell is other people.
  • Clients are people.
  • Clients are Hell.

Now we move on to the following creepy tales of horror. These are true stories that actually happened. You have been warned.
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I pooped at work and … EIEEEE!

Right back atcha!

Pooping at the work place. Ah, one of my favorite topics of all. And like any blog post worth its salt, this one just sort of happened. Whatever I had planned to write about today has been pushed out of the way. Heh.

So here’s how it all went down.

My co-worker was on the phone and I’m the backup person to answer our two-line phone system. Light bulb! This is a perfect time to use the restroom and potentially miss a phone call or two.

I’m in there doing my business and reading a very interesting article about scuba diving and finding bottles. (But that’s another story.) But I wasn’t in there that long.

Those of you who work in large office buildings don’t know how lucky you are. Someone walks by and sees your cubicle or desk is empty and they can only guess. “Hey, where the hell is Bob?” He could be in the bathroom, but he could also be in a meeting, on a break, or at the mall next door enjoying a movie at the multiplex. (When I was working in cubicle culture this was a very common occurrence.)

In a small office, however, one thing is painfully clear. Everyone knows exactly where you went (bathroom), what you are doing, and exactly how long you’ve been in there. I hate that.

Anyway, I finish what I’m doing and then perform my post-poop ritual consisting of touching things in a certain sequence, freshening the air, washing my hands, opening the door, then finally sterilizing my hands so I don’t have to touch anything before getting back to my desk.

I step out in the hall. BOOM!

“I need your help. The customer is on the phone!!!!!!

Geez! And you didn’t call 9-1-1 yet? Whiskey tango foxtrot! Yes, I truly enjoy pooping at the workplace.

Turned out that my co-worker was a PITA demon client, too. “It’s not showing me the link to adjust shipping!!!” Well, are you logged in? “No. Do I have one for this screen???” Yes, you do. I gave it to you already, can you remember?

I hear some furious typing and then, “Oh. Yeah. Mmmm. That worked.”

Poop indeed.

A website is a lot like a garden

Website gardenLet me ask you a question: Would you till and push some soil around, traipse through and sprinkle some seeds, then come back in a few months expecting to find a vibrant, thriving garden just waiting to unload its plentiful bounty into your waiting arms?

Of course not. You know that a garden requires continual attention. Pruning, weeding, dealing with pests, etc.

Why does that sort of wisdom fly out the window the minute a web site is involved?

Here is a typical scenario: A client approaches who is desirous of a web site. Their budget is $15 for a domain name, $10 a month for hosting and email and they don’t want to pay for design. I’m a helpful sort of guy (aka idiot) so I accept the project. I grab a free open source template, make a few modifications, and pump out the 3-4 pages they need. Viola! Cheap ass web site.

Keep in mind that at $10 a month I’m operating at a frickin’ loss already, yet I’m still on the hook for 24/7 tech support for every little thing that might confuse them, especially things that have absolutely nothing to do with their web hosting. And they want and expect free on-site visits, too.

During the course of the next year they do absolutely none of the following:

  • Tell people about their web site
  • Print their web site address on business cards
  • Include the web site on the letterhead, corespondence, invoices
  • Mention the web site in advertising they are already running (print, radio, etc)
  • Work on content, optomize the site for search engine position, etc
  • Add the web site to graphical work done on their vehicles

Invariably in one year when renewal time comes around, they’ll say: “Yeah, I’m paying for the web site. It hasn’t done a damn thing for me.” They look at me like I just shot their dog, like it’s all my fault the web site didn’t bury them in gold coins up to their ears. Yep, I’m the bad guy. They have no clue about the awesome deal they just got. For all of my good intentions they probably go around telling everyone how bad I suck.

That’s why I don’t do web sites any more.