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[personal profile] primaleph
Today I received the following voicemail message from a client who's probably in my top 3 least favorite clients ever. It went as follows:

"Jason, [name] here. I haven't been using the computer - I never have, since you came in here, when you were having lunch here in my office that one time. So I wanted to get on to check my email, I can't get on, it says my password is - 'login failed because your user password is not entered correctly' - and I thought it was the same password that I had. I can't get on the Internet either, I don't know why. I guess you have to be able to log in correctly. So I need your advice here. I don't know what my password is, except for what it used to be. So give me a call. I need to get this done, cause I know you were paid for this already. All right, thank you, [phone number]."

This probably seems fairly innocuous, except perhaps the part at the end about being paid. But it bears pointing out that the time he talks about, when I was eating lunch in his office while working, he demanded that I leave immediately because I had dared to do so. I was pretty furious at the time, and thinking about it still leaves me upset. I spoke to a former employee of his who's also a client of mine - the lady who originally referred him to me - and she said I should write him a letter. So I did. And also got an email reply from him, and wrote one final reply back.



My letter:

Dear Mr [Name],

I'm writing in response to your message from earlier today. There are too many things I need to say to do it over the phone.

First, I know the Internet works on your new computer - not just because I tested it, but because you wouldn't even be able to try to log into your email without a working Internet connection. As far as your password: I don't know what it is, and I have no ability to change it for you. You'll need to talk to the company that provides your Internet access at work, so that they can reset it for you. Offhand I forget their name right now.

The main reason for this email isn't the problems you're having with your work computer, though. You may recall that when you arrived at the office and found out I had eaten my lunch there, you demanded I leave immediately, which I did. I was not finished setting up the computer at that time, so if there are any lingering problems with it, that's likely the reason.

It seemed from your message that you're still upset about that lunch incident, so please let me apologize. Had I known it would be a problem, I would never have done it... However, no one who works there told me, and I do routinely work while eating. Many of my clients even try to feed me while I'm working, whether I'm hungry or not. And i did notice your employees going out, getting food, and eating it at their desks. So I hope we can agree this was just a misunderstanding.

However, the main issue here is that I don't like the way you treat me, and haven't for quite some time. Your message today was rude and imperious, which really disinclines me to want to help you. Ever again. Why? Because I can scarcely remember a time you have ever treated me with respect, and that is unacceptable. I'm really tired of your cracks about my hair, your attempts to circumvent my rates and work hours, and the way you usually want me to come the same day you call, even though I've told you repeatedly that isn't possible.

Politeness and courtesy are prerequisites for dealing with me at all. Those who act as if they're optional are people I don't need in my life. I refuse to accept another message like the one you left me today. Please either apologize for your rudeness or never call me again. The choice is yours.

Sincerely,
Jason Feldstein
The Computer Wizard


His response:


Did you get paid that day Jason? Now you tell me you didn’t finish the work. You had eaten your lunch you say? You were eating your lunch in my office sitting at my desk when I walked in to that stench. You had your smelly onion sandwich and can of coke on my desk without a coaster you inconsiderate fat boy. Your coke can left a stain ring on my desk.
Work while eating...how about eating and not working but charging for your time and not finishing the job.
People feed you? Why?
You do half ass work kid and then sit around to milking the clock.
you history pal


My final response:


There was no coke can. There was a styrofoam cup. But it did leave a stain, which I would have covered the cost of fixing had you ever asked.

Truly, you don't know anywhere near enough about computers to be able to accurately evaluate the quality of my work. The things I had to skip were optional - for polish, so to speak - and since you saw fit to kick me out, I left.

I have never been treated so appallingly by a client. Seriously, "fat boy"? What are you, a preschooler?

Please don't bother emailing me back. Any future emails from you will be automatically deleted. Good riddance.

Date: 2011-09-16 03:44 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] ainulindale.livejournal.com
Where do these people come from? Seriously. That whole situation is a load of pretentious bullshit

Date: 2011-09-16 03:45 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] ainulindale.livejournal.com
...that you really shouldn't ever have to deal with. (Sorry, I must have clicked on something that made that post...but I don't know *what* since it clicked nothing but blue background. O.o)

It's awesome how you bowed out with dignity, though. And I concur--good riddance to bad rubbish! :)

Date: 2011-09-16 03:48 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] primaleph.livejournal.com
God, it's so nice to see that people still actually comment on stuff on Livejournal. I miss having conversations here... they felt so much more intimate than on Facebook.

My friend Abby thought I did get a bit unprofessional at the end there, and I agree, but seriously... anyone whose response to being told I don't like the way they treat me is to call me "fat boy" does not belong in my life. I am so grateful that I work for myself, because if I didn't, that call might be mine to make and that would suck.

Date: 2011-09-16 04:07 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] ainulindale.livejournal.com
God, it's so nice to see that people still actually comment on stuff on Livejournal. I miss having conversations here... they felt so much more intimate than on Facebook.

I agree! I've pretty much given up on FB at this point. It makes it way too easy for people to get up in your business. As I've heard it, "Facebook is the best way to silently stalk your friends." LJ you can lock and won't stealthily steal and make public your phone number if you post from your smartphone....

My friend Abby thought I did get a bit unprofessional at the end there, and I agree, but seriously...

Yeah, I can see that, but to be honest, the client was far, far worse. I wouldn't even necessarily say that what you wrote him was "unprofessional" so much as eloquently honest. You handled it professionally, and none of what you said was actually insulting. The issue lies in the fact that most "professionals" aren't used to being put in their place, no matter how tactfully. The COO of the company I used to work for was awesome at telling off clients that would bully our engineers and other staff, and he wrote letters and had conversations *a lot* like yours. I wouldn't worry about it.

You work for yourself. You have every right to lay your own ground rules and operate as you see fit. I'm really glad you know where to draw the line. I'm used to bending over backwards way too far, and I know that I'm not a natural contortionist. *hugs*

Date: 2011-09-16 04:10 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] primaleph.livejournal.com
This whole experience actually prompted me to email another client who's been very rude to me in the past, just to ask if I've ever done anything that upset or offended her. I don't think I'm just imagining her acting like she dislikes me intensely... but I hope I can do something before it gets as bad as it did with this guy.

Date: 2011-09-16 04:07 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] groen.livejournal.com
This pretty much sums up everything I was going to say, yep.

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