A number of years ago, I headed up a web design company which handled a handful of higher profile clients. One of the projects we were working on was for a client who was a major designer in the art world and did these amazing murals and such. So, after doing the one on one meeting with her, and getting the ideas together for how she wanted her site to look, we were on our way.
So a month goes by and we're doing great with this client, some exchanges here and there, refinements to the design, no sweat. And since it was a flat fee project, we were collecting in increments over the life of the project.
On the final weekend prior to debuting the site to her, and taking it live, there was an unforeseen tragedy in my family and I had to leave for the weekend, missing the final meeting with the client. All that was left to do on the site was to divide the front page into three columns, drop in the text she provided, and position the graphics she provided from her artwork. Very simple, and a no-brainer.
So I instruct the people working for me at the time to tie up the loose ends, present her with the finished site, and collect the remaining dues. I would be back on Tuesday after visiting the hospital to check to see if everything was alright.
I come back on Tuesday to find out the following conversation had taken place:
designer1: We've redesigned part of the layout because it helps it to flow better.
her: This wasn't what I asked for...
designer1: but it works better this way, you'll have to trust us.
her: where is your boss?
designer1: he had to leave town for a few days, and assigned the project to me to finish up. Now about the final payment, and we'll be glad to hand over the work.
her: I'm not paying for this... this isn't what we agreed on.
*apparently arguing ensued and she cancelled her account with us the same day*
I return to find out what had happened, asking the obvious "You mean all you had to do was give her what she wanted, as we had already been working on it and agreed on, and she would have handed you the very large check she owed us? And you didn't do that.. why?"
him: "Because it was better the way I designed it."
me: "I didn't ask you to redesign it the way you wanted it. I asked you to finish a ten minute job and collect a check while I was gone."
him: "It didn't look right... trust me it looked better my way."
me: "We don't get paid to tell the customer what they want. We get paid to tell them if what they want is feasible and within their budget. This was both. Know what else I get paid to say?"
me: "You're fired."
Sometimes the client stupidity mentality manages to infiltrate the business side as well.