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Open Mouth, Insert Foot

Being too forward with opinions

     
12:36 pm on Jul 27, 2005 (gmt 0)

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Just thought I would share something that happened to me last night.

I've been talking with the proprietor of my favorite local hang out for some time about revamping his website. He was not happy with the site his hosting company designed and was having trouble getting them to make changes or updates. The only thing keeping me from getting the work is my lack of free time of late, and his budget.

Last night, I was hanging out at his shop after closing time when he announces "Hey, my new website is up. Have a look!"

So I go to the computer and type in the URL and am greeted with a completely amateur site constructed with FrontPage 3.0. My response was reflexive. I spat out "That looks like <snip>!" Not the most professional review, I know.

To make it worse, it was his wife that had done the redesign. In her spare time. As an anniversary present.

And he was on the phone with her at the time and she could hear everything I said.

Excuse me while I go crawl under a rock where I belong.

Anything like this ever happen to any of you? If so, were you able to recover gracefully and still end up getting the work, or did you have to let it go?

[edited by: stuntdubl at 6:04 pm (utc) on July 27, 2005]
[edit reason] no swear filter workarounds please [/edit]

1:28 pm on July 27, 2005 (gmt 0)

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ROLF - good one katana_one ;)

The graceful thing would be to give the lady some FREE help on the site - that way they will see that you are business minded and might recommend you to other businesses.

Leo

5:32 pm on July 27, 2005 (gmt 0)

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Thanks, Leo. Glad somebody finds it funny. I might find it funny myself after enough time has passed. The free site help is definately something to consider.

Definately a learning experience. I will always try to remember to keep my criticism objective and professional, no matter who did the work.

5:34 pm on July 27, 2005 (gmt 0)

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Just reading this topic made me cringe. :-)
5:39 pm on July 27, 2005 (gmt 0)

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>> remember to keep my criticism objective and professional

the thing is you never know when you are talking to your next client

this has happened to me for sure, not quite as blurted but similar. Sometimes my honesty got me a job, sometimes it got me black balled. ;)

7:09 am on July 28, 2005 (gmt 0)

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I think that it was an honest reaction...and if it costs you a possible client..don't change a thing....keep it real...educating folks on site usability and interface design is a tedious task at best...

You could possibly make amends by commenting on how nice it was for his wife to make this gesture...and then follow up with some of your hard won experience and advice and call it good... to help to improve the site a bit...but come on FrontPage 3.0 ... "that tool works like ****"

8:44 am on July 28, 2005 (gmt 0)

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Hey,
I've had this kind of thing happen to me from the other side, because I'm pretty much an amateur with site design, though I have got a lot better.

Do a complete 180 and explain that while the site is really bad as a professional job its brilliant as a first attempt.

Tell them that you were worried that some charlatan had charged them hundreds of dollars to do it and that upset you.

Apologise, tell them you've looked at it again and pick out some elements that are good to compliment them on (the colour scheme?)

Tell her you'll obviously have to keep a tight hold of your clients because she may be snapping at your heels in years time.

Next time keep your mouth shut, except for saying, 'wow I like the colour scheme'. If you manage to find out that someone has been ripped off by a designer who claims to be a pro then break it to them gently.

Next time you see her - drinks are are on you!

12:27 pm on July 28, 2005 (gmt 0)

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Well, it may have been an honest reaction, decaff, but that does not excuse my rudeness. There are many ways I could have expressed my opinion without being rude, offensive, or insensitive. Not only did I offended someone needlessly, I also undermined my own credibility.

An apology is in order, and I plan on delivering it in person this afternoon, with an offer to help with the site if they are still interested. But really, the website is far less important to me than maintaining the good relationship I have with the owner.

10:31 am on July 29, 2005 (gmt 0)

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Sometimes things like these slip out - spur of the moment thing.

you really cant guard against it I think its human nature.

If I were you id avoid the place like the plague for the next 6 months OR go down on a bended knee and explain you thought it had been produced by fee charging firm.

Either way its not good.

10:33 am on July 29, 2005 (gmt 0)

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it's times like this we realise how skilled diplomats are!
12:09 pm on July 29, 2005 (gmt 0)

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I am pleased to report that my apology was graciously accepted and all is well.

:)

6:14 pm on Aug 23, 2005 (gmt 0)

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I have to admit I fell into the same trap, even after I've read this thread.

Right now I'm lucky I've found your solution about here...

6:43 pm on Aug 23, 2005 (gmt 0)

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Take a day and make him a nice simple site!

Consider it a donation to a worthy friendship :)

7:57 pm on Aug 23, 2005 (gmt 0)

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well: it isn't an exact copy of what happened to katana_one ... it's a little worth, but the allover advice still might be: adjust your critics very well :)