Bart’s Bakery

B

Bart’s Bakery Bart Greenhut Little Bites of Happiness Refuses to pay invoices for work outside original scope of agreements. Caused lost revenue with endless demands. South El Monte CA!!. It started so promising. He said, “I love the quality of your work and your general aesthetic and will pay you whatever you need to live on. This opportunity will be incredible for your career and I will give you a ton of work overseeing several projects.” The only true statement to date has been, “a ton of work”. It should be noted Bart Greenhut boasts selling happiness and joy via the cookies he sells, calling them, “Little Bites of Happiness.” Was hired as Creative Director to rebrand packaging and improve web presence for Bart’s Bakery, beginning with building multiple social media ad campaign landing pages on varying platforms, with intentions to apply the models to 2 other businesses he operates. With no technical skills nor simplest understanding of what is required to build websites from concept to completion, he does not respect the time or requisite complexity of work completed for him which he habitually has used to justify non or slow payments. This is my story. When I first mentioned this to a colleague, they pointed out this was a recurrent issue and that in fact Bart treats many this way. Never allowed to complete tasks or projects, he or someone else would regularly alter settings or break something, rendering it non-functional almost every other day; he would then insult the quality of work and skills, and stop running the ad campaign in order to defend withholding payment. Examples: Immediately after the first (WordPress) page launch, his developer in India broke the Stripe payment gateway system, subsequently orders could not process, which he used to flatly announce the campaign wasn’t working, a failure. (The same developer did this repeatedly and in one instance, permanently deleted a $75 premium plugin Bart had paid for, no real reason given. Mr. Greenhut would again complain, insult my work, and announce the campaign wasn’t working. At one point the developer again completely deleted another vital 3rd party WordPress plugin which permanently deleted a chunk of vital content from the page, forcing me to rebuild from scratch. There were multiple claims he was going to fire the developer yet instead, he gave the developer *more* work.(Note: The Worpdress theme I had to work with was not meant for eCommerce nor was there any way to effectively “design” anything without adding a robust (premium) visual page builder app and install a proper, secure payment gateway system. The site was poorly designed and coded with nothing but forms and short codes, PDFs instead of body text, broke regularly, an unstable environment. The first goal was to create a safe and stable environment for accepting credit card payments, and since the Indian developer had not demonstrated aptitude for Stripe, WooCommerce, or any secure payment gateways, I was told I could hire a developer to configure and integrate them into the theme. Which I did on January 14, 2019, he has *also* not paid that person’s fee. In fact he now declares he will only pay half of the developer’s fee, insisting I pay the other half.) There were 2 invoices for the first (WordPress) page. (He had sticker shock as he’d never announced a budget, only asking for it be done “faster than humanly possible” u2018 with several verbal offers to pay, “whatever you need to live on.” The first invoice he adamantly declared he would only pay half of, an entire weekend was spent arguing via text and email, I instructed him that that is not how invoices work. He stated repeatedly he would only pay half, and *if* my campaign performed well, he would pay another $1200, cash. Not the balance of the invoice, but a $1200 cash reward if the page out-performed others he was running.(Which would total more than the 2 invoices making it an odd, more expensive offer. I communicated that a cash incentive/bonus was fine, but that it should be offered only once invoices were fully paid. (Bear in mind the developer kept breaking things in WordPress settings so the page could only run in sporadic bursts. The “game” was never fair with such chaos, deception, amd moving goal posts/benchmarks.) Eventually he paid and we moved on. The second invoice brought another argument, followed by payment a week or more later. He then directed me to stop all work/optimizing the first page and begin another. “$700 budget, delivered in four days, platform of your choice.” I chose Shopify. But the project had very rigid aspects based on a Photoshop layout he created. From day one I apprised him of the technical difficulties involved in translating his visual wishes to functional, making both the budget and timeframe unrealistic. I could deliver a functional page for that amount, getting as close to his desired customer checkout flow as possible, but that the exact requests required a Shopify expert to custom code, and that I would need to install a few 3rd party apps to integrate with said custom coding. (See 1.5 hour chat transcript at the end of this report.) *Hours* of chat support with Shopify and 3rd party app developers led to this conclusion, the project grew to 2 weeks as I continued working through and around technical issues, focused solely on page design layouts, optimizing newly created graphic elements + written copy for SEO, while awaiting responses to support tickets for 3rd party apps that offered only email support within 24-48 hour timeframes. As with any client, time was tracked with time-tracking software and began surpassing the $700.00 budget, I apprised him and sent an invoice. The landing page at that point was 90% designed, technically functional and secure, payments successfully processed and sent to Stripe. He stated he would only pay half, again. And we argued. He demanded I stop all work on the Shopify page, saying we’d revisit it in a month. “Go back to the WordPress page, here’s a list of changes I need done.” In a two hour Skype/phone session he dictated a laundry list of changes in Admin, Soft Graphic Design, and Custom CSS categories to the first page. Which I completed in spite of his unpaid overdue invoice. NOTE: I did *not however, head to the Shopify forums to explain / request expert help u2018 apprising Bart that drafting the request would be time consuming in order to eliminate any confusion or multiple exchanges and receive the most quality, rapid solution. That it would need to be explicitly spelled out in words alone since they don’t allow image uploads as visual aid. I was unable and unwilling to take time from other clients to help him, with an unpaid invoice. Tasks outside the original agreements included but were not limited to: (Soft Graphic Design) Creating + replacing all products with new hi-res photos he’d only recently photographed, edits to other graphics and page features/behaviors, CSS for mobile device visual displays and WooCommerce behaviors, creating/uploading new products with “Subscribe and Save” options & more CSS for those as well, further SEO optimized copy for new products, rebuilding from scratch the section the developer from India deleted, several hours of round-the-clock admin, phone calls, text and Skype sessions.He was told several times the Shopify page was 90% done and technically functioned and that to mitigate loss, suggested running it as-is after some minor finishing touches (to generate sales and A/B split test against other pages) while a Shopify expert custom coded a duplicate version to his exact, rigid expectations, advice he did not take.The (original) WordPress landing page performed extremely well whenever it ran, and by ALL ACCOUNTS was both aesthetically and technically far superior to the other (2) pages he was A/B testing against. It generated sales, there are receipts. He offered consistent praise, often saying he wished he could have me around all the time to apply my elegant solutions to every one of his growing problems. Everyone who compared the pages had the same reaction: horror at the other 2 pages (the term “Nigerian scam” was uttered almost every time, one even termed it, “Nightmare on Bloody Chocolate Street” referring to a dripping-blood-looking chocolate font paired with a grainy photo of a scary looking baker) vs. “OH WOW. YES GORGEOUS, this is how the 2019 internet and eCommerce checkouts should look!” in response to mine. A full week after sending the $700 Shopify invoice, on 2/10/19, he once again paid only half. On 2/17/19, he finally paid the balance. On 2/21/19 he was invoiced for $525.41 for work completed outside the scope of both agreements, and includes the developer’s fee who configured Stripe integrations January 14, 2019. He refuses to pay, has never even viewed the invoice. He has been apprised of this report filing as well as similar complaints to other agencies, possible legal action for copyright infringement for the use of creative works without payment; nothing moves him to pay. Not even an empathic option to pay over time via the online payment system, should cash flow issues be the reason for nonpayment.Note: Though I never agreed to a cash incentive for page performance as sole payment, I let him know should he want to award the “winner” it would be acceptable once invoices were paid in full. The “contest” (for a $500 reward) between 3 competing pages was to run until 2/28/19 and on Thursday, 2/21/19, we discussed replacing the lead-in video on my Facebook ad, editing the text overlay copy, new background music, and FB ad copy. He loved the direction, saying he would edit the video of my choice down to 14.7 seconds long and implement all requested changes.The following day, Friday 2/22/19, he abruptly declared the young employee with an ad running the “winner”, handed him $500 cash, and immediately shut down all Facebook ads. (Bart repeatedly said from day one he was going to fire the employee, for “only being about 10% able to do his job.”) The competition was supposed to run for 6-7 more days, until 2/28. Not only was the employee never fired or demoted, but he was put *in charge* of the Facebook ads u2018 with no technical, design, or coding skills, any marketing know-how, and proceeded to allocate funds to run *two* versions of his extremely inadequate page against single versions of mine and (Bart’s) similarly inadequate pages. I discovered this and alerted Bart with texts and screenshots as proof. Two or three days later, the duplicate ad was finally removed. It should be noted in giving this task to the inexperienced employee, he took work from the highly skilled, dedicated marketing specialist in charge of running ads, generating quality traffic, and increasing conversions. Bart has since refused or delayed payments to said specialist as a result. In response to the now 14 day overdue invoice, Bart has only texted or emailed insults claimingt lack of skills, “poor page performances” for reasons having nothing to do with my work as excuses defending the refusal to pay. Saying he’s since hired someone else to build a page that looks and functions exactly to his specifications (in WordPress, not Shopify, so another unfair comparison) asking if he’s supposed to pay twice. For a page at 90% completion he demanded all work stopped on. Upon payment, this filing will be cheerfully updated. NOTE about attached image of WordPress page, due to some animations at play, screengrab cannot capture the layout perfectly, elements are missing.End////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////Shopify Chat Logged (IDENTIFYING TERMS CHANGED FOR ANONYMITY)Hi Designer,Your chat has been logged and can be referenced by the ticket number ********. To add further comments, just reply to this email and you’ll hear from us soon!SHOPIFY AGENT #2 C (Shopify) Feb 7, 15:52 EST Full chat transcript below. All timestamps in UTC timezone.18:52 Designer: I need help with a landing page for subscription based products, specifically the order flow. The client needs a specific set of steps and selections to build an order of preferences/variables and then a recap/review at the POS for the customer to see all the choices they’ve made. I have a jpg to show as a visual.I am using the Narrative free theme, with ElfSight table app as well as the ReCharge Subscription app. Thanks in advance, Designer18:54 Designer: ON-LINE ORDER VISUALIZATION 2-1-19 copy.jpg18:54 Designer: Here is a visual the client created, focused solely on flow and order progression. Can this be achieved via apps, or do we need custom coding?19:00 Designer: To clarify, they want that a customer can essentially “build an order” progressively via radio buttons and “next” buttons. The system logs and remembers their choices, and recaps at the end. Hope this makes sense and is possible.19:11 Designer: in fact, here are two shops very similar to what we’re wanting to achieve, found in the forums (but no solid answers given how it was done)19:11 Designer: 1: s****.>

This review (Bart’s Bakery) was originally published at Skeptic Files.

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