Unrealistic Customer, Help Please! (We All Know One...) :)

Decorating By Danielle111 Updated 27 Oct 2007 , 3:52pm by Danielle111

Danielle111 Posted 25 Oct 2007 , 10:13pm
post #1 of 41

OK, so I have this repeat customer who's really nice, but a pain to work with. She always has ideas that I feel are not going to translate well into cake, but she's the customer and it's my job to make her happy. Well, it seems as though her husband is the same way... ...I just got this e-mail from him to make her birthday cake (representing a Spanish Castle where they honeymooned). Sweet, right? But can it be done and still look good?

*******************************************************
Hi Danielle,
Irene and I were talking about ideas for her cake and wanted to bounce this off of you. Take a look at this picture from the castle she
likes:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Imageicon_razz.gifatio_de_los_Arrayanes.jpg

How about a simple flat rectangular cake, kind of like a sheet cake.
On the surface of that, color it like the reflecting pool with the reflected image of the building at the end of the pool. Then at one end of the cake, make a simplified version of the building so it seems like the building is being reflected off the surface of the cake. The building could be a second cake or a few layers on top of the end of the flat bottom part, whatever is easier structurally. If that's not clear we'd be glad to come out and meet you to draw it...I know Irene is pretty excited about the prospect of a cool birthday cake from you so if you'd like to meet up to talk about it this weekend or next week let us know.
********************************************************

I really don't like this idea, b/c it will only look like a reflection (if that's even possible) from straight on. Every other angle will be skewed.
Maybe I could use poured sugar as the pool, dyed Rice Krispie Treats as the bushes and let the cake "building" reflect as is? Does anyone have any ideas as to how this can be accomplished? Oh, and they only want 30 servings max. Originally they wanted the WHOLE CASTLE to be done in 30 servings!!! Ugh.
Help!!

40 replies
JoAnnB Posted 25 Oct 2007 , 10:25pm
post #2 of 41

You could draw the image of the castle on a plaque, then cover it with blue gel. It would probably show through enough to appear as a reflection. However, YOU ARE the decorator. Say NO if you need to.

leily Posted 25 Oct 2007 , 10:31pm
post #3 of 41

I don't have any help with the design or assembly of it, but I do want to say I don't care how many servings they want I wouldn't touch this cake for less than $150, and I would insist on fondant myself b/c with all of those nooks and cranies, BC would be hard to smooth.

So if it is fondant I would probably go up in price also.

weirkd Posted 25 Oct 2007 , 10:29pm
post #4 of 41

Why not make a poured sugar pool and color it with blue?? And the bushes like you said with RC, and the arches you could do either out of gumpaste or RI.
I probably would set up at site since this thing would be a biatch to move and not have it collapse!
Good luck!

Danielle111 Posted 25 Oct 2007 , 10:37pm
post #5 of 41

Thank you guys for the ideas! Do you think it would be possible to do in 30 servings? I was thinking fondant also, because it would have to be covered in modeling chocolate first, then ivory fondant in order to carve out the windows and doors to give them depth. I was also thinking approx. $195 (without delivery - they live about 29 miles away) for all of this work.

I'm really excited about doing this cake, but I'm afraid that it can't be done in 30 servings.

mmo88 Posted 25 Oct 2007 , 10:48pm
post #6 of 41

It is a section of La Alhambra, a beautiful castle built by the moors in Southern Spain many centuries ago. The top of the arches is covered with very intrinsicate work, almost like filigree. Top of the roof is covered with tiles.
I think you should ask him how close to the real thing he expects you to be. Perhaps he just want you to use the image so you can make something loosely based on it; but if he wants you to try and reproduce the building..that sure is going to be a lot of work. Good luck! icon_smile.gif

sweetviolent Posted 25 Oct 2007 , 10:56pm
post #7 of 41

how about a 1 dimensional gumpaste plaque( extra dried placed in a pool with lightly colored piping gel layed over it

tasteebakes Posted 25 Oct 2007 , 10:49pm
post #8 of 41

I love JoAnnB's idea for the reflection. It would have taken me a week to come up with that.
And I would definitely charge the $195, that's a tough cake but it's sure going to worth the work!
And I think wht you said is what needs to be said to your customers:

"I'm really excited about doing this cake, but I'm afraid that it can't be done in 30 servings."

That's your professional opinion, they have to accept that and take the extra servings (who doesn't want extra anyway?

Danielle111 Posted 26 Oct 2007 , 1:19am
post #9 of 41

Thank you for all of your wonderful ideas! I've sent the e-mail off (feeling more confident about my price and opinion - thanks to you guys), in hopes that she understands exactly how much work goes into something like this... ...if she were to order this cake from Duff, she'd be paying over $800 bucks, and I'm only charging her $195!! I'll let you know what she says, and hopefully have a picture to post on this thread in a month or so!

mezzaluna Posted 26 Oct 2007 , 4:13am
post #10 of 41

We all want fun orders, but just because the customer wants something does absolutely NOT mean we have to do it, or that it is even feasible to produce.

Learn to say *No, that won't work*. Don't be afraid to say no.

Danielle111 Posted 26 Oct 2007 , 2:55pm
post #11 of 41

I made sure to let her know that if they are truely interested in this cake, I will have to do some scaling to see if it's possible to do in 30 servings, so hopefully they understand that the possibility exists of having to take the extra. icon_smile.gif

Danielle111 Posted 26 Oct 2007 , 5:58pm
post #12 of 41

Ok, I got her response - she made me feel soooo horrible. She basically said, in a nice way, that she didn't think my cakes were worth that much, and she wasn't willing to pay $195 for an edible replica of the Patio de los Arrayanes. I'm getting better with each cake I do, as are we all, and I think that the final product would have been spectacular. Is she just unrealistic, or are my more recent cakes just that amateur? icon_sad.gif

indydebi Posted 26 Oct 2007 , 6:12pm
post #13 of 41
Quote:
Originally Posted by Danielle111

Ok, I got her response - she made me feel soooo horrible. She basically said, in a nice way, that she didn't think my cakes were worth that much, and she wasn't willing to pay $195 for an edible replica of the Patio de los Arrayanes. I'm getting better with each cake I do, as are we all, and I think that the final product would have been spectacular. Is she just unrealistic, or are my more recent cakes just that amateur? icon_sad.gif




She's a twit. Have her call Duff and see what HE would charge her!!!

I bet Duff's cakes taste pretty regular. But you're not paying for "the cake" You're paying for the time and talent it takes to create those masterpieces.

She's a twit.

elizw Posted 26 Oct 2007 , 6:15pm
post #14 of 41
Quote:
Originally Posted by Danielle111

Ok, I got her response - she made me feel soooo horrible. She basically said, in a nice way, that she didn't think my cakes were worth that much, and she wasn't willing to pay $195 for an edible replica of the Patio de los Arrayanes. I'm getting better with each cake I do, as are we all, and I think that the final product would have been spectacular. Is she just unrealistic, or are my more recent cakes just that amateur? icon_sad.gif





PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE don't let that get to you. i looked at your photos and you are very talented. she is asking for a cake that would be very time consuming and challenging. if she goes to another bakery, fine. she will pay more!

keep you chin up and stick by your guns!!

doughdough Posted 26 Oct 2007 , 6:21pm
post #15 of 41
Quote:
Originally Posted by indydebi

Quote:
Originally Posted by Danielle111

Ok, I got her response - she made me feel soooo horrible. She basically said, in a nice way, that she didn't think my cakes were worth that much, and she wasn't willing to pay $195 for an edible replica of the Patio de los Arrayanes. I'm getting better with each cake I do, as are we all, and I think that the final product would have been spectacular. Is she just unrealistic, or are my more recent cakes just that amateur? icon_sad.gif



She's a twit. Have her call Duff and see what HE would charge her!!!

I bet Duff's cakes taste pretty regular. But you're not paying for "the cake" You're paying for the time and talent it takes to create those masterpieces.

She's a twit.




Absolutely right! She obviously has no clue how much work it would be for you to do the cake she wants.

Just let this cake go...it's not your fault they are being unrealistic and cheap! If they do any shopping around they are going to come running back to you once they see what other cake artists will charge!

Narie Posted 26 Oct 2007 , 6:24pm
post #16 of 41

I checked out your cakes and you are not an amateur. Duff and his crew might have been able to pull that off. But 30 servings and the reflection? I doubt it. Even the Taj Mahal that they created didn't have a reflection in the pool. Duff would have charged a whole lot more than $195. Case of Champagne tastes and beer budget.

cakescraps Posted 26 Oct 2007 , 6:30pm
post #17 of 41

i wish I was as amateur as you! icon_wink.gif I'm sorry your customer is being a pain, especially since she has been a repeat customer. I don't think it's your cakes " that aren't worth that much" it sounds like she would balk at that price from anyone. And it is soooooo cheap! if they only knew......

suz3 Posted 26 Oct 2007 , 6:32pm
post #18 of 41

I just checked your cakes also and she is the one that is being unrealistic. Your work is fantastic. Her loss. Let her eat HOHO's.

dl5crew Posted 26 Oct 2007 , 6:25pm
post #19 of 41

Since the husband put something about just a sheetcake in his origonal email. I think they want it for a sheetcake price. Which is actuaaly a 1/4 sheet price....$25.00
Your cakes a wonderful. The customer is a few french fries short of a Happy meal.

KatieTaylor77 Posted 26 Oct 2007 , 6:34pm
post #20 of 41

What?

Would she go to the grocery store and tell the checkout clerk she is only going to pay $1 for that gallon of milk marked $3.99? NO! Why? Because thats not how it works!

Your price was actually WAY TOO LOW and she obviously doesn't have a clue about what a deal she would have been getting. Not only would you have to bake enough cake to create this masterpiece, you would be using quality ingredients that cost more than average in order to recreate something so elaborate. Also, your time invested in creating this is worth something as well.

Tell her you are sorry, but your price is firm but you would be happy to work with her on designing a cake more within their budget.

Her response to you was tactless, and she obviously is trying to take advantage of you. If she thought your cakes weren't that great yet, why are they ordering from you? And why would her husband say she was so excited? Don't give in, your talent and knowledge is worth every penny.

**My friend here says your response should be: "As much as I appreciate your business, after much research and design I have realized that you were grossly underquoted. I would only be able to approach a design such as this for a minimum of $300. Quality ingredients, my time and skill are all factored into this price. I would be happy to help you choose a design more within your budget if this is not affordable at this time."

tiptop57 Posted 26 Oct 2007 , 6:36pm
post #21 of 41

What help do you need?

Just say no.

Honestly, it is the simplest way out of your nightmare.

HTH

mrsw Posted 26 Oct 2007 , 6:32pm
post #22 of 41

She said that seriously? That is one very time consuming design - and some really great ideas from other CCers about how to do it. Too bad she is so short on fries ( I just loved that saying) Oh well, such as life...sometimes you just can't figure out people. I bet they go to the grocery store, ask for a sheet cake with a printed picture of that castle - that would be the only way to get a McNugget price. Please do not let this get you down. You are very talented and your cakes are great. Their loss IMHO

aundron Posted 26 Oct 2007 , 6:42pm
post #23 of 41
Quote:
Originally Posted by Danielle111

Ok, I got her response - she made me feel soooo horrible. She basically said, in a nice way, that she didn't think my cakes were worth that much, and she wasn't willing to pay $195 for an edible replica of the Patio de los Arrayanes. I'm getting better with each cake I do, as are we all, and I think that the final product would have been spectacular. Is she just unrealistic, or are my more recent cakes just that amateur? icon_sad.gif





Okay, if your cakes aren't worth that much; why does she keep coming back to you?? Apparently she knows you can do the cake or hubby wouldn't have asked!! She's just being a cheapskate!! Can't believe she said that!! Just amazes me that people expect to pay Wal Mart prices for elaborate cakes!!

That cake is worth more than $195; shoot, I got dizzy reading about what/how the hubby wanted the cake to be!! icon_eek.gif

BTW; your cakes are gorgeous!! Shucks; if you're an amateur, I must be a total dud at this cake making thing!!

indydebi Posted 26 Oct 2007 , 6:36pm
post #24 of 41

"McNugget Price" icon_lol.gificon_lol.gificon_lol.gificon_lol.gif LUV it!

So instead of telling folks how I dont' do wally world cakes, I can say ... "I dont' do McNugget Cakes"

icon_lol.gificon_lol.gif

kathys90 Posted 26 Oct 2007 , 6:37pm
post #25 of 41

OMG! Danielle, your cakes are beautiful! I tried that bear in a crib cake once, and couldn't get the crib to stay together for love or money! Don't let this insensitive duo make you doubt your ability!

You do great work!
Kathy

lanibird Posted 26 Oct 2007 , 6:48pm
post #26 of 41

Refer them to the grocery store and go about your merry way. You were offering them a steal for what they were looking for, and then she has to insult your work? Un.called.for. And don't let her ignorant comments get to you, your work is not amature! Your suitcase cake is beautiful! Seems she thought she could attack your self-esteem in hopes of getting you to lower your price icon_confused.gif .

Pound your fists at her ("Friends" anyone? icon_lol.gif ), and go Cake Nazi. icon_twisted.gif

rockii Posted 26 Oct 2007 , 6:53pm
post #27 of 41
Quote:
Originally Posted by lanibird

Refer them to the grocery store and go about your merry way. You were offering them a steal for what they were looking for, and then she has to insult your work? Un.called.for. And don't let her ignorant comments get to you, your work is not amature! Your suitcase cake is beautiful! Seems she thought she could attack your self-esteem in hopes of getting you to lower your price icon_confused.gif .

Pound your fists at her ("Friends" anyone? icon_lol.gif ), and go Cake Nazi. icon_twisted.gif





I agree, don't let her sad attempt at trying to get you to lower your price get you down. Your work is wonderful.

Luxe42 Posted 26 Oct 2007 , 6:46pm
post #28 of 41
Quote:
Originally Posted by aundron

Quote:
Originally Posted by Danielle111

Ok, I got her response - she made me feel soooo horrible. She basically said, in a nice way, that she didn't think my cakes were worth that much, and she wasn't willing to pay $195 for an edible replica of the Patio de los Arrayanes. I'm getting better with each cake I do, as are we all, and I think that the final product would have been spectacular. Is she just unrealistic, or are my more recent cakes just that amateur? icon_sad.gif




Okay, if your cakes aren't worth that much; why does she keep coming back to you?? Apparently she knows you can do the cake or hubby wouldn't have asked!! She's just being a cheapskate!! Can't believe she said that!! Just amazes me that people expect to pay Wal Mart prices for elaborate cakes!!

That cake is worth more than $195; shoot, I got dizzy reading about what/how the hubby wanted the cake to be!! icon_eek.gif

BTW; your cakes are gorgeous!! Shucks; if you're an amateur, I must be a total dud at this cake making thing!!




My sentiments EXACTLY! Where do people get off thinking that being rude and insulting will get them what they want? I don't care if she said it in a "nice" way. She didn't make you feel nice!

Tell her that the cake she wants is too amateur for you and that you only do complicated cakes icon_twisted.gificon_lol.gificon_twisted.gif Oh wait. I guess that goes against being nice - shucks!

tiptop57 Posted 26 Oct 2007 , 6:49pm
post #29 of 41

Oh better yet, here is another scenerioâ¦
Paint my portrait; paint me and frame it with 24 gold leaf frame and standing in front of the White House. Paint me to look like Brad Pitt, oh yes, use only gold, red, and blue oils, oh yes add Angelina Jolie as my wife but make her hair blonde, while you are at it and have the easel out, could you make 24 individual portraits for me to give to my friends? I would be happy to stop by and sketch on the canvas for you to paint it like numbers to make it easier for you. Make sure everything is ready to go for my party that I am throwing for myself.

Hmm, does anyone know of ANY artist that would put up with this? So going back to my original post:

What help do you need?

Just say no.

Honestly, it is the simplest way out of your nightmare.

tyty Posted 26 Oct 2007 , 6:53pm
post #30 of 41

She is very unrealistic, your work is beauitiful and very detailed. She is lucky to get it for that price. You should not feel bad in any way. If she has a problem with the price NEXT PLEASE!

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