If you see that you simply cannot work with this client, how can you politley tell them to go to Wal-Mart or another bakery?
It depends on what the actual problem is, but I once had to tell someone: It seems that we are not a good fit for this cake, and I don't think I will be able to help you. I recommend ____ or _____ (insert two local cake shops).
I think that's the perfect statement. It's professional and not blaming in any way. The key is to NOT back down once you've said it, because the person will surely want to argue with you, ask why not, etc. Use the "broken record" technique of just repeating what you've said until it sinks in and they know your decision is final.
Oh this has happened to me several times. I turn it around so that it's on me, and say something like:
'I don't think I can make you happy with this order. I think you'd be happier if you found another baker to work with.'
well....i have turned a lot of people away....just matter of factly i'll tell them to go to wal mart...
or if they are gonna be too hard to please...i've been known to say..."i'm not fancy enough for you..." and i'll refer them to someone else....it really seems to take them off guard.
"Darn, I'm afraid I'm all booked up on that date. I"m afraid you will have to find someone else to help you."
i had a girl to book with me in April, i called her to get her to make an appointment with me to discuss her cakes, i never heard back from her then i ran into her and she would applologize for not calling me back , finally i called her got her voice mail as always told her i was unable to do her cakes due to the fact of not being able to her getting with me, gave her another cake baker# and that was that i thought i dont need this i think what she was doing was trying to find someone else cheapier and was hanging on to me until she found them,
Usually if someone seems like they'll be difficult, I'm able to tell by our initial contact on the phone, and if I sense that, I just say "Let me check that date...Oh! Sorry, I'm actually booked for that date. You might try calling XX or YY bakery. Thanks for calling!"
If we've gotten further than the first phone call but they haven't paid their deposit yet, and they're becoming a PIA or seem like they're not going to be fun to work with, I call them and say, "I'm sorry, but I no longer have your date available. You might try calling XX or YY bakery. Best of luck with your wedding!" I tell them someone booked it, or I have to go out of town, or whatever...It's none of their business, really. Sort of like the "We reserve the right to...not work for PIA customers." sign.
I've never worked all the way through on a cake with anyone I didn't like. I've had only two that were a PIA to work with, and both gave me their deposits right away, before we got to the "I'm a PIA, neurotic, detail-oriented diva" issue, but I made them both happy by anticipating what their next complaint would be and outdoing them in that department. And I actually really liked both of them, aside from their nitpicky cake demands...
There have been times that I have told people the date is no longer available, but usually I have just dealt with it and bitten my tongue. I have had families that have bombarded me with multiple phone calls/emails, and I had to limit them to one call from the bride a day. In the end, she got a bridal consultant 2 weeks before the wedding and I only dealt with her.
The answer to your problem is simple my dear... "Add a decimal point!!!" You know, when you're being PAID adequately to deal with their stuff, suddenly, it's not so bad or stressing!