Really Scary Customer-Very Long

Decorating By aggiepiggy01 Updated 14 Jun 2008 , 5:51am by marthajo1

aggiepiggy01 Posted 2 Jun 2008 , 4:00pm
post #1 of 98

This is not my usual login, I just didn't want to use my "real" one, because I don't want too much information about conflict out there about my business.
I have a client who contacted me back in April for a cake. I sent her pics, etc, and NEVER HEARD BACK. Nothing. So I assumed she was no longer interested. Last night (5 weeks later), she writes me about the cakes, blah blah blah. I write back and say, Sorry, I am now booked that weekend.
She writes me back, and calls me too, freaking out. She says "contacted you back in the 1st week of April and you said you had me down on your schedule ??? You even sent me pics of ideas of what you could do ?? Please call me !!"


And then this "Here are most of our original emails. Back in April you had agreed to do the kids B-Day Party (June 20th Fri). Our theme is LUAU.
You even sent me 2 pics of Luau cakes for ideas.
You also said cookies would be cute for goody bags and that you would put them tied up in little bags.
I said YES that would be cute & I would be able to get back with you on the definite # of cookies that I needed the week of the Party!

I'm hoping that you confused my email that I sent yesterday-Sunday with a possible new client, and didn't realize it was me again with new pics for their Luau cakes. Our last 3 emails are below from back in April. Please call me A.S.A.P. regarding this issue - hopefully it's just a mix-up."

And now this "Just re-sending your "last" email you sent to me (4/25/0icon_cool.gif..."


And now, she has sent me a string of emails between the two of us, which of course, she never responded to.

I'm thinking, I don't book just based on inquiries! I am a little afraid of her, but don't think I should be bullied into making a cake. What do I do?

97 replies
peg818 Posted 2 Jun 2008 , 4:14pm
post #2 of 98

Can you refer her to someone else, if you are truly booked.

Maybe write back to her, that you are sorry about the misunderstanding, but you do not consider a cake booked until deposit is received.

Amia Posted 2 Jun 2008 , 4:32pm
post #3 of 98

It is your business to make the cakes, not hunt down the clients. If you are booked, do NOT stress yourself by trying to do another cake! You may end up not doing justice to either cake because you've overburdened yourself. Refer her to someone else. thumbs_up.gif

cakesbycathy Posted 2 Jun 2008 , 4:57pm
post #4 of 98

What is your policy for ordering a cake? Do you require a deposit before you consider the order booked? If so, at what point did you tell this to the customer?
If you didn't make that clear to her, then she may be assuming you would do the order just because you sent her some emails and pics.

I would have assumed the same as you- she never replied, so she must not be interested. And I also don't chase after a customer.
If your policy is clear, then I would stand firm about being booked.

Good Luck!

aggiepiggy01 Posted 2 Jun 2008 , 5:08pm
post #5 of 98

Well, I am really truly booked.

I had sent her an email with two photos in it, and told her to tell me she liked it, and then I would send her a quote. At that point I would have asked for the deposit, but I never heard anything from her, at all, so I assumed she didn't like the cakes or whatever, and found someone else. However, the policy is clearly outline on my website.
5 weeks is a huge lapse, so of course I booked her date.
I would normally work her in, but she is just furious, and I don't want to make a cake for someone like that.

I sent her "'m sorry for the confusion. I receive dozens of inquiries per week,and it is notunusual for people to "window shop" prices and not write back or to notreserve their date. Due tothis, I do not book dates based on inquiries alone, which is why Irequire a deposit. I looked through my emails, and the last one I sentwas on April 25th, and I did not get a response back. It has been 5weeks since we last spoke, and I had no way to know that you were stillinterested. My policy is outlined at xxxx.
>
>I wish that I could help with your cake, but quality is extremelyimportant to me, and I cannot take on any more orders withoutsacrificing the quality of my other customers orders, or potentiallyyours. So, again, I'm sorry for the confusion-I just assumed that youwere no longer interested.

>
>XXX is a great bakery in X, and they should be able to fityou in. You can also check with XXX in RX."

To which she responded:

"I'm deeply saddened and upset, I cannot beleive this!!!

You never said I needed to give you a deposit to hold the date!!! That could have been easily handled!

As far as booking/saying you were available and giving me cake pics I figured thats all there was to do. I've always had my childrens cake custom/professionally done & the lady I used for the last 4 yrs had to quit her home-based business, thats why I turned to you.

If there was more that had to be done like deposit etc... you should have told me that (I've never put a deposit down before or been asked to do so, but if thats your policy I don't mind - you should have told me that when you agreed to do the kids cakes back on April 20th.)

Since you agreed to do their cakes in writing/email along with 2 phone calls without telling me to do anything further (deposit) I feel that you should still be able do their cakes even if I have to pick them up the day before on Thursday June 19th.

I don't even know what to say... now I have NO Birhtday cakes for my children for their party in 2weeks.

I would also appreciate you calling me regarding this matter and not by email. It's too hard to discuss in typing.. we are also leaving to go out of town as well early Wednesday morning 6/04.

TexasSugar Posted 2 Jun 2008 , 5:12pm
post #6 of 98

I would tell her exactly what you said here. Something along the lines of:

"I do remember emailing with you, but because you never replied back to the design ideas I could not go futher and complete the order with you. I'm sorry for the misunderstanding, but I did book other cakes that weekend with people that did get back with me to finalize all the details such as design, flavors, severing numbers, prices and so forth.

I get many inquires daily/weekly, but not everyone ends up booking, so I do not assume that because I dicussed cake ideas with someone that I will be doing that cake until we come to a complete agreeement on it."

Don't be scared of her, and do not get bullied into doing a cake for her if you are already booked that weekend. You can not hold a date for maybe's, this is why Wedding cakes almost always come with a hold the date deposit.

jsmith Posted 2 Jun 2008 , 5:20pm
post #7 of 98

I had something similar happen today.

A woman called a few weeks ago and said she wanted to taste my cakes before ordering. I don't usually offer samples for smaller cakes but since I was preparing some for several brides I offered to put a box together for her.

Well she didn't show up and didn't email until late that night. By the the time I got her email the next morning asking if she could pick them up that day my family was already eating them. Ha! So I told her the samples weren't available anymore and brushed her off. I didn't hear from her after that. She called today asking about her cake for this weekend and I nicely told her I didn't think she wanted the cake anymore, that I was booked, and immediately referred her to a new bakery in town.

I have on my website that orders will be cancelled unless payment is received a week in advanced so I didn't feel too bad. Plus from the beginning she was just a little too much trouble, from the tacky design she wanted to the no show for FREE cake samples.

So, don't feel bad because she's a flake. Have the number for a decent bakery available to refer her to. She has plenty of time to find another baker. Don't let her bully you into making a cake for her because then all the cakes you have for that weekend will suffer. I know that from experience. icon_smile.gif


Edited to add:
Wow. I just saw her response to you. Is she insane?! Why would someone be so rude and intimidating to the person who will be preparing food for your children? Don't even acknowledge her email. You've said all you need to say now end communications with her. What a nut!

cakesbycathy Posted 2 Jun 2008 , 5:26pm
post #8 of 98

I think your reply to her was perfect!

At this point, since you cannot take on the order, I would no longer call or email. It can only escalate into something ugly. She has 2 weeks, I'm sure she can order a cake somewhere else.

southerncake Posted 2 Jun 2008 , 5:38pm
post #9 of 98

I agree with TexasSugar. I would simply reply with only one more email along the lines of what she said and I don't think I would call her. She was the one who chose email as the way to contact you initially and that has been your means of communication up until now.

She dropped the ball and now she is irritated even though it is her own fault. I had a similar thing happen about a year ago when a customer had contacted me for ideas about a particular kind of cake, I sent some pictures, and then I never heard from her again. The day before her party, she called and wanted to know what time to pick up her cake. Crazy!!

Lorendabug Posted 2 Jun 2008 , 5:39pm
post #10 of 98

Obviously you are not hurting for business if you are booked up. So why sacrifice the quality of your work by letting this woman bully you into doing her cake/cookies like you said. She dropped the ball not you, she did not confirm with you. I would stand your ground, don't give in. She is upset because she did not do what she should have done.

I feel for you, it is not easy dealing with customers that want to blame it all on you. Customer service is not always easy, sometimes you loose them and there is nothing you can do about it. Just don't let it get to you.

ziggytarheel Posted 2 Jun 2008 , 5:42pm
post #11 of 98

"A contract, verbal or otherwise, requires both parties to come to an agreement about service and payment. That never happened. You never picked out a cake, I never gave you a price, you never agreed to pay my price. There was no agreement. Therefore, we did not agree to do business. I'm terribly sorry that I cannot help you at this point as I book up quickly."

fondantfrenzy Posted 2 Jun 2008 , 5:43pm
post #12 of 98

What a freak a zoid. Well you know the saying a if someone is so passionately accusing you of something, they are the ones guilty of it. I think she made a mistake, and now she is trying to finagle her way into making her a cake. I would respond back with, as I had mentioned, this bakery is a wonderful bakery and they should be able to fit you in. I can offer to make your cake for $250 still interested? icon_cool.gif

wgoat5 Posted 2 Jun 2008 , 5:46pm
post #13 of 98

Well if it is in need that bad.. LOL You could always triple the price icon_wink.gif

But no .. she does sound "off" soooo.. I think I would just sever the ties and be done with her. You were polite and told her no.

Kitagrl Posted 2 Jun 2008 , 5:55pm
post #14 of 98

I hate that last minute stuff...

If someone truly wants a cake, first I do request deposits. I put their name down tentatively on my schedule. Every so often I check my schedule and if someone has not paid a deposit yet, I contact them and see if they want their cake. If I still do not hear from them/get my deposit, I take them off my schedule and will not take their order back unless its the right situation.

She'll forget eventually...just say you are in high demand and people book months ahead of time...and you are sorry but maybe next time.

onegr8girl Posted 2 Jun 2008 , 6:01pm
post #15 of 98

I just want to throw in my 2 cents. I also do a lot of initial work with people via email. A few months ago I opened my spam folder just randomly (usually I never look at it) and there was an email from a potential client. But not a new email. It was in response to one that I had sent to her. I don't know how that happened, but now I make it a point to check my spam folder at least once a week.

Not that I'm making ANY excuses for Scary McCrazy there, but I'm just throwing that tidbit out hoping it will help someone else too.

aswartzw Posted 2 Jun 2008 , 6:02pm
post #16 of 98

I might be the only one but I completely see where the customer is coming from. If her previous baker never required a deposit, how would she expect the same from you? Unless you verbally said so, things do get overlooked and mistakes do happen. She didn't slack off, she misunderstood you and thought everything was taken care of. I believe both people are at fault here.

However, if you are overbooked, you are overbooked. I would consider offering a % off on a future cake and do the courtesy of calling her. Email is a horrible way of communication especially when errors have already occurred.

This comes from a person who honestly means well in all she does but once too often has been blindsinded in the business world simply by being naive. This situation sounds like some I've been in but from a customer standpoint and it's really upsetting and aggravating when you thought you did everything correct only to find out too late you've really messed up.

ShopGrl1128 Posted 2 Jun 2008 , 6:03pm
post #17 of 98

For some reason people think they ask you ONE question about a cake and you immediately reserve their date!!!
What do they think? That you have a bunch of cakes sitting at home for people to pick up whenever they feel like??!!! Ughrr!

I think because this lady has been ordering from the same baker for the last 4 years sheâs expecting you to know how she
does her ordering, she failed to follow up expecting you to read her mind, too bad for her.

I require full payment for orders under $100.00 and 50% payment for bigger orders, the rest is due two weeks
before the event, so I let my customers know about this booking policy right away, since the first email or phone call.

If you can do the cake the day before, do itâ¦if not, donât go crazy about it, you havenât done anything wrong.

Kitagrl Posted 2 Jun 2008 , 6:08pm
post #18 of 98

Good point about email, I've had some problems with my email lately on and off (Comcast has been upgrading or something silly over there) and I have had some clients think I"ve been ignoring them (especially a few who I forgot to get their phone number!!!).

I do always mention deposits right away though, so they know its imperative they reserve the date with money or they aren't guaranteed the date. If the price has been established, its usually 50% up front and 50% upon pickup. If the price has not been established (i.e. working out design) usually I just ask $25 to hold the date. For weddings, deposit is $50 with balance due 10 days before the wedding.

sarahnichole975 Posted 2 Jun 2008 , 6:10pm
post #19 of 98

I agree with PP, she's dropped the ball and now she's wanting you to make up for it. I too have dealt with a situation like this. It is not our responsibility to chase these people down. If we chased down every inquiry trying to figure out if they were really interested or not, we'd have no time for doing the cakes. I also agree that you should respond in one more email like TexasSugar said and leave it at that. TRUST ME from my experience, if you keep communicating with her, she will only continue to blame you and try to push you into doing the cake. Booked is booked, and no is no is NO! Stand your ground. Don't worry about any bad publicity she may spread, sounds like you're busy enough. My final advice is that you take this situation to learn from someone else's mistake and in future inquiry emails where you're sending pictures and quotes, include a little reminder that the date is not booked until the deposit is in hand. Then there will be no question.

Good luck!

alicegop Posted 2 Jun 2008 , 6:20pm
post #20 of 98

I agree with Sarah. Stop emailing this woman and don't call her anymore. If you aren't having fun... why do it! I think I need a "I'm having fun" clause in my contract (if I had one... I should do that). "If at any time you cause me stress and I am not having fun anymore the cake is automatically canceled, or you can bribe me back by being extra nice to me and paying me double." LOL

Seriously, you have no LEGAL obligation here. So she can threaten all she wants, but she isn't getting any cake, you aren't going to change your mind.... so stop communicating with her, nothing is going to change.

If somehow you let this woman bully you.... you never gave her a quote, so if you do, $1000000000000000. Payable in CASH!

Cakechick123 Posted 2 Jun 2008 , 6:22pm
post #21 of 98

I agree with the pp, you cant book a date based on an an enquiry.
I've had something similar happen to me last year, the bride contacted me in Apr about the Dec wedding and I never heard anything back. Mid Novemebr she phoned and suddenly wanted to pay for the cake, but I was already booked. TG she found someone else to do it for her.

After that I now have in my mail as part of my signature
"NO DATE IS BOOKED UNTIL THE DEPOSIT IS PAID" in bold red letters
Even if I dont mention the deposit, it attaches to every mail and they cant miss it!

Auryn Posted 2 Jun 2008 , 6:25pm
post #22 of 98

She never even asked or confirmed a price, because she never even replied to her email with design suggestions. Thats not an order and its not aggie's fault or mistake.

aswartzw
I disagree with you, the 'customer' is at fault here, you know what they say when you "assume you make an ass out of you and me".
If these cakes were so important to her she would have contacted her earlier to discuss a price.
I am sure that even her old baker discussed a price with her first.

She is just pissy that she forgot.

aggiepiggy01 owes her nothing, least of all a discount on a future purchase.

ziggytarheel Posted 2 Jun 2008 , 6:28pm
post #23 of 98
Quote:
Originally Posted by riana

I agree with the pp, you cant book a date based on an an enquiry.
I've had something similar happen to me last year, the bride contacted me in Apr about the Dec wedding and I never heard anything back. Mid Novemebr she phoned and suddenly wanted to pay for the cake, but I was already booked. TG she found someone else to do it for her.

After that I now have in my mail as part of my signature
"NO DATE IS BOOKED UNTIL THE DEPOSIT IS PAID" in bold red letters
Even if I dont mention the deposit, it attaches to every mail and they cant miss it!




That's so funny you wrote this just now. I was just thinking that so I came back to this thread.

If you can have a signature feature on your business e-mail account, I would absolutely do that. AND, I would also consider a form e-mail that is inserted into every cake inquiry response. Just a paragraph maybe, stating that for a cake to be ordered and a date to be reserved, you require x, y, and z. And then, the signature to boot.

People do get confused, and we all make assumptions. Some of us make more of them than others. I know I've been in situations where one person thought something was agreed to and the other thought it wasn't because there was no follow up (and we are not talking the exchange of goods and services here). This stuff can just happen. I'm all about destressing life by taking care of possible issues before they happen. icon_smile.gif

julzs71 Posted 2 Jun 2008 , 6:38pm
post #24 of 98

Do you want to do it the day before? Do you want to do it at all?

Ladybug6509 Posted 2 Jun 2008 , 6:39pm
post #25 of 98
Quote:
Originally Posted by aswartzw

I might be the only one but I completely see where the customer is coming from. If her previous baker never required a deposit, how would she expect the same from you? Unless you verbally said so, things do get overlooked and mistakes do happen. She didn't slack off, she misunderstood you and thought everything was taken care of. I believe both people are at fault here.

.




I have to agree with this part but now I think the customer is getting a little too crazy for my taste. I'm sure she picked you because she doesn't want an average bakery cake and that is probably what is making her panic. If you can do it, you would probably have a very gratefull customer but I also wouldn't put myself in the position of sacraficing quality.

You also can't assume that she went to your website. So if you didn't outright tell her about a deposit, she truely may not have known you required one.

Aliwis000 Posted 2 Jun 2008 , 6:42pm
post #26 of 98

My worthless two cents:

I think you are 100% right. If someone was to walk into my parents print shop and ask for business cards and we show them samples and they dont respond then we obviously do not print them. Not to mention the information on them. If they dont tell us the name of the company, phone numbers, fax, address etc, just as she did not tell you the size, flavors, or design, how are you supposed to make a cake? LOL I guess in theory you could have made a huge cake to feed 300 people or one cupcake how would you know which is closer?

~Alicia

aswartzw Posted 2 Jun 2008 , 6:43pm
post #27 of 98

[quote="Auryn"]
aswartzw
I disagree with you, the 'customer' is at fault here, you know what they say when you "assume you make an ass out of you and me".
[quote]

Exactly! But if I'm not mistaken, two people assumed here: the customer AND the baker. Therefore, two people are at fault.


I really think it's a horrible thing when we cake bakers can't give the same sympathy to our customers for being human as we do ourselves. If the customer makes a mistake, it's not my fault. If I make a mistake, well, the customer ate it so they still have to pay.

The majority are treating this woman as if she's trying to cover-up and shift blame when NONE OF US KNOW IF THIS IS TRUE! She could have honestly misunderstood and no one can disagree with me because none really knows what she was thinking. It's just we prefer to think the worst of the customer (and it happens in all areas of business-not just cakes!)

Enough of my vent: I know it's off topic but I'm tired of always being the bad guy just because of a few people who cheat companies and then they have to treat all of us as bad guys.

poshcakedesigns Posted 2 Jun 2008 , 6:45pm
post #28 of 98

I don't think I would contact her anymore. You already emailed her and told her that you were booked. I agree she dropped the ball on this one there is really nothing more you can do at this point unless you decide to make the cake then in that case I'd make sure I charged a rush fee.

Good luck icon_lol.gif

Chef_Stef Posted 2 Jun 2008 , 6:52pm
post #29 of 98

Point out to her that your original email (the one she didn't respond to--and remind her of that fact) was simply initial ideas. Since she didn't respond, you are not contracted with this person, and it is HER fault, not yours. If it clearly stated that these were ideas and that she should get back to you on what she wanted so you could quote her a price, point that out. Ask her which part of any of the emails back and forth shows that she agreed to order the cake and you reserved it? Has there been a quote? A contract? A deposit? (we already know, no deposit...)

I should mention I never send people sketch ideas until we're clear they want me to do the cake. Until they book, I keep correspondence very brief and generic. No sense wasting time with window shoppers.

For someone behaving like this, if I do speak to them, I have something called The Laugh, which is a "heh" sound that is sort of a snort, which implies all at once:
1) You're an idiot.
2) You are wrong, and getting mad will not change that.
3) You are not the professional in this case--I am.
4) Your fit-throwing will not change my schedule, my price, or my mood.
5) You're an idiot.

*I* decide who I will and will not work for, and when I am and am not booked. I want to ask people like this: Do you work here? No? I didn't think so...

She's trying to guilt you with the "Thanks a lot--I have no cakes and 2 weeks left"; don't buy it. You did right to recommend X or Y bakery; leave it at that. You clearly explained that you book up and that without her having gotten back to you, you assumed she didn't need you. There's nothing else to be done, really.

She should have gotten back to you right away after the first email you sent, and if she says she DID, then you need to followup with, "Oh--can you send me a copy of that email?"--and even if she did email you and it went to your junk folder, she should have then CALLED you to see why she hadn't heard back to confirm that yes, you're doing the cake...way back in April...why would she assume it's booked when she's heard nothing from you other than the initial idea email? Unorganized...

ziggytarheel Posted 2 Jun 2008 , 6:57pm
post #30 of 98

[quote="aswartzw"][quote="Auryn"]
aswartzw
I disagree with you, the 'customer' is at fault here, you know what they say when you "assume you make an ass out of you and me".

Quote:
Quote:



Exactly! But if I'm not mistaken, two people assumed here: the customer AND the baker. Therefore, two people are at fault.


I really think it's a horrible thing when we cake bakers can't give the same sympathy to our customers for being human as we do ourselves. If the customer makes a mistake, it's not my fault. If I make a mistake, well, the customer ate it so they still have to pay.

The majority are treating this woman as if she's trying to cover-up and shift blame when NONE OF US KNOW IF THIS IS TRUE! She could have honestly misunderstood and no one can disagree with me because none really knows what she was thinking. It's just we prefer to think the worst of the customer (and it happens in all areas of business-not just cakes!)

Enough of my vent: I know it's off topic but I'm tired of always being the bad guy just because of a few people who cheat companies and then they have to treat all of us as bad guys.




I don't think you are being the bad guy here. I understand that we all make faulty assumptions from time to time. But in this case, the woman made a lot of assumptions since she never said I want you to be my baker, I want this cake, I will pay $X for this cake. There was no verbal or written contract to do business. You could e-mail a contractor at Easter about adding a room to your house in the month of June and he could tell you he could do that and show you some of his work that he has done. But if you never contact him again, he will not show up at your door with hammer and nail. And you probably can't call him a few days before and expect him to still have a clear schedule, unless he is REALLY hurting for business. I have to say that the baker is acting as is typical and expected for business people. But I will also say that anything that can help to avoid miscommunication, even if it is an unlikely miscommunication, is great for both parties!

I would be a little scared of this woman and her behavior. It could have been an honest mistake, but I would still be afraid of her because of the way she expressed herself after that. But I'm really glad for you bringing another perspective for us all to think about. Iron sharpens iron, ya know? We need to see things from all angles to learn.

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