iamlis Posted 4 Jun 2008 , 1:35pm
post #1 of

Help, HELP! help??? I am givin up I lay down at the sweet feet of you all and beg for help (try not to hate me after you read this, because I am starting to hate myself!)

Ok...here it goes. Back at lovely Christmas time I met a bride and groom-very handsome couple having a very high end wedding-I had dollar signs in my eye balls when I heard them describe their cake, a gorgeous cake-and they had a photo. There affair was to be GRAND, hot location, hot florist and a really hot couple! The bride hands me her American Express and pays for the cake, before one bite of cake even goes in her mouth. THey are now officially BOOKED for my most popular date of "06-07-08" Awesome right?

Well...they email me questions (groom only) and I lovingly think of him as my fussy groom. No trouble, his questions are valid and he's not calling me everyday...just shoots me an email when he thinks of it.

Fast forward to Monday (6/2/0icon_cool.gif I call the florist, like I always do the monday before, does she need the cake picture to see the amount of floral I need, or anything like that-they are the best florist in our area HIGHLY reputable, I never doubt they will get the couple and me the best flowers they can for the wedding and cake...I just like to make sure when they are dropping it off, etc. My contact there proceeds to ask, "What the HE-- is going on with this wedding" (Oh no, I start to instantly perspire... this paid my trip to the ICES convention and ICES refunds where cut off on 6/1/08-one day prior!) I sweetly ask, "Whatever do you mean?" She proceeds to explain that the bride came in that day demanding a refund wanted to see what I had heard. Now this is probably my busiest week of the year...I tell her when she hears anything to call me, I get out the Tequila and hit the hammock with my Margarita (a ten minute break to avoid a coronary...come on give me that!) My husband gets home and says I am overreating, for starters I have gotten no calls from them, and secondly it is not even 5:00 I should not be drinking Tequila for another 20 minutes (he's home early to get ready to go pay golf-I am hardly sympathetic!) and "shouldn't I be in the kitchen baking for me busiest week ever? I do have cakes every day this week and two big weddings so I get baking...

Monday night I put my son to bed, hop on the laptop...guess whats in my Inbox?? THE email... I am cutting and pasting here....
Melissa,
I have some bad news. I have been in and out of the hospital with some health issues. I am going to be fine but we are going to postpone the wedding until we can enjoy it. I realize it is way past the point of cancellation. What are my options? I don't feel like looking at a wedding cake when I'm not getting married - I'll be depressed. Is any of the money refundable? And if not or of the remaining money - can we turn it into a regular cake, cupcakes, or a credit? Whatever we decide, I'd like to pick up the cake to save on the delivery charge. I am very sorry for the inconvenience. Please let me know my options. Again, I am very sorry.

Email is the best way to contact me but you can reach me at xxx-xxx-xxxx.

Thanks,
xxx xxxxxx

Honestly, I came back at him with a very kind and upfront email...it is the hottest date of the summer I turned down about 10 dates an 2 other weddings, purchased all of the supplies and contractually, THIS IS A DEAL. I was nice and did offer to postpone to a later date, and alot of people might have refunded half, but I can't give him half of an ICES trip, for petes sake! He replied this morning and now I feel bad... The florist had mentioned the bride was "moving back home" as she was from Wisconsin...here is his reply...AND BEAR IN MIND I FEEL LIKE CRYING AFTER READING THIS!

Melissa,

I completely understand your position. I realize you gave up the date for us and I think it is only right to compensate you accordingly. If everything is ready to go - then go ahead and make the cake. I just thought you could turn it into something other than a wedding cake but if you can not it is no big deal. I can not answer the rescheduling question because there are too many variables at the moment but I certainly hope we reschedule. Do whatever you want with the cake - I promise you - I will eat it. I might just have to freeze a couple layers as I make my way through it. Don't feel the need to make it look perfect - do what you want - surprise me. As long as it taste good - that is all I care about.

Thanks,
xxx

HELP!?!?!?! Cake Ideas...Tell me I am not scu of the earth! PLEASE! I have a picture in my mind of this groom in a hospital gown, wearing and ID bracelet hooked up to machines with a 4 tier wedding cake and fork in hand...WHAAAA! HELP!

130 replies
T-Bird Posted 4 Jun 2008 , 1:52pm
post #2 of

Perhaps if you decided to do it as a credit (as the groom mentioned) and save the date, perhaps you could just make him something small and deduct that from the "credit". You could make it a running credit... Whenever he needs a birthday cake etc. just deduct the cost from his credit. Then if they do reschedule, you could apply the remaining balance to a future cake. It might be a bit complicated, but that really is a pretty sad scenario. Good luck figuring it out... And don't feel guilty, you did what you needed to do, you had to buy your supplies for the cake, so spending that was justified, as for the profit? Who knew the wedding would be cancelled? Perhaps in the future, though, you might want to outline/think of a cancellation and refunds policy to add to your contracts.

KHalstead Posted 4 Jun 2008 , 1:58pm
post #3 of

That stinks.....for them and for you. I am always afraid of something like this because I have NO money, but I always try try try NOT to spend any money from a wedding cake until after the wedding just in case. I realize that you must have a policy that if they don't cancel by a certain time then they lose their money. I think you should use whatever supplies you have bought (what exactlly have you bought??? Have you baked the cakes?? what sizes are they??) Maybe you could make a super nice sheet cake.....or make the same amount of money's worth of a 3-D cake of a guy in a hospital bed with a big "get well" on it! This is a toughy!!

darandon Posted 4 Jun 2008 , 2:06pm
post #4 of

very sad situation for him, you and the bride.

foxymomma521 Posted 4 Jun 2008 , 2:08pm
post #5 of

I love the idea of letting him order birthday cakes etc. until his balance runs out. Is that something you can consider?

nutcase68 Posted 4 Jun 2008 , 2:10pm
post #6 of

OK, I only do cakes for funnsies, not as a business, so I do not know if it is feasable to do what I am going to suggest. Can you return the supplies you bought? I realize if it was mail order it may not be worth it, but if you got it at the grocery store it might.
Mary

mommyle Posted 4 Jun 2008 , 2:12pm
post #7 of
Quote:
Originally Posted by T-Bird

Perhaps if you decided to do it as a credit (as the groom mentioned) and save the date, perhaps you could just make him something small and deduct that from the "credit". You could make it a running credit... Whenever he needs a birthday cake etc. just deduct the cost from his credit. Then if they do reschedule, you could apply the remaining balance to a future cake. It might be a bit complicated, but that really is a pretty sad scenario. Good luck figuring it out... And don't feel guilty, you did what you needed to do, you had to buy your supplies for the cake, so spending that was justified, as for the profit? Who knew the wedding would be cancelled? Perhaps in the future, though, you might want to outline/think of a cancellation and refunds policy to add to your contracts.




As a bride who has called off a wedding or two in my day (long story!) I think that this is way above and beyond,and shows a tonne of class. He can have celebration cakes whenever he wants to the cost of what they paid. I feel for you, but now you have the cash in hand, ICES, AND you will be a bit slower on your busiest day! And the guy will be so happy that he has a running tab with you, and he probably will never use the whole amount.

Hugs to you, and my best to the groom.

julzs71 Posted 4 Jun 2008 , 2:14pm
post #8 of

If you feel bad make him a small cake. Credit the rest. You could make several more on your slow times.

Merry1227 Posted 4 Jun 2008 , 2:15pm
post #9 of

If the money is not available to give back I would do a credit. Or a half and half...

He seems to be a great guy!! Customers like him should be cloned.

I just had a thought, would he be up to a cake donated in his name?? Maybe a homeless shelter or a assisted living center? Not sure if there are restrictions about that.

zoomitoons Posted 4 Jun 2008 , 2:16pm

That whole situations sucks. I'm sorry you are having to deal with it and I feel bad for the couple, especially the groom.
I like T Birds idea of a running total, it would been a bit more paperwork for you with keeping a running "tab" but since it sounds like the big cake would be a waste and probably the majority of it would be thrown out he/she (who paid, who's credit card was it?) could order cakes/cupcakes whenever they needed and IF there is any money left on their tab when they do get married they could use that as the deposit for their wedding cake.

Good Luck
Amy

Mike1394 Posted 4 Jun 2008 , 2:16pm

Wow. I feel bad for you, but. That is one decent guy. As decent, and as understanding as the guy is, and since it is past the refund date. I would be totally honest with the guy. See what can be worked out. I mean guy just had his life turned upside down, and he's being that nice about it.

Mike

cakecastle Posted 4 Jun 2008 , 2:16pm

That's sad.

Hopefully I don't get flamed for saying this, but my first thought was maybe the bride cancelled the wedding and he feels too embarrassed to say so. And maybe he has been in/out of the hospital due to the stress of it all, so he wouldn't actually be telling a lie. If the bride came in to the florist "demanding" a refund, it seems if they had planned to postpone because of her fiance's "illness" then she would have mentioned that to the florist. And she's moving back home. Who would leave the person they love while they are sick and need them the most? It's a sad story regardless. But it is less than a week until the cake was due and I probably wouldn't want to refund either, especially seeing that it's already spent. Do you have a refund/cancellation policy in your contract? I like T-Bird's suggestion in offering a line of "credit" towards future cakes. Maybe offer him that and see if he accepts.


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poshcakedesigns Posted 4 Jun 2008 , 2:17pm

I also think you should do something like a 'running credit'.

It's a sad situation but you did turn down business for them.

BTW I don't offer cash refunds and it's outlined in my contract. If a client cancels or something and gives me a 2 week notice I will apply whatever they have paid to another order. I make sure my clients are aware of this and have them inital that statement on my contract. And I make SURE they understand what they are signing (NO CASH REFUNDS). So far no one has complained about the policy. I've had a few cancel their weddings and they just cashed the money in for a birthday cake at a later date.

aswartzw Posted 4 Jun 2008 , 2:17pm

Wow! What a toughy.

Part of me says, somebody could've contacted you prior to now (while he was in the hospital) to give you advance notice. The other part says just how horrible was this illness?

I'm leaning toward a partial refund, no more than 50%. For the remainder, allow him a running credit.


You are losing $$ but at the same time why punish him because he got very ill?

Ladivacrj Posted 4 Jun 2008 , 2:19pm

Wow, this one is tough. I think in this situation I would also let him/them order other cakes for events until the balance runs out.

Not sure what else to do.

SweetResults Posted 4 Jun 2008 , 2:22pm

Mary - returning the supplies is not the issue here. The price of the cake is WAY above the cost of supplies, it is time, overhead, etc... And I'm sure the supplies will easily be used at another time.

The problem is they gave her money for the cake, she spent it, if she gives it back she is out money that she would have made from someone else if she had not booked these guys.

It sucks, but there's not much you can do. Have you baked already? How large was the cake supposed to be?

Don't drag this out or lose more money by letting them book another date. Don't feel bad, if you have time and can make him a few smaller cakes he can freeze individually - cupcakes would be sooo much work. No credit to take out by ordering birthday cakes - that is sooo much more work for you and will only prolong this.

How many people was it to be for? How much cake do you have to work with here?

Auryn Posted 4 Jun 2008 , 2:22pm

Sounds to me like the hospital was an excuse, because he didn't want to tell you the real reason the wedding got cancelled
so I wouldn't necessarily do the guy in the hospital cake.

You did not mention how many people this cake was for. That might make the difference there.

You are not the scum of the earth for not refunding, business is business and thats the way it goes.

If you think you could keep track of a running credit, I would do that.
Would take off the pressure of having to do the cake when your really busy, and if he does multiple party cakes, gets your name/taste out there to more people.

He sounds like a really nice guy, and from his response to you it sounds like she left him.

If you don't want to do the running credit, I would make him a super scrumptious chocolate cake- Ive never met a guy who didnt like chocolate. You didn't mention what the original flavors were supposed to be so I'm not sure if this would work with the supplies you bought.

tatetart Posted 4 Jun 2008 , 2:25pm

I, too, would bake him a very delicious small cake and give the running credit. His situation may change and he might end up needing the wedding cake again.

SweetResults Posted 4 Jun 2008 , 2:26pm

Good point about the running credit I had not thought of. Multiple parties to get your name out there - I guess it depends on if you want the break this weekend or not?

iamlis Posted 4 Jun 2008 , 2:29pm

Here's the toughy, my contract outlines...You get NO refund if cancelled within 30 days from the date. and I think he gets that, I love the idea of a running tab, my problem is this, we're talking about ALOT of little cakes here and there, and I get booked about 3 months out for party cakes even. I just FEAR a nightmare scenario with this, because TIME is honestly worth more than $, I do have money I can refund him, just wasn't expecting to (That is why I protect myself with an airtight contract-thats why we all do really!), BUT I have a heart and I can't imagine if it were me. I am leaning toward's Laura's frame of mind. HE always contacted me, never her. And he seems like he'll be eating the cake alone icon_sad.gif WHERE IS SHE? And if he were hospitalized, why wouldn't SHE have called me?? There is something suspicious for SURE going on here...I am going to call the florist and get the low-down. I need to think on this for sure, he is a great guy, and I know he'll be back in the future for other stuff...what to do, what to do??

SugarBakerz Posted 4 Jun 2008 , 2:30pm

I too honestly thought and still do think that the "hospital" might be something he uses to not actually tell you she jilted him... but I could be wrong and Lord forgive me if I am. It has to be a mortifying situation to him and now to you. I say this because the woman at the florist said the bride came in.... leads me to think the wedding was kanked. I completely agree this man has class. Most men would have just forget about it... especially since it was her AE card, let her pay for it, or mom and dad! I agree with what others have said, make him cakes until his balance runs out. Make him something special for the weekend so he has something to eat during his depression, Lord know I like chocolate when I am down. Then give him a paper saying this is your balance, order cakes until your balance is gone.... maybe a cake of the month icon_smile.gif You never know, you might have your BEST customer come out of this one! Good luck to you and your decision. I don't envy you one bit, but I know you will do what is right! Oh and with the credit, maybe use only the amount of the cake minus the supplies and time you had already put into it as your credit! Good luck!

P.S. Kick back and relax with your semi freed up schedule, have some rita's! icon_smile.gif

cariage Posted 4 Jun 2008 , 2:30pm
Quote:
Originally Posted by cakecastle

That's sad.

Hopefully I don't get flamed for saying this, but my first thought was maybe the bride cancelled the wedding and he feels too embarrassed to say so. And maybe he has been in/out of the hospital due to the stress of it all, so he wouldn't actually be telling a lie. If the bride came in to the florist "demanding" a refund, it seems if they had planned to postpone because of her fiance's "illness" then she would have mentioned that to the florist. And she's moving back home. Who would leave the person they love while they are sick and need them the most? It's a sad story regardless. But it is less than a week until the cake was due and I probably wouldn't want to refund either, especially seeing that it's already spent. Do you have a refund/cancellation policy in your contract? I like T-Bird's suggestion in offering a line of "credit" towards future cakes. Maybe offer him that and see if he accepts.


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I agree. I thought the same thing. since the bride hasn't contacted you and she seemed a bit miffed when she went in to see the florist, I would suspect there is probably more than just an illness going on. She is also moving away (who moves away from their sick fiancee?). I would think its probably too painful and embarassing for the guy to be honest about what's really going on. I think I would give the groom a few of the options mentioned by everyone else and let him choose which one he like s better.
JMHO

Dee1219 Posted 4 Jun 2008 , 2:31pm

I to would give him a credit and just let him use it within a years time. I feel bad for him but for you as well. You did loose other business to give them this date. It is not your issue that the wedding is off. It sounded like he was totally understanding of your situation though and this is why I would give him a credit. Like I said I would give him a year only to use it. HTH

Iheartcake Posted 4 Jun 2008 , 2:31pm

What if you kept a cancellation fee? Say because of the last minute cancellation, normally there is no refund, but because of the circumstances, he can keep a credit of X amount. Say the cake cost $1000, cancellation fee is $400, still leaves him with a $600 credit. That way he's still getting something, despite the terms of the contract, you get to keep some profit plus have less guilt? I really don't envy you right now (well.. maybe except for the margarita and hammock icon_lol.gif ).. this is a tough call.

But on the other hand.. you have a business to run and if you truly want to stick to the contract.. don't feel bad. It's not your fault life situations come up that are beyond our control.

Good luck with whatever you decide.

strawberry0121 Posted 4 Jun 2008 , 2:32pm

I agree with th PP who said to be honest with him. Tell him what the money was used for and why you can't get it back.

I LOVE the idea of having a running credit. He could offer to get the cakes for functions as gifts to whoever is having the birthday/ function, or whatever. Then, if they do have the wedding, you can apply the credit to it.

Oh, and I suggest calling/ meeting with him rather than just by e-mail. But, do send a follow up e-mail with everything outlined and even a contract to sign and return.

Hope it all works out!

MaisieBake Posted 4 Jun 2008 , 2:32pm

You're a business, not a hobby?

Call his wedding site and ask what they're doing wrt refunds. Then call her bridal gown shop.

And do the same.

And that will be "too bad, I'm so sorry for your bad news." And add in a few small cakes over the next year at his convenience if it makes you feel better.

You're not just losing what you spent on supplies (most of from which dries will keep anyway)-- you're losing the profit from a summer weekend date. It's not your obligation, moral or otherwise, to lose a wedding's profit because his fiancee walked out.

Valli_War Posted 4 Jun 2008 , 2:35pm

Hi,
I am not in this business, but if you have an air tight contract which says no refund for cancellation in such a case, why do you worry? Tell him he can use it as a credit for another day but you need a month advance notice for that cake and he will have to use the money in 3 or 4 orders. (Whatever you are comfortable with) Personally I would've said 2 orders if not a wedding cake. If he decides he needs two 6 inch round cakes two times (or whatever you decide), that is the end of it.

Business is business. There should not be any emotion involved when handling situations like this. Imagine yourself in that person's shoe and think you had paid money to a restaurant for your wedding order. Would they refund you your money? I think not.

Good luck,

jen1977 Posted 4 Jun 2008 , 2:37pm

It's a sad situation for him, but honestly, if your contract says no refund within 30 days, I think you should stick with your contract. You said you turned down other weddings for the weekend, so you are losing your profit too. I am a really nice and understanding person, but if I had turned down other orders, I wouldn't refund it per your contract. Feel bad for him, but it isn't your fault that hte wedding was cancelled, so why should you lose the money you could have had from another wedding? Isn't that the point of the contract really? To protect the customer AND the baker?

MCook Posted 4 Jun 2008 , 2:40pm

Again, why is HE asking for money back when SHE paid for the cake?? I think I would tactfully point this out and/or remind him who's card was used. Maybe he's trying to get back some of his money out of this deal since the bride seems to have walked out. I doubt he got the ring back,so money from you for the cakes could be a another way to get back at her. Maybe I'm being too suspicious, but it all sounds a little strange.

They don't really deserve any refund if your contract is firm, but if you feel you must do something, I agree with the suggetstion of keeping a cancelation fee ---I suggest at least HALF the price of the cake, as you did loose other business from thier booking.

Good luck and let us know how it turned out icon_sad.gif

mbh724 Posted 4 Jun 2008 , 2:42pm

Running credit is the best way to go.

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