Need Some Comfort (Long Vent)

Decorating By loriana Updated 25 Jun 2008 , 2:10pm by loriana

loriana Posted 19 Jun 2008 , 2:40pm
post #1 of 13

Hi everyone,

Since you guys are always so comforting I thought I'd share my first personal cake drama on here in hopes for a little comfort.

Last Monday I got an email asking if I could do a last-minute cake for Friday. Yes. I know, last minute cakes always have drama written all over them anyway. I emailed her back and told her that I was not booked this week (because I originally planned to turn down all cakes... been a long last 2 weeks). I also told her that if she let me know by Tuesday night, what her color and flavor choices were, I would be able to accomodate.

Tuesday night comes and goes. Wednesday morning I get an email asking if it's too late and I can still make this bridal shower cake. I accepted and told her I would get started that evening after returning home from work.

So, she changes the colors once during the day. No problem. Color palette was chocolate brown and light pink. Pretty colors. Got home Wednesday evening and started work on this cake. I have a 15 month old, husband who works late most nights and work full-time. So... needless to say I didn't have more than a few hours to put into it.

I decided to finish the work on Thursday. Thursday night I actually finish this cake. It was a very warm, southern day and evening and I really could only get the house down to 78 degrees. I thought about putting this cake in the refrigerator but it was decorated with gumpaste. In retrospect, if I had waited until last minute to add the gumpaste decor and refrigerated it, there would have been no drama. I left the cake out, boxed in the coolest place I could find.

Friday comes. I get home from work tired with a sticky baby from day care. I drop the baby down, get him a cool bottle, some crackers, wash my hands and face and then... she arrives.

My house was a mess. Cake supplies everywhere, unwashed pans still in my sink (told you, it was a long week without my husband helping since he was at work until 11PM almost every night).

I shake her hand, welcome her warmly and tell her that her cake is ready. Between you and me, I planned to quickly show her the cake, give her a few tips on cutting, collect payment and "load her on'up" and get her out quickly.

So... we open the lid and at least 1/4 of the cake slid down, showing filling and layers underneath this chocolate brown buttercream. It was a disaster. Her party was in an hour or two and she was impatient. I asked if I could fix it and she was tempermental and not thrilled but could see that this was the only option. I offered her a seat and a bottle of cold water but she insisted on standing and watching while I bandaged up her cake.

It took about 20 minutes, and I was able to get a pretty good result that you guys would be proud of. It was pretty smooth, I re-piped a border, and re-covered with gumpaste decorations. You could still see the area that was re-done. This customer made me feel so terrible (but not on purpose). Her comment was "don't worry. Ill just tell them that I dropped the cake" and then gave a quick fake laugh. I told her "no no, please let them know your decorator didn't realize how warm it was and I should have refrigerated to set it up."

As she started to pay, my consious told me not to charge her full price. I had actually quoted her my full $2.75 per serving rate since this was a last minute cake AND she wasn't a "friend or family". I didn't even ask her for the $60, I told her she could just pay me $25. When we got to her car with my reciept book she told me she only had 3, $20 bills. So... I told her I would just take $20 for the cake.

She asked "are you sure?" and I said "Yes. Let this be a chance to give it to you at what it cost me to make it and give me another chance to make a perfect cake for you next time." (ok ok... I was REALLY proud of myself for thinking of saying this icon_lol.gif )

I'm hoping her 75% perfect cake went off well. I feel confident it tasted good and it did get "patched" pretty well. PLUS my conscious says that I could not have gotten a nicer cake for $20. I don't think I could felt good about myself if I had charged her the $60 since she was so unhappy with it.

I'm not sure why, but I am still feeling bad... I hate, hate, hate, to have sold something so imperfect and to have a customer in my messy kitchen. I mean... the baby was crying loudly, sticky, tired and wanted to be held the whole time. So unprofessional from the way I am used to doing things! Generally when I know someone is picking up a cake (rarely since I general deliver), I have my kitchen in order, displays out, and I keep my family and house clean and neat.

I hated having an uncomfortable, unhappy customer looking at my dirty dishes the whole time. And worst of all, I dread the thought of emailing her, asking if they enjoyed the cake. I'm afraid of what she might say. Guess I'm trying to put my first negative-customer-experience behind me, but it's been a week and I'm still feeling down about it. Any word of wisdom of comfort would be appreciated. Thanks for reading!

12 replies
loriana Posted 19 Jun 2008 , 2:43pm
post #2 of 13

oh I forgot, here was the cake BEFORE a 1/4 of it fell and it had to be repaired:

summernoelle Posted 19 Jun 2008 , 3:08pm
post #3 of 13

Wow! You handled that just perfectly. I really admire that you were able to stay so collected through the whole thing. I would have freaked out-someone IN my messy kitchen, watching me. Good for you!

The cake is lovely, by the way.

cdavis Posted 19 Jun 2008 , 4:07pm
post #4 of 13

I couldn't have been that composed. Oh my, you were wonderful to fix the cake and send her on her way and the discount was very generous.

cdavis Posted 19 Jun 2008 , 4:18pm
post #5 of 13

I couldn't have been that composed. Oh my, you were wonderful to fix the cake and send her on her way and the discount was very generous.

JulieB Posted 19 Jun 2008 , 6:34pm
post #6 of 13

I probably would have done the same thing, I'm a big ole softie, really.

And I can see where I coulda easily been in the same position, too.

It'll be better next time.

loriana Posted 20 Jun 2008 , 12:03am
post #7 of 13

Thanks you guys! I feel better now! Here was my message to her and her message back, JFYI:

Hi Tracy,

Did your friend have a blessed wedding shower? How did the cake make it to your venue? Sorry again about the imperfections and thanks for letting me patch it up a bit. Here is a picture of I took before it fell a bit between Thursday night and Friday.


Well, it did not make the trip too well. I took some pictures of it once I got it to my mother's but they are on my camera at home. By the time I got it there, the whole side had completely fallen off the cake. We had to get another cake but needless to say, your cake was eaten. They did not touch the store bought cake. By Sunday, we had one small piece of your cake left. It tasted awesome, it just wasn't very presentable. We tried to put it back together and freeze it but every time we pulled it out of the frig, the icing would just melt off and the cake would fall.

Zaxapi Posted 24 Jun 2008 , 1:05am
post #8 of 13

Well it was nice to know that your cake was delicious. The other cake was not touched as she said. Of course it is always nice for the cake to look perfect but in the end its all about the taste great job it looked really nice icon_smile.gif

jammjenks Posted 24 Jun 2008 , 3:56pm
post #9 of 13

Well, I really hate that you had to go through all that. You worked so hard on it TWICE, and it still had issues. I would've been in tears. At least it tasted great. It sounds like they and you made the best out of a bad situation. I guess it was the heat, but I wouldn't have thought that 78 degrees would make it slide so badly. Oh well, shows what I know.

-K8memphis Posted 24 Jun 2008 , 11:56pm
post #10 of 13

Loriana, just wanted to say 'hey'. I'm in Memphis too.

diane Posted 25 Jun 2008 , 12:56am
post #11 of 13

i had that happen to me and i feel your pain. fortunately for me the customer left and came back in an hour while i worked on the cake. that is my pet peeve...i can't stand to be watched while i work on someone's cake.
you handle yourself really well. i hope it didn't ruin any future business for you.

mom2leelee Posted 25 Jun 2008 , 2:52am
post #12 of 13

At least you know the cake was eaten. I think your discount and telling her you would love the chance to make her another perfect cake was a great way to handle the situation. Stuff happens but you handled it like a pro.

loriana Posted 25 Jun 2008 , 2:10pm
post #13 of 13

icon_lol.gif Im bad... I used to work at Kroger the summer I was pregnant and took pride in my decorations, but I never took pride in the taste of what I made. I knew it was formed cardboard that came out of the deep freezer, originally baked from God knows when LOL

Hi K8Memphis! *waving at ya*

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