summernoelle Posted 29 Jun 2008 , 4:29am
post #1 of

This has been one of the worst experiences I have had. I feel terrible that I ruined this girls day with a collapsed cake, so any input would be great.
The first photo is where the damage was, on the back. The 2nd one is cake from front.
And I kind of vented the whole story. Sorry. icon_redface.gif It was a long day.

I don't know for sure what happened. This morning I picked up the cake to put it in the car, and when I set it down, there were some pretty severe cracks on the back. I think it was because I painted the fondant with vodka, and it made it more brittle, I'm not sure. It takes forever to get to the reception, and when I do, I look in the back, and the cracks are worse. And on the bottom tier where the middle tier was resting, the fondant had pulled away from that part.
No one at the hotel knows where I am suppossed to go. I carry the thing into about 3 different rectption halls, and have to stop twice to give my arms a break, until someone finally directs me. During this time, the cake is crumbling even more from all the movement.
Set it down, get to work with some RI and flowers. Still pretty severe issue. I go to find a manager, to let him know what is going on.
While waiting for help, I write the Bride a note offering a refund. The manager finally finds this woman to help me.
She looks the cake over, and says "Where is the topper?" I say there isn't one. She says "They just wanted it like this?" I say yes, and she raises her eyebrows like she just can't believe it.
Now, it is exactly 11:22. The reception starts at noon. She asks me if the Bride realizes there is an issue, I say no, because I am not going to call her during her ceremony to tell her. This further pisses her off.
I tell her that I am going to go to Hobby Lobby QUICKLY to get some tulle to wrap around the bottom. She tells me to also stop by a florist to pick up some flowers. I say, I don't think I can do both and get back here in time. She says "Well, you better do something." I'm thinking Duh.
So I start to walk off, and she runs after me and says "They say this isn't their cake." (There were 2 girls who walked into the room during this) I say "Well, this is where I was told to go."
She says "This isn't their cake." And she is getting really angry with me now.
I tell her "Well, it is for the XX wedding."
"THIS is for the XX wedding?"
"Yes."
"Have you seen their room?"
"No."
She opens the door to a room that has about 200 tables in it. No joke. She says "I don't think the cake is meant to be that small."
"Well, that is what they ordered."
"They would not have ordered a cake that small."
"They ordered 50 servings, which is what this is."
"I really don't think you have that right."
"I have a contract outlining 50 servings, and that is what she paid for." (BTW, this cake cost her $175 total, WITH delivery. So, yeah, it was about 50 servings.)
Meanwhile, if you haven't noticed, she is WASTING TIME before the reception starts, and I need to get to the store. I finally run off, haul my butt to Hobby Lobby, and get back just in time with the tulle. The lady is waiting for me. She says "Do not put that tulle onto the cake until I tell you where you need to put it."
I'm thinking whatever, it is my cake, and do it anyway when she leaves. icon_twisted.gif
She comes back, and tells me Kroger has an excellent floral department, and I need to go there now. I say, Oh really? That's nice.
Then she says "You need to move this cake into the other room."
"You're going to move the cake?"
"No, YOU are moving the cake. I am NOT touching it." icon_mad.gif
"If I move the cake, there will be further damage, and the work I just did will crack back open."
"well, this isn't their room."
"Well, your staff told me it was."
She asks me who told me that, I tell her, and she makes me move it anyway.
I get it in the room, wrap it with the tulle, and truly, it looks beautiful. Some further damage did occur, but it was really lovely. She comes stomping in with lillies, and starts putting them on the cake and says
"That's the best this thing can possibly look." icon_mad.gif
I don't say anything.
Then she says "Where is the box for the top?" (bride didn't order anniversary topper so I thought this was unnecessary)
"There is no box."
"There isn't a box?
"No."
She fixes me with this stare, and finally, I can't take it any more and stare back for about ten good seconds. Then I say "Please just make sure the Bride gets my note."
I turn around and leave.

Please help me with:
1. I KNOW the cake was damaged, and there is noone else to blame but me for it.
2. I did everything I could to fix it.
3. I tried to camoflauge what I couldn't fix.
4. I offered the Bride a refund.

Do I refund 100% of the cake? I have no issues with this. Infact, it would make me feel better. I feel terrible that her cake was ruined, and she didn't have a pretty one for her wedding.

Does anyone know why my cake did this?

Thank you!
LL
LL

100 replies
Bettycrockermommy Posted 29 Jun 2008 , 4:58am
post #2 of

I don't know about a refund or anything. I just wanted to say that I am sorry that happened to you. The cake is beautiful!

cdavis Posted 29 Jun 2008 , 5:12am
post #3 of

duplicate post

cdavis Posted 29 Jun 2008 , 5:17am
post #4 of

My wedding was ruined because my cake decorator went out of business and never bothered to let me know. I wound up with a cake from a grocery store that was ordered last minute.

I would have been grateful to have such a caring person in charge of my cake. You can't control everything that happens but I admire the lengths you went to to make it better for the bride.

She may be disappointed in the beginning but she will overcome it. My grandmother told me that it was an "omen" (everything about my wedding was messed up). Sure nuff... I've been married 26 years.

Hang in there and don't beat yourself up. You went above and beyond. The cake is beautiful.

BrandisBaked Posted 29 Jun 2008 , 5:19am
post #5 of

I certainly wouldn't offer a full refund. If the cake inside was fine, the damage was on the back and camouflaged - I would only offer a partial refund, plus a discount on a future order - and ONLY IF SHE ASKS.

Too many people rush to offer refunds as soon as something goes wrong - I don't see the need for it. Don't be the first to offer an amount. Ask the customer what would make them happy if they complain. You might be surprised how sometimes they are afraid to ask for anything when put on the spot. If they ask for more than you are willing to give though, make a counter-offer. But don't screw yourself simply because you are embarrassed.

I have had one cake disaster (my very first tiered wedding delivery). The top three tiers slid off the bottom when I braked - but the bottom was still edible and so I put the top three tiers on display and the bottom was cut up and served from the kitchen.

Was it everything she wanted? No. Was I utterly humiliated? Yes. Did she ask for a dime back? Nope. In fact, she was doing everything she could to console ME! LOL!

I did offer a discount on a future order though and we were both happy.

shantel575 Posted 29 Jun 2008 , 5:42am
post #6 of

I agree with Brandi, the cake is beautiful and you did provide them with what they ordered. In the photos you can barely even see the problems and you did your best to fix those. If the bride was happy with it (which i have a feeling she was) then you have no reason to worry. A discount on a future order would suffice if you ask me. After putting up with that woman in the reception hall you more than earned your paycheck that day! Kudos to you for not ripping her head off! icon_lol.gif

Amia Posted 29 Jun 2008 , 5:45am
post #7 of

First off, your cake is beautiful! icon_biggrin.gif
Secondly, I agree with Brandi about the refunding.
Lastly, you need to complain to someone about how that woman, at the venue, treated you. What a tapedshut.gif! Her behavior, and attitude, toward you was unnecessary and unprofessional. icon_evil.gif

Yoliebean Posted 29 Jun 2008 , 5:48am
post #8 of

I don't know what impresses me more, you making the cake look beautiful in spite of the cracks or your restraint in not punching that lady in the nose!!!!

calynmom Posted 29 Jun 2008 , 6:08am
post #9 of

Did you have any other cakes that day. I would have waited around for the bride, if the reception was at noon, to see the reaction from her.

You were hired by the bride not the reception lady.

Call the bride and make sure she was happy with what she got.

Sorry you had to deal with all this.

I think the cake looks beautiful.

SweetArt Posted 29 Jun 2008 , 6:48am

I don't think you have anything to worry about. If the damage was in the back and the back is up against the wall, then no big deal. (Plus, you covered it.) I think it's just that that horrible lady exacerbated the whole situation and made you feel worse than the situation called for. From the pics I see cracks in the back and one small dent in the front. Nothing major. Today I was setting up a cake and went to grab the board and move it, but I missed the board and stuck all four of my fingers right into the side of the cake. I re-smoothed the icing, fixed the piping and turned the cake so it was in the back. It happens. I don't know what the lady's problem was, but she was just venting on you. Don't let her make you feel bad about your cake, it looks nice and was professionally executed. thumbs_up.gif

Also, do not speak to the bride with an attitude of needing forgiveness for a few flaws. Talk to her with confidence that the cake you provided looked good and tasted great. You didn't do anything terrible, so don't let the bride get a vibe that you think you did. If she mentions it; "Yes, sometimes these minor flaws occur because cakes are so fragile, but that's what back sides are for. Other than that, how did you like it?"

chutzpah Posted 29 Jun 2008 , 7:34am

Aw hunny, you need a backbone.

The cake looks great... the couple won't even notice the damages.

Why did you let that lady dictate your job? Why did you let her treat you this way? She is not the boss of you!

dawncr Posted 29 Jun 2008 , 11:33am
Quote:
Originally Posted by amia1024

Lastly, you need to complain to someone about how that woman, at the venue, treated you. What a tapedshut.gif! Her behavior, and attitude, toward you was unnecessary and unprofessional. icon_evil.gif




Ditto. Your cake was beautiful, and the minor damage to the back is magnified in your mind because you are a perfectionist with your cakes. (Not a bad thing---It's one reason why you're so talented.)

Also, the cake did NOT need a topper. Lilies on top would have looked bizarre, and she was imposing her dated aesthetics on you and the bride.

I'd construct a letter describing, with as little emotion or commentary as you can, exactly what happened from the time you arrived at the venue until you left. Have a friend or family member read it over and edit it. Then send it to the GM of the venue. Maybe include some pics of the cake, so s/he can see that it was neither ugly nor a disaster.

This coordinator needs to learn how to de-escalate issues rather than to escalate them. Even *if* she had valid points about you or your cake(which she doesn't, IMO), she needs to learn how to best get other people to cooperate with her. Currently, she's doing things that upset people and make them LESS likely to do what she wants. Staring people down is immature and useless. She's supposed to be a professional.

If she does those things with brides, I can't believe she'd last very long.

summernoelle Posted 29 Jun 2008 , 12:55pm

Wow, everyone. Thanks so much. You have made me feel much better.

I cannot tell you how much that lady pissed me off, made me feel teeny tiny and full or anger all at one. I felt like Suzy Homemaker walking in with a wonky cake from a Betty Crocker Mix. Loser. I didn't know what to say to her to tell her to back off. MY DH was in the car waiting this whole time and when I went to Hobby Lobby he told me to say "You had one job in this, and that was to tell me where to go. You already f****** that up, so shut up and let me do my job." icon_lol.gif Ah, I love him. I wish I had his backbone. icon_lol.gif

As far as complaining to her manager, I am sersiously considering it.

Quote:
Originally Posted by chutzpah

Aw hunny, you need a backbone.

The cake looks great... the couple won't even notice the damages.

Why did you let that lady dictate your job? Why did you let her treat you this way? She is not the boss of you!




Oh, I know. Sadly, this was me having a backbone. I didn't apologize to her even once, like I would have wanted to. And I didn't gush or panic over the cake. I know I needed to tell her to take a flying leap, but... icon_redface.gif

chutzpah Posted 29 Jun 2008 , 12:57pm

Tell me her name and where she works and I'll slap her up good next time I'm in town.....

summernoelle Posted 29 Jun 2008 , 1:01pm
Quote:
Originally Posted by chutzpah

Tell me her name and where she works and I'll slap her up good next time I'm in town.....




Sure-I'll PM it to you. icon_lol.gif

We need a cake mafia.

chutzpah Posted 29 Jun 2008 , 1:10pm

I'll start a commando group.

Cake Mossad

indydebi Posted 29 Jun 2008 , 1:13pm
Quote:
Originally Posted by dawncr

Also, the cake did NOT need a topper. Lilies on top would have looked bizarre, and she was imposing her dated aesthetics on you and the bride...... She's supposed to be a professional.




This was my thought. Now, I'm an "oldie" and "Back in my day" you HAD to have a topper of some kind on a cake .... but I've been around enough to know that toppers are becoming almost obsolete these days. If she is a true professional, she would be aware of the new changes coming into vogue with brides, and it's what THE BRIDE wants, not what SHE thinks looks right.

(Heck, the only reason my daughters take me shopping with them anymore is because I'm the mom-factor: If mom thinks it's the ugliest shoe on the rack, then that's they one they buy, because mom has no modern taste when it comes to shoes anymore! icon_lol.gificon_lol.gif )

jl5949 Posted 29 Jun 2008 , 1:18pm

OK... first things first... The cake is beautiful. I love the colors and the streaking...
Second, did the cake collapse? Or did it just have the cracks...? If it actually fell then yes I would offer a 100% refund but If there were only cracks that you were able to hide, that is a different story... if the bride complains, then offer a partial refund... if she dosen't, just let it be... I'll bet there were more desserts based on the size of the cake she orderd and the size of the wedding...
Oh and next time, be strong, and tell that women to back off!

summernoelle Posted 29 Jun 2008 , 1:21pm

No collapse. Just severe cracks on the back. Cake tiers were completely in tact. I just feel like I ruined this girls day and if that alone is worth the refund.

Does anyone have any ideas about what I did wrong? I used wooden dowels, and I can hear Leahs chanting somewhere SPS SPS SPS. LOL.

It just baffles me why the fondant buckled when I went to move it the first time....

momnzoes Posted 29 Jun 2008 , 1:34pm

I just had a cake w/ BC which pulled away from the side of the cake-- I think it may have been that I didn't stick it to the cake well enough , if you know what I mean. Did you refrigerate the tiers after you crumb-coated? If the crumb-coat was too dry the fondant doesn't stick as well. I live in FL, so I tend to blame humidity for all my cake problems, which may be true for your area too.

As for the cracks, the tiers may have settled after you put on the fondant, pushing the icing away from the cake. I have found that I need to let my cake settle for a day or so before I finish icing/ decorating. I put the tiers together (after they're crumb-coated) and leave the whole thing in the fridge over night to "relax".

Buck up, girl. The cake was beautiful and probably delicious and that nasty woman just needs to go hang. What feedback did you get from your customer, the bride?

Hope this helps.

summernoelle Posted 29 Jun 2008 , 1:51pm

Nothing from the Bride, yet.

Cakes were frosted on Wednesday, and not covered in fondant until Friday, so they had a good 24 hours in the fridge....

I wonder if the dowels shifted?

Kiddiekakes Posted 29 Jun 2008 , 1:52pm

Your cake is beautiful....now that being said icon_smile.gif I wouldn't even let the bride know the cracks and trouble you incurred unless she makes a comment or was seriously unhappy.How many times have each of us had a cake from hell that fell apart and we patched back together hoping it would hold...ME!! just the other day. Most brides are so inthralled wiith the day and overwhelmed with it all they probably never even noticed! If the cake stood up...they got all their pictures and they ate it all...you fulfilled your contract of providing them with a cake! As for the cake police... I would have told her #%@% -Off....I always carry an emergency kit with me..extra RI flowers...piping bags with white icing or the coordinating colors...Tulle..fondant pearls..silk flowers etc..just in case...

butterflywings Posted 29 Jun 2008 , 2:28pm

gorgeous cake. i have to echo what the others have said, unless the bride calls you and mentions the cracks, DO NOT offer refund or anything. she might not even notice if you were able to cover it all up.

now, once again GORGEOUS cake.. please add it to your gallery so i can add it to my faves icon_biggrin.gif LOL

Housemouse Posted 29 Jun 2008 , 2:52pm

[quote="summernoelle"]MY DH ..... told me to say "You had one job in this, and that was to tell me where to go. You already f****** that up, so shut up and let me do my job."

What a wonderful way of summarising her interferance!

In your shoes I would have concentrated on the cake, exactly as you were doing, rather than on the 'attitude' which was coming at you in buckets. So I can understand not upping the ante with the co-ordinator if you were focussing on trying to sort out the cake.

I would go back and complain though and really emphasise how unhelpful that woman was.

Lovely lovely cake by the way!

summernoelle Posted 29 Jun 2008 , 6:43pm

Got her name, got her supervisor's name, writing a letter as we speak.

Thanks for the confidence boost, everyone. I needed it!

4Gifts4Lisa Posted 29 Jun 2008 , 6:53pm

The cake was truly beautiful. I can't offer any advice that hasn't already been said, but I just wanted to chime in that the cake WAS gorgeous, and I loved the flowers and thought it looked wonderful without a topper!

Amia Posted 29 Jun 2008 , 6:58pm
Quote:
Originally Posted by summernoelle

Got her name, got her supervisor's name, writing a letter as we speak.

Thanks for the confidence boost, everyone. I needed it!




Good for you! You put every detail of her rudeness in that letter! Can you imagine how she must've been with the bride and groom? icon_eek.gif Anyway, you make GORGEOUS cakes and don't ever let anyone make you feel like a loser again!

By the way, I think it is high time you had the best week/month/year of your life! I've been reading all your posts and I think you've dealt with more than any one person should have to. icon_smile.gif

summernoelle Posted 29 Jun 2008 , 7:02pm

Oh, amia, don't say that! I don't mean to be a complainer, but I have had a rough time of it lately...
Hey, July is starting Tuesday. Maybe it will all turn around! I'm meeting a fellow baker about renting a store front!

Oh, I did do one teeny weeny unprofessional thing. As I was leaving, a staff member was giving me a look, like, I understand that this woman is a you know what. As I passed him, I said "Is she ALWAYS that bad?" He just laughed. I think he felt my pain.

Amia Posted 29 Jun 2008 , 7:04pm

I wasn't trying to insult you. I just think you make beautiful cakes and people are rude.

summernoelle Posted 29 Jun 2008 , 7:11pm
Quote:
Originally Posted by amia1024

I wasn't trying to insult you. I just think you make beautiful cakes and people are rude.




Oh, I know! thumbs_up.gif I didn't mean it like that! I just meant, yeah, it's been sucky for a while, but maybe it will get better.

sorry for the confusion-I know you were being helpful! icon_biggrin.gif

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