Your Most "ridiculous" Client

Business By travelingcakeplate Updated 23 Oct 2008 , 5:22pm by TooMuchCake

travelingcakeplate Posted 20 Oct 2008 , 5:50pm
post #1 of 26

I am seriously thinking of getting more into wedding cakes. I have held off simply because of the pressure. But I now think I am ready to make the plunge.

Can you please share your most stressful cake situation and discuss how you handled it.

I need to know what I am truly up against.

TIA

25 replies
chutzpah Posted 20 Oct 2008 , 5:59pm
post #2 of 26

I have an entire notebook full of dickwad customer stories....and believe you me... most of them are NOT wedding clients.

kelleym Posted 20 Oct 2008 , 6:04pm
post #3 of 26

My worst "customer" was for a baby shower. She jerked me around for weeks on price and design, even forwarding me an email from her friends insulting my proposed sketch. I ended up refusing to do her cake.

My brides have all been very easy to work with.

tonedna Posted 20 Oct 2008 , 6:21pm
post #4 of 26

A bride that keeps changing designs...they need to be told your last change can be done 2 weeks before the wedding!
Edna

marmalade1687 Posted 20 Oct 2008 , 6:23pm
post #5 of 26

I agree with Kelly and Chutzpah...the worst are not brides! My worst was for 25th anniversary cake - I worked extra time with her on the design, waffling back and forth, her not remembering from one moment to the next what we had discussed...etc. Then, she had someone else pickup the cake - she called me two hours later SCREAMING that this was not her cake - the design was not was not what we had discussed. Thank goodness I had the email trail. As soon as I sent it to her, she owned up that it was her cake (but with no apology), still demanding a refund for the "pain and suffering" I had put her through. icon_confused.gif

Kelly, just a suggestion for Cakeboss - can you add a section for blacklisted clients? icon_twisted.gif hee hee! I have a note in her file never to let her order again!

At least with brides (and grooms! icon_wink.gif ), you can weed out the bridezillas and groomonsters at the consultation. icon_rolleyes.gif

melissablack Posted 20 Oct 2008 , 6:53pm
post #6 of 26

The mother of the bride tried to get out of paying me the remainder of what she owed me... Everyone at the wedding raved about how nice & delicious the cake was, (including her!!), then I guess her spoiled brat daughter wasn't happy with it so when I called to ask the mother how they liked it, and politely remind them they still owed me $, she complained about the cake and acted like she shouldn't have to pay.
I had to call a couple times, and ended up going to a function where I knew she would be, so when she saw me there she wrote me a cheque.

It just made me mad 'cause the cake was fine when I left it set up at the reception hall, everyone else who was at the wedding complimented me on it, including the mother of the bride, so I know there wasn't really anything wrong with it. If I really HAD screwed it up, I would have voluntarily given them a discount or whatever.

cakesbycathy Posted 20 Oct 2008 , 9:23pm
post #7 of 26
Quote:
Originally Posted by melissablack

The mother of the bride tried to get out of paying me the remainder of what she owed me... Everyone at the wedding raved about how nice & delicious the cake was, (including her!!), then I guess her spoiled brat daughter wasn't happy with it so when I called to ask the mother how they liked it, and politely remind them they still owed me $, she complained about the cake and acted like she shouldn't have to pay.
I had to call a couple times, and ended up going to a function where I knew she would be, so when she saw me there she wrote me a cheque.

It just made me mad 'cause the cake was fine when I left it set up at the reception hall, everyone else who was at the wedding complimented me on it, including the mother of the bride, so I know there wasn't really anything wrong with it. If I really HAD screwed it up, I would have voluntarily given them a discount or whatever.




Another reason to get payment up front or when the cake is delivered. No money = no cake.

indydebi Posted 20 Oct 2008 , 11:21pm
post #8 of 26

all of my brides have been great .... it's the parents who are the PITA!

jescapades Posted 20 Oct 2008 , 11:23pm
post #9 of 26

i had a bride ask me to feed 150 guests for $100... with cheesecake!!

indydebi Posted 20 Oct 2008 , 11:39pm
post #10 of 26
Quote:
Originally Posted by jescapades

i had a bride ask me to feed 150 guests for $100... with cheesecake!!




Ok, I can top that .... she wanted a buffet with 2 meats and all the trimmings, PLUS she asked about it being plated and served (instead of buffet) PLUS she wanted me to also provide the guest table linens (which I don't do, so it's not included in my price) PLUS the wedding cake PLUS long distance delivery PLUS tea and lemonade for dinner ......

for $2.50/person. icon_eek.gif

I laughed and flat out told her, "Honey, you cant' buy Happy Meals for everyone for $2.50/person!" She asked for a quote anyway. I said sure. Hung up and never sent the quote.

Jayde Posted 20 Oct 2008 , 11:40pm
post #11 of 26

My worst was a baby shower as well. What I didnt know is that the hostess had her sister do all of the cake design, ordering, etc. the hostess just paid for it.

So, I quoted her one price for round tiers, she came back and wanted square tiers, and a different design. Mind you this is like the 4th time she changed her cake design, and so I quoted her a ridiculous amount, for this new design, hoping that she would go away, but only like $30 more. Sister accepted, and the deposit was paid.

They were referred to me by a friend of mine, to whom I told that the fat deposit I was getting was going to buy me a new pan, which I needed for this cake. Apparently that was repeated to the sister, who repeated it to the Hostess.

After the party was over and the cake delivered, the Hostess emailed me and told me that the cake was delicious/beautiful. But that I owed her the deposit money back because she shouldnt have to buy my cake pans!!! WTF?!?! What business is it of hers what I do with her money!! She got angry at me, and told me if I wouldnt refund her that deposit money that she would take me to court and demand a percentage of every cake that I made with that pan, cause it was technicaly hers. Once I explained everything to her in mathematical terms, square = more servings, more fondant, etc. she was still angry, so I told her that I would send her 'her' cake pan, as she put it, if she wanted it that bad. She told me to just keep it, and I never heard from her again.

CakeForte Posted 20 Oct 2008 , 11:46pm
post #12 of 26
Quote:
Originally Posted by marmalade1687



At least with brides (and grooms! icon_wink.gif ), you can weed out the bridezillas and groomonsters at the consultation. icon_rolleyes.gif




Yes! I had a bride come in last week just cold and witchy with a "b". I quoted her a crazy high price so she wouldn't book. It was the easiest order to do....but I do not need to feel like I'm walking on eggshells. That is why I started my own biz in the firstplace.

indydebi Posted 20 Oct 2008 , 11:55pm
post #13 of 26
Quote:
Originally Posted by CakeForte

Quote:
Originally Posted by marmalade1687



At least with brides (and grooms! icon_wink.gif ), you can weed out the bridezillas and groomonsters at the consultation. icon_rolleyes.gif



Yes! I had a bride come in last week just cold and witchy with a "b".




I guess I need to clarify my earlier statement about how all of my brides have been great icon_redface.gif .... I mean the brides I decide to go ahead and book! icon_biggrin.gif

There have been a few that, after the consultation/sampling, I just "forgot" to send the quote .... because I was choosing NOT to work with them.

summernoelle Posted 20 Oct 2008 , 11:55pm
post #14 of 26

All my clients are perfect! (Please read my facetious tone here.) icon_twisted.gif

I learned a while back to not post ugly things about people on a public forum, but oh, I do have a few stories I wish I could share! icon_rolleyes.gif

BakingGirl Posted 21 Oct 2008 , 12:35am
post #15 of 26

Well, I had my first today - and it is a non-client now. I was introduced to a lady back in May who was planning a wedding later in the year. No mention of date or anything like that. She was complaining about the "crazy" prices out there, first red flag. Had an e-mail from her today, keep in mind that I see her every day as she teaches at my kids' school, and asks if I am still available for her wedding 2 weeks from today! It was the first mention of this wedding since May! I have to say I was very pleased to tell her that unfortunately I would not be able to do it since I was going to be away on her date.

indydebi Posted 21 Oct 2008 , 12:39am
post #16 of 26
Quote:
Originally Posted by BakingGirl

She was complaining about the "crazy" prices out there, first red flag.




I've had a couple who've come in like that. I ask them "what are you finding?" and when they tell me the (ridiculously low) prices, I reply, "Wow! That's a really cheap cake!" just so I can watch their mouth drop open and the shock register on their face when they discover that what THEY call expensive, *I* call cheap!

It's really a lot of fun to watch! icon_lol.gif

travelingcakeplate Posted 21 Oct 2008 , 2:13am
post #17 of 26
Quote:
Originally Posted by Jayde

My worst was a baby shower as well. What I didnt know is that the hostess had her sister do all of the cake design, ordering, etc. the hostess just paid for it.

So, I quoted her one price for round tiers, she came back and wanted square tiers, and a different design. Mind you this is like the 4th time she changed her cake design, and so I quoted her a ridiculous amount, for this new design, hoping that she would go away, but only like $30 more. Sister accepted, and the deposit was paid.

They were referred to me by a friend of mine, to whom I told that the fat deposit I was getting was going to buy me a new pan, which I needed for this cake. Apparently that was repeated to the sister, who repeated it to the Hostess.

After the party was over and the cake delivered, the Hostess emailed me and told me that the cake was delicious/beautiful. But that I owed her the deposit money back because she shouldnt have to buy my cake pans!!! WTF?!?! What business is it of hers what I do with her money!! She got angry at me, and told me if I wouldnt refund her that deposit money that she would take me to court and demand a percentage of every cake that I made with that pan, cause it was technicaly hers. Once I explained everything to her in mathematical terms, square = more servings, more fondant, etc. she was still angry, so I told her that I would send her 'her' cake pan, as she put it, if she wanted it that bad. She told me to just keep it, and I never heard from her again.




This is too funny!

tblide Posted 21 Oct 2008 , 3:29am
post #18 of 26

First let me say that I don't sell cakes. Yet!!! I have only been decorating for a few months and I feel that I need to get better before I start selling cakes. I do have a funny story though that relates to wedding cakes. This happened about 3 or 4 weeks ago. I was in Hobby Lobby looking at the clearance aisle. Well they had some Wilton items on there so I was in hog heaven. This lady walks by and she is looking at the cake decorating aisle. She was on the phone with someone and talking so loudly I couldn't help but overhear what she was saying. Apparently this woman or someone she knew was getting married and pricing the cake. She started telling whoever she was on the phone with no wonder these people charge so much for the cake you should see what the price is on the stuff to make it with. Then she commented that she had checked with Walmart (yes I said Walmart) and they wanted $250 for a cake. Now she didn't give details (size, design, etc). She was astounded that Walmart even cost that much. Of course so was I, considering it won't be near as good quality as she would have gotten from a cake decorator. I told my mom (who was with me) see I can make money decorating cakes. LOL!!!

indydebi Posted 21 Oct 2008 , 3:33am
post #19 of 26

Ah, the "Oh, I can make the cake MUCH cheaper than that!" DIY folks! Bless their little hearts! icon_lol.gificon_lol.gif

tblide Posted 21 Oct 2008 , 3:35am
post #20 of 26

Yeah I think she was there to buy everything she needed and found out why we charge so much.

costumeczar Posted 21 Oct 2008 , 1:51pm
post #21 of 26

I find that "problem" customers come in a few definite categories.

1. The "FREE CAKE" crowd, who want to bring ten people with them to the tasting appointments, if they even show up at all. Solution: Always confirm appointments ahead of time, and limit the number of people you allow to come to the bride, groom and maybe one other person. This group also tends to want multiple samples AFTER they've booked with you, because they can't decide on flavors. For that, you just have to be able to set limits.

2. The "I just saw this design in a magazine" crowd, who change the design every week or so, usually from a totally plain cake to something Sylvia Weinstock would make (but they don't want to pay more for it.) Solution: Give a limit to how far out changes can be made to the design/flavors that they've chosen. And maybe tack on a fee for changing things if it gets ridiculous.

3. The "check's in the mail" crowd, who never seem to pay on time. Solution: NEVER, NEVER, NEVER let someone wait until the week of the wedding to pay you, and if they do, have it in your contract that you need cash within a certain number of days from the wedding. I have my balance payments due one month before the wedding, which gives me some time to play with if the bride doesn't have a firm guest count or something, but still lets you get the balance by a couple of weeks out at the latest.

4. The "this isn't what I ordered" crowd, which is much rarer than the other types, but still pops up every now and then. Solution: Document everything, get all the signatures you need on contracts, and print out all emails. As long as you have the documentation to show that you provided what they ordered, you're good.

5. The most annoying is the "I don't care much" crowd, who say that they don't care about the cake design, but don't seem to like anything that you suggest. In my experience, this tends to be younger couples whose mothers seem to be doing most of the planning. Solution: Get the bride's ideas, then design something, then run it by her AND mom. Sometimes this works, and sometimes it doesn't, but as long as you get someone to sign off on SOMETHING that's better than nothing.

I'm sure I missed some, but I agree that most wedding clients aren't huge problems. If you get a sketchy feeling from someone, just don't take the job. Smaller cakes are sometimes more difficult because people want walmart prices for custom work, and a lot of times there aren't any contracts involved. Just get everything in writing!!!

LSW Posted 21 Oct 2008 , 2:41pm
post #22 of 26

I have to say the worst clients were a bride, groom and bride's mother who came to pick out a wedding cake. I could tell that this meeting was going to be a disaster from the minute they sat down. After looking through several albums, the bride and her mother each chose a different cake. Then the groom spoke up to voice his selection and future mother in law politely told him to shut up, he had no say in the wedding cake that she was paying for! He kept trying to voice his opinion only to be told he didn't matter! After a while the groom told her that this was his wedding too, not just her daughter's and the conversation turned into a shouting match and it was getting to the point I thought I'd have to call for police assistance!!! It became quite apparent that future mom and son in law did not like each other at all!! After 4 hours, yes I said 4 hours, with the bride in tears and the mom and groom ready to fist fight, they told me they'd get back to me. Well, never heard from them again, I've got a feeling that wedding never took place!!! I thought weddings were supposed to be a happy time! LOL

indydebi Posted 21 Oct 2008 , 3:48pm
post #23 of 26
Quote:
Originally Posted by costumeczar


5. The most annoying is the "I don't care much" crowd, who say that they don't care about the cake design, but don't seem to like anything that you suggest.




I found an easy solution to this one! I tell them, "Oh good! That means I get to do whatever I want and you don't get to complain!" Smile sweetly, lean back with arms folded, wait for them to decide ... which they usually can easily do after this comment!) icon_biggrin.gif

CakesByJen2 Posted 21 Oct 2008 , 4:49pm
post #24 of 26

I've been lucky in that I haven't had any bridezillas or complaints, but I can think of a couple of times I've had strange situations or unreasonable requests.

I had one bride who waited till less than a month before the wedding to start thinking about the cake, and she was from out-of-town, so by the time I met with them it was only 2 weeks before the wedding. She was the most indecisive and worked herself up into an all-out panic attack because she got herself so stressed out trying to make a decision about the cake, and said she's have to think about it and come back later! WIth only 2 weeks to go! Needless to say, I would NOT have been available. But her fiance had more sense and knew they had to order then, and took her outside and calmed her down. Everything went fine after that.

Then I had another couple who acted like they were ready to order, worked out a design, flavors, and everything, then decided they wanted to think about it. Keep in mind that this was right after a bridal show and I was swamped with brides, and they saw that I had a couple right before them, and another waiting when they left. She calls me back a few days later and says they are ready to go ahead and sign the contract and pay the deposit, and we make another appointment. Well, she never shows up, never calls. I can't remember if I tried to call her; if I did I didn't reach her and she didn't call back. Then like a week later she just shows up without an appointment or calling first, mind you I work from my home and meet with clients by appointment only. I wasn't even home, and she just shows up and leaves money with my husband. After I finished reading him the riot act for accepting an order, (he had absolutely nothing to do with my business), I called the bride and said I'm sorry, but my husband is not part of my business and cannot take orders for me, but she had put him on the spot by showing up out of the blue like that, and that I was no longer available and would be returning her money. She was all flustered "But we really wanted you to do our cake...." I said "I'm sorry, but I told you I don't hold a date without a deposit, and when you never showed up for our appointment and didn't call or anything, I assumed you were no longer interested and I made another committment." Then she asked me if I would give her a copy of the picture of the cake I designed (one of my few original designs) so she could get it made by someone else! Needless to say, I declined. She was nice and polite and all that, just totally clueless.

muddpuppy Posted 23 Oct 2008 , 4:34pm
post #25 of 26

I've only had one Bridezilla experience....I knew this woman was going to trouble right off the bat. After working on a few designs or a few weeks and meeting with her 3 times, she was still not happy with the design and had not given me a deposit, signed a contract or had made any indication that she was going to. After sending her yet another design, (the 4th or 5th) I recieved no response from her for 12 days. On he 13th day, I sent her a polite email stating that as she had not contacted me I was assuming she was booking with someone else and I was no longer available on her wedding date. I also left her a message on her cell phone to contact me. Well, for the next two weeks I had a never ending stream o explicit emails and threatening messages of how I
ruined her wedding and she was going to get me (from the fiance too!).. LOL!! I'm pretty sure I could never have made her happy. I dodged a bullet in my opinion.

TooMuchCake Posted 23 Oct 2008 , 5:22pm
post #26 of 26

I agree with Chutzpah. It's gotten to the point where I charge ridiculous prices for birthday cakes because moms of little kids are pickier and harder to deal with than brides planning their once-in-a-lifetime event.

Deanna

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