I'm So Mad! At Myself!

Decorating By cakedesigner59 Updated 11 Nov 2008 , 9:48pm by marknelliesmum

cakedesigner59 Posted 8 Nov 2008 , 9:30pm
post #1 of 51

Was asked to make a cake for a celebration a friend had last night. She was commemorating the year that has passed since she over came a serious medical condition/surgery that nearly took her life, and she threw a party to thank all her caretakers/friends. So I made the cake. She said she would get with me today to see how much she owes me. Well, she's a friend (not a good one, but one nonetheless) and I just couldn't ask her to pay me $90, which is what I figured it was worth (12x18x3 and 8" round on top) . The supplies alone cost $35. I said, "no, it's a gift" thinking she'd argue with me, but she didn't. Waaaaah. And the worst part is, I am doing a cake for another "friend" next weekend (birthday party) and I already said it was my gift (it's for 40 people). A wise cake decorator told me NEVER to give away cakes to friends because I'd soon find I had more friends than I could ever need or want, LOL. Well, that's what is happening. I'm going to get a rep for being the one you want to invite to the party, because I come with a free cake! I know you all are going to give me a tongue lashing, but believe me, it's no worse than I could give myself.
Sigh.

50 replies
CakeForte Posted 8 Nov 2008 , 9:55pm
post #2 of 51

It's ok. I've definitely been there so I understand. I'll still do free cakes...but only if it is my "core" group of friends....which is really only about 4 people. If its the second ring of friends, whom are still really close, but not my "besties"....I'll charge them supplies/ ingredients. Even then, that is still only 5 more people at most. Everyone else....full price. Even my best friends still offer to pay me. I'll turn down one time...if they insist on paying...I take the money and and graciously say thank you, because it really was my gift for them.

hallow3 Posted 8 Nov 2008 , 10:30pm
post #3 of 51

I only do a free cake because I want to and I decide that is what I am going to do and it should be stated up front and only if you volunteer. You will need to take a stand because if you don't then everytime someone has a birthday , celebration ect they will come to expect that of you. When you do give that cake away for free, you tell them next time you may have to charge for the supplies and time if they request a cake from you again. When they ask you for a cake then tell them your price that you will do the cake for upfront. Please don't be taken advantage of it only hurts you and then you will resent them and making the cakes. Good Luck

-Tubbs Posted 8 Nov 2008 , 11:18pm
post #4 of 51

Nobody here's going to give you a hard time just because you're kind!

I don't think people are really even 'taking advantage' a lot of the time. They just have no clue how much money, time and effort is involved in making a cake. When you say "No, it's a gift", they just think "Oh, great! Thanks!", not "Whoo-hoo, I just got a $100 cake for FREE!! Lucky Me!!".

I have taught myself, when discussing a cake with someone who is a friend, just not a free-cake-friend, to say "Now, let me think for a minute... yes, that will be around $xx, does that sound ok?" Get it out of the way as early in the conversation as you can! I promise you, it does get easier to say!

Mike1394 Posted 8 Nov 2008 , 11:41pm
post #5 of 51

Hey at least your getting out of the house. icon_biggrin.gif

Mike

tarheelgirl Posted 8 Nov 2008 , 11:52pm
post #6 of 51

Friends and family are the ones you least expect to take advantage of you!!! My advice is to break the cycle before it gets worse. I started doing cakes as gifts but had to stop! I mean your talent and time is worth something right!!

cakedesigner59 Posted 9 Nov 2008 , 12:41am
post #7 of 51

I also did the same dumb thing when I lived in VA (moved to NC last year). I used to make the cakes for my boss' children. I gave them as my gift. Until one time, I told his wife (who I never liked, by the way, LOL) that I couldn't make a cake that weekend because I was too tied up with other things...but that I could make the party. You could have heard crickets chirping. I found out the hard way that I wasn't invited unless I brought the cake.

michellesArt Posted 9 Nov 2008 , 1:07am
post #8 of 51

i love doing cakes but i am very picky about who i do a free cake for-and it hasn't happened in a while-one i'm too busy and two do i have the time and energy to put into a free cake...i want to do my best on all my cakes and sometimes by not offering to do the cake i can enjoy some down time

Ruth0209 Posted 9 Nov 2008 , 1:44am
post #9 of 51

I agree with the earlier post that you're not being taken advantage of just because the person accepts your offer when you say, "No, it's free". I'd probably accept such an offer. I assume people don't make those offers unless they want to, and I imagine your friend felt it was a lovely offer on your part.

If you didn't want to give the cake as a gift, it would've been more clear to say something like, "I'd like to offer my time for free as my gift to you if you can just cover the cost of my supplies, which was about $35."

I've finally learned through my own hard experience that you need to tell people what you want, or you're not very likely to get it. It's just not realistic to think most people are going to understand the sub-text of "I really want you to pay me what this cake was worth, but I'm not comfortable actually telling you what I want so I'll put the burden on you to make the awkward decision that I should have made." I think most people resent being put in that position.

But it's not the end of the world! You did a wonderful thing for someone who had a really terrible year! She probably has a mountain of medical bills still, so a gift of a lovely cake to celebrate was probably just what she needed!

Carolynlovescake Posted 9 Nov 2008 , 2:47am
post #10 of 51

You learn who true friends are very quickly.

I had a circle of friends who suddenly wanted me at their events. When the e-mail reply came of "can you bring the cake" I replied "sure, what's your budget and what did you have in mind? I'll do one that fits what you budgeted for."

Oddly enough I never got a reply and inquiries a day after the event "why weren't you there!?" "Why wasn't I where???

It dawned on me I was uninvited because I was charging for the cake.

So when the gossip got back to me about it I invited them all over for the day and told them cake was my dessert I was providing. Of course they all showed up. icon_lol.gif

I told them I was running late and that I was going to start the cake and if any wanted to help they could.

When they saw the gross amount of ingredients used they raised their eyebrows. When they saw how long it took their eyes rolled.

When they saw the frosting being made the comments started "that's a lot of frosting, does it really take that much." I replied with "oh this is just to frost it I have to make the rest in batches because I have to color it."

When I started to frost it the remarks were made of "finally it's done" ... icon_confused.gif "oh no honey I still have to decorate it, stack it, and finish decorating."

I didn't lolly gag and I didn't waste time I worked the entire time.

Hours later I presented them with a completed cake. I asked them if any of them realized how much work it was and none of them would look me in the eye.

Then I laughed and said "oh wait, we still have dishes to wash." One of them excused themselves for the night. Another two got up and rolled up their sleeves and asked what they needed to do to get started.

The rest ate their cake and left with their nose in the air sniffing at me with disdain dripping from their nostrils and saying something about trying to teach them a lesson.

The two that stayed to help wash actually always paid for my cakes and never blinked an eye. They knew they were getting a discount and I undercharged because they were friends. Now when I have cakes to do they come over to help and play cake with me. They plan to take courses in January.

Us three kicked the rest to the curb. We realized we were to good for them and they didn't deserve us.

Rumor has it the last party had a cake wreck and that night when we got the call that we missed the party AND the wreck we toasted with our diet soda's and had a second bowl of ice cream and laughed all the way to weight watchers together the next day.

SliceTheCake Posted 9 Nov 2008 , 3:19am
post #11 of 51
Quote:
Originally Posted by CarolynGwen

You learn who true friends are very quickly.

I had a circle of friends who suddenly wanted me at their events. When the e-mail reply came of "can you bring the cake" I replied "sure, what's your budget and what did you have in mind? I'll do one that fits what you budgeted for."

Oddly enough I never got a reply and inquiries a day after the event "why weren't you there!?" "Why wasn't I where???

It dawned on me I was uninvited because I was charging for the cake.

So when the gossip got back to me about it I invited them all over for the day and told them cake was my dessert I was providing. Of course they all showed up. icon_lol.gif

I told them I was running late and that I was going to start the cake and if any wanted to help they could.

When they saw the gross amount of ingredients used they raised their eyebrows. When they saw how long it took their eyes rolled.

When they saw the frosting being made the comments started "that's a lot of frosting, does it really take that much." I replied with "oh this is just to frost it I have to make the rest in batches because I have to color it."

When I started to frost it the remarks were made of "finally it's done" ... icon_confused.gif "oh no honey I still have to decorate it, stack it, and finish decorating."

I didn't lolly gag and I didn't waste time I worked the entire time.

Hours later I presented them with a completed cake. I asked them if any of them realized how much work it was and none of them would look me in the eye.

Then I laughed and said "oh wait, we still have dishes to wash." One of them excused themselves for the night. Another two got up and rolled up their sleeves and asked what they needed to do to get started.

The rest ate their cake and left with their nose in the air sniffing at me with disdain dripping from their nostrils and saying something about trying to teach them a lesson.

The two that stayed to help wash actually always paid for my cakes and never blinked an eye. They knew they were getting a discount and I undercharged because they were friends. Now when I have cakes to do they come over to help and play cake with me. They plan to take courses in January.

Us three kicked the rest to the curb. We realized we were to good for them and they didn't deserve us.

Rumor has it the last party had a cake wreck and that night when we got the call that we missed the party AND the wreck we toasted with our diet soda's and had a second bowl of ice cream and laughed all the way to weight watchers together the next day.





This is a great story! Good for you!

Parable Posted 9 Nov 2008 , 3:50am
post #12 of 51
Quote:
Originally Posted by cakedesigner59

I also did the same dumb thing when I lived in VA (moved to NC last year). I used to make the cakes for my boss' children. I gave them as my gift. Until one time, I told his wife (who I never liked, by the way, LOL) that I couldn't make a cake that weekend because I was too tied up with other things...but that I could make the party. You could have heard crickets chirping. I found out the hard way that I wasn't invited unless I brought the cake.




How harsh! icon_mad.gif

indydebi Posted 9 Nov 2008 , 4:30am
post #13 of 51

cakedesigner59, I also think it's very nice of you to help your friend commemorate her one year for what she went thru.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Ruth0209

I agree with the earlier post that you're not being taken advantage of just because the person accepts your offer when you say, "No, it's free". I'd probably accept such an offer. I assume people don't make those offers unless they want to, and I imagine your friend felt it was a lovely offer on your part.

If you didn't want to give the cake as a gift, it would've been more clear to say something like, "I'd like to offer my time for free as my gift to you if you can just cover the cost of my supplies, which was about $35."

I've finally learned through my own hard experience that you need to tell people what you want, or you're not very likely to get it. It's just not realistic to think most people are going to understand the sub-text of "I really want you to pay me what this cake was worth, but I'm not comfortable actually telling you what I want so I'll put the burden on you to make the awkward decision that I should have made." I think most people resent being put in that position.

But it's not the end of the world! You did a wonderful thing for someone who had a really terrible year! She probably has a mountain of medical bills still, so a gift of a lovely cake to celebrate was probably just what she needed!



Ruth, this was very well said ... you said everything I was thinking (and I bolded the ones I really agree with!) thumbs_up.gif

I think the "I really want this but you have to guess based on what I'm not saying" is such a woman thing ... and ladies, we need to stop doing this! If you want your hubby to take you out to dinner, and if you say in your most pathetic, whiny voice, "oh I GUESS I could cook something if you really want me to", he's going to take you up on your offer, plop down on the couch and say, "Great! Let me know when it's ready!"

If you want to go out for dinner, you have to SAY you want to go out for dinner.

If you want paid for a cake, you have to SAY you want paid for a cake.

As someone said above, you'll soon find you have LOTS of new "friends" if you continue to give free cakes.

CarolynGwen.... LUV'D your story!!

Deb_ Posted 9 Nov 2008 , 12:46pm
post #14 of 51

We've all been there.........some of us still are there.

Indydebi you are so right. When I was first married I was one of those woman that thought my husband would read my mind. I'm the youngest of 8 kids so you can imagine growing up nobody really cared about what I wanted by the time the other 7 kids spoke their minds.

Finally, one day my DH sat me down and said "Debbie, if you want something specific, than just say it damn it, I can't read your mind" It was the best advice I've ever gotten. He's probably sorry that he offered it up all those years ago, now he knows EXACTLY what I want.

cakedesigner59........it's a tough position that you're in. It's one I've been in for over 20 years with my family. Once you start giving your cakes away, it's very hard to get those same people to start paying. Fortunately for me baking is my part-time job and it really is an escape for me from my main career. I still do "free" family cakes, but thankfully my friends would never dream of not paying me, and their friends too. So it's a good balance for me.

Another great piece of advice that I've learned from CC is to ask "what's your budget?" when a friend/relative asks for a specific cake. It really does let them know that you expect compensation for the cake.
It's amazing how once they know they have to pay, their cake design gets a lot less complicated!
Good luck.

pmaucher Posted 9 Nov 2008 , 1:28pm
post #15 of 51

I've been having a problem with this also. I have dinner every wednsday night with the family (in-laws, sister-inlaw and her family). So, when someones birthday comes up, we celebrate on Wed and I make the cake. I've made it know that the cake is part of their gift. If the gift they want is at the top of their budget, then they dont get a cake. Simple as that. But no one has turned down their cake yet, they are more excited opening their eyes to see their cake, then care what I got them.

The down side is my sister in-law always send the pic on her phone to all her friends. They call to order a cake, and I tell them the price. I have yet to hear back from one person. They think since I know them and their kids, I'm going to give them a free cake. Not happening. I may only do this for fun, but I'm not giving a free cake to someone I barely know. And I dont even get invited to the party, and they want a free cake.

indydebi Posted 9 Nov 2008 , 1:40pm
post #16 of 51
Quote:
Originally Posted by pmaucher

The down side is my sister in-law always send the pic on her phone to all her friends. They call to order a cake, and I tell them the price. I have yet to hear back from one person. They think since I know them and their kids, I'm going to give them a free cake.




First, let me say that I always give the wedding cake as my gift to nieces/nephews, if they want it, so I do the same as you with family.

Second, I think this story is a CLASSIC that should be saved by all of us ... when people try to tell us how much exposure we'll get for doing a free cake. This story confirms that the exposure we get is "she'll do the cake for free as a gift".

without knowing what kind of relationship you have with your SIL, is it possible for you to let her know what's happening ... that her friends seem to think you do cakes for free, and what can the two of you do to battle this misconception?

My daughter flat out tells her friends, "If my kids didn't have a gramma who made those kinds of cakes, my kids wouldn't have those kinds of cakes, because I can't afford my mom's cakes!" icon_lol.gificon_lol.gif

BlueDevil Posted 9 Nov 2008 , 1:56pm
post #17 of 51
Quote:
Originally Posted by indydebi

cakedesigner59, I also think it's very nice of you to help your friend commemorate her one year for what she went thru.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Ruth0209

I agree with the earlier post that you're not being taken advantage of just because the person accepts your offer when you say, "No, it's free". I'd probably accept such an offer. I assume people don't make those offers unless they want to, and I imagine your friend felt it was a lovely offer on your part.

If you didn't want to give the cake as a gift, it would've been more clear to say something like, "I'd like to offer my time for free as my gift to you if you can just cover the cost of my supplies, which was about $35."

I've finally learned through my own hard experience that you need to tell people what you want, or you're not very likely to get it. It's just not realistic to think most people are going to understand the sub-text of "I really want you to pay me what this cake was worth, but I'm not comfortable actually telling you what I want so I'll put the burden on you to make the awkward decision that I should have made." I think most people resent being put in that position.

But it's not the end of the world! You did a wonderful thing for someone who had a really terrible year! She probably has a mountain of medical bills still, so a gift of a lovely cake to celebrate was probably just what she needed!


Ruth, this was very well said ... you said everything I was thinking (and I bolded the ones I really agree with!) thumbs_up.gif

I think the "I really want this but you have to guess based on what I'm not saying" is such a woman thing ... and ladies, we need to stop doing this! If you want your hubby to take you out to dinner, and if you say in your most pathetic, whiny voice, "oh I GUESS I could cook something if you really want me to", he's going to take you up on your offer, plop down on the couch and say, "Great! Let me know when it's ready!"

If you want to go out for dinner, you have to SAY you want to go out for dinner.

If you want paid for a cake, you have to SAY you want paid for a cake.

As someone said above, you'll soon find you have LOTS of new "friends" if you continue to give free cakes.

CarolynGwen.... LUV'D your story!!




Ladies,

As one of the few resident men on the board, let me reiterate IndyDebs comments....

PLEASE TELL US EXACTLY WHAT YOU WANT! icon_eek.gif

In general, a good fella will do anything for the woman he loves, but we do not have radar and cannot read your minds. They are, after all, a completely different frequency. Do everyone a favor and be direct, specific, and explicit! icon_rolleyes.gif

CG, great story...wish I coulda seen that!

sweettreats36 Posted 9 Nov 2008 , 2:28pm
post #18 of 51

I'm still new at doing cakes but I have done a couple that has gotten me orders from friends and family. I have found myself on more than one event offering to do the cake for free. Two reason, one I feel they aren't perfect enough to sell to someone and second they are family and friends. I later rgret it when I end up spending $65 or more plus four or more hours on the cake, then I have to deliver it icon_cry.gif ! Sorry started having flashbacks. But I think I will only offer to give another cake as a gift to the people I know understand what goes into the process.

LittleBigMomma Posted 9 Nov 2008 , 2:37pm
post #19 of 51

I recently posted about a similar situation with a baby shower. I was not included in the planning of the shower but, I was "asked" to make the cake and I was invited. The invitation stated that the shower was given by "friends". I guess I was one of the friends, because it was a free cake! They even asked, "Hey, where's the Oreo Truffles?" (that's another reason they like me) I said, "What truffles? I didn't get an order for truffles." End of conversation. I was not invited to an outting (that didn't require cake) last weekend. Funny thing though, it was a public event and I ran into the "gang" and they all immediately starting saying that they had told my son to tell me where to meet them. Hello!!! They ALL have my phone number!

Sorry to rant in your post. But, it happens to a lot of us. I was mad at myself too. Now, I ask myself, "who are my friends?" Only the ones who have seen me in my PJ's without any make-up on.

bethola Posted 9 Nov 2008 , 3:02pm
post #20 of 51

CarolynGwen that was SOOO COOL! LOL I love it!

I'll have to say I have TONS of people that come to the church kitchen and watch me bake and decorate my cakes. They are the ones that pay (or at least OFFER to pay or get me a gift certificate to a nice restaurant when I refuse) and then OOOOO and AHHHHH and say nice things. THEY are my REAL friends!

Beth in KY

cakedesigner59 Posted 9 Nov 2008 , 4:12pm
post #21 of 51

I know it's my fault...but I just want to be clear. I didn't offer to make the cake, she asked me. The party was to thank ME as well as others, for caretaking the year she was sick. And they don't have any medical bills; basically the first doctor screwed up and they are suing for malpractice and will get a huge settlement if they haven't already. I know that sounds snarky and defensive. I know it's my fault for not saying how much I wanted for the cake. I think my problem is I don't think anyone will pay me what I need to get for them to make it worth my while, so I throw my hands up in the air in surrender. I mean, I wouldn't willingly pay me $90 for my cake, why should anyone else?

chutzpah Posted 9 Nov 2008 , 4:15pm
post #22 of 51

Well it's a good thing you aren't your own customer then, missy, what with that attitude 'n all (I won't pay, why should anyone... I'm not worth it, whine, whine, whine.....)

I wouldn't pay me $100 for a cake, but there sure are plenty of folks out there who DO... seeing as I'm fully booked just about EVERY WEEKEND.

indydebi Posted 9 Nov 2008 , 9:59pm
post #23 of 51
Quote:
Originally Posted by cakedesigner59

I mean, I wouldn't willingly pay me $90 for my cake, why should anyone else?




This is so odd that you say this ... I was reading this thread to hubby today and his comment was "I'll tell ya why she didn't want to tell the person the cake was worth $90..... Because SHE doesn't think it's worth $90. That's the issue right there." (Sometimes he can be so smart ... but don't tell him! icon_twisted.gif )

If you aren't convinced of the value of your cake, then how can you convince others of the value of your cake?

It doesnt' matter if you're WILLING to pay that price or not .... do you understand the VALUE of that price? I may not be willing to pay $70,000 for a car .... but I sure can appreciate the value and the worth of a car with that kind of pricetag. Just because I'm not willing to pay it, doesnt' mean the item isn't worth the pricetag.

Mike1394 Posted 9 Nov 2008 , 10:12pm
post #24 of 51

Where in this world has it ever said a consumer pays what something is worth. The ONLY thing that sets the price is the market that your selling in. Do you really think a car is worth 50k, or a house 300k? The price for the Mona Lisa will more than cover the cost of materials that it took to paint it.

Along these same lines. I found out a book I paid 170.00 for is now worth at a minimum 875.00. Why is that? because that's what the market dictates. Oh BTW the went on craigslist yesterday LOLOL

Mike

Ariginal Posted 9 Nov 2008 , 10:18pm
post #25 of 51

Hey dont beat yourself up i too have been there so now if i want to do a cake for a friend i dont tell them i am doing it and its a nice surprise... i had one that i use to give discount to but then she would ry to bargain on that and then for her friends, i later found out she was then sorta backstabbing me saying my cakes werent worth it yet she asked me every year to make cakes for her , her hubby and her kids and then her other family members so with that all my friends have now been told no more mates rates and i do it as a gift when i want and when they least expect it because i want too.

flowers40 Posted 9 Nov 2008 , 10:23pm
post #26 of 51

I completely agree with everyone here. When you make the mistake of starting out giving away cakes, or severely undercharging, you get people who come to expect that. I am now getting really burnt out on cake, because I have all kinds of people coming out of the wood work wanting me to do a cake. And when I tell people, I'm not going to be doing cake for while, all I get is why??? but your so talented. I have let my inability to be fair to my self take the joy out of doing cake for me. And you know what, I can't blame anybody but my self for this. I have to learn how to value my time and talent, then I will start enjoying baking again. Right now, I just want to hide, because I hate to say No. The two easiest letters in the alphabet to put together. Even our children learn how to say it before they can fully form a sentence.

keyshia Posted 9 Nov 2008 , 10:32pm
post #27 of 51

I think at some point most of us have faced this specific scenario. I had a group of friends that KNEW I did cakes because I was trying to make a little money to help out our house hold (my other job is a full time mom)...but the husband wanted to throw his wife a birthday party. First of all he decided to do it potluck style icon_confused.gif Then on his very public list of what everyone was bringing he had me down for cake without me even saying I'd bring the cake icon_eek.gif . I was VERY upset because each family that was in our closenet group got one cake free. After that, I told them ALL that I'd made a cake free for each family and I'd no longer be making free cakes. I did give them a discount, but it was only about $5-$10 off.

I came up with the idea that if I am ASKED to bring the cake, that's an order. If I OFFER to bring the cake, that's a gift. I try to stick by that now!

cakedesigner59 Posted 9 Nov 2008 , 10:39pm
post #28 of 51

Yeah, that is my personal problem. I'm tight-fisted myself. I do think my cakes are good...they taste good and look pretty good (not as good as most of those on here, but better than a grocery store slap-up). But I am hurting for money (isn't everyone these days), and I could never pay $90 for a cake myself. It's totally all about me, isn't it? LOL

angelcakes5 Posted 9 Nov 2008 , 10:44pm
post #29 of 51

I was doing this at work. I probably have a list of 50 peoples bdays at work and would make cakes for their bday for no money. Well it did give me lots of orders but still it was alot of work. This year I stopped it. I began to have so many orders it was too much for me to do and with supplies going up. For family I make cakes for my parents, my in-laws and my BIL and SIL and my neice and nephew for free. And for one of my close friends and her family I don't mind. They all do alot for me so this is my payback.

ladyonzlake Posted 9 Nov 2008 , 10:58pm
post #30 of 51

It is a hard thing...friends...family... I guess I look at if from a "business" perspective. I have friends that run their own businessess and they don't give me any "discounts" and I don't expect them to.

I have a business and have bills to pay. I charge my friends as any other customers. Sometimes I'll throw something in for them...say an upgraded flavor for no charge or extra decorating.

I don't charge close family or close friends if I'm attending the celebration and I offer (if I'm not up to my eyeballs in cake orders) to bring the cake. I'm fortunate that I have had no one "ask" me and assume that it was free with the exception of my 16 year old neice which I will have to work out with her in the future.

Don't beat yourself up over it though. At least you got to decorate a cake to add to your portfolio and maybe you'll get a referral from it. It was a learning experience and you just move on and decide how you want to handle your friends cake orders...discounted, free, or whatever. Just be consisitant in what you decide to do. icon_wink.gif

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