I Got "stiffed" On A Cake--What Do I Do?

Decorating By joy5678 Updated 11 Nov 2008 , 10:16pm by indydebi

joy5678 Posted 10 Nov 2008 , 4:01am
post #1 of 50

I have been doing cakes for 20+ years and have never had a problem with collecting money or anyone not picking up a cake until Sat.! The gal ordered a sheet cake for her daughters b-day (just a 9x13 sheet). I called to see what time she wanted to pick it up & she informed me she was at the hospital with her baby & would get back with me. Ok, I'm very understanding, but she still hasn't called or returned my call to her today asking if she still even wanted the cake. Should I just "eat" this one (literally icon_biggrin.gif ) or try one more time to contact her? I know there are others who have experienced this so---whadoya say? Thanks icon_rolleyes.gif

49 replies
KoryAK Posted 10 Nov 2008 , 4:20am
post #2 of 50

I would call at least one more time. Tell them you have their $XXX cake ready for pickup and payment, or would they rather pay and you just take it to a charity? At least act out loud like you have no idea they don't intend to pay for it.

DerrellC Posted 10 Nov 2008 , 4:26am
post #3 of 50

Hi Joy,sorry about problem with customer picking up her cake.
If it were me, I would call her back and NEVER mention the cake.For me I would ask about her baby's health and if she would mind if we said a prayer for them.
Eating a small sheet cake is nothing compaired with the health of an infant. Let your heart be you guide. JMHO , Derrell

Etchlain09 Posted 10 Nov 2008 , 4:26am
post #4 of 50

I'd probably just eat it.... thumbs_up.gif mmmm, cake...

BlueDevil Posted 10 Nov 2008 , 4:30am
post #5 of 50

Joy,

As a father of three, I can tell you my world stops in a health emergency involving a member of my family.

My advice is to drop it without further comment...would you really want to go after a family that is having a tough time with a kid in the hospital? If they are dramatizing to dodge a bill...there is still pretty much no way you can look good trying to colelct on a debt.

My two cents...

panchanewjersey Posted 10 Nov 2008 , 4:33am
post #6 of 50

I would just leave it at that and just forget about it. Chances are that because of her family emergency she had to cancel it all and she just forgot to call back due to embarrasment. But atleast you can enjoy the cake and if she does call back tell her she never called and you couldn't keep it for long.

Lorendabug Posted 10 Nov 2008 , 4:39am
post #7 of 50

Family first for me too! I would call to see if their family is ok, but would consider the cake a loss.

Sweetlepea Posted 10 Nov 2008 , 4:40am
post #8 of 50

LMAO! Me too icon_lol.gif


Quote:
Originally Posted by etchlain

I'd probably just eat it.... thumbs_up.gif mmmm, cake...


mmm-cake Posted 10 Nov 2008 , 4:41am
post #9 of 50

I agree with pp -if they have a child in the hospital, a cake should (rightly) be one of the last things they are concerned about. Eat this one, and consider it an opportunity to have practiced your cake skills.

giggysmack Posted 10 Nov 2008 , 4:42am
post #10 of 50

If it were me I would call her and tell her I hopw everything is ok and I put her cake in the freezer for whenever she was ready for it.

adonisthegreek1 Posted 10 Nov 2008 , 4:44am
post #11 of 50

Being that when you called her she was at the hospital with her baby, and the fact that it is only a sheet cake...I'd give it another day or two to see if I heard from her before eating the cake.

I had ordered a two tiered Scooby Doo cake for my son's 5th birthday. Well, the day before his 5th birthday he ended up in the hospital with pneumonia. I called the bakery from the hospital and before I could ask them to freeze the cake, they jumped all over me telling me that it was not their fault that my son was sick. I had ordered from them before (without paying a deposit) and was really shocked at their rudeness. If I had not paid a deposit this time, I would not have bothered to pick up the cake. Needless to say, I learned how to bake and have never order a cake again.

You have know way of knowing what this mom may be facing and the cake is the last thing on her mind. I would not call her again. It may seem to her like you just care about selling a cake, rather than the welfare of her infant. I'd leave it alone.

MegWinn Posted 10 Nov 2008 , 4:44am
post #12 of 50

My son (3 years old) was just in the hospital for 2 days with a bizarre and sudden bacterial eye infection. It was so draining that that the last thing I had on my mind was "regular" stuff and obligations of daily life. I agree to let his one go...I am sure that the parents meant no offense and may very well be too embarressed to call now. Enjoy the cake or like someone else said give it to a charity!!

mandysue Posted 10 Nov 2008 , 4:51am
post #13 of 50

I have two kids...5 and 2, and I wouldn't expect to be able to ignore my other obligations in the event that they got sick. If I had received your phone call, I probably would have fallen all over myself apologizing. You can bet the mortgage company is going to expect their payment!

Now, I realize that a cake is minor, but you did spend the money on the supplies and you did spend your time making the cake.

In my passive-aggressive nature, I would probably mail a bill along with a very lovely note saying that I hoped the baby was fine and that the cake is in the freezer if they still want it. Then, offer a coupon for 20% off their next order for when they reschedule whatever occasion the cake was for. Of course, don't honor the coupon if they don't pay for the first cake.

Now, after I hop off my high horse, I might suggest that you let your conscious be your guide. If I followed my own recommendation and later found out that something tragic happened to the baby, I would feel horrible!

sayhellojana Posted 10 Nov 2008 , 5:07am
post #14 of 50

A sick infant is very unfortunant, but they ordered a cake from you. This is your business and allowing them to escape payment would be unprofessional, and they would be taking advantage of you. Stick it in the freezer if they want it later, they can pick it up. I mean really, I'm sure they are still going to pay for and pickup their dry cleaning.

mommyle Posted 10 Nov 2008 , 5:22am
post #15 of 50
Quote:
Originally Posted by mandysue



In my passive-aggressive nature, I would probably mail a bill along with a very lovely note saying that I hoped the baby was fine and that the cake is in the freezer if they still want it. Then, offer a coupon for 20% off their next order for when they reschedule whatever occasion the cake was for. Of course, don't honor the coupon if they don't pay for the first cake.

!




I will agree to a point. Send them the note, but with no bill, and say that their cake is in the freezer waiting for them, and (if this is really a sick child case and not a "what can I do to get out of it" case) say that this one is on you (you were going to eat the cake anyway), and that you look forward to servicing them in a happier time.

That being said, my dad unexpectedly ended up in the hospital, my mom is out of town, so I am the "go to" girl, driving 45 min each way twice a day, I have 2 small kids and a husband who had to work all weekend and couldn't take care of the kids on the brink of a divorce, and I STILL managed to bake a cake for the emergency nurses and cookies for the nurses on the ward. I personally would have asked a friend to pick up the cake or call you, as I was calling them panicked about my kid.

KoryAK Posted 10 Nov 2008 , 6:01am
post #16 of 50

Oh, and text time get payment up front icon_smile.gif

sarahadams Posted 10 Nov 2008 , 6:06am
post #17 of 50

I agree with Mandy sue. I have had emergencies with my two childeren, but I would never expect others to just eat their losses. It's true, the mortgage company would still expect their payment. Just because you are trying to collect what is rightfully yours doesn't mean you are heartless. I am a professional opera singer and I own my own voice lesson studio. I deal with this kind of thing all the time and I have heard all kinds of stories. I don't want to sound mean, but I have heard everything, not all of it being true (in this case, lets assume its true). I have had people not pay and become months behind in their lesson dues. I ended up suspending lessons. I send them a bill each month and in it state how many days past due the amount is, like as in a doctor bill. Including a note of concern for the child's health is a good idea too. Emergencies happen, but responsibilities are still there and it isn't fair to you to be stiffed because "it's only the cake".

tyty Posted 10 Nov 2008 , 6:35am
post #18 of 50

A few weeks ago I had a 9x13 sheet that was never picked up, I didn't even bother to call because she had a problem with the price anyway. I just put the cake in the freezer. The following Monday I got an e-mail from a co-worker wanting a cake by by Friday for her moms birthday. I told her if she didn't mind chocolate cake and the colors lilac and violet I had a cake she could have. I just scraped the name off and added another.

lisad1 Posted 10 Nov 2008 , 6:41am
post #19 of 50

I would put it in the fridge and wait it out...

Who knows how long she'll be in the hospital with her child. And really, it would be the LAST thing you would care about while you were there. Nothing more stressful than waiting at a hospital, not knowing how things will turn out.

Hopefully she'll call when she is out....With all that has happened, she may have even forgotten the cake. Who could blame her... If you've never been stiffed in 20+ years, I would think that this time it could be overlooked. I like to see good in people, i don't think that everyone is trying to get something for nothing. (or in this case, use an excuse to get out of paying) If she doesn't call back in a few days, eat it...it might taste even better because you did something nice for someone!

all4cake Posted 10 Nov 2008 , 7:05am
post #20 of 50

I don't call no-shows anymore! 3 different times that I was told to call no-shows at a bakery I worked, there had been a death in the family. Two had been who the cake was for and one was a pie order...Thanksgiving...the man who ordered them had passed and one of the daughters said she'd have someone pick them up and APOLOGIZED. One of the cakes that was ordered was for a mother's bd. Every year this customer bought her mother the same cake(decorated and flavor was the same...she didn't buy the same cake over and over). Her mother passed the night before. She came and got the cake anyway and had it buried with her! So, no, I wouldn't call at all. I'd stick in the freezer(just in case I goofed on the date) but I wouldn't call.

-K8memphis Posted 10 Nov 2008 , 2:14pm
post #21 of 50

Me? I would call the hospital and ask for information (that's the department that hands out room numbers to visitors) and just see when the child was admitted and if the baby had been released. They can usually give the current status too--improved, critical etc. They can go back a few days and check too. This is just for admissions--not for ER visits.

Bad ain't I.

I would not stiff anyone, would you? No. Even if I could not arrange to pick up whatever I had ordered I would pay the merchant.

sugarwishes Posted 10 Nov 2008 , 2:35pm
post #22 of 50

Now did she only say she was at the hospital with her daughter, or for her daughter? Everybody is assuming that the child got hurt really bad. She could be there for any reason. It can be something minor too. I would just wait a couple days and see what happens before you start to "eat the cake." I'm sure she is still going to need the cake, as long as everything is ok.

Kiddiekakes Posted 10 Nov 2008 , 2:52pm
post #23 of 50

I had a similiar incident last weekend and again this weekend...Both cakes last weekend the kids were sick with the flu and the Moms had to cancel the party...It happened again this weekend but everyone still picked up and paid for their cakes.I have 2 children and I understand whole heartidly that sickness etc can happen ....now that being said..I still fully expected the cakes to be pickup and paid for.The hospital incident is more serious and I would have ate the cake....literally....and told her no problem..look after your baby. If the party gets cancelled due to the sniffles or cold I still want my money for the cake you ordered...JMO icon_smile.gif

CakesByJen2 Posted 10 Nov 2008 , 3:22pm
post #24 of 50

Well, I'm going to give her the benefit of the doubt and assume she was being truthful about having to take her baby to the hospital. Now maybe some of you are supermoms and can still stay on top of every little detail even in the event of an emergency, but I certainly can't. I have a hard enough time with the day-to-day, and I do not handle stress or the unexpected well at all. Hey, I'm human. If my baby were sick enough to have to go the ER or be admitted, the small sheet cake I'd ordered would be the last thing on my mind. Not that I wouldn't expect to pay for it once things settled down and I had a chance to think about it, but in the moment, no I would not be thinking about it and I wouldn't appreciate being treated like I was trying to "stiff" somebody because I was dealing with a family emergency and forgot all about it. Life happens.

As a decorator, I would be annoyed at the no-show at first, but after hearing that she was at the hospital with her baby, I would be more concerned about the child than with getting my payment. I would put the cake in the freezer if I had room, or at least in the fridge and let her know that you have stored her cake to keep it fresh until she can pick it up. She will most likely reschedule her party after the baby is better. If you don't hear back from her within a week or two, then I'd just take the loss and not worry about it. Keep the cake in the freezer for those last-minute orders, donate it to a shelter or children's ward, or eat it. If she ever orders again without having paid for the previous cake, you could remind her she has a balance, but I'd most likely let that slide, but get payment in advance on the next one. If it were a larger order, I'd probably send a bill after a week, but an order that small is not worth coming across as being petty or insensitive if the baby were to actually have a serious illness or problem. I would not try calling the hospital to check out her story, first of all, they probably wouldn't tell you much, and it borders on invasion of privacy. I just don't think it's quite the same as calling a venue to verify a wedding has been postponed.

Now if I truly didn't believe her story, or someone really failed to pick up and pay for a cake without a good excuse, I'd be ticked and I'd send a bill right away, but I wouldn't really expect to get paid. There's always small claims court, but for a quarter sheet?? Not worth the time and aggravation. I just wouldn't take an order from them again, and I'd consider requiring pre-payment from all new customers.

sarahadams Posted 10 Nov 2008 , 5:08pm
post #25 of 50
Quote:
Originally Posted by CakesByJen2

Well, I'm going to give her the benefit of the doubt and assume she was being truthful about having to take her baby to the hospital. Now maybe some of you are supermoms and can still stay on top of every little detail even in the event of an emergency, but I certainly can't. I have a hard enough time with the day-to-day, and I do not handle stress or the unexpected well at all. Hey, I'm human. If my baby were sick enough to have to go the ER or be admitted, the small sheet cake I'd ordered would be the last thing on my mind. Not that I wouldn't expect to pay for it once things settled down and I had a chance to think about it, but in the moment, no I would not be thinking about it and I wouldn't appreciate being treated like I was trying to "stiff" somebody because I was dealing with a family emergency and forgot all about it. Life happens.

As a decorator, I would be annoyed at the no-show at first, but after hearing that she was at the hospital with her baby, I would be more concerned about the child than with getting my payment. I would put the cake in the freezer if I had room, or at least in the fridge and let her know that you have stored her cake to keep it fresh until she can pick it up. She will most likely reschedule her party after the baby is better. If you don't hear back from her within a week or two, then I'd just take the loss and not worry about it. Keep the cake in the freezer for those last-minute orders, donate it to a shelter or children's ward, or eat it. If she ever orders again without having paid for the previous cake, you could remind her she has a balance, but I'd most likely let that slide, but get payment in advance on the next one. If it were a larger order, I'd probably send a bill after a week, but an order that small is not worth coming across as being petty or insensitive if the baby were to actually have a serious illness or problem. I would not try calling the hospital to check out her story, first of all, they probably wouldn't tell you much, and it borders on invasion of privacy. I just don't think it's quite the same as calling a venue to verify a wedding has been postponed.

Now if I truly didn't believe her story, or someone really failed to pick up and pay for a cake without a good excuse, I'd be ticked and I'd send a bill right away, but I wouldn't really expect to get paid. There's always small claims court, but for a quarter sheet?? Not worth the time and aggravation. I just wouldn't take an order from them again, and I'd consider requiring pre-payment from all new customers.




Just because I value not shirking my responsibilities doesn't mean I think I'm a supermom by any means. One of my children has autism which causes a lot of unexpected things to come up so I understand the emergencies and medical bills, and yes I barely hang on at times, but I have learned that it isn't other's fault that "things happen". And if I felt I couldn't pay for the cake anymore becuase of unexpected medical bills I would have the decency to call and at least explain that and profusely apologize. I know voice lessons are different than cake decorating, but from what I read in the business forums cake decorating is just as much considered a business here as anything else. And in my business no show is charged. I make exceptions, but only if the client actually is communicating with me, not ignoring me. I just stated my opinion before. Without bashing the others before me with other opinions. I've learned through my business that things may seem small to the client but it is a business to the owner. It may be just a cake to them but it is your business and income. I would consider pre payment for new customers or at least a deposit. I have to charge up front for lessons each month or else students will skip lessons and feel they don't have to pay and then I find myself in the predicament you are in now. One lesson for me is like a quarter sheet to you, not too much. But if I add up how many times I could have eaten my cake it adds up to well over five six hundred dollars. You can choose to do what you want with the matter and I understand if you did just want to forget it and go on, but I don't agree with insults because I would do differently. I would love the honor of deserving the tearm super-mom. It is something to be stiving for not ashamed of.

bigsisof3kids Posted 10 Nov 2008 , 5:28pm
post #26 of 50

I think Jen was just paying a compliment... not making someone feel ashamed of being a supermom, if that was the case.

I don't normally stick my nose in things like this, but seriously now.

Joy: Did you hear back from her yet? *sending prayer up for her little one*

CakesByJen2 Posted 10 Nov 2008 , 6:09pm
post #27 of 50

Sarahadams, I certainly didn't mean to be insulting anyone, but I am sorry if it came across like that.

My point was that while some people may be that organized and on top of things, I don't think it's necessarily realistic to expect most people who had an emergency with their child to necessarily have the time or frame of mind to think about all those other details, or have all the phone numbers with them at the time. If I had to take my child to the hospital, I would not be thinking to get my cake decorators phone number to cancel a cake or arrange for someone else to pick it up right then. I'm not saying they're not responsible for it, just that I think if an emergency came up on Saturday, that Monday morning is a little early to be saying they stiffed you. Yes, they still owe the money and if I were the customer I would expect to pay it, just that it would not be the first thing on my mind at the time. I just think it woudn't hurt to cut her some slack and give her a little time to get a chance to deal with it, and for myself, if it was the first cake in 20 years to not get paid for, I wouldn't get too worked up about it.

I'm really not trying to offend or criticize anyone, just giving my take on the situation, from the customer and decorator point of view. For those that are that organized and on top of things, I envy you because I am usually a frazzeled mess! I'm not advocating people shirk their responsibilities, just saying that sometimes it's okay to cut somebody a little slack, and this might be one of those time. While I might choose to just let it go, I'm not trying to say it would be wrong to bill her, just maybe give her a little time to have a chance to deal with her sick child and take care of it on her own.

Again, sorry for any offense, but I though the OP wanted to know what others would do in the same situation, and that is what I would do.

sarahadams Posted 10 Nov 2008 , 9:22pm
post #28 of 50

Jen,
Thanks for the explaination. I agree that if it was only the Monday after then waiting it out is the course I'd go. I would take some time before being able to contact the person too. I was under the wrong impression that it was a while since the call. Sorry about the sensitivity about supermom. I spend a lot of time having to advocate for my son and I hear people use that term negatively. I am used to in teaching voice lessons having to keep on certain clients because they tend to "forget" to pay. When I hear that possibly happening to others who work hard for their money it really bothers me. I just wanted to make sure she didn't think she couldn't try to collect payment without thinking she's being mean.

joy5678 Posted 11 Nov 2008 , 12:54am
post #29 of 50

Thanks for all you comments and just an update on what is going on. I tried to call the customer Sun. just to see how they were doing and if she was able to bring her child home, but I did not get an answer (kinda what I expected) anyway, I left msg. stating that I hoped all was well etc. and that I needed to hear from her so that I would know what to do with her cake. I have still not heard back from her, but was told by someone who knows her that she said she "never ordered a cake in the first place!" Of course I do have her e-mail to the contrary, but I'm thinking now that it is a wash and she just doesn't want to pay for it. I have made cakes for other members of her family and never had a problem but I thought from the beginning that something like this may happen (intuition) with her. Do you think I should e-mail her & say anything?

Gingoodies Posted 11 Nov 2008 , 1:08am
post #30 of 50

At this point I would let it go. Just chalk the whole incident up to another life lesson learned. There are people in this world who will just walk away from a commitment with no remorse about the inconvenience or lost income that they are causing another person. icon_cry.gif Eat the cake, donate it, freeze it for another time, but just let this situation be at an end. icon_sad.gif

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