Upset Customer

Decorating By lmn4881 Updated 30 Nov 2008 , 8:19pm by Deb_

lmn4881 Posted 26 Nov 2008 , 1:41am
post #1 of 36

I was wondering if anyone could give me some advice on how to handle this customer,

She wanted a slab cake to feed 30 people for a 50th anniversary party. I require that a deposit be paid a week before the date and she said that was too inconvenient for her to come to my area of town ( 15 mins away) so if she could just come the wednesday before the cake was due when her kids had swimming lessons in this end of town to pay that would be easier for her. I told her this would be ok ( which I normally wouldn't do! )
When she came to pay the deposit, I wasked her what she wanted written on the cake, she asked for "Happy 50th Anniversary" and I asked her if there was any specific colors she wanted me to use and she said whatever is fine with her. The only specific request was that I use my dream whip icing recipe as they find buttercream t be too sweet. I told her this was fine. And made it with the Dream whip icing.
I made a 9 x 13 2 layer cake ( picture to follow ) and used black white and Wilton's golden yellow for the icings. When it was picked up I asked her hubby if he wanted to look at it before he lfet and he declined saying that he was sure it would be fine. It was picked up Saturday morning at 11am.
This is the email I received Monday morning:
"Hi Lisa,
Just wanted to let you know that I was very disappointed with the cake, BLACK AND ORANGE - fine for a halloween cake but not a 50th anniversary cake! It would have been too small to feed 30 people (I inquired at 2 bakeries and they said that an approx. 8 x 11 cake ( that you made me) feeda approx 16-20 people not 30) And I wanted the whipped topping not a regular buttercream. I had to run to the store and get a suitable cake. Thanks alot.
P.S.no need to reply I just hope you use this information to better your business."

What do you think I should do?

35 replies
indydebi Posted 26 Nov 2008 , 1:58am
post #2 of 36

Dear customer:
I am sorry you were disappointed in the cake.

A double layer 9x13 should have been more than enough cake. A standard serving size is 1x2x4, so a 9x13, when cut in 9 rows by 6 columns, will serve over 50. A single layer cake, when cut in the standard serving size of 2x2x2, would be cut in approx 4 rows by 6 columns and will serve approx 24. Perhaps the bakeries you called didn't realize it was a 2-layer cake?

As I went thru my order notes, I found that you had requested "my" dream whip icing. This is not the same as a whipped cream topping. My dream whip icing is a buttercream based icing with dream whip added to give it that extra pizzaz flavor that my customers prefer, but it is definitely different than just plain whipped cream.

The color I used was a "Golden Yellow". I am sorry the color appeared to be more orange than yellow to you. I will be sure to watch this color on future cakes by reducing the amount of color used. This should reduce the "deepening" effect of the color to help keep it the Golden Yellow (i.e. "Gold") color I was looking for.

I appreciate your email with this feedback. Please let me know how I can help in the future.

kokopuff Posted 26 Nov 2008 , 2:04am
post #3 of 36

I'm not sure what bakery this lady supposedly went to but I really doubt anyone told her a two layer 9x13 cake only fed 16-20 people,that is outrageous!I do this size myself occasionally so I know how large they are,anyway it sounds like she may be one of those kind of people you can never please,no matter what.Try not to take it to personal,as hard as that is.

kokopuff Posted 26 Nov 2008 , 2:04am
post #4 of 36

I'm not sure what bakery this lady supposedly went to but I really doubt anyone told her a two layer 9x13 cake only fed 16-20 people,that is outrageous!I do this size myself occasionally so I know how large they are,anyway it sounds like she may be one of those kind of people you can never please,no matter what.Try not to take it to personal,as hard as that is.

kelleym Posted 26 Nov 2008 , 2:09am
post #5 of 36

Well she's just wrong all over the place, isn't she? A two-layer 9x13 is 48 servings of cake. (she can't even get the size of the cake right when complaining?) Is she a repeat customer? Had she tasted your dream whip icing?

It seems to me that if she never specified a design or colors, she really loses the right to complain that she didn't like them, even if she thinks yellow looks orange.

Also, "a lot" is two words, if she's going to be rude she might as well be grammatically correct. icon_razz.gif

Dear Customer:

Although you did not want my reply, I feel it necessary to clear up some misconceptions. First, the cake I provided you was a double-layer 9x13, which yields 48 standard servings.

Secondly, you requested my dream whip icing, which was what I frosted the cake in. I am sorry you did not like the taste, I assumed you had tasted it before.

Thirdly, because you did not specify a design or colors, I chose colors that I thought were appropriate for the anniversary, which were black and "golden yellow".

I wish that you had picked up the cake in person so that we could have discussed any problems you had at that time. I strive for 100% customer satisfaction with all my orders.

Thank you,
Lisa

And then don't take any more orders from her (assuming there will be any..she sounds pretty unhappy).

You didn't mention there being a question of a refund, but in case it comes up - the answer is NO REFUND. You didn't do anything wrong.

lmn4881 Posted 26 Nov 2008 , 2:35am
post #6 of 36

Thank you so much guys. This was really bothering me and I was considering giving her a full refund AND a 10% off gift certificate for next time. I felt horrible and she made me feel like I had ruined the anniversary party.

thefrostedcakencookie Posted 26 Nov 2008 , 2:37am
post #7 of 36

goodness how big of pieces were they feeding them! i just did a 9x13 2-layer and and it was supposed to feed approx 50 and they had leftovers! don't feel bad it definitely wasn't your fault. and i'm sure she was exaggerating about the "orange" too because she thought you had gyped her on the serving amounts.

lmn4881 Posted 26 Nov 2008 , 2:41am
post #8 of 36

Thank you so much guys. This was really bothering me and I was considering giving her a full refund AND a 10% off gift certificate for next time. I felt horrible and she made me feel like I had ruined the anniversary party.

poshcakedesigns Posted 26 Nov 2008 , 2:45am
post #9 of 36
Quote:
Originally Posted by lmn4881

Thank you so much guys. This was really bothering me and I was considering giving her a full refund AND a 10% off gift certificate for next time. I felt horrible and she made me feel like I had ruined the anniversary party.




I can see giving her a discount on a 'maybe' a future purchase but DEFINETLY not an entire refund. One they didn't look at the cake before leaving and two I'd be willing to bet that someone ate that cake. Anyone can say they had to go and get another cake but do you know that for certain, she could just be one of those customers that will complain no matter what you may have done.

JMO

stephaniescakenj Posted 26 Nov 2008 , 3:16am
post #10 of 36

Wow! You guys must eat really small pieces of cake. A 9x13 in my family feeds 24 to 30. she should have had enough cake but maybe going forward you could include a cutting guide. As for the colors, I like Kellyem's response. If the customer didn't specify what color then she has no basis for complaint! I also wouldn't offer anything in the way of discounts. Good Luck!

smbegg Posted 26 Nov 2008 , 3:36am
post #11 of 36
Quote:
Originally Posted by stephaniescakenj

Wow! You guys must eat really small pieces of cake. A 9x13 in my family feeds 24 to 30.




That is for a single layer. This was a 2 layer, thus feeding 48-50 people.

I agree with what Indy said. On target as usual

Stephanie

liapsim Posted 26 Nov 2008 , 3:38am
post #12 of 36

I'm with Indydebi on this one...her response is the best. You offer no refund because you did what she asked. A "whatever" attitude deserves whatever they get!

subaru Posted 26 Nov 2008 , 3:40am
post #13 of 36

Are you going to post a pic? I'd like to see the cake someone could be so RUDE about. Looking at your other cake pics, I'm sure the problem was hers.

stephaniescakenj Posted 26 Nov 2008 , 3:44am
post #14 of 36

smbegg, I realize it's a two layer cake and thats still my serving size icon_biggrin.gif . I guess we like big slices of cake! I also usually remind people how big a serving size is and if they want bigger slices, than they need to order a bigger cake. for example, I made a 12 inch, 3 layer square cake this weekend to feed 40 because the customer knew she wanted decent size slices. If they choose to go with standard slices then I include a cutting guide so there's no issue with running out of cake.

indydebi Posted 26 Nov 2008 , 4:04am
post #15 of 36
Quote:
Originally Posted by stephaniescakenj

for example, I made a 12 inch, 3 layer square cake this weekend to feed 40 because the customer knew she wanted decent size slices.



Just please tell us you didn't charge her for only 40 regular servings, though, right? icon_surprised.gif A 2-layer, 12" square with standard serving sizes serves 72. Please tell us you either charged her double your regular per serving price (since she was getting almost double the size of cake in each serving) or that you figured your pricing on 70 +/- servings.

stephaniescakenj Posted 26 Nov 2008 , 4:25am
post #16 of 36

Oh no she paid for all those servings!!!! I go by earlene's chart so I charged her for 60 servings. I just have to laugh everytime I see mention of sheet cake serving sizes here, makes me feel like a pot bellied pig because we all eat gigantic hunks of cake.

all4cake Posted 26 Nov 2008 , 4:34am
post #17 of 36
Quote:
Originally Posted by indydebi

Dear customer:
I am sorry you were disappointed in the cake.

A double layer 9x13 should have been more than enough cake. A standard serving size is 1x2x4, so a 9x13, when cut in 9 rows by 6 columns, will serve over 50. A single layer cake, when cut in the standard serving size of 2x2x2, would be cut in approx 4 rows by 6 columns and will serve approx 24. Perhaps the bakeries you called didn't realize it was a 2-layer cake?

As I went thru my order notes, I found that you had requested "my" dream whip icing. This is not the same as a whipped cream topping. My dream whip icing is a buttercream based icing with dream whip added to give it that extra pizzaz flavor that my customers prefer, but it is definitely different than just plain whipped cream.

The color I used was a "Golden Yellow". I am sorry the color appeared to be more orange than yellow to you. I will be sure to watch this color on future cakes by reducing the amount of color used. This should reduce the "deepening" effect of the color to help keep it the Golden Yellow (i.e. "Gold") color I was looking for.

I appreciate your email with this feedback. Please let me know how I can help in the future.




P.S.no need to reply I just hope you use this information to better your future cake ordering. icon_lol.gif

indydebi Posted 26 Nov 2008 , 4:43am
post #18 of 36
Quote:
Originally Posted by stephaniescakenj

Oh no she paid for all those servings!!!! I go by earlene's chart so I charged her for 60 servings. I just have to laugh everytime I see mention of sheet cake serving sizes here, makes me feel like a pot bellied pig because we all eat gigantic hunks of cake.




Good girl!

And from one pot-bellied pig to another ..... one night, my daughter and I were dying for chocolate. Grabbed a cake mix and baked a single layer 10" round cake. We ate it straight from the pan.

10" round .... serves TWO!!! icon_lol.gificon_lol.gif

diamondsonblackvelvet13 Posted 26 Nov 2008 , 4:49am
post #19 of 36

OOOOO indydebi, I've done that! SOOOOOOO good straight from the oven...all warm, and moist and yummmm...Drat! now I've gone and done it! Anyone have any cake?

diamondsonblackvelvet13 Posted 26 Nov 2008 , 4:49am
post #20 of 36

OOOOO indydebi, I've done that! SOOOOOOO good straight from the oven...all warm, and moist and yummmm...Drat! now I've gone and done it! Anyone have any cake?

cakesdivine Posted 26 Nov 2008 , 4:49am
post #21 of 36

icon_eek.gif This is not going to be a popular post, but playing devil's advocate here... icon_biggrin.gif .Okay, I AGREE with all that everyone else is saying about icing used and the cake size issue, the customer doesn't have a leg to stand on there, HOWEVER...come on! Use some common sense on color schemes! A 50th Anniversary is the Golden Anniversary...I can understand using the Golden Yellow, but this color especially the Wilton brand does get very orange in appearance when used in buttercreams of any kind. But BLACK! I keep thinking Bumble bee colors, definitely NOT appropriate for any anniversary cake. Not that the customer has any right to complain because she didn't specify any colors, but in her defense she was probably thinking white icing, metallic gold accents, decor, or even pastels. I would have freaked at a bumble bee/Halloween colored cake for an anniversary too. Sorry, don't mean to hurt any feelings, but we as cake decorators/designers also have to have some fashion and color sense about us to do what we do. The color scheme you chose would have looked great with bumble bees as a birthday or possible baby shower cake (with baby bumble bees though). Can you tell us why you would have chosen Black to use on an anniversary cake?

Cakepro Posted 26 Nov 2008 , 5:12am
post #22 of 36

I sure would like to see the cake. Wilton's Golden Yellow definitely continues to darken as it sits, so coupled with black, I could see how she could be unhappy with the chosen colors for a 50th anniversary cake. Next time, you can buy 24K ground gold and paint it on with vodka for a truly stunning, truly gold effect. On the size issue, though, she has no leg on which to stand.

CelebrationsbyLori Posted 26 Nov 2008 , 11:39pm
post #23 of 36

This is why I annoy customers sometimes forcing them to give me color choices, even if they are just random. At least they know what to expect when they pick up the cake. If she told you to use your judgement, then that's what you did and she can't complain. Everyone's taste is different and black is a very "in" color right now to accent as well as chocolate brown, my mother is horrified by that, so she would be appalled to get a cake with those colors, even though I would think them very stylish! The bottom line is you didn't do anything wrong, she obviously had an expectation of what the cake was going to be and just didn't bother to pass that on to you!
I would respond to her however and maybe offer a percent off her next order just as an act of good will and keep the word of mouth (most people like that LOVE to b*tch to all their friends) down to a minimum. JMO -Lori

lmn4881 Posted 29 Nov 2008 , 1:13am
post #24 of 36

It wouldn't let me upload the photo here so I managed to get in into my photos for anyone who wants to see it.

I was originally going to just do black and white but figured I should try to incorporate the "golden yellow" so I just used it for the lettering.

Karema Posted 29 Nov 2008 , 3:54am
post #25 of 36
Quote:
Quote:

HOWEVER...come on! Use some common sense on color schemes! A 50th Anniversary is the Golden Anniversary...I can understand using the Golden Yellow, but this color especially the Wilton brand does get very orange in appearance when used in buttercreams of any kind. But BLACK!




Ok I was expecting some hidious cake. That is not as bad as she is acting. There is not need for that kind of behavior. The cake is mostly white with accents of black and gold. Some people just love to complain.

The comment that was made about decorators using common sense is a little harsh. We should support each other instead of talking to each other like we dont have a brain. The cake you made was nice and if she wanted more she should have said so. I personally would have served the cake and not thought twice about it. And not only that why didnt she return the cake if she hated it that much or called the day of or the next day and bring the cake back to you. Some people need to get over themselves.

akgirl10 Posted 29 Nov 2008 , 4:04am
post #26 of 36

I don't think there's anything wrong with the cake. It's mostly white, with some accents. It's the customer's fault for not specifying a color scheme. The cake doesn't seem Halloweenish at all.

And I agree that the post a few back was harsh.

julzs71 Posted 29 Nov 2008 , 9:10am
post #27 of 36

I am going to have to side with the costumer on one thing. I really didn't like the color choices either. It would have been a lovely cake had there not been black on it. The golden was orange. I know she didn't specify, however 50th anniversary is usually gold.

-K8memphis Posted 29 Nov 2008 , 2:36pm
post #28 of 36

Oh the cake is perfectly appropriate for what was ordered. I mean if there had been a dozen roses in caution yellow with gothic skulls and scroll work or something then yeah maybe we shoulda toned it down.

No way anyone could legitimately complain about the color scheme or decor on that cake.

Very appropriate. Very tasteful. Not one worry.

stephaniescakenj Posted 29 Nov 2008 , 3:47pm
post #29 of 36

I think this is a case like violet, is it blue or is it purple?

I see gold, not orange but its pointless to argue, the customer didn't specify what she wanted so she can't complain. Did you ever respond to her email? If so, how did it go?

bettinashoe Posted 29 Nov 2008 , 4:36pm
post #30 of 36

I totally agree with Karema on this one. The cake is nicely done. The black is mostly an outline color and looks appropriate for the cake design. The accent color does appear golden to me. If the customer was really unhappy with it why didn't she return the cake?

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