Worried And Feel Really Bad!!

Decorating By Kaique Updated 9 Dec 2008 , 1:30am by indydebi

Kaique Posted 8 Dec 2008 , 8:23pm
post #1 of 26

I was hoping to get some advice on whether or not I handled this situation properly. In March, I donated a gift certificate for one of my cakes to a local high school auction. Until today, I never heard from anyone, so I wasn't even sure if anyone actually bid on and won the gift certificate. Well, today I got an email from a man who said he received the gift certificate and wants a cake for this Sunday. I'm completely, totally booked for this weekend - overbooked actually - and am already worried about how I'm going to handle my existing orders. I told him, apologizing profusely, that I couldn't take the order and that I hoped he would order again at a later date. The problem is, I didn't state on the gift certificate that the order would be subject to my availability. I realize that this was a mistake on my part. It does, however state on my website that I often book up weeks in advance. I just feel really bad about the whole situation. I know there's nothing he can really do short of being angry about it but I still feel horrible. Should I have taken the order even though it would mean a terribly stressful week/weekend?

25 replies
rvercher23 Posted 8 Dec 2008 , 8:31pm
post #2 of 26

NO, just because you gave a certificate doesnt mean that as soon as they call you have to do the order right away. True that you didnt state subject to availability, but if I got a certificate for a cake and the baker/decorator was busy, I would understand. You did the right thing. I wouldnt worry about it. It is better to turn him away for now then to take the order when you really dont have the time and give him and everyone else who you have booked, a cake that is not up to par because you stratched your self too thin!

summernoelle Posted 8 Dec 2008 , 8:33pm
post #3 of 26

Well...you might not like this, but: If you didn't say that it was subject to availability, put a "timeline" (4 weeks notice needed, etc) on it, or an expiration date, you need to take the order. I know you are booked, and I really don't mean to sound like a complete jerk, but that's your fault, not the person who purchased the certificate.

JMO-sorry!

KHalstead Posted 8 Dec 2008 , 8:38pm
post #4 of 26

I always think of a gift certificate as "someone else is paying for the cake"......how does that change the rules about ordering it with enough time?? If I wanted to take a gift certificate to wal-mart and order a party tray for Christmas 2 days before Christmas, they would have every right to turn me down regardless of HOW I'm paying for it. Just because he's using a gift certificate to pay for it doesn't ensure that he can order and have it just because he called! You're running a business......you have every right to limit the number of orders that you take. I would let him know the first available time you have and see if it works for him......is there a way you can get the cake to him a couple days earlier?

terrier Posted 8 Dec 2008 , 8:41pm
post #5 of 26
Quote:
Quote:

Well...you might not like this, but: If you didn't say that it was subject to availability, put a "timeline" (4 weeks notice needed, etc) on it, or an expiration date, you need to take the order. I know you are booked, and I really don't mean to sound like a complete jerk, but that's your fault, not the person who purchased the certificate.

JMO-sorry!





This is true!

You should take the order. In a way this is kind of a gift to "the person" from you.

enoid Posted 8 Dec 2008 , 8:41pm
post #6 of 26

I think you did the right thing. That is pretty short notice even if you weren't booked. Did you explain to him you usually require x-amount of advance notice? Just because he has a gift certificate does not put him at the head of the line.

scoutmamma Posted 8 Dec 2008 , 8:47pm
post #7 of 26

if you look at it this way, you cant compromise the quality of the cakes of the people who ordered in a reasonable amount of time. Most people know that you have to give notice if you want a decorated cake, other wise you go to the grocery store and get one already made and stick a name on it. It speaks to your professionalism if you were honest and sincere in telling the gift certificate recipiant that you are overbooked and tried to accomodate them. Consider this a lesson learned and dont be too hard on yourself!

azeboi2005 Posted 8 Dec 2008 , 8:48pm
post #8 of 26

i agree with the majority, just because it's a gift certificate doesn't make him anymore special than any other customer. do you go into a store with a gift card and complain to the sales clerks that they are out of the shirt you had eyed, then demand they get you one cause you have a gift card. NO! you wait til it's available.

really i don't think it's your fault that you didn't specify an advanced ording claus....that's just common sense. people amaze me with the lack of common sense they have.

alvarezmom Posted 8 Dec 2008 , 8:48pm
post #9 of 26

You made a mistake...it happens. Did it seem like the man understood? If I got a gift certificate and it didnt have a date or anything indicating when I could use it I would imagine I could use it when ever I wanted and the vendor would have to give me the service.


On another note...if the guy knows he needs a cake then why is he waiting less than a week before he needs the cake????

-K8memphis Posted 8 Dec 2008 , 8:53pm
post #10 of 26

Y'know you can't think of everything. If you're booked you're booked.

It's ok to say no and be real. You're not Superwoman are yah? It's ok to take care of yourself and your business.

You are right to not shortchange everyone by overbooking--that's professionalism.

-K8memphis Posted 8 Dec 2008 , 8:56pm
post #11 of 26

I have some ultra-sweet clients who have on occasion planned their event around my schedule.

__Jamie__ Posted 8 Dec 2008 , 8:56pm
post #12 of 26

Yeah, you did the right thing. I would say something like "Congratulations! You are in for a treat! Let's get together after "such and such" date and talk about what sort of custom designed cake you would like"....blah blah. Drive the point home about being custom, made to order, BUT with ample lead time? Yeah? IDk....that's my thought.

__Jamie__ Posted 8 Dec 2008 , 8:56pm
post #13 of 26
Quote:
Originally Posted by k8memphis

You are right to not shortchange everyone by overbooking--that's professionalism.




Perfect!

Kitagrl Posted 8 Dec 2008 , 8:59pm
post #14 of 26

I agree with the ones who are saying...the gift certificate only says how the man is paying for the cake. It does not give him a special right above everyone else to get it scheduled, especially if he is only calling a week in advance. Surely he has other events that he can order a cake for?

dinas27 Posted 8 Dec 2008 , 9:02pm
post #15 of 26

when I get a gift certificate to a spa I dont show up and demand that they provide me the service or even to fit me in when they are booked. Custom cakes are a service business not a retail business.

It's not like you are saying that you will not accept the gift certificate - you just can't do it that day. I would add a note on gift certificates that your schedule is first booked first served and to book early as your schedule fills up quickly.

3GCakes Posted 8 Dec 2008 , 9:05pm
post #16 of 26

I agree that he has to go by your rules. There is no way to print all of them on a gift certificate, nor a way to cover all circumstances involved in ordering a cake. It's not a contract, just a method of payment.

sweetcakes Posted 8 Dec 2008 , 9:06pm
post #17 of 26

its no differant had the certificate been for a hair cut, if the client cannot be fitted in on the day they want it then they would have to use it another time. you did the right thing, hopefully you told him to book earlier next time. at least we all have learned something from this, i too have given out gift certificates, with expiration dates but not with the line, depending on availability, so thanks for posting this.

alanaj Posted 8 Dec 2008 , 9:10pm
post #18 of 26

I agree with the majority. Gift certificates work just like cash and should be treated as such. You did the right thing!

stephaniescakenj Posted 8 Dec 2008 , 9:24pm
post #19 of 26

The unfortunate thing is that he probably bid on the gift certificate with a specific event in mind... like his wife's birthday or something. Trouble is, he waited til the last minute to plan the actual party which is not your problem. it's a tough call. I probably would have stayed up all night so I could take his order just because i felt bad, but that's my thing and not necessarily what you should do. i recently donated a gift certificate for a silent auction at my child's school too. I was planning on attending the cake show in Ohio in January... don't you know the woman who won the certificate wants the cake for that very weekend...of all times! I can't think of anyway around it so I'm not going to the show. She bid on the gift certificate specifically for her daughter's birthday cake, she doesn't need the cake for anything else. But just to cover my butt though, I did specify on the gift certificate that it expires 12/31/09 and all orders must be placed with 4 weeks notice because I was afraid of a last minute order.

PinkZiab Posted 8 Dec 2008 , 9:24pm
post #20 of 26
Quote:
Originally Posted by dinas27

when I get a gift certificate to a spa I dont show up and demand that they provide me the service or even to fit me in when they are booked. Custom cakes are a service business not a retail business.

It's not like you are saying that you will not accept the gift certificate - you just can't do it that day. I would add a note on gift certificates that your schedule is first booked first served and to book early as your schedule fills up quickly.




I agree 100%... no different than if it were for a spa or salon, where they require an appointment, or if it were a gift certificate for a high-end restaurant that requires reservations. You will honor the gift certificate, but under your normal business terms. You should NOT feel bad!

cakesdivine Posted 8 Dec 2008 , 9:26pm
post #21 of 26

A gift certificate is only a form of payment, it does not dictate anything else. If you are booked you are booked, don't compromise your professionalism because of someone elses procrastination.

here is a quote...I don't know who said it but it definitely applies.

"Lack of planning on your part does not constitute an emergency on my part."

You did the right thing. If he got angry that's his problem, not yours.

Bethkay Posted 8 Dec 2008 , 9:39pm
post #22 of 26

I agree with the majority on this one. I have put out a number of gift certificates to silent auctions, and never have placed a "subject to availability" disclaimer on them. Perhaps I should, but I think most reasonable people understand that you are a service, and require an "appointment" just like any other business.

I couldn't tell from your first post if the gentleman really was angry, or you were just worried about it. But I wouldn't compromise the work on his order and all of your other orders just to squeeze in his cake. That all being said, I will probably add some wording to my future gift certificates, just to avoid the type of situation you found yourself in!

Bethkay Posted 8 Dec 2008 , 9:40pm
post #23 of 26

I agree with the majority on this one. I have put out a number of gift certificates to silent auctions, and never have placed a "subject to availability" disclaimer on them. Perhaps I should, but I think most reasonable people understand that you are a service, and require an "appointment" just like any other business.

I couldn't tell from your first post if the gentleman really was angry, or you were just worried about it. But I wouldn't compromise the work on his order and all of your other orders just to squeeze in his cake. That all being said, I will probably add some wording to my future gift certificates, just to avoid the type of situation you found yourself in!

KKC Posted 8 Dec 2008 , 9:43pm
post #24 of 26
Quote:
Originally Posted by terrier

Quote:
Quote:

Well...you might not like this, but: If you didn't say that it was subject to availability, put a "timeline" (4 weeks notice needed, etc) on it, or an expiration date, you need to take the order. I know you are booked, and I really don't mean to sound like a complete jerk, but that's your fault, not the person who purchased the certificate.

JMO-sorry!




This is true!

You should take the order. In a way this is kind of a gift to "the person" from you.




I disagree...you shouldn't take the order if you are OVERBOOKED...Common sense would tell people that you cannot just expect someone to shell out a cake on such short notice. Gift or not...I would never contact someone with a few days notice for a cake whether i'm getting it from a supermarket or a independant baker. I'm not trying to be insensitive but you just shouldn't pile on more cake orders if you're stressed about the ones you already have.

Kaique Posted 8 Dec 2008 , 11:15pm
post #25 of 26

Thank you everyone for your replies! I feel better about the situation. Honestly, I would have taken the order if I truly felt I could do it and not compromise the quality of the orders I've already committed to. I'm barely going to get any sleep this weekend with what I've taken on already! icon_smile.gif I haven't heard back yet from the gentleman who ordered... I hope he understands. Needless to say though, next time I donate a gift certificate I'll remember to include all "conditions"!!

I really appreciate you all taking the time to weigh in on this. This is such a great community! Thank you!

indydebi Posted 9 Dec 2008 , 1:30am
post #26 of 26
Quote:
Originally Posted by alvarezmom

On another note...if the guy knows he needs a cake then why is he waiting less than a week before he needs the cake????




Um....practically everybody. icon_confused.gif

If the man had never "ordered" a cake before, or if his only exposure to "ordering" one was to tell the walmart clerk what he wants the cake to say when he orders their "customized" cake 48 hours ahead of time, then to him, he's ordering the cake just when you're suppose to.

It's not just us. I have a custom woodworker friend who goes thru the same thing. Each piece of furniture is custom made and takes weeks and months to make. Yet he gets folks who thinks he puts piece A into slot B and they've got a custom made rocking chair. They don't understand it takes 4 months to make one of those.

The first time hubby and I moved, he kept asking me "Have you picked up the U-Haul yet?" Well, I thought this was a stupid question, because why would I pick it up on Monday, when we didn't need it until Friday? I had never rented a moving truck before. I honest to god had NO IDEA you had to reserve one of those suckers! With all the trucks on their lot, I swear to god again that I thought you walked up to them on Friday and said, "I need a truck .... today ..... that one." Nope. I found out how it doesn't work that way! I had no experience or no exposure to how it worked. icon_redface.gif (but I did tell hubby it was HIS fault because he never ASKED me if I had RESERVED the truck .... he asked if I had picked up the truck!!!!!)

So never assume that cake civilians know how it works either.

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