Customers Cake Fell At Home, What To Do?

Decorating By kwanghui Updated 2 May 2009 , 1:08am by PinkZiab

kwanghui Posted 1 May 2009 , 6:27pm
post #1 of 24

So after dealing with this ultra controlling and demanding customer, she finally has her husband pick up the cake and set it in the back trunk of her SUV. I strongly suggested to her to have someone in the front seat hold it as it would best travel that way. Four days later she sends me an email and picture of her disaster. Stating that her two tiered cake fell over and that she is phychologically traumtized from it. I told her before she picked it up NOT to put it in the back, but it would be refrigerated before she came and solid. She says that the cake was mushy, it was marble, done this a hundred times not ever mushy and that my supports were not stable enough to hold it, had over a dozen dowels. I question that she would ever be happy when placing her order and she was so specific as to how every detail would be placed and colored. ALthough I will never do a cake for her again, have any of you dealt with this before? Why 4 days later you email to tell me this when it was so traumatic?

23 replies
Kiddiekakes Posted 1 May 2009 , 6:48pm
post #2 of 24

She emailed you 4 days after because she dam well knows it was her fault by not following your directions,and who knows how her husband drove..you'll never know.They both probably got talking and figured they try and get some money back from you since you really don't know how it got damaged!I would simply state in an email..and I have this directly on my website....

"I am not responsible for a cake after it leaves my care.That means damage incurred during careless driving,warm weather or road conditions"

Tough luck to her...She was using any excuse to get you to refund her. eg...mushy cake...not enough support...My A$$!!! Do not give her any money back!

No more cakey for her thumbs_up.gif

__Jamie__ Posted 1 May 2009 , 6:51pm
post #3 of 24

Holy crap...too freaking bad lady! The nerve!

SugarFrosted Posted 1 May 2009 , 6:55pm
post #4 of 24

Her problem, not yours.

And considering the bad time she gave you during the order/planning process and before her husband picked up the cake, perhaps you will be lucky and never hear from her again. But if she does attempt to place another order in the future, I suggest that you are already booked for whatever date she needs.

kwanghui Posted 1 May 2009 , 7:01pm
post #5 of 24

Thank you all for the supportive comments!!!! I was beginning to doubt my abilities technically and artistically. She also made a comment to me that the cake wasn't hard to make, maybe time consuming, but not hard. Then went on to question how I could possibly make wedding cakes with the disaster she ended up with. I kind of felt bad for a minute, then I got over it, I've had hundreds of customers pick up tiered cakes and NEVER had one fall apart! I'm so glad to hear you all understand. And, yes, I will never have to deal with the witch again!

pouchet82 Posted 1 May 2009 , 7:02pm
post #6 of 24

Hmmm, and when you buy something from the store and break it, do you bring it back 4 days later to the store for a refund? This one sounds like a real PITA. Tell her you are very sorry but unfortunately you cannot refund her money. Maybe she was in a bad mood and threw the cake at her hubby??

Ruth0209 Posted 1 May 2009 , 7:07pm
post #7 of 24

This kind of customer is my greatest fear in life. Here are a couple of observations.

First, I wouldn't assume that taking four days to notify you means she wasn't really upset. I recently had a terrible ordeal on an airline flight, and I was so traumatized that it took me a full week before I could write a letter of complaint without ranting and rambling and crying.

Twelve dowels in a two tiered cake seems like too many. I've heard that too many dowels can actually make so many holes that they make the cake all broken up and less stable. I don't know how big your cake was, but with a 10" cake I'd put maybe one in the middle and six around the perimeter.

I would never suggest that anyone transport a cake on their lap. I've heard too many disaster stories about fast stops, cakes flying off laps, etc. Plus, it's an uneven surface. I would have recommended that they transport the cake in the back on the flat floor. It should also always be in a box so it doesn't slide around.

That said, I'd ask her a lot of questions about when it collapsed, how long it was left out, where it was when it collapsed (did it just fall down, or did someone jar the table), what they were doing with it when it collapsed, etc.

A cake shouldn't just fall apart sitting on a table. Based on her answers, if you're satisfied that it wasn't your fault and it was something she did, then I'd stand firm and not refund anything. Presumably, they still ate the cake. If you decide it was something you did, then you should consider a partial refund, maybe 50% depending on just how bad the collapse was. I wouldn't offer a future cake because then you'll have to deal with her again, and it sounds like she's a big PITA.

tx_cupcake Posted 1 May 2009 , 7:13pm
post #8 of 24
Quote:
Originally Posted by kwanghui

her two tiered cake fell over and that she is phychologically traumtized from it.




BWAHAHAHAHA!!! Are you effing kidding me, lady?!? Who ever heard of post-traumatic stress from a friggin' cake? What a tool.

It would have been hard for me to not call her and laugh maniacally into the phone. icon_lol.gif

Ruth0209 Posted 1 May 2009 , 7:16pm
post #9 of 24
Quote:
Originally Posted by txcupcake

Quote:
Originally Posted by kwanghui

her two tiered cake fell over and that she is phychologically traumtized from it.



BWAHAHAHAHA!!! Are you effing kidding me, lady?!? Who ever heard of post-traumatic stress from a friggin' cake? What a tool.

It would have been hard for me to not call her and laugh maniacally into the phone. icon_lol.gif




Yeah, that made me laugh, too. She must not have much to worry about in her life. Not much compared to my airline trauma of having a 400+ pound man sitting in my lap for a four hour flight. Now, THAT'S trauma.

stephaniescakenj Posted 1 May 2009 , 7:34pm
post #10 of 24
Quote:
Originally Posted by Ruth0209



Twelve dowels in a two tiered cake seems like too many. I've heard that too many dowels can actually make so many holes that they make the cake all broken up and less stable. I don't know how big your cake was, but with a 10" cake I'd put maybe one in the middle and six around the perimeter.

I would never suggest that anyone transport a cake on their lap. I've heard too many disaster stories about fast stops, cakes flying off laps, etc. Plus, it's an uneven surface. I would have recommended that they transport the cake in the back on the flat floor. It should also always be in a box so it doesn't slide around.

That said, I'd ask her a lot of questions about when it collapsed, how long it was left out, where it was when it collapsed (did it just fall down, or did someone jar the table), what they were doing with it when it collapsed, etc.

A cake shouldn't just fall apart sitting on a table. Based on her answers, if you're satisfied that it wasn't your fault and it was something she did, then I'd stand firm and not refund anything. Presumably, they still ate the cake. If you decide it was something you did, then you should consider a partial refund, maybe 50% depending on just how bad the collapse was. I wouldn't offer a future cake because then you'll have to deal with her again, and it sounds like she's a big PITA.






I have to agree with everything Ruth said here...

Ruth0209 Posted 1 May 2009 , 7:40pm
post #11 of 24

kwanghui, was it the cake in your pictures? That is a DARLING cake. If it's that one, she was probably really traumatized about turning 40!!

__Jamie__ Posted 1 May 2009 , 7:43pm
post #12 of 24

I was wondering that too...12 dowels....wow! That in itself just may make the bottom cake fall apart around the edges.

__Jamie__ Posted 1 May 2009 , 7:44pm
post #13 of 24

I mean...very likely they handled it rough, so toughie for them....but it does make me wonder.

grammynan Posted 1 May 2009 , 7:50pm
post #14 of 24

I agree with Ruth0209 also. I recently had a cake collapse because of errors that I had made. The customer refused a refund and I was traumatized for 4 days!!! icon_cry.gif

KeltoKel Posted 1 May 2009 , 8:04pm
post #15 of 24

I am curious why the cake toppled over with all the rods? Don't most cake people suggest putting the cake in a trunk or back of a SUV? I mean, I see Duff doing that all the time - putting it in the back.

With all the rods, why did the cake fall over?

Gefion Posted 1 May 2009 , 8:07pm
post #16 of 24
Quote:
Originally Posted by kwanghui

Stating that her two tiered cake fell over and that she is phychologically traumtized from it.




Doesn't take much these days, eh? Tell her you'll refund her money in the form of a prepaid session or two with a therapist of her own choice.

bakingatthebeach Posted 1 May 2009 , 8:17pm
post #17 of 24

Sounds like she was already psychologically something before she even got the cake! Especially if a cake traumatizes you!

michellesArt Posted 1 May 2009 , 8:24pm
post #18 of 24

i would be inclined to agree that the dowels may have been the downfallbut if this is the first time you've experienced this and it's the same way you've done your cakes before i would be more inclined to believe they are at fault...fast driving, rough handling whatever and they want their money back. by ready just how particular she has been i think she's just looking for something to be wrong. i mean who is she to tell you the decorator whether something is easy or not? i think this is becoming my alltime petpeeve and it starts with the client saying i just want a simple cake...3 tier, fondant gumpaste roses blablabla!!! be busy next time she calls (if she doesn't get pee'd cuz you're sticking to your guns)

Ruth0209 Posted 1 May 2009 , 8:25pm
post #19 of 24
Quote:
Originally Posted by KeltoKel

... With all the rods, why did the cake fall over?




Cake holds together pretty well after it's been baked, but when you stick dowels into it, if the dowels move around it starts to tear apart the cake.

If the cake is not kept level, the weight of the top tier leaning and putting torque on those dowels will cause them to tear through the bottom layer. The same thing can happen if the dowel receives a jolt like a fast stop in the car or someone jarring the table hard. If the dowel get tipped and is not straight up and down in the cake, the top layer will put pressure on it and cause it to just fall over inside the cake. Then you have a collapse on your hands.

The more dowels, the more places that tearing can occur in the cake. SPS is a better way to support a cake (do a search for it or go to leahs profile and you'll find info on it).

But you don't have to go crazy with the dowels. Besides, you get fewer servings because all those dowels displace edible cake, especially those big plastic hollow ones.

solascakes Posted 1 May 2009 , 10:10pm
post #20 of 24

What was she looking for ,a refund,she can't be serious.

kwanghui Posted 1 May 2009 , 10:33pm
post #21 of 24

To answer everyone's questions about the 12 dowels...There was a 6" house, four skewers going all the way through to the bottom layer. Then four under the house supporting the house, then one little skewer with a sign on top, so not really going all the way through, so maybe more like 8. And I learned very early on when delivering cakes to keep is as close to the axil or center of the car as possible so that shifting is less likely occurs. When you stick it in the the trunk and are taking corners, you don't think a 14' tall cake isn't going to wipe out? That is why I suggested having someone hold it, have had customers serveral times do this without any issues. No, the "40th" cake isn't the mishap cake. Honestly, lesson learned, I just want to wash my hands from it all and not deal with her again. I just want to stress I have done 5 tier wedding cakes using the same exact type supports w/and w/out SPS and NEVER have I ever had anything fall apart or over.

Ruth0209 Posted 1 May 2009 , 10:40pm
post #22 of 24

It sounds pretty clear that they're the ones who manhandled the cake. I'd stick with the "Once you take possession of the cake it's your responsibility" position.

I'm so sorry this happened to you. I hate that kind of stress. Go have a margarita and forget about her.

stephaniescakenj Posted 1 May 2009 , 10:43pm
post #23 of 24
Quote:
Originally Posted by kwanghui

To answer everyone's questions about the 12 dowels...There was a 6" house, four skewers going all the way through to the bottom layer. Then four under the house supporting the house, then one little skewer with a sign on top, so not really going all the way through, so maybe more like 8. And I learned very early on when delivering cakes to keep is as close to the axil or center of the car as possible so that shifting is less likely occurs. When you stick it in the the trunk and are taking corners, you don't think a 14' tall cake isn't going to wipe out? That is why I suggested having someone hold it, have had customers serveral times do this without any issues. No, the "40th" cake isn't the mishap cake. Honestly, lesson learned, I just want to wash my hands from it all and not deal with her again. I just want to stress I have done 5 tier wedding cakes using the same exact type supports w/and w/out SPS and NEVER have I ever had anything fall apart or over.




well one would think that should be sufficient support. when you say skewers, do you mean like bamboo skewers or actual dowels? that could have been the problem too, they're not nearly as sturdy as dowels. and by back of the vehicle, I never transport in the trunk but behind the front seats on a flat surface with a non skid pad underneath, never on a lap or even a seat since they have a curve.

PinkZiab Posted 2 May 2009 , 1:08am
post #24 of 24

I'm not saying whether you or the customer are at fault, because I have no way of making that determination, but I deliver all of my cakes in the "trunk" of an SUV (not a trunk, but the rear cargo area), and have never had a problem. I don't think it being in the back of the SUB was the problem, UNLESS the driver drove like a maniac, which of could could be a problem (especially on the turns).

If you feel the cake was well supported and would not have fallen apart with proper handling, then I would NOT give a refund. Once the cake leaves your hands, you are not responsible, unless it was due to some error on your part.

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