Feel Bad For Potential Customer

Business By momma28 Updated 21 Jun 2009 , 1:15am by Lenette

momma28 Posted 20 Jun 2009 , 2:01am
post #1 of 32

Ran in to the grocery store tonight to get oranges for a creamsicle cake I have for this weekend and one of the girls who works there stops me in the aisle and starts to ask about a wedding cake. She is getting married August 15th (cutting it close to order a cake but I could do it) She starts telling me she wants 3 tiers...white with Red Fondant roses and scrollwork. I tell her with handmade flowers it will be between $350 and $400, 10,8 and 6 tier sizes cause a very small reception. (I kinda hate when I get asked for a quickie price guess without really getting a design down, not real good at it) She looks shocked. She says "Its JUST a cake!" But not in a nasty way, in an embarrased that I cant afford that way. I felt horrible. She starts texting her sister who is organizing the wedding and fumbling over her words asking me questions. I made some suggestions to bring the price down and asked her what her budget was...she said she didnt know. They needed for things to be as cheap as possible but she wanted a pretty cake. After some awkward moments she said she would have her sister call me and I checked out and left.

I am not a good business person because now all I can think about is this poor girls cake. I grew up dirt poor, really dirt poor and so did my husband. We have worked hard for the life we have which isnt luxurious but we have the things we need and some extra for us and our kids. I feel like every woman deserves a beautiful cake, and it was obvious from the cake she described that she dreams of a beautiful classic wedding cake, but it was just as obvious that she can't afford one. I have been in that place, I remember that place and I am torn. My husband has said though, and I completely understand, that I cant give the cakes away because the time, energy and ingredients it takes to produce them is valuable.

I dont think she will call me anyway, but I also dont want her to feel bad when she sees me in the store. I told her not to feel obligated and while I would love to work within her budget to give her a beautiful cake I would understand if she chose someone else.

31 replies
Nchanted1 Posted 20 Jun 2009 , 2:09am
post #2 of 32

That's a tough one. If you see yourself in her, and want to help out, go for it. Maybe you could suggest some sort of barter?

costumeczar Posted 20 Jun 2009 , 2:12am
post #3 of 32

Don't feel so bad for her, if she's texting her sister then she can afford a cell phone with a monthly texting plan. Maybe if she cut that out she could have saved enough money to get a fancy cake.

The next time that you see her just smile and say hello. If she's interested in the cake then she can bring it up, but if she doesn't that's okay. She'll find a cake somewhere, but your husband is right, don't start giving things away because you think people can't afford it. If it was that important to her she could afford it by not spending on other things, or moving money from one part of her wedding budget to another.

grammynan Posted 20 Jun 2009 , 2:15am
post #4 of 32

If this were me, I would give her a break on the price of a cake. Perhaps two tiers with buttercream icing and buttercream roses would work. No one else needs to know that you've given her a discount. And remember, when you give of yourself, it always comes back to you tenfold.

MLand Posted 20 Jun 2009 , 2:17am
post #5 of 32

We have all been there at some point or other in one way or another! I understand how you feel but I also understand your husbands point of view. Like someone else suggested, barter!!

sjholderman Posted 20 Jun 2009 , 2:24am
post #6 of 32

If she's truly having a SMALL reception, maybe you could have two of the tiers be dummy cakes. It's up front cost isn't that much and you could have her pay for them, and it'll save you a fortune in time and labor to bake the cake. If she needs 3 tiers of that size to feed her reception then too bad for her! Invite less people!

littlecake Posted 20 Jun 2009 , 2:35am
post #7 of 32

i felt bad for a young couple who were really trying, and dirt poor...i made them a 3 tier for 25 bucks...(i let them pay some so they could retain their pride)

but i'm with costume czar...if they have a texting plan...they aren't that poor...they just don't see the value in cake.

TexasSugar Posted 20 Jun 2009 , 2:40am
post #8 of 32

Everyone has a sad story. And you have to decide if you are in business to make money or give everyone a great deal. It is hard to do both.

If she does call, then work with her on the design to bring costs down to her budget. But please do not give her the cake you quoted for $350-$400 for any less than that.

Some women dream of the perfect wedding dress when they are kids, but when the time comes and they find the dream dress, it doesn't mean they can always afford the price tag that comes with it. They have to make a choice then. Go in debt over a dress, over spend because of a dress, or look for another dress that fits their budget.

I use the dress as an example because do you think the dress shop is going to want to do her a favor and give her the dream dress on her budget, of the price of the dress and the budget don't match?

I'd also be curious of a bride that doesn't know the budget for her own wedding. If you don't know how much you have to spend on things, how can you even think about staying in the 'cheaper' side.

littlecake Posted 20 Jun 2009 , 2:44am
post #9 of 32
Quote:
Originally Posted by TexasSugar

Everyone has a sad story. And you have to decide if you are in business to make money or give everyone a great deal. It is hard to do both..




lets sew this on a pillow

__Jamie__ Posted 20 Jun 2009 , 2:49am
post #10 of 32

I agree...pillow time. Maybe someday that girl and her husband, after making a few good decisions financially will be able to buy their daughter a dream cake from you, because they can afford it. Nothing wrong with not being able to afford something "right now". Which reminds me....Dr. Laura is on! icon_biggrin.gif

Mabma80 Posted 20 Jun 2009 , 2:57am
post #11 of 32

She can always buy a book or DVD and her and her friend can make one.

indydebi Posted 20 Jun 2009 , 3:13am
post #12 of 32

I can appreciate the empathy you feel for this girl.

SOme may recall my stories of the reason we all had perfect attendance at school is because that's where the food was. In the winter, I slept 6 kids to one double bed because we never had any heat (couldn't afford to buy the fuel oil for the furnace, so we just shut the house down to a couple of rooms and all bunked together).

So like you, I grew up dirt poor. Heck, at times dirt had it better than us!

And the reason I work hard to try to run this business is because I don't ever want to be dirt poor again. I don't want my children to experience the life lessons that I've learned.

I can empathize and sympathize with someone who really would like something "real nice" ..... and I do my share of donating and discounting (I do at least one free wedding a year for a military couple) ..... but I'm not a welfare dept and I'm not here to "give" a wedding cake to every bride who "deserves" something "real nice".

Seriously, if you're on a really tight budget, 3 plain iced cakes from the grocery store with a couple of silk roses on top, set atop 3 stands of different heights will look really pretty. (Of course we all hope they dont' ALL do this, but sometimes if it all you can afford, then that's how it works.)

I'm not criticizing you wanting to help her out ... I applaud your compassion.

But decide if you're a business or a welfare department.

MosMom Posted 20 Jun 2009 , 3:16am
post #13 of 32

While I agree with the "don't feel so bad" camp, I also agree with this..

And remember, when you give of yourself, it always comes back to you tenfold.

No, we're not in business for charity BUT I think charity once in awhile is a good thing.

Offering a small tiered buttercream cake with buttercream red roses would look just as beautiful and would cut the price dramatically since the work of fondant roses is not there. I know some decorators here don't do sheet cakes but I do and she could fill in servings that way if she needed to. If the price comes down and she still can't afford it, well then....what can you do?

If she can afford a phone/texting plan she can afford a moderately priced cake. If she doesn't want to work with you to fit something in her budget then she is out of luck.

__Jamie__ Posted 20 Jun 2009 , 3:20am
post #14 of 32

Ok Mosmom....that is a seriously cute website. Where on earth does one find a CakeMaster Viewfinder????

momma28 Posted 20 Jun 2009 , 3:24am
post #15 of 32

If she ever contacts me about the cake I will do my best to work with her to make a cake she can afford. Indydebi makes me think about the fact that my husband works long hot days at a power plant and I do cakes to give our kids a better life so I need to make my business decisions based on that. Thanks for the reminder. That doesnt mean I dont feel badly for her anymore but it is a reality check.

CanadianChick Posted 20 Jun 2009 , 3:44am
post #16 of 32

once again I have to ask - if they really have money issues, why are they having a full-out wedding that would call for a three tier cake (even a small 3 tier cake is a lotta cake for a lotta people)

no sympathy here - not everyone can actually play princess.

summernoelle Posted 20 Jun 2009 , 3:52am
post #17 of 32

I understand your sympathy completely. When I was first starting I would always get caught in stuff like this and do things for cheaper, because I wanted to be helpful.

Business or not, I think you should do what you feel is right. I get why everyone says no sympathy for her, but if something struck a cord with you, it's OK to be kind and give a discount. Nothing you would take a loss on, or anything that would break the bank for you of course. But you could look at it as a form of charity. Do not do it out of guilt, though. If you chose to lower your price, do it because you want to-not because you feel you should or have to. If that makes sense.

OK, awaiting the lectures from all you business women out there. icon_lol.gif

MosMom Posted 20 Jun 2009 , 4:21am
post #18 of 32

Thanks Jamie! As far as I know, a cakemaster came from my brain and is not available. icon_razz.gif Wouldn't that be a fun portfolio though?

You are reminding me I need to update it and haven't had time.

costumeczar Posted 20 Jun 2009 , 2:58pm
post #19 of 32
Quote:
Originally Posted by summernoelle

I understand your sympathy completely. When I was first starting I would always get caught in stuff like this and do things for cheaper, because I wanted to be helpful.

Business or not, I think you should do what you feel is right. I get why everyone says no sympathy for her, but if something struck a cord with you, it's OK to be kind and give a discount. Nothing you would take a loss on, or anything that would break the bank for you of course. But you could look at it as a form of charity. Do not do it out of guilt, though. If you chose to lower your price, do it because you want to-not because you feel you should or have to. If that makes sense.

OK, awaiting the lectures from all you business women out there. icon_lol.gif




No lecture coming, I see your point about giving people a break. I do that for people I know well or who I've worked with, or who have given me breaks on things...But seriously, if someone I don't really know is standing in front of me saying that they want a three-tiered cake with all the bells and whistles, while busily texting someone, it isn't my job to give her a "charity" price.

Someone else made the point that a three-tiered cake will serve a lot of people, and maybe she doesn't need one that big. If she calls you about it find out more details, but do keep in mind what you said about working hard to support your kids! She can still get a nice cake that's within her budget, and that you get paid fairly to make, if she's willing to work with you.

TexasSugar Posted 20 Jun 2009 , 9:44pm
post #20 of 32

I think she could want a cheap wedding for many reasons. If she was someone that was working on a budget and knew her budget I would be more willing to work with her and maybe discount a little if it is a cake I really wanted to do. But if she is someone that just wants something awesome for a super cheap price I'd have different feelings about the situation.

She could have come up to you and said well I only have $200 to spend on a cake, what can we do with that. Instead she is a bride that doesn't even know the budget for her own wedding and they want things as cheap as possible. Wonder if they get a employee discount at that store? If so, wouldn't that be the as cheap as possible route?

varika Posted 20 Jun 2009 , 10:00pm
post #21 of 32

Okay...

Question #1: why is she accosting you in public instead of making an appointment properly? And why are you doing a consult in a grocery store? I really think that when someone does that to you, you should tell them, "Please call me later and we can sit down and do a good job on this. Right now, I have to get food for my kids."

Question #2: How can the bride not know the budget of the wedding? Even if Daddy Dearest is paying for it, she should have some idea--or she should be less disappointed when you give her a reasonable price, because she doesn't have any clue how much she can spend.

A questionable encounter, if you ask me. icon_confused.gif Seriously, there are people who make a living by preying on sympathies; for others, it's just a fine hobby. I'm not saying this woman is one of them, but I always have my suspicions when people aren't willing to do things in a proper fashion that way.

disubu Posted 20 Jun 2009 , 10:16pm
post #22 of 32

Wow! I am surprised at some of these responses. Eeks...tough crowd!

I see nothing wrong with discounting a cake now and then to help out someone who needs it. Everyone deserves a princess treatment once in awhile. I see both sides, and think that either way you go it will be "the right decision".

patticakesnc Posted 20 Jun 2009 , 10:36pm
post #23 of 32

Well she didn't ask for a free cake so I feel like she isn't trying to have you feel sorry for her. She is probably trying to figure out how to pay for everything and had no idea what a "real" cake cost. When she said she didn't know her budget, she knew what she could afford, she was just afraid to tell you in fear of being laughed at or offending you. I know....I was that bride. I didn't want something for nothing but was having a really hard time and couldn't afford much. Hopefully she will call you. What about offering a cupcake tower. I don't know about you but I know I love doing them. I just feel they are easier than a cake. Pipe that pretty swirl on there or do a rose swirl...even better.

As for the cell phone....come on you guys. Prepay phones have texting too and what about safelink. They give a free phone and like 60 min a month to people on food stamps and medicade (don't bash...we don't want to go there...my mom has one). So the phone thing isn't a matter of having a monthly plan and a texting plan. Could be or maybe not...but it's not the point.

jlynnw Posted 20 Jun 2009 , 10:56pm
post #24 of 32
Quote:
Originally Posted by patticakesnc

Well she didn't ask for a free cake so I feel like she isn't trying to have you feel sorry for her. She is probably trying to figure out how to pay for everything and had no idea what a "real" cake cost. When she said she didn't know her budget, she knew what she could afford, she was just afraid to tell you in fear of being laughed at or offending you. I know....I was that bride. I didn't want something for nothing but was having a really hard time and couldn't afford much. Hopefully she will call you. What about offering a cupcake tower. I don't know about you but I know I love doing them. I just feel they are easier than a cake. Pipe that pretty swirl on there or do a rose swirl...even better.

As for the cell phone....come on you guys. Prepay phones have texting too and what about safelink. They give a free phone and like 60 min a month to people on food stamps and medicade (don't bash...we don't want to go there...my mom has one). So the phone thing isn't a matter of having a monthly plan and a texting plan. Could be or maybe not...but it's not the point.




thank you for that. My MIL only has a cell phone now as that is all she can aford is a pay as you go tracphone. She doesn't use it much but since FIL things are real tight in her budget. hen she found out how much cakes are, she no longer asks anyone to bring cakes for get togethers. Not all brides have a good basis for buying cakes. How many articles have you read on how to do wedding cakes and the cheap and think that $100 is way over priced? t is not always a cheap bride but a misguided bride. est of luck

all4cake Posted 20 Jun 2009 , 10:56pm
post #25 of 32

I would just like to point out that just because someone has a cell phone with or without texting options, doesn't mean they're footing the monthly bill on it.

If you feel compelled to do it for discount or free, do so. But to keep from becoming victim to every similar scenario, limit your contributions...."This will be my contribution for the month/year/week/whatever. It's easier to handle the next time.

tinygoose Posted 20 Jun 2009 , 11:11pm
post #26 of 32

When people come at me with "How much?" questions right out of the gate, and when I'm unprepared, I always pause and take a deep slow breath before I answer.

Them: "How much do you charge for a wedding cake?"
Me: "Well that's sort of like asking. How much is a car? What did you have in mind a Mercedes Benz or a Honda Civic?

indydebi Posted 20 Jun 2009 , 11:18pm
post #27 of 32
Quote:
Originally Posted by tinygoose


Them: "How much do you charge for a wedding cake?"
Me: "Well that's sort of like asking. How much is a car? What did you have in mind a Mercedes Benz or a Honda Civic?


Oh that's really good!!

majormichel Posted 20 Jun 2009 , 11:35pm
post #28 of 32
Quote:
Originally Posted by indydebi

Quote:
Originally Posted by tinygoose


Them: "How much do you charge for a wedding cake?"
Me: "Well that's sort of like asking. How much is a car? What did you have in mind a Mercedes Benz or a Honda Civic?

Oh that's really good!!




Second that ! icon_smile.gif

tyty Posted 20 Jun 2009 , 11:41pm
post #29 of 32
Quote:
Originally Posted by tinygoose

When people come at me with "How much?" questions right out of the gate, and when I'm unprepared, I always pause and take a deep slow breath before I answer.

Them: "How much do you charge for a wedding cake?"
Me: "Well that's sort of like asking. How much is a car? What did you have in mind a Mercedes Benz or a Honda Civic?




I LOVE IT! I'll have to remember this one.

__Jamie__ Posted 21 Jun 2009 , 12:41am
post #30 of 32

Hey! Hondas ain't cheap! icon_biggrin.gif

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