Lf Advice On Cupcake Stand Deposit (Bit Long...)

Decorating By Classycakes Updated 17 Sep 2009 , 7:24pm by crisseyann

Classycakes Posted 12 Sep 2009 , 10:56pm
post #1 of 21

I've been in business for almost four years and I've been very lucky with my customers because they've all been real sweethearts to deal with.....until now!

Yesterday, I did a wedding cupcake arrangement and my client rented out my cupcake stand which is a tall white plastic unit with the scalloped plates. I only charge a $40 security deposit because the stand has paid for itself over the past four years. While I was out today doing my deliveries, my client returned the stand to my house. My 19 year old daughter answered the door and my client passed her the stand in two pieces. Amanda just thought she'd taken it apart so that it would fit in her car more easily and asked her what was the deposit that was owing to her. My client said $40 so Amanda gave her the money. As she was leaving she said, "By the way, if your mom has any questions, she can call me."

Amanda thought that was a strange comment so she took a good look at the stand and realized that not only was it cracked in half, one of the upper plates was cracked too. She called me in tears because she felt she had done something wrong.

Knowing that she had broken it, why in the world would my client take the deposit? She's not a dummy.....she know's what a security deposit is for. Especially when I wasn't there to give it to her personally (if that is what I chose to do). She could have just given my daughter a brief explanation and asked me to call her. This just seems so wrong to me!

This is the first time finding myself in a conflict with a customer and I don't know whether to let the matter go or say nothing to keep goodwill. Or should I call her to say I want the $40 back to cover the damage? It's not the $40, it's the principle of it. But she has the deposit money now and the chance of getting it back from her is probably very unlikely. Should I let it drop?

20 replies
CakeDiva73 Posted 12 Sep 2009 , 11:00pm
post #2 of 21

That was wrong! Unless the stand cracked under the weight of the cupcakes (ahem) and she somehow feels you are responsible, I think this lady deserves a big slap for knowingly taking advantage of a kid. I would be livid and I would call her on it.

I feel she did a disservice to you but also to your daughter, whom she knowingly put in a crappy position. Unbelievable.......

jillmakescakes Posted 12 Sep 2009 , 11:02pm
post #3 of 21

The deposit is meant to cover the cost to replace the item if it is broken or damaged. She should return the deposit.

cakesbycathy Posted 13 Sep 2009 , 12:35am
post #4 of 21

This woman took advantage of your daughter in a big way. Call her up and tell her she needs to return the $40 immediately.

sadsmile Posted 13 Sep 2009 , 12:57am
post #5 of 21

I would soo be calling her right away! Don't let this drop. And don't let things be handles by anyone but you in the future. Your poor daughter got stuck in an tough spot un-prepaired for it. I think you should call and ask for that deposit back. She must know that she broke it-DUH! I would ask why it was returned broken and state that you'll need that deposit back.

cutthecake Posted 13 Sep 2009 , 1:08am
post #6 of 21

"As she was leaving she said, "By the way, if your mom has any questions, she can call me." "

Call her and ask three questions:
1. What happened to my stand?
2. When are you returning my deposit?
3. Why did you take back a deposit you didn't deserve?

LaBellaFlor Posted 13 Sep 2009 , 1:14am
post #7 of 21

I would call her and ask her point blank for the deposit back. Tell her the stand was returned broken. If she ask you why did your dauhgter give her the deposit back, point blank tell her," First off I think you knew you were taking advantage of my daughter, cause she thought you were being honest." Your probably not going to get your money back, but I would have to call her on her terrible behavior.

LaBellaFlor Posted 13 Sep 2009 , 1:14am
post #8 of 21

I would call her and ask her point blank for the deposit back. Tell her the stand was returned broken. If she ask you why did your dauhgter give her the deposit back, point blank tell her," First off I think you knew you were taking advantage of my daughter, cause she thought you were being honest." Your probably not going to get your money back, but I would have to call her on her terrible behavior.

newmansmom2004 Posted 13 Sep 2009 , 1:14am
post #9 of 21

I think I'd call the woman and ask her how the stand was broken so that she knows YOU know it's broken. You might tell her your daughter mistakenly returned the deposit and that you'll now need to replace the stand. If she doesn't offer to refund the deposit I really don't see any way to get it back. I just have a feeling that if she took it from your daughter in the first place she's not going to offer to return it.

I'd write her off as someone never to do business with again and I'd very clearly (but gently) tell your daughter (and any future customers) that if a customer comes by to return a rented item in the future, your policy is that only YOU can refund the deposit after making sure the returned item is in the condition it was in when it left your hands. Then you can either mail their deposit check back or will make arrangements to return a cash deposit. Unfortunately your daughter was trying to be nice to the gal and got caught in the middle. Just a crappy circumstance.

Classycakes Posted 13 Sep 2009 , 1:57am
post #10 of 21

Thank you all - I appreciate your opinion. I will call her tomorrow when I've cooled down. I think I'm in shock that someone would do this. I would NEVER do that to someone else! If I broke or lost something belonging to someone else, I'd immediately offer to replace it. I really don't get how this client could just walk away, knowing she just hoodwinked a young girl. OVER FORTY DOLLARS!!! My goodness, I wouldn't sleep a wink, the guilt would just eat me up. But she probably walked away laughing because she pulled a fast one.

I read the posts here about problems that other decorators have with customers. Sometimes the stories just amaze me because most of us are not big business. We're just trying to do an honest day's work for a fair price to pay our bills and raise our families. People seem to think it's a challenge to try and cheat you any way they can. Unfortunately the bad customers tend to spoil things for the good customers because it makes us so wary and we're less likely to give customers the benefit of the doubt. I know I've changed my way of doing things on several occasions after reading some of the posts here.

This business can be great. It's a rewarding thing to create something that makes people happy. It's nice to make money for doing something creative and it gives you a great feeling when you can say "I made that!!". But then sometimes, something like this happens and it really sucks!

My favourite Newfie saying right now is: "I'd like to smack 'er right up side the head!!!'' icon_evil.gif


sadsmile Posted 13 Sep 2009 , 2:10am
post #11 of 21

You forgot,"and down the other!!!"

Give your daughter a great BIG (((HUG)))!!!

cylstrial Posted 13 Sep 2009 , 2:20am
post #12 of 21

Let us know what happens when you call her.

That's terrible. I would call her and say - "What happened to the cupcake stand?" And then after she answers, "You know the reason that I took the $40 deposit is for instances like this. The $40 won't cover the entire cost of the cupcake stand - but it's insurance money."

The only thing that I can think - is that she's going to try and say there was something wrong with your stand to begin with - and she didn't do it.

How rude - she should have called you. I would be so embarrassed and upset if I broke something. And I would certainly not take the deposit money back.

Mensch Posted 14 Sep 2009 , 6:51pm
post #13 of 21

I would beat her up.

LaBellaFlor Posted 15 Sep 2009 , 4:29am
post #14 of 21
Originally Posted by Mensch

I would beat her up.


Why are you so crazy?!?!?!? I LOVE IT!

CakeDiva73 Posted 17 Sep 2009 , 4:33am
post #15 of 21

so what happened??? icon_lol.gif

Classycakes Posted 17 Sep 2009 , 11:34am
post #16 of 21

icon_redface.gif After discussing it with my husband (who's my partner with Classy Cakes), we decided to just let it go. We didn't want to make a big deal of it because that would probably make our daughter feel worse and that was more important to us than the $40. Hubby fixed it with glue and I'm keeping my fingers crossed that it will hold up til I get a new one shipped in.

Needless to say, we had a family discussion and our deposit refund policy has been changed so that Amanda is not put in that position again. She's such a trusting kid who believes the best in people. I know that will probably change as she grows older but right now I'd like her to keep her dreams icon_wink.gif

It still irks me that my client will get off with this but I'm a firm believer in Karma and what goes around, comes around. She'll get hers, not from me but sometime down the road.

Thank you all for your insight and help. While I totally agree with your advice, if our daughter had not been involved, it would have gone down a lot differently.

Hugs to you all!!

sadsmile Posted 17 Sep 2009 , 5:00pm
post #17 of 21

I totally understand not wanting to make your daughter get hurt any more. But I feel like this is setting her up to play the victim in the future and to just deal with it and do nothing.

It just doesn't sit well with me to leave this alone and let that adult get off with that. To me that seems like it sends a message that people are going to walk all over you and you should do anything about it.

Rolling over is not beneficial to teach to you young adult who is entering this tough world. I would opt for showing her how to attempt to reconcile situations and not be taken advantage of.

I think that you should contact the client and tell her you need the deposit back.

If she gives it back then your daughter has seen how to diplomatically handle a tough situation.

If the client refuses then that is really on her and it's a valuable lesson of looking out in the future so you don't get taken advantage of.

Unfortunately that a very large percentage of our world is looking for what they can get out of everything. Learning to have a back bone and to stand up for principle is beneficial to all of us.

Classycakes Posted 17 Sep 2009 , 6:41pm
post #18 of 21

Sadsmile, you're absolutely right - thank you. I got so caught up with trying to downplay it for my daughter that I forgot the important part. Amanda is such a mature, responsible kid with a big heart and she has been offering to give me the money out of her savings because "she messed up". I've been trying to tell her it's no big deal - that in this type of business things get worn out and things get broken - not to worry about it. In trying to do that, I did let the client walk all over me and it's not a good example. I've always taught my children to be honest and true to themselves and others, and to stand up for their rights. I just got side-tracked I guess.

My client is on her honeymoon now but when she gets back, there'll be a pleasant but firm email waiting for her. It's the right thing to do.

sadsmile Posted 17 Sep 2009 , 7:01pm
post #19 of 21

Ah-what we wouldn't do for our kids! (((HUGS))) I am right there with you. You are a great mom!

sadsmile Posted 17 Sep 2009 , 7:23pm
post #20 of 21

hey I had another idea...

You don't want to lose a client over this or get potential bad press. And even though it is right to ask for hte deposit back she might get miffed-ya know how people can be.

If the client gives it back offer her a small discount on her future order to kind of appease the situation stating sometimes things happen blah blah blah. You will look like a generous professional.

crisseyann Posted 17 Sep 2009 , 7:24pm
post #21 of 21

I totally agree with sadsmile. That IS the right thing to do....for everyone involved. Even the moron who broke your stand and accepted a refund from your DD. I have two young daughters and would hate to have them put in this position, but the learning potential from this experience is HUGE! You're doing the right thing. Good luck with the client and my best to you and your DD. icon_smile.gif

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