Wearying Customer

Business By Kitagrl Updated 24 Oct 2009 , 1:23pm by Kitagrl

Kitagrl Posted 23 Oct 2009 , 1:45am
post #1 of 27

Okay this might be long and rambly...

A couple weeks ago had a tasting for a person who wants a really fancy birthday cake for next year.

The first complication is that I do not know if this is a woman or man. Seriously. I think its a man who is now a woman....the cake for the birthday will be very girly, and lots of bling and shoes and etc... but then the person's friend, near the end of the consult, started calling her "he" and "him". So I'm at a loss now.

Anyway this person is always wanting big and crazy stuff. We talked forever about how the person wanted 130 servings of cake to be made into 5 tiers or something....

Anyway no word since then so I was thinking I was off the hook.

Got a call today, the person now is thinking about only ordering a shoebox cake (maybe will get tiers from someone cheaper, I dunno....one of the bakeries she talked to claimed they could give her five tiers to serve 130, so more power to them) but now wants another cake for a party to serve 30. Again concerned with how "big" it will be. This one they want 3D. Its so frustrating because its like the person wants everything...I said no preserves filling in a 3D cake but they want preserves filling....they want big...they want grand...I reminded them that it can only be as big as the number of people its to feed!

And then I won't hear back for awhile....its like the person has a bazillion questions but so far hasn't committed to anything. Its like they want the world but want the world to only feed a few people and only cost a mild amount.

It hasn't been TERRIBLE but I'm getting nervous about the expectations of this person and wondering if its going to be a bad experience if I do end up making a cake for them.

26 replies
Texas_Rose Posted 23 Oct 2009 , 1:50am
post #2 of 27

Did you charge for the tasting?

If you did, consider yourself compensated for your time, and be alll booked up for the date that they need.

Kitagrl Posted 23 Oct 2009 , 1:52am
post #3 of 27

I stopped charging for tastings b/c it was scaring customers off.... and I'd rather lose a couple hours of time and get a large cake booked than to miss out.

But now I'm getting weary of spending this email and phone time with this strange customer that is so intense on getting bigger and better and WOW but not ready to commit to anything, and also I'm afraid that no matter what I do, she will be disappointed with the size.

madgeowens Posted 23 Oct 2009 , 2:12am
post #4 of 27

Sounds like size matters.........sorry....a little levity there

Shelle_75 Posted 23 Oct 2009 , 3:20am
post #5 of 27

The next time s/he calls, I would ask them what specific date they're calling for and then tell 'em I'm booked.

LKing12 Posted 23 Oct 2009 , 3:33am
post #6 of 27

Sounds like they are just draining you of your ideas! If they would let you know that another bakery can do the 5 tier for less, what's to keep them from going somewhere else for the 3D?

Kitagrl Posted 23 Oct 2009 , 3:51am
post #7 of 27

I don't know....oh yeah and at the end of my tasting, she told me to go to somebody else's website because they had totally awesome cakes!!!

I wanted to say...."Then why are you HERE and not THERE....?"

LKing12 Posted 23 Oct 2009 , 3:56am
post #8 of 27
Quote:
Originally Posted by Kitagrl

I don't know....oh yeah and at the end of my tasting, she told me to go to somebody else's website because they had totally awesome cakes!!!

I wanted to say...."Then why are you HERE and not THERE....?"




BECAUSE YOU don't charge for tastings!

Kitagrl Posted 23 Oct 2009 , 3:58am
post #9 of 27
Quote:
Originally Posted by LKing12

Quote:
Originally Posted by Kitagrl

I don't know....oh yeah and at the end of my tasting, she told me to go to somebody else's website because they had totally awesome cakes!!!

I wanted to say...."Then why are you HERE and not THERE....?"



BECAUSE YOU don't charge for tastings!




LOL ok haha.... Well it wasn't working for me when I was charging so I decided to see how it worked without.

I will say when I charged, I only got people who planned to buy from me...since I stopped charging, I have lost several possible orders who came to taste and then never wrote back.

Oh well. Can't please everyone!

LaBellaFlor Posted 23 Oct 2009 , 4:19am
post #10 of 27

To charge or not to charge, theres no right or wrong to that in my opinion.

Now, to the topic, I believe it was Costumeczarina who said "listen to the crazy radar we all have". I think yours is really going off, but you may want to turn up the volume so you'll hear it! icon_wink.gif

CakeRN Posted 23 Oct 2009 , 5:05am
post #11 of 27

I would not worry about it. If they call you again then I would tell them that they need to book the date and then you need a 50% deposit to hold that date. Show them some cakes or even your cake pans to get an idea of how big the cake will be to feed 30 people. If they say that it isn't big enough then tell them "if you want big and over the top...the price will be Big and over the top too!"....Then you can be booked for that day...

Mensch Posted 23 Oct 2009 , 5:28am
post #12 of 27

Cut your losses and don't take this order. It is perfectly reasonable to cut a customer loose when said customer is being perfectly unreasonable.


Just a side note, but honestly.... why is the client's gender so important that the op felt it necessary to mention?

-Tubbs Posted 23 Oct 2009 , 12:37pm
post #13 of 27

I didn't get the impression that the client's gender was an issue so much as the puzzlement that OP was feeling about him/her and the whole cake confusion issue. But if what she suspects is the case, and the person is transgender in some way, maybe this birthday party is a big deal because it's a whole 'rebirth' thing, being reborn as a woman..? Which would also explain why it's such a big deal. Dunno, just speculating!

If it's tiring you out, I would just say that you're now booked for that date. If you're intrigued, you'll just have to tell them to knuckle down, make a decision and give you a deposit!

KHalstead Posted 23 Oct 2009 , 12:49pm
post #14 of 27

I kinda took it as kitagrl wasn't sure if she was getting red flags over the order, or just over the person (gender included) in general? At least that's how I read it. Sometimes when people are strange, you get that weird feeling and you can't tell it apart from your psycho radar, so i think she was just puzzled about all of it and wasn't sure if she should be leary of the customer or leary of the order?



On the topic of charging for tastings......I never used to charge and I had a 99% booking rate (I've done about 30 tastings, and only had 1 person not book...and that wound up being because by the time they were ready with their deposit I was already booked on their wedding date) ........what I do is charge them $20.00 for the tasting (covers my time and expenses at the moment) and then if they order from me and it totals more than $100.00 then that $20 gets applied to their final balance. So far nobody has a problem. I have had a couple people opt to only try one flavor of cake (they knew what they wanted) and just bought a 6" round for $10.00 from me....but most people understand the charge and don't flinch!

Caths_Cakes Posted 23 Oct 2009 , 1:23pm
post #15 of 27

perhaps the customer is celebrating there first birthday in there new life as a woman and want it to be big and grand and girly to . . Emphasise that point. Thats fine and dandy icon_smile.gif But all the umms and awws and iffyness surrounding it make me feel like its going to be a big pita customer. If you feel comfortable going ahead with this and get your deposists and definate answers, then fine. But if not, cut your losses, your booked that day lol.

Price Posted 23 Oct 2009 , 1:24pm
post #16 of 27

I can understand being uncomfortable with this customer. From what you have said, I think it is going to be very,very difficult to please them. It sounds like the customer has a hugh, impressive 3D cake in mind, but only wants to pay for 30 servings. I would be very hesitant to take the order.

As to why does gender matter? She didn't say gender mattered. She was just uncomfortable not knowing which gender. I was a Service Rep. for many years and it was very difficult when I would have a customer on the phone and was not able to determine from their voice if I was speaking with a man or a woman. I didn't know if I should refer to them a Ms or Mr Smith, and believe me, I know from experience that it is was very uncomfortable for me when I was wrong!

Good luck Kitagirl. Your work is great, no wonder this person keeps coming to you, but I'm afraid they are expecting champagne on a beer budget!

all4cake Posted 23 Oct 2009 , 1:28pm
post #17 of 27

I had a similar experience (with a woman who was a woman)....kept inquiring about the cost and I kept telling her (so seriously, there wasn't any surprise about what it was going to cost)...had I only known she'd been asleep for six months and awoke a month before her wedding to freak out over the cost of the groom's cake, 4 tiered wedding cake and 12 dozen cupcakes with gp roses on each...."oh, Lawd! $530??????????????!!!!! Take off the decorations. I have 250.00 to spend."
"uh, because you are a friend(not close but still) is why you got THAT PRICE. I can't do any better than that on what you want. Sorry. Try ------ and ------ and --------...if nothing else, you can get Sam's to make you some separate rounds and you can stagger 'em......." Two weeks later(two weeks from her wedding) she calls back sounding all desperate. Needless to say, her original plan got thrown out the window...

She was by far the most exasperating(?) customer to deal with...nice as she could be but oh so draining....

littlecake Posted 23 Oct 2009 , 2:11pm
post #18 of 27

your life is alot nicer if you cut out the unreasonable people....she wants too much, to high of expectations...and she'll be disappointed.

cakesbycathy Posted 23 Oct 2009 , 3:29pm
post #19 of 27

I don't care if it's actually a monkey who's calling. This customer is a PITA. Next time they call tell them you are now booked for their date.

Mike1394 Posted 23 Oct 2009 , 3:42pm
post #20 of 27

When you get down to designing, do a two sided cake. One side an "inny" the other an "outie" LOL icon_biggrin.gif

Mike

OOPS forgot to add icon_biggrin.gif You could make it DR. Suess themed A "push me pull you" icon_biggrin.gif

cblupe Posted 23 Oct 2009 , 3:53pm
post #21 of 27

Why would you have your fabulous 3D shoe box cake sitting next to a really cheap 5 tier cake that may taste like a cheap 5 tier cake? Either you get the entire order or forget the whole thing and move on.

newmansmom2004 Posted 23 Oct 2009 , 4:12pm
post #22 of 27
Quote:
Originally Posted by Texas_Rose

Did you charge for the tasting?

If you did, consider yourself compensated for your time, and be alll booked up for the date that they need.




Ditto. Just tell the person that you just got an order and deposit for the same weekend and now you're booked. Easy squeezy.

catlharper Posted 23 Oct 2009 , 4:17pm
post #23 of 27

Ok, so I have a solution to your cake tasting thing...the place where we got our wedding cake charged $20 for the tasting BUT it was applied to the cost of the cake if we ordered. Since we did order our cake from them we got the cake tasting fee credited.

As for this client...sounds like they are just fishing for information and not really interested in ordering anything. Good luck with this one!

Cat

Kitagrl Posted 23 Oct 2009 , 6:23pm
post #24 of 27

Thanks all...(boy I wish my email notifications were working! I checked and found lots of replies!)

There are two orders involved now...the shoebox cake she is thinking about (evidently does not want me doing the tiers)...and now a separate 3D cake she wants for another party.

And I wasn't trying to down the gender, but you have to call someone "he" or "she" and I had been calling the person "she" because "she" seemed to have feminine interests and want to be that...but then I really got thrown off when the friend called her "he" and "him" so as well as the stress of trying to please this person, now I have absolutely no idea how to refer to...him/her....short of simply asking!

I guess its just wearing because...she?...has all these grand ideas and is very intense about what she wants....which is fine...but then I don't hear back for awhile and its hard to understand what she wants or even IF she wants what she says she wants.

Yes I do believe I"ll be booked, unless she sends me a deposit before contacting me again.

Kitagrl Posted 23 Oct 2009 , 6:23pm
post #25 of 27
Quote:
Originally Posted by catlharper

Ok, so I have a solution to your cake tasting thing...the place where we got our wedding cake charged $20 for the tasting BUT it was applied to the cost of the cake if we ordered. Since we did order our cake from them we got the cake tasting fee credited.

As for this client...sounds like they are just fishing for information and not really interested in ordering anything. Good luck with this one!

Cat




I did used to do this but it seemed to turn some customers off...but maybe in retrospect they wouldn't have booked with me anyway....

costumeczar Posted 24 Oct 2009 , 1:15pm
post #26 of 27
Quote:
Originally Posted by Kitagrl

Thanks all...(boy I wish my email notifications were working! I checked and found lots of replies!)

.




Just an aside, if you're the one who starts the thread, I think that you have to go back to the post and click on the "watch this topic" link at the bottom of the post or else it won't send you email updates of responses.

Kitagrl Posted 24 Oct 2009 , 1:23pm
post #27 of 27

I know, I always do that but since some of the CC updates I have not been receiving any updates, nor notifications for my photos (and yep checked my profile to make sure everything is checked)

Occasionally I'll get a pile of notifications from last week or something, but otherwise, nothing. There's a small thread about it in the technical difficulties forum.

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