My First Order Mess-Up (Kinda Long)

Business By sweetsbyjen Updated 27 Oct 2009 , 1:31am by cakesdivine

sweetsbyjen Posted 25 Oct 2009 , 5:39pm
post #1 of 29

So I have been taking orders through email, which started with people I knew and then I started making this Phillies Phanatic Cake that ended up on the Local news website so people are finding me through google.

So, I took a last minute order on Monday for Sunday, I got back to her right away with a price and then never heard anything. So When i was getting my orders/list together for the upcoming weekend, I emailed her and asked if she definitely wanted to go ahead with the order. (sometimes people want somehting until you tell them the price) Well I never heard back so I didn't make it.
SHE SHOWED UP AT MY DOOR THIS MORNING TO PICK UP THE CAKE!

I was mortified! Politely apologized and explained to her that I didn't hear anything from her so I assumed she didn't want to pay. I emailed her Wedesday and said "Please let me know if you would like to go ahead with this order. I am getting my orders together for this weekend and wanted to make sure you definitly wanted this cake. Please get back to me by tomorrow and let me know if you are still interested." Got no response!

The order was kinda last minute so I had no time to get a deposit. since I am a teacher and barely making ends meet as it is, I am just afraid that one day I will get burned so I double check with all my orders.

I know communication was a big downfall but I asked her to get back to me on Wednesday and she never did. I am going to email her and tell her she can have a discount on the next order for the incovenience, but I don't knwo how much of my fault it is. I am still getting thihgs going in terms of business and today I set up a Paypal account and will defintely get deposits for ALL orders!

Has this ever happened to you and how did you handle it. I feel so BAD icon_redface.gif

28 replies
-K8memphis Posted 25 Oct 2009 , 5:44pm
post #2 of 29

I forgot one entire order once and it's awful. But I don't know I'm the wrong one to ask about discounts because I think we go discount crazy and I think I'd rather throw in a dozen cookies or cupcakes to their next order or something minimal.

The economy is too tight and the money we earn we really earn and so that's how I'd do it.

Discounted thoughts for you.

kdbobo Posted 25 Oct 2009 , 5:48pm
post #3 of 29

How is it your fault? I'm reading this as: someone contacted you with a price inquiry and that's all you heard from them. You had no way of knowing if she definitely wanted the cake or if she was just price-shopping (and perhaps ordered from someone else). You asked for final confirmation a few days before you had to make it, it didn't come.

Perhaps I am missing something, but I don't see what you could have done differently (or why she deserves a discount). The issue is not that there was no deposit setup. She NEVER PLACED AN ORDER.

Auryn Posted 25 Oct 2009 , 5:49pm
post #4 of 29

Honestly, I don't think you owe her anything.
this mess is her fault not yours.
You didn't forget anything, she never got back to you, sent you no deposit, nothing.
Don't give her any discount. She is a big girl, she can deal with it. The electric company and the cable company don't give you any discounts if you forget to pay your bill.


Like you said, you are barely making ends meet, why should you give up your profit to her??

stop feeling bad, you didn't do anything wrong, you did NOT forget a paid or even confirmed order.
STOP FEELING BAD

Mike1394 Posted 25 Oct 2009 , 5:50pm
post #5 of 29

How is this remotely your fault? How many times did you TRY to get ahold of the lady?

Mike

MikeRowesHunny Posted 25 Oct 2009 , 5:58pm
post #6 of 29

None of what you describe is your fault - NONE OF IT! You asked for a confirmation that she wanted the cake, she didn't confirm, no cake for her, end of story.

Now I really did mess up an order yesterday - I made the wrong flavour cupcake cake (slaps forhead hard)! I took it to the customer, offered to remake it (there was time) or give a discount on the cake in my hands (it was vanilla, should have been chocolate). Customer was very sweet, loved the cake anyway and accepted a 1/3 off the price. That was a deserved discount because she didn't get exactly what she had ordered and still feel really cr*ppy about it!

First time this has happened to me and I'm going to try to make sure it's the last!

sweetsbyjen Posted 25 Oct 2009 , 6:01pm
post #7 of 29

Thanks everyone! After talking with people I know now that I wasn't wrong. My mom suggested the discount but she doesn't know much about the business.

I think her and I both learned through this situation! If she orders again then great if not, there will be others!

Mike, I just emailed her once. I had 5 orders this week which is alot for me on top of a full-time teaching job, pluis a part time gymnastic instructor position on weekends. So maybe some might think it's bad business but I feel that I shouldn't have to email people multiple times to get a confirmation.

Thanks for the encouragment all!

GHOST_USER_NAME Posted 25 Oct 2009 , 6:07pm
post #8 of 29

Hi,

I'm new here, just signed up, and am in the UK. I've only just started to learn about cake decorating etc but hope that if I turn out to have a flair for it, that I will be able to turn it into a side career along side my day job.

Having read your post, I agree with everyone else, that none of it was your fault. You are not obliged to give any discount to this customer, however if you are worried about losing further orders from her (despite it being her error!) I would go with K8memphis- suggestion of a small order of cookies free with their next order as a gesture. Nothing that would make too much of a difference to your profit.

If someone hasn't confirmed that they want to place an order, then you have no responsibility to make the goods. If I were her, I would have been very embarrassed when I realised.

It is very good practice of you to double confirm with your customers that they have agreed to the price and want you to go ahead. I also like the PayPal idea for deposits.

all4cake Posted 25 Oct 2009 , 6:37pm
post #9 of 29

I'd be a lil' confused as a customer (seriously though, it wouldn't take much for me). If I emailed you and placed an order, and you took the order (So, I took a last minute order on Monday for Sunday)and sent me the quote for said order. I'd think that that was all there was to it and that there would be a cake waiting to be picked up. To say also, that if I were conducting business (as a customer) through email, I would make sure that that line of communication remained opened(checked on regularly) until order was picked up...just for situations that might happen and such.

I'm not completely sure if fault is what I'd call it but...

maybe to prevent such a recurrence a message could be posted(if it ain't already) to state that orders are not complete until confirmation email has been sent OSLT.

Rosie2 Posted 25 Oct 2009 , 6:38pm
post #10 of 29
Quote:
Originally Posted by kdbobo

How is it your fault? She NEVER PLACED AN ORDER.


I totally agree with kdbobo, she never placed an order!! you don't owe her anything...
If she placed the order on-line she has a computer and if she doesn't check her email that's not your problem. She could had, at least, give you a call...
NOT your fault...

__Jamie__ Posted 25 Oct 2009 , 8:09pm
post #11 of 29
Quote:
Originally Posted by Mike1394

How is this remotely your fault? How many times did you TRY to get ahold of the lady?

Mike




Not much to add to this. Case closed. I'm sorry, what are you doing here at my door? This is not a drive-by-pick-up-a-cake-at-will-shop.

__Jamie__ Posted 25 Oct 2009 , 8:11pm
post #12 of 29

Ummmmm, confirmation for me is money in the bank wayyyyyy before anyone is supposed to pick up a cake. Tell me you aren't handing them a cake and they are supposed to hand you the full payment at the same time? Ai yi yi.

ApplegumKitchen Posted 25 Oct 2009 , 8:34pm
post #13 of 29

As a totally ... OFF TOPIC comment .... has your life ever been so CRAZY that you took your kid to a fancy dress birthday party... (yes ALL dressed up) .... and knocked at the door of the friends house to find.....

its on NEXT week!!! icon_biggrin.gificon_biggrin.gificon_biggrin.gif

OMG - did I get an ear-bashing from the kid in question ...... ALL the way home

How embarrassing MUM!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! (he was 6 !)

__Jamie__ Posted 25 Oct 2009 , 8:40pm
post #14 of 29
Quote:
Originally Posted by ApplegumKitchen

As a totally ... OFF TOPIC comment .... has your life ever been so CRAZY that you took your kid to a fancy dress birthday party... (yes ALL dressed up) .... and knocked at the door of the friends house to find.....

its on NEXT week!!! icon_biggrin.gificon_biggrin.gificon_biggrin.gif

OMG - did I get an ear-bashing from the kid in question ...... ALL the way home

How embarrassing MUM!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! (he was 6 !)




icon_lol.gificon_redface.gif

costumeczar Posted 25 Oct 2009 , 9:50pm
post #15 of 29
Quote:
Originally Posted by LURVELY

Ummmmm, confirmation for me is money in the bank wayyyyyy before anyone is supposed to pick up a cake. Tell me you aren't handing them a cake and they are supposed to hand you the full payment at the same time? Ai yi yi.




Yes, payment up front or you have no order placed at all. And the kid at the party thing? Imagine this...You dress your child up in their karate uniform so that they can take the test for their next belt level, only to find out that the test was LAST week. So oops, you're not alone! icon_redface.gif

sweetsbyjen Posted 25 Oct 2009 , 9:52pm
post #16 of 29

I understand what your saying allforcake and I will make changes to my business arrangements. Paypal Account is set up TODAY and ready to go. It doesn't matter if it's a deposit of $10 or a deposit of $200, I'm getting deposits for EVERYTHING, even last minute orders! I can't be trusting!

LURVELY- I do take deposits on almost all my cakes (family excluded) but this was a small order and there wasn't much time to send something through "snail mail". (Lesson Learned! TiskTisk).

I check my email about 20 times a day, I guess I just expect everyone else to do the same. She could have just disregarded it. (She never said she didn't get it, she said I didn't think i had to get back to you. When it clearly stated, get back to me either way please!) But if it was a comment on Facebook I'm sure she would have logged-on right away and responded!

If I ordered something or was having a service done for me and communication was through email, I would make sure to check my email before I left the house to make sure everything was still on. Some people don't do that, and that's ok, i have to assume that not everyone is like me from now on.

One thing I've learned, you have to explain everything like your teaching a Kindergarten class, some people don't get it!

__Jamie__ Posted 25 Oct 2009 , 9:57pm
post #17 of 29
Quote:
Originally Posted by sweetsbyjen

One things I've leanred, you have to explain everything like your teaching a Kindergarten class, some people don't get it!




That is entirely too true.

ApplegumKitchen Posted 25 Oct 2009 , 9:58pm
post #18 of 29
Quote:
Originally Posted by costumeczar

Quote:
Originally Posted by LURVELY

Ummmmm, confirmation for me is money in the bank wayyyyyy before anyone is supposed to pick up a cake. Tell me you aren't handing them a cake and they are supposed to hand you the full payment at the same time? Ai yi yi.



Yes, payment up front or you have no order placed at all. And the kid at the party thing? Imagine this...You dress your child up in their karate uniform so that they can take the test for their next belt level, only to find out that the test was LAST week. So oops, you're not alone! icon_redface.gif




HAHA - I feel BETTER now!!

kakethings Posted 25 Oct 2009 , 10:41pm
post #19 of 29
Quote:
Originally Posted by LURVELY

Ummmmm, confirmation for me is money in the bank wayyyyyy before anyone is supposed to pick up a cake. Tell me you aren't handing them a cake and they are supposed to hand you the full payment at the same time? Ai yi yi.





With the economy thing, money up front at least half due a week before. My past experience being a manager six years, people make the order and that day they realize they could do something else with the money.

__Jamie__ Posted 25 Oct 2009 , 10:43pm
post #20 of 29

Oh yeah, I would never ever no matter how bad I needed money allow people to pay when they pick up. Not beating up on you now, OP, just going along with the flow.....I swear, the first time I got stood up for an order or they tried to say "Oh, all I have is $50, can I owe you for the rest. I would lose it.

OfficerMorgan Posted 25 Oct 2009 , 11:19pm
post #21 of 29

Jen, in no way was this your fault! I've had people inquire about orders before, and if I don't hear back, I don't make it. Only once did I have something like this happen to me-sent idea photos to her, she never responded or put a deposit down, so I didn't make the cake. The woman was angry, but it wasn't my problem!

catlharper Posted 25 Oct 2009 , 11:41pm
post #22 of 29

I had something similar happen once. Sent her a quote thru email. No response, no deposit. She called to see when she could come pick the cupcakes up and I stated to her that I had not gotten a response to the quote email and did not recieve a deposit for the cupcakes so figured she had decided to go somewhere else or didn't want them. Since no order was actually placed there was no cupcakes to actually pick up. Her answer? "Oh, I did get the email and just saw the price...I didn't really read the rest of it." I couldn't believe it! Nope, didn't give her a discount, didn't offer to do the cupcakes last minute, just said I was sorry things had not worked out for the order. Surprisingly enough a couple of months later she ordered a cake from me AND this time did pay the deposit and reply to the email. I would have sworn I would never hear from her again.

Good luck, stick to your guns. No reply to a quote means no order, no deposit means no order, no order means no cake.

Cat

luvscakes Posted 25 Oct 2009 , 11:43pm
post #23 of 29

I have to agree that she never placed an order. I would have not apologized- I would have simply said that you contacted her several times and got no response so no cake, and I would have directed her to the nearest bakery with cakes on the shelf.

I make a point to make sure everyone knows that ALL orders must be paid for in advance before they are even added to my calendar. Maybe you can do something like that and even add a signature line at the bottom of any e-mails you send out?

Even with having this stated ALL OVER on my website, I still have people try to walk the fence on this. I don't take orders w/in 7 days, or I charge extra.

Especially where you don't have lots of extra- make them pay before you even buy anything!

milkmaid42 Posted 25 Oct 2009 , 11:56pm
post #24 of 29

All you folks on CC have made an impression on me. Even if it is not a new technique or tip, I am always learning. I took a 1/2 down payment from a lady who sat right across from me and wrote out a check. I can't put my finger on what triggered my suspicions, but drove straight to her bank to cash it. As you can guess, they wouldn't take it. I called her and told her if she wanted me to start on her cake, she needed to redeem her check with cash that night. The cake is due this Wed. and she already knows it will be a cash transaction before she takes it home. I really can't believe the gall of some people to look you in the eye while they write out a check they know won't be good. Sad that things cannot be handled with just a hand shake anymore...

step0nmi Posted 26 Oct 2009 , 12:12am
post #25 of 29

do NOT feel bad about this! I had this totally happen to me...except I was a LOT nicer and tried to track the woman down. just because someone calls you for a cake and thinks that you are like a bakery where you just have cakes on hand and doesn't respond...NO cake, NO discount. this is not your target customer and you shouldn't feel bad about it.

Good luck to you in the future! Do you have some type of option on your website where you can add "First call is not confimation, need deposit 2 weeks in advance" OR have some type of "inquiry" form that people can submit...something that will get your customers to the point that you are not a baker icon_wink.gif

Rosie2 Posted 26 Oct 2009 , 5:05pm
post #26 of 29
Quote:
Originally Posted by ApplegumKitchen

As a totally ... OFF TOPIC comment .... has your life ever been so CRAZY that you took your kid to a fancy dress birthday party... (yes ALL dressed up) .... and knocked at the door of the friends house to find.....

its on NEXT week!!! icon_biggrin.gificon_biggrin.gificon_biggrin.gif

OMG - did I get an ear-bashing from the kid in question ...... ALL the way home

How embarrassing MUM!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! (he was 6 !)


icon_biggrin.gificon_lol.gif
Okay, I have to blame this on my ex...we were invited to one of his friend's wedding...he got the mail, he opened the invitation and he was the one insisting on going because he didn't want to miss his buddy's wedding icon_biggrin.gif...so yeah, we showed up a week late to the wedding icon_lol.gificon_redface.gif
Nope, you're not alone icon_smile.gif

indydebi Posted 26 Oct 2009 , 5:18pm
post #27 of 29

Every quote I send out says "PROPOSAL ONLY until confirmed via email by client." If I don't have an email, followed by a check and a contract, it's not on the books.

costumeczar Posted 26 Oct 2009 , 5:43pm
post #28 of 29
Quote:
Originally Posted by indydebi

Every quote I send out says "PROPOSAL ONLY until confirmed via email by client." If I don't have an email, followed by a check and a contract, it's not on the books.




That's a good point. On the top of the paperwork that I give people, it says in big letters that until they have a copy of the document with my signature on it, they have a proposal, not a contract.

cakesdivine Posted 27 Oct 2009 , 1:31am
post #29 of 29
Quote:
Originally Posted by sweetsbyjen

Thanks everyone! After talking with people I know now that I wasn't wrong. My mom suggested the discount but she doesn't know much about the business.

I think her and I both learned through this situation! If she orders again then great if not, there will be others!

Mike, I just emailed her once. I had 5 orders this week which is alot for me on top of a full-time teaching job, pluis a part time gymnastic instructor position on weekends. So maybe some might think it's bad business but I feel that I shouldn't have to email people multiple times to get a confirmation.

Thanks for the encouragment all!




You sound like me Jen...I work a full time day job, own a dance studio and also, my cake biz....time must me meticulously planned. It is not your fault she dropped the ball. You did all you needed to do.

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