I'm Never Selling A Cake Again! (Long Rant Alert!)

Decorating By snocilla Updated 16 Nov 2009 , 4:04am by tasteebakes

Ruth0209 Posted 10 Nov 2009 , 5:43am
post #121 of 148

I'm sorry to say it, but if I expected something that looked like the first cake, I would be very disappointed. A couple of the tips are, in fact, starting to fall over, the swirls aren't as skilled as the sample, and the icing is not very clean. I can see cake showing through it in spots. I don't want to hurt your feelings because I know you really worked hard on the cake and cared about doing a good job for her. But, I don't think it's a close approximation to the sample.

Did you two discuss the difference in look between fondant and buttercream? I always specifically discuss this when people bring me fondant pictures that they want reproduced in buttercream because it's going to look different no matter how good you are.

It may be in your own best interest to refund her the $40 dollars, but also send her a letter that says if she cashes the check it will serve as her agreement that this issue is resolved to her satisfaction and that she agrees never to contact you again.

makeminepink Posted 10 Nov 2009 , 5:49am
post #122 of 148
Quote:
Originally Posted by KathysCC

You know I read this whole post from start to finish and the one question I have does not seem to be addressed. It seems key to the whole problem. Do any of you think that sending a customer a photo of a cake and telling them you can make something similar is the problem?

The customer repeatedly says that she didn't get what she was expecting from the photo she saw and she is right...the cakes do not look the same.

I learned a long time ago to NEVER show anyone other people's cakes as examples of what I could possibly do AND to not even show photos to give someone cake ideas because:
1. They expect to get EXACTLY the same cake and usually don't understand the concept of artistic freedom.
2. They won't understand if my talent level does not allow me to create the perfect cake in the photo.
3. A buttercream cake can never look like one done in fondant. How many of you have heard the words "I want this exact cake but I want it covered in buttercream, not fondant." Those are scary words to me.

Of course this fear of recreating other people's cakes might be my personal "cake-self-esteem" issues. I'm just wondering if anyone else has a problem with it.




I agree with this. I don't show other people's work either. I would be terrified of not coming close enough. I just don't want our friend here to give up. It's all ok, just give a refund and breath a sigh of relief!

Ruth0209 Posted 10 Nov 2009 , 6:25am
post #123 of 148

I use sample pictures all the time, but I ONLY show pictures I know I can do, and I am very specific with people about where the differences may lie. Good communication on this point is key.

I'm sure everyone here hopes that the OP will not be too discouraged and will keep making cakes and will love doing it. These disappointments and disasters have happened to many of us. Nobody is perfect. Just hold your head up high and move forward.

__Jamie__ Posted 10 Nov 2009 , 6:30am
post #124 of 148
Quote:
Originally Posted by Ruth0209

I use sample pictures all the time, but I ONLY show pictures I know I can do, and I am very specific with people about where the differences may lie. Good communication on this point is key.

I'm sure everyone here hopes that the OP will not be too discouraged and will keep making cakes and will love doing it. These disappointments and disasters have happened to many of us. Nobody is perfect. Just hold your head up high and move forward.




Me too. How could you not? And I duplicate other bakers (famous shops) work all the time. I'd rather design from the ground up on every order, but that just ain't gonna be the case 100 percent of the time.

snocilla Posted 10 Nov 2009 , 10:20am
post #125 of 148

I guess I'll be offering her a refund. Yes, she did specifically ask for buttercream, and I didn't really think to tell her that buttercream will look a lot different than fondant.

costumeczar Posted 10 Nov 2009 , 11:36am
post #126 of 148
Quote:
Originally Posted by snocilla

I guess I'll be offering her a refund. Yes, she did specifically ask for buttercream, and I didn't really think to tell her that buttercream will look a lot different than fondant.




I like the advice to just send it to her with a letter that cashing it means she considers the matter closed, though. Make copies of the letter for yourself, too! Keep everything that she's sent you, print out the emails etc. It sounds like she's got a screw loose to be talking about "limiting contact" etc over a $40 cake, so just document everything.

makeminepink Posted 10 Nov 2009 , 1:26pm
post #127 of 148

_Jamie_! Where did you photos go? They're some of my favorites! icon_smile.gif

Loucinda Posted 10 Nov 2009 , 1:34pm
post #128 of 148

For future reference, I always have photos of cakes I have already done so that there is no misunderstanding of what my style is.

If someone shows me a cake picture that is fondant and wants another medium, I flat tell them it will NOT be the same. I even have a clause that has to do with matching colors (cannot guarantee a match - impossible to do!)

homebasedbaking Posted 10 Nov 2009 , 1:35pm
post #129 of 148

I know the experience you had is an unhappy one and no one wants to think their product/service is less than what they want to deliver, but not pleasing a customer is a part of life. No really, if you go through life never disappointing anyone you will never learn humility, how to adjust to and tolerate the negative and become humble.

There are times when life needs to show us things and if nothing ever goes wrong we do not learn. I welcome errors and upsets, learn and grow from them.

Don't beat up on yourself, just learn from the experience and if selling cakes is one of your passions, go for it. Don't think "oh I'll just give the cake away and in that way if anyone is upset, they didn't pay for it anyway!" NO WAY....

That's a cop-out. If you are going to be in business and serve the public, get ready for whatever they dish out. You are a professional, and even if you don't think you are...you will be... so...as I always say...learn to bake in Stiletto heals...tall, confident and with a true sense of pride. Now get out there and try, try again. Nothing beats a failure but a try!

Win Posted 10 Nov 2009 , 3:26pm
post #130 of 148
Quote:
Originally Posted by costumeczar

Quote:
Originally Posted by snocilla

I guess I'll be offering her a refund. Yes, she did specifically ask for buttercream, and I didn't really think to tell her that buttercream will look a lot different than fondant.



I like the advice to just send it to her with a letter that cashing it means she considers the matter closed, though. Make copies of the letter for yourself, too! Keep everything that she's sent you, print out the emails etc. It sounds like she's got a screw loose to be talking about "limiting contact" etc over a $40 cake, so just document everything.




I second the motion. The $40.00 refund is certainly worth your peace of mind!

homebasedbaking Posted 10 Nov 2009 , 3:36pm
post #131 of 148

I must agree a refund is in order and a number of good words to the wise were provided:

Use photos....photography your work...always
Put the order in writing, specify exactly what the customer wants...and give it to them just that way.
If you are just starting out...provide a listing and photos of the cakes you do until you have mastered others.
Look, masterful decorating takes time, patience and practice...

Good luck in the future!

snocilla Posted 10 Nov 2009 , 4:27pm
post #132 of 148

I'm going to send a refund check with a letter of apology. Any suggestions on how to word it? Should I say that in the future I will discuss any changes with the customer beforehand, use better support etc, etc? Also, should I bother mentioning that by my serving chart it should have been plenty?

Thank you all again!

cakesbycathy Posted 10 Nov 2009 , 4:37pm
post #133 of 148

Keep it short and sweet.
"Dear Customer,
I am very sorry you were unhappy with your cake. I am sending you a full refund. By cashing this check you agree that this matter is closed.
Sincerely,"

IMO if you try and explain yourself anymore or refute any of her points it will just drag the whole thing on. Give the refund and move on. icon_smile.gif

OMGitsaLisa Posted 10 Nov 2009 , 4:42pm
post #134 of 148
Quote:
Originally Posted by snocilla

I'm going to send a refund check with a letter of apology. Any suggestions on how to word it? Should I say that in the future I will discuss any changes with the customer beforehand, use better support etc, etc? Also, should I bother mentioning that by my serving chart it should have been plenty?

Thank you all again!




I don't know that much of an apology is needed other than a general "sorry you were disappointed with what you received" and I personally would probably mention that according to your serving chart, the number of servings were there. Of course, I just can't resist being right, so I don't know if that would actually be the best course. It would probably just prompt her to pray for you some more or something.

But really, take it as a learning experience - now you know that your cakes have to go in boxes on thicker boards. You also know a lot of the pitfalls that await you in terms of customer expectations vs. what you consider basic understanding of cakes so you'll be able to address those in the future.

Hugs all around.

homebasedbaking Posted 10 Nov 2009 , 4:52pm
post #135 of 148

Each of us has, at one time or another, said or done something that we wish we hadn't said or done. Rather than dwell on the mistake take quick action to remedy the problem and then get on with life.

An effective letter of apology can help turn "lemons into lemonade" and actually improve a relationship. Here are a few suggestions to help you write a good one.

ACTIONS. Rather than focusing on the damage you have caused, write about things you will do to rectify the situation.

Be BRIEF. Keep your apology letter short and to the point.

SINCERITY. No one wants to read overly dramatic language. Choose your words carefully and express yourself clearly and simply.

TONE. Your apology letter should be considerate and respectful. You are trying to rebuild a damaged relationship.

BLAME. Take full responsibility for what you have done.

Do not use this letter, but this is one I post in my class. Don't feel obligated to offer up the free sampler cake. Do it only if you think she is a valued customer, otherwise the refund and apology is sufficient.

Dear Mrs. X,

The purpose of this letter is to convey to you my sincere apologies for any inconvenience you may have experienced last month concerning the birthday cake for your daughter.

I accept full responsibility for not providing the cake you requested and enclosed a full refund in the amount of $40.00. Because of this serious oversight, and as a testament to my appreciation of you as our customer, I am going to provide you with a complimentary butter cream cake on November 25th.

Mrs. X let me assure you that what happened in your case is not typical of my cake decorating services or the level of customer service I exhibit. I am committed to providing you and all of my customers with the highest standards of service.

If you have any questions please don't hesitate to call me at (phone number).


Yours in service,

Signature

***I hope this is helpful. You are stressing, I can tell. Get it written and move on..the week is still young.

kelleym Posted 10 Nov 2009 , 5:14pm
post #136 of 148
Quote:
Originally Posted by cakesbycathy

Keep it short and sweet.
"Dear Customer,
I am very sorry you were unhappy with your cake. I am sending you a full refund. By cashing this check you agree that this matter is closed.
Sincerely,"

IMO if you try and explain yourself anymore or refute any of her points it will just drag the whole thing on. Give the refund and move on. icon_smile.gif




Yes. This is what you should do.

Rosa2745 Posted 10 Nov 2009 , 5:46pm
post #137 of 148

It would probably just prompt her to pray for you some more or something.

LOL icon_lol.gif
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__Jamie__ Posted 10 Nov 2009 , 5:49pm
post #138 of 148
Quote:
Originally Posted by Rosa2745

It would probably just prompt her to pray for you some more or something.

LOL icon_lol.gif
[/b]


icon_lol.gif

costumeczar Posted 10 Nov 2009 , 7:41pm
post #139 of 148
Quote:
Originally Posted by kelleym

Quote:
Originally Posted by cakesbycathy

Keep it short and sweet.
"Dear Customer,
I am very sorry you were unhappy with your cake. I am sending you a full refund. By cashing this check you agree that this matter is closed.
Sincerely,"

IMO if you try and explain yourself anymore or refute any of her points it will just drag the whole thing on. Give the refund and move on. icon_smile.gif



Yes. This is what you should do.




Agreed, have this be the end, and don't offer anything extra! This should be the last cake you do for this customer, too.

Mensch Posted 10 Nov 2009 , 7:48pm
post #140 of 148

Why not do another cake for the customer? It's not the customer's fault the OP didn't deliver, and refused (at the beginning) to own up to her failure. If I were this particular customer I sure wouldn't be ordering another cake from the OP.

kelleym Posted 10 Nov 2009 , 7:52pm
post #141 of 148
Quote:
Originally Posted by Mensch

Why not do another cake for the customer? It's not the customer's fault the OP didn't deliver, and refused (at the beginning) to own up to her failure. If I were this particular customer I sure wouldn't be ordering another cake from the OP.




So why make her a free cake? A refund is quite sufficient in my eyes.

snocilla Posted 10 Nov 2009 , 7:53pm
post #142 of 148

I didn't refuse to own up to anything! All I asked was that she send me a picture! After looking at the picture I said that I can see what she was talking about and now I am sending her a refund!

Yes, I refuse to believe that it was not 20 servings. And I stated in the beginning that it was not the exact star shape! And no, it wasn't cracked when I delivered it, which is why I asked to see pictures!

Mensch Posted 10 Nov 2009 , 7:54pm
post #143 of 148

I didn't mean a free cake, I meant another, legitimate, order. Sorry for the confusion. When costumeczar wrote not to do another cake for her, I just thought She meant another paid order.

costumeczar Posted 10 Nov 2009 , 8:01pm
post #144 of 148
Quote:
Originally Posted by Mensch

I didn't mean a free cake, I meant another, legitimate, order. Sorry for the confusion. When costumeczar wrote not to do another cake for her, I just thought She meant another paid order.




No, you're right, I did mean to not take any more orders from her. I've learned through many years of working in retail that people who aren't happy with one thing will still come back and complain about other things, so I guess I just skip the in-between steps now and go to "don't bother with the aggravation!"

I doubt that she'd call for another cake, but if she did I'd just say that I'd feel better referring her out to another baker who might be able to fill her needs better, or some other phrase like that icon_smile.gif

snocilla Posted 10 Nov 2009 , 8:04pm
post #145 of 148

...And I agree with Costumeczar... If she was not happy with this cake, chances are she will not be happy with another cake that I make.

erinalicia Posted 10 Nov 2009 , 8:39pm
post #146 of 148

I think you're doing the right thing to just send her a short and simple note to apologize and give her the refund providing that when she accepts the refund the issue is over. I'd then never deal with this lady again. Some people are never going to be happy no matter what you do for them.

kimmerly1966 Posted 10 Nov 2009 , 8:51pm
post #147 of 148

I think that she needs to learn to spell...But on a serious note, I feel bad for you, I have that problem when doing cakes because they all come out a little bit differently but so far have only done them for people that are close friends icon_smile.gif And for free so lol

tasteebakes Posted 16 Nov 2009 , 4:04am
post #148 of 148

I think the fork was placed beside it to indicate the size of the cake.

I never show anyone pictures of someone elses cake BUT I do tell them they are welcome to look online (or elsewhere, is there an elsewhere?) and send me the pictures and a I will design a cake similar to it. I explain to them that no two decorator's cakes will ever look exactly alike (and that that is a good thing)

That said, the two cakes are similar, yet completely different! I do believe if you had explained this to her a little more clearly there may have been less surprise? You definitely have to point out to a customer when a cake is fondant and they insist on buttercream (or worse, whipped icing) that there will be major differences!

Don't be discouraged! I love your Hannah Montan Star and it's exactly the type of star I would have made. (Use a shape pan when I can carv?..*gasp*...)

I have also learned that the board is possibly The most important part of any cake! I never skimp on board costs!

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