snocilla Posted 3 Nov 2009 , 2:27pm
post #1 of

I really have to rant for a minute.... I usually don't sell cakes. After seeing a bunch of my cakes, a lady that I don't know asked me to sell her a cake for her special needs daughter's birthday. I agreed, and after discussing some ideas, I sent her a picture of several cakes, and said that I could do something SIMILAR to one of them. She picked a pink star shaped cake with black scrolls on it.
It was done with the Wilton star shaped pan. I didn't have that pan (and I don't really like how fat the star is anyway) so I used an 8 " square cake and carved out triangles and added them back to make the points. Here is the template I used:
http://www.cakecentral.com/modules.php?name=gallery&file=displayimage&pid=663133

She said it needed to feed 20 people. A 2-layer 8" square serves 32 according to Wilton, so I figured I would have plenty despite the small peices that were discarded to form the star.

I delivered the cake last night, and the lady wasn't there. Her 16 year old daughter was there and said in these exact words "It's beautiful, Becca [her sister, the birthday girl] is going to love it! The husband took it into the kitchen and the daughter gave me $40 for it.

This morning I get this email:

Stacey,
I have never felt compelled to send such and email but here it goes, I am not happy with the cake that was left at my house. In fact, I am quite upset. Had I been at my home when you came buy, I would not have purchased this product. This cake is clearly NOT worth the $40.00 that you were paid. This cake did not look like the cake in the picture that you sent to my email address.

As I told you, the reason I wanted to purchase a professional cake was since it was a special birthday for my daughter. The cake that you did leave at my home is cracked, the writing is coming off, it is not the same shape as the email picture you sent forward and the board under the cake is bent. Since there was no cover provided, and it is in this shape, I am extremely worried about transporting it to the school. I don't think I could even put suran wrap on it without it doing further harm to it. Had I known was the product that you deliver, I would have ordered my daughter's cake from the grocer or ordered the cake through a grocer to get a better quality.

I relayed to you that this cake was the main feature for my daughter's birthday and would be shared with her special needs classmates. Most are able to see quite well, therefore, I am disappointed that I am not going to be able to serve the cake that was delivered. I purchased this cake based on the picture of cakes that you sent to my email prior to my order.

Additionally, your email stated that this cake would serve 20 but this cake will not. I am praying that I can stop by the store in the morning and pick up a cake and have her name written on it to bring buy here school.

Right now...all I can do is pray, both about this situation and for you.
Sincerely yours,
XXXXXXXXXX

I am so hurt and upset! Unfortunately, I forgot to take a picture before I delivered it, but I know the cake was not cracked and the letters were not falling off, nor was the board bent! And I also know it should feed at least 25 (probably close to 30)!

147 replies
chefjulie Posted 3 Nov 2009 , 2:37pm
post #2 of

You are not responsible for the cake after you deliver it. If it were THAT important to the mother, she should have been there to accept delivery. Any number of things could have happened after you dropped it off.
I will say that I DO have a hard time imagining a carved 8" CARVED cake serving 20 people. Actually, just to double check, I went and looked at the wilton party cake baking chart and it shows a 2 layer 8" square as serving 20- so you probably did short her on the cake.

JenniferMI Posted 3 Nov 2009 , 2:38pm
post #3 of

Ohhhh..... how disappointing. I wish you had pics to show us. If she says the icing was cracked, one possible thing that happened could have been the base was not sturdy enough. If there is any play in the base, it will create tiny surface cracks.

Sometimes it can be hard to recreate from a picture. If I am doing that, I try very hard to be exact (to what they have seen). The shape may have been off since you didn't use the same pan. I'm so sorry this happened to you.... please don't let it discourage you from trying again.

32 is pushing it from an 8" in my opinion.... I know what Wilton says...but that is a wedding cake chart, which generally for party cakes, one cuts the pieces larger. I would say 15-20 out of an 8" but if you are cutting any away...you have to be very careful.

Again, I'm so sorry this happened...it really can take the wind out of one's sails.... Try again....don't let this one instance ruin your passion....

Jen icon_smile.gif

KHalstead Posted 3 Nov 2009 , 2:41pm
post #4 of

I would ask her to bring the cake back and apologize and return the $40.00 once the cake is returned!

I really hate that she keeps saying she's going to pray for you, while she's belittling you.

"Most are able to see quite well, therefore, I am disappointed that I am not going to be able to serve the cake that was delivered"

Like that's not a direct insult!!!! People who genuinely "pray" for other people do it from a good place in their heart wanting only good for the person being prayed for, this woman is obviously not doing that!
I would tell her that I'm sorry you were unhappy, explain to her that in order to charge her the "discounted" price of $40.00 you had to carve the shape yourself so that she wouldn't be charged the extra amount it would have cost you to purchase the specialty pan that would only be used ONCE. Also tell her to bring the cake back, that maybe you can fix it to her liking (if she says no, then just tell her to bring it back) and then offer the money back (only if she returns the whole cake), if she return NONE or some of the cake I would only offer a partial refund and MAYBE a coupon for a future order.

Elaine2581 Posted 3 Nov 2009 , 2:42pm
post #5 of

I'm soooo sorry to read your story. People really have no idea how much time and love is involved in our baking and decorating. I've only baked for friends and family and am now doing my first wedding and groom's cakes. I know the groom and his family but just met the bride when I allowed them to come to my home and taste some cakes. They were very complimentary but reading or your experience and others makes me think I'll sort of be glad when it's all behind me. I believe that we have to just always do our best and leave the results in the hands of the Lord. I know it hurts and we all hate to disappoint anyone. Just try to learn something, put it behind you and move on. I also would not offer a refund because it sounds like you did earn what you were paid.

creatingcakes Posted 3 Nov 2009 , 2:45pm
post #6 of

I would call her and ask to see the cake so you can fix it- I would say that if she didn't contact you as soon as she got home, then she is looking for a free cake- I have had that happen, and they recanted after I told them that I was on my way to fix it, go figure. icon_rolleyes.gif I know how much it breaks down your self esteem though, but don't let it get you down! Good luck, I hope it works out! icon_wink.gif

majka_ze Posted 3 Nov 2009 , 2:47pm
post #7 of

I hope you did take few things to remember from this:

1. Take the photo

2. When selling cakes, be prepared for unpleasant people. Some have something like "lord/lady of the manor mentality" - they pay you and you are their servant or worse yet a their slave. These people will find fault in the best cake you or anybody else can make...

3. Write the name of this lady down and never ever make another cake for her. Let her go through the bakery. She will find faults there too...

I did quick count of the servings in the cake - there are approx. 27 servings left, sized 1" x 2". Lets call it 25 to be safe and she still got more cake then needed.

Did she mention that she will transport the cake to the school? I have no idea why it should be your concern, unless she asked to prepare the cake for the transport. If somebody asks me, I do it for them (I prepared cakes to be transported 100 miles away in summer). But the customer is still an adult and needs to take care for their part. In the before mentioned case I said to the lady she needs to run AC in her car - she had almost frozen, because she was too careful. But usually I prepare the cakes to be transported few blocks, not the super careful packing the long distances get.

sahrow Posted 3 Nov 2009 , 2:52pm
post #8 of

Ask her to bring you the cake and return her money.
or
offer to fix it

I wonder how big the servings need to be for those children. A 2 layer that size should be enough.

snocilla Posted 3 Nov 2009 , 2:58pm
post #9 of

Thank you all for the support. It makes me feel a lot better!

I did ask her to send me a picture of the cake so that I could see the cracks, letters falling off, etc. She hasn't replied back yet.

I thought about using the party servings instead of the wedding servings, and using a 10 in square instead of 8 in, but I always use the wedding size for my own family and friend's parties and there always seems to be plenty. So I figured using the wedding size was fine.

Majka_ke - She mentioned it would be for the class, but I was (and still am) under the impression that the school is very local. I guess I could have packaged it different, but I did it the same way I normally do, and I usually drive cakes pretty far with no problems.

My husband says that there's no way I should give her a refund, and she hasn't specifically asked for one, but I do think she is implying that she wants one.

majka_ze Posted 3 Nov 2009 , 3:01pm

One more point - I did the count again - she can get 20 servings, sized just slightly below 2" x 1.5" - exactly it would be ca. 2" x 1.4".

I would forgot about it. Write her to bring the cake, give her the money back and wish her luck in the bakery.

__Jamie__ Posted 3 Nov 2009 , 3:01pm

Ah, the cheaper the cake, the bigger the gripers. Should be a good opportunity for you to start setting a minimum order. I wouldn't carving on anything for less than $100. In fact, I recently went to a minimum $100 for anything, period. It is just not worth it work that long for less than that. Really, does anybody really get any satisfaction out of two 20 dollar bills??

And tell her to pray for herself. People that truly pray for others don't feel compelled to shout it to the world that they are doing so. Ugh!

__Jamie__ Posted 3 Nov 2009 , 3:07pm

And, I really would have done that cake from a 10". Cake muggles have not a clue how to cut and serve. Without providing a proper cutting diagram, I (if I were a muggle) would have thought it was too small as well. icon_wink.gif

snocilla Posted 3 Nov 2009 , 3:08pm

Jamie, you changed your name back icon_smile.gif What made you decide to do that?

I think you're right though, I shouldn't carve for that little, but since I don't normally sell at all, I didn't want to over do it. Lesson learned!

__Jamie__ Posted 3 Nov 2009 , 3:12pm

Oh I regained a bit of my anonymity back (removed my watermarked pics with biz name)....figured I could use my name again! Feels good! Yay!

KHalstead Posted 3 Nov 2009 , 3:17pm

chalkin one up to the psycho radar or something Jamie? Sounds almost as if you had a stalker after you!

Win Posted 3 Nov 2009 , 3:24pm

I hate that this has happened and is, obviously, upsetting. Do you have her phone number? I would immediately call her and ask her to return the cake for a full refund. Otherwise, she will use it and still expect a refund claiming she had not other choice (when we all know groceries have cakes ready to go.)

I notice the template you used is designed to be used with a 10" cake... might have been a slight error in size judgment on your part as most people do not envision a slice of cake being those of Wilton proportions.

Otherwise, I like what KHalstead has to offer for advice:

Quote:
Quote:

I would tell her that I'm sorry you were unhappy, explain to her that in order to charge her the "discounted" price of $40.00 you had to carve the shape yourself so that she wouldn't be charged the extra amount it would have cost you to purchase the specialty pan that would only be used ONCE. Also tell her to bring the cake back, that maybe you can fix it to her liking (if she says no, then just tell her to bring it back) and then offer the money back (only if she returns the whole cake), if she return NONE or some of the cake I would only offer a partial refund and MAYBE a coupon for a future order.




Try not to let it ruin your day, but I know that it is easier said than done.

snocilla Posted 3 Nov 2009 , 3:31pm

Thank you all again! Unfortunately, the party is today, so I'm sure that she has already either taken it or gotten another cake (which I doubt). So, I can't offer to fix it. If she did use it, I'm sure she'll tell me that she can't return it because they threw it away or something.

Pookie59 Posted 3 Nov 2009 , 3:33pm

Personally, for a kid's birthday I would not use the wedding cake serving size as a guideline. Consequently, I think an 8" cake is way too small for 20 people. She was likely expecting to be able to serve a healthy wedge to each child rather than a tiny dessert size piece. (With my relatives, if I tried to serve a wedding size piece of cake at a family birthday, they'd think I was nuts. They expect a good size piece and probably want seconds.)

As to the look of the cake, it's all a matter of expectations. She wanted something close to the pictures; apparently she liked the look of a "fat" star from the shaped pan; that's what she wanted (and didn't get). Any deviation from what she expected probably should have been explained to her in advance.

Also, I can't imagine not putting a birthday cake in a box. I've never done that.

__Jamie__ Posted 3 Nov 2009 , 4:04pm
Quote:
Originally Posted by KHalstead

chalkin one up to the psycho radar or something Jamie? Sounds almost as if you had a stalker after you!




judge.gificon_lol.gif

-K8memphis Posted 3 Nov 2009 , 4:07pm

Was the cake 3-4 inches tall?

I mean you used all the whole cake right? You cut pieces out and made the tips of the stars with the cut out pieces right?

I think 20 servings out of that is fine. I can't find it but I'm sure the Wilton party chart is at least 20 servings for an eight inch square.

The lady was rude bordering on psycho-ness.

If she never ever writes emails like that then she's been saving it up and hammered you with all her pent up angst. Hey if she doesn't like it she doesn't like it. She's off kilter to be so condemning. I know that's a strong word but it's like you trampled her flower garden or vandalized her property or something. And of course that did not happen.

She's put your face on some other issue she's dealing with aka w.h.a.c.k.o

-K8memphis Posted 3 Nov 2009 , 4:14pm

I mean even wilton's party chart says the 8" square serves 20--so all the pieces were used in the design--nothing was discarded right? It's close but between the 32 wedding and the 20 party servings the servings are completely there--

Guys, a celebration cake is not a family cake. If people want oversize or additional servings they order more cake.

I think op did good in that regard. I mean she can take chicklette to the industry standard and show her in no uncertain terms that the servings were indeed there --so long as the cake was two layer and three to four inches tall.

***edited to say--oh oh oh you did discard some cake--I see that now in the diagram--you still have it wedding size servings though and it's not a family dinner party--it's for a classroom

Lenette Posted 3 Nov 2009 , 4:22pm

I agree that the servings as explained were sufficient. This lady is just being flat out nasty. And her remark about "praying for you" further proves that she lacks a true Christian nature.

I do encourage you to take pics in the future but hey it happens to us all. I had a lady totally go off on me about a cake she was unspecific about. Later I found that her gesture toward her husband's ex-wife were dismissed and she took it out on me. That's life, chalk it up, you can't please everyone.

I am interested in knowing what happened to the cake that it was in such bad shape when she saw it. icon_rolleyes.gif

I mean honestly, what kid let alone a classroom full of kids are able to pick out the flaws in a cake? She is being dramatic on that part. All the kids see is CAKE!!

Keep your head up! icon_smile.gif

snocilla Posted 3 Nov 2009 , 4:34pm

K8Memphis - Yes it was a good 4 inches tall, but yes there was some that was discarded. But I figured in total, I discarded maybe 4 wedding size pieces. I think if I do sell another one, I will go ahead and use one size larger than what I think is enough.

-K8memphis Posted 3 Nov 2009 , 4:36pm

If one size larger is starting with a 9"--yeah cool--but cutting a 10" square is too big in my opinion.

icon_biggrin.gif

CarolAnn Posted 3 Nov 2009 , 4:40pm

Perhaps you could/should have explained to her how the "fat" star she was seeing in the picture would be different since you didn't have that particular pan. I don't remember what the Wilton star pan looks like but I have to say that if I were planning on a fat (perhaps rounded/puffy) star cake and got a sharper pointed star I'd be upset too. If it's what I show a potential client and what they want, then I have to make as close to that as I possibly can whether I favor the style or not. I favor the elongated county/primative style star myself, but I wouldn't make that style if a client wanted another style. Most people will cut a round cake in wedges. Need more servings. then the wedges get smaller/thinner. Whenever an odd/irregular shape/size cake is presented I feel special instructions needs to be provided for cutting said cake, otherwise the server won't have a clue as to how to cut it to get the servings needed.

I deliver all cakes in boxes/containers suitable for transport and storage. If the cake is going to someone from whom I cannot expect to get the container back it goes out in a cake box. I've been able to reuse my full sheet and half sheet boxes and boards because I get them back from the clients. Cake boxes are cheap and more professional looking than a cake in a cardboard box with plastic over it. Cakes should always go out in a clean closed container, even if it's just going across the street.

Texas_Rose Posted 3 Nov 2009 , 4:43pm

I just can't believe that someone would send you an email like that, it's one of the rudest emails I have ever seen.

Is it possible that her kids were picking up the cake and carrying it around to show each other? I could imagine kids doing that, and maybe someone almost dropping the cake or setting it down half on top of something, and then not wanting to tell their mom that they had damaged it (seeing as she is one scary woman), so saying it arrived that way. What kind of board was it on?

__Jamie__ Posted 3 Nov 2009 , 4:45pm
Quote:
Originally Posted by CarolAnn

but I have to say that if I were planning on a fat (perhaps rounded/puffy) star cake and got a sharper pointed star I'd be upset too.


Yes, I agree there. I am pretty persnickity about details.

Quote:
Originally Posted by CarolAnn

Cakes should always go out in a clean closed container, even if it's just going across the street.


Yes! So true. A little off topic here, but I heard a commercial this morning for carpet cleaning service. They emphasized the fact that their employees show up in uniform and that they are screened pre employment. That's cool, saying we're professionals, and our people are gonna show up looking that way!

Texas_Rose Posted 3 Nov 2009 , 4:48pm
Quote:
Originally Posted by CarolAnn

Cake boxes are cheap and more professional looking than a cake in a cardboard box with plastic over it. Cakes should always go out in a clean closed container, even if it's just going across the street.




Not trying to jack the thread, but all of the cake boxes I have encountered were really flimsy and/or not tall enough. Most of the time I use a brand new moving box cut to size and then tape waxed paper over the top, because the cake boxes I've bought just don't seem strong enough. These are the ones from the craft store or walmart, would the ones at the cake decorating supply shop be stronger?

newmansmom2004 Posted 3 Nov 2009 , 5:00pm

This woman could have been much less hateful and just said she wasn't happy with the cake and she'd like to return it for her money back, but she obviously felt the need to be rude and obnoxious about it. Not all customers are like this so don't get discouraged. This woman is probably this way in every aspect of her life; we call people like this ugly Americans.

Pookie hit on a couple things that came to mind instantly:

Wedding cake servings are not the same size as party cake servings so if you're doing a party cake - go by the 2" x 2" guidelines, not the 1" x 2". I had no idea there was a difference when I started making cakes until someone else pointed it out to me. Also, I ALWAYS tell people that the servings are based on the slice being 1" x 2" or 2" x 2", depending on the event. That way they know not to cut big honkin chunks of cake like they would at home then get ticked when their cake for 100 only feeds 30.

The other thing is you must deliver in a cake box! I know it's an additional expense but it really protects the cake and makes for a much more professional appearance. Even if you deliver a pristine cake anything can happen to it after you deliver it if it's not in a box. Someone's hair could fall on it or they could bump it when looking at it and knock something off, their cat could jump up on the counter and lick it. Next thing you know the customer is calling because there's something wrong with the cake.

Lenette Posted 3 Nov 2009 , 5:03pm

My suggestion to the OP is to put cakes in a box whenever possible. I will say that I do not deliver 3-4 tier wedding cakes in a box. I have also done 2D cakes that were 30 inches long and that was also delivered w/o a box.

Whenever possible a box is a professional presentation but in my experience it is not always feasible.

Also, try brpboxshop. I have used their boxes and they are more sturdy than say Wilton boxes (which are crap IMO). They are priced decently too. I have used moving boxes for odd shapes and such in a pinch.

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