Two Firsts - Both Horrible (Long)

Decorating By sugarandslice Updated 2 Dec 2009 , 12:05pm by -K8memphis

sugarandslice Posted 26 Nov 2009 , 5:49am
post #1 of 33

It's been a few days and I feel like I've got a little perspective and so am ready to share my two unpleasant 'firsts'

Last Saturday I had to deliver my first cupcake tower (in my pics) and I was so pleased with how it went considering the blasting heat we had and the humidity - my fondant was a little shiny but otherwise fine. I'd made the large monogram "W" for the top of the top 2-tier cake a few days earlier and had even made a spare one just in case. Due to the humidity one of the two cracked before I even left home. So I set up the display at the party venue (clients weren't there), and took my photos. I was just about to leave when I noticed that the stand wasn't centered on the table. I moved the stand and the big "W" came toppling down, fell on the table and broke!!! icon_cry.gif

After a few 'choice' words I tried gluing it but it was way too heavy for that. So then I worked out that if I put a toothpick in one broken bit and eased the other bit on then it might still look like a "W". That was OK but to get it to stand on the top of the cake I had to put extra supports behind it which you could see from the front. I can't tell you how disappointed I was with myself. It was my first cake disaster and I drove home in tears.

The very next morning I emailed the client, explained to her what happened and apologised profusely. I was very nervous about the 'blasting' she might give me but kept telling myself that I had to be a grown up and just brave it out; I had caused the cake to be less than perfect and I was completely happy to compensate the client for that.

Two days later I still hadn't heard anything from her. I still needed to get my cupcake stand back from her and give her back the $50 deposit for it. I'd also decided to refund $25 for my mistake. I ended up sending her a text to ask her when I could pick up my stand. She texted back saying to come to her house Wed afternoon (yesterday) at 4pm. I turned up with her money in an envelope and my heart in my throat, but had decided that I wasn't going to say anything about the error if she didn't; I'd already apologised and this would be her second opportunity to tell me what she thought.

She was a little strange when I got to her house (I'd never met her before so didn't know if this was normal for her), she gave me the stand, I gave her the envelope with $75 dollars in it and I left.

It wasn't till I got home that I realised my stand had been damaged! It's a brand new acrylic stand which I'd bought especially for this order (and she knew that) and they had obviously put candles on some of the cupcakes which has partially melted and dis-coloured parts of the stand!!! To say I was upset would be a massive understatement. I got over the fact that my stand was damaged fairly quickly: I figure if you put your personal stuff out in the public domain you have to cop it on the chin if it gets damaged. What I'm most upset about is that she said NOTHING and took the deposit back knowing full well she'd damaged the stand. At least that explains her odd demeanour when I went to her house. I can't believe that someone would behave so badly after I'd gone out of my way to: a) do the order when I was already really busy b) buy special equipment just for her order, and c) apologise profusely when a (let's face it) minor thing went wrong.

I just can't believe that she took the deposit AND the extra cash without a word. I understand that accidents happen but, for the sake of all that's good, own up to it, behave like an adult and APOLOGISE

As you can probably tell, I'm still really upset by this. I just wish people would treat each other with a bit of respect.

OK, rant over. Deep breath and..... icon_biggrin.gif

32 replies
Mensch Posted 26 Nov 2009 , 5:51am
post #2 of 33

Why didn't you thoroughly check the stand before you gave her the money?

DetailsByDawn Posted 26 Nov 2009 , 5:58am
post #3 of 33

Awwww, that just plain sucks. Lesson learned, you'll always check first from now on, but I can't imagine being in the right frame of mind when you're so worried about a client being upset. Hugs to you, hope you feel better.

Ruth0209 Posted 26 Nov 2009 , 6:04am
post #4 of 33

Well that just sucks. It shows who is the better person here. Take it as a lesson learned.

sugarandslice Posted 26 Nov 2009 , 6:04am
post #5 of 33

That's exactly right Dawn, I guess I was so nervous about her being angry with me that I didn't think to check it. Stupid me!

indydebi Posted 26 Nov 2009 , 6:10am
post #6 of 33

what makes this whole deal so crappy is you were very upfront with her about what happened at your end ... and she just left you high and dry on what happened at her end.

People.....they're the WORST!

sugarandslice Posted 26 Nov 2009 , 8:05am
post #7 of 33

Thanks for your empathy and understanding folks. I really appreciate it.

Donnabugg Posted 26 Nov 2009 , 4:20pm
post #8 of 33

YOU did the right thing and owned up to your mistake! Way to be the bigger person icon_smile.gif

laidbackluvvie Posted 26 Nov 2009 , 8:03pm
post #9 of 33

some people just dont have any scruples

Jeep_girl816 Posted 26 Nov 2009 , 8:34pm
post #10 of 33

I always try to just believe in karma, what comes around goes around. You at least have integrity and that's an important trait and you will become more successful and a better business person because of it.

ApplegumKitchen Posted 26 Nov 2009 , 8:51pm
post #11 of 33

Would the $50 have covered the damage/replacement to your stand?

If not, you need to increase your deposit to make sure that it will !

I can bet that you will NEVER leave a clients place again without fully checking the stand icon_biggrin.gif so...... I think it was a good lesson learnt

You need to treat everybody like they are set to rip you off ...and be surprised by the ones that don't !!

I am constantly surprised by PEOPLE !! amd what they do !

cylstrial Posted 26 Nov 2009 , 10:18pm
post #12 of 33

Aww...I'm sorry that happened to you! She definitely should have told you about the stand. But I think that's why she didn't "blast" you about the mongramed letter - because she knew that she had really messed up the stand.

costumeczar Posted 26 Nov 2009 , 11:33pm
post #13 of 33

I don't know if they have the Mr. Clean magic erasers in Australia, but if you try one of those, or a microfiber cleaning cloth, you might be able to get the burn marks off. I'm sorry that happened, people can be very sneaky!

sugarandslice Posted 27 Nov 2009 , 12:38am
post #14 of 33

Thanks for the tip about Mr Clean, I'll look for it. Unfortunately she's already tried to get the dark burn marks off with a scourer and scratched the surface in one place.
It's pretty much ruined, I think.
Oh well, there's $120 down the drain.

Kiddiekakes Posted 27 Nov 2009 , 1:28am
post #15 of 33

Sorry this happened but your damage deposit should have been at least $120.00.I also would have not said anything about the topper unless she brought it up and wanted any kind of refund...Definetly check your stands before you give back any deposit next time.The $50.00 would have been the rental fee over and above the deposit....Hard lessons to learn aren't they!

costumeczar Posted 27 Nov 2009 , 1:41am
post #16 of 33
Quote:
Originally Posted by sugarandslice

Thanks for the tip about Mr Clean, I'll look for it. Unfortunately she's already tried to get the dark burn marks off with a scourer and scratched the surface in one place.
It's pretty much ruined, I think.
Oh well, there's $120 down the drain.




icon_sad.gif

sugarandslice Posted 27 Nov 2009 , 7:48am
post #17 of 33

I was talking to my sister about this today and she thought I should write the client a letter and basically include a bill for the $50. I know it's really after the fact, but I figure it can't hurt to try. Right?
I'll let you know if i ever hear from this woman again. icon_rolleyes.gif

-K8memphis Posted 27 Nov 2009 , 10:37am
post #18 of 33

A couple ideas for you-- For going forward with your rentals-- An idea is to collect the $120 damage deposit on the stand--if it's a check, cash the check and get a money order or cashier's check to sit on--don't sit on a personal check.

Then you will refund $70 when it's returned in good shape--you keep $50 for rental.

But maybe you can cover it with cloth or something now, flowers, leaves and beautify it in someway too so it can still be reused I hope

When you need to apologize make one apology work. "Apolgizing profusely'" sometimes creates more problems I think. Just a thought.

She should return the equipment to you.

Sorry your stand got burned! Just some thoughts for you for going forward.

lthiele Posted 27 Nov 2009 , 11:52am
post #19 of 33

Ggggrrrrrrr - what a B@#%$!! (Sorry I just had a really crap night at work and am ready to rip shreds off anyone!) That really sucks and especially letting you feel crappy about your mistake and letting you walk away!

Kate's idea might work though, maybe you could cover it and it could be your "Shabby Chic" stand now or whatever design you can think of. Bluehue had a customer take her stand home with her recently, thinking it was included in the cake cost and put a pot plant on it! We should show a copy of the invoice when we take a deposit so people know how much these things cost! icon_eek.gif

sugarandslice Posted 1 Dec 2009 , 7:18am
post #20 of 33

So here's an update.
I sent the client a letter stating that the stand had been irrepairably damaged and that the deposit was returned to her when it shouldn't have been. I attached an invoice for the $50 and let her know that it will cost me $120 to replace.

Today I got this email:

Hi Emma
I received your invoice for the stand, I understand that you where upset that it was slightly damaged.
But if we are going to be talking about being disoppointed by what we recieved then I am going to have to say that I am equally disoppointed with the cake for what I paid for that cake it should have been bigger or at least twice the size and I did not complain at the fact that the big W was broke.
But I did not email you or send you a letter asking for the return of my money, I copped it on the chin, unfortunatley you did not do the same.
This was obivously a sour experience for both of us and wont be recommending your services.
Regards
XXXXX


I really don't know what she's talking about re the size of the cake as we had discussed the details on the phone and then I put them in writing in the quote I gave her before she paid anything. She knew quite plainly that it was 36 cupcakes then a 6" and a 4" top cake - it's what SHE asked for.

I have to say I woud rather she hadn't got in touch at all. This has left me feeling absolutely [email protected] about myself and my abilities. I really want to reply that she DID know how big the cake was going to be and that at least I admitted I'd done wrong and made amends. She didn't have the good grace to do either. The urge to get the last word is overwhelming but I've decided I'm going to let it rest here. You know the old saying that a happy customer tells one person, an unhappy one tells 10. Well, how many does an irate customer tell? I don't want to risk pi$$ing her off, even if she's done the wrong thing and treated me badly, she is still in the catering industry in our not-very-big town; who knows who she knows!

Anyway, my dear cake friends, thanks for letting me vent out here what I'd like to say to her but can't.

-K8memphis Posted 1 Dec 2009 , 9:59am
post #21 of 33

That's too bad. I'm sorry that turned out that way.

Just know you did your best and if she's in the same industry she can be wondering what you might be gonna saying about her too. So hopefully this stays firmly in the past for both of you.

But knowing you did your best and learned a lot is your reward. Have some chocolate and feel better, CakeBuddy. (((hug)))

sugarandslice Posted 1 Dec 2009 , 11:07am
post #22 of 33

Thanks K8.

costumeczar Posted 1 Dec 2009 , 11:35am
post #23 of 33

It sounds like she's embarrassed about damaging your stand and is trying to make it look like you're in the wrong, too. Personally, I'd email her back and tell her that she's still responsible for the damage, you supplied what she had contracted for, and that you won't be recommending her either! Did she say that the "w" was okay when you delivered it? I can't remember right now, but if she didn't complain at the delivery when you addressed it, then that boat has sailed.

Don't let one sour grapes person make you feel incompetent.

-K8memphis Posted 1 Dec 2009 , 12:09pm
post #24 of 33
Quote:
Originally Posted by costumeczar

It sounds like she's embarrassed about damaging your stand and is trying to make it look like you're in the wrong, too. Personally, I'd email her back and tell her that she's still responsible for the damage, you supplied what she had contracted for, and that you won't be recommending her either! Did she say that the "w" was okay when you delivered it? I can't remember right now, but if she didn't complain at the delivery when you addressed it, then that boat has sailed.

Don't let one sour grapes person make you feel incompetent.




Emma already refunded her for the broken W!!!! Class act.

But Emma already gave back the deposit on the stand too.

I totally agree with you Czarinlette but it gets a little complicated too.

costumeczar Posted 1 Dec 2009 , 12:40pm
post #25 of 33
Quote:
Originally Posted by K8memphis-

[Emma already refunded her for the broken W!!!! Class act.

But Emma already gave back the deposit on the stand too.

I totally agree with you Czarinlette but it gets a little complicated too.




My screen name gets more complicated every time someone writes it... icon_rolleyes.gif Just for anyone who's wondering, "costumeczar" is a pretty common nickname for the people who are in charge of costumes in a theater. That would have been me in a former life (before kids.)

On topic, I agree that it does get complicated when you're dealing with another wedding/event professional, but this woman sounds like a bully when she plays the "I'm not recommending you" card. I think that emailing her back and pointing out that she was refunded for the problem area, but that it's clear that the stand is damaged beyond repair, is okay.

I would write something like:
"Based on our contract, I provided the cake that was requested, and refunded you for the damaged topper. You indicated that this was acceptable at the time of delivery. The cupcake stand was damaged during your event, and I am not able to use it in the condition that you returned it to me in. Because of this, I am requesting $xxx, as stated in the contract regarding the deposit on the cake stand. I assume that you will want to handle this in a professional manner, just as I am trying to do. I regret that you feel unable to recommend my services, but I also feel that you should fulfill your end of your contracted agreement. I fulfilled my end by delivering the amount of cake that you ordered. The damage to the cake stand is a separate issue, and needs to be addressed."

This woman isn't going to recommend sugarandslice regardless, based on that snotty reply that she sent. A caterer should know better, but there are people who think that threatening to not recommend you is enough to get themselves out of their responsibilites. Someone who's ethical will pay for damaging someone else's equipment.

Having said that, I can't blame sugarandslice if you just want to let the whole thing go, but don't think it's a reflection on you. This just shows that this woman isn't very professional, if she's willing to damage the stand then not take responsibility for it.

cutthecake Posted 1 Dec 2009 , 1:06pm
post #26 of 33

I'd send her a copy of the quote you gave her in writing, with the size of the cakes HIGHLIGHTED.
Regardless of what you do now, she isn't paying up.
Time to move on from her.

FierceConfections Posted 1 Dec 2009 , 1:58pm
post #27 of 33

She is obviously hoping that confronting you will make you back down. Don't let her intimidate you! She's in the wrong, and knows it. I think you should send her an email similar to the one costumeczar drafted.

Stand up for yourself!!!

indydebi Posted 1 Dec 2009 , 2:08pm
post #28 of 33

I also like costume's email and would add specifics: "The order was for a 4" and 6" plus 36 cupcakes, which is what was delivered." (As the smarta$$ of the group, I'd add a line of "....so I'm confused when you indicated the cake should have been twice as big, since the cake made was what was ordered by you.")

cylstrial Posted 1 Dec 2009 , 2:23pm
post #29 of 33

I would probably just let it go. You didn't notice the issues on the cake stand and so you gave her the money back. She's already upset about the situation and has flat out said that she's not going to recommend you.

But if you pursue this, the not recommending you is going to turn into trashing your business! So for me, I'd just buy a new stand and forget about the old one. Although, I would be upset that I had to do that.

But that's just me.

-K8memphis Posted 1 Dec 2009 , 2:33pm
post #30 of 33

The tired part of me says let it go but I do see the point in pushing it. For one thing you have nothing to loose because there is no defense for her not paying for and owning up to the damage. You however will come out smelling like a rose because you have already taken care of your broken W issue.

They say there's no such thing as bad publicity.

CostumeCzarinala--I'll try real hard to be good. <toothy grin>

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