I don't think that customers bringing in a picture but finding out it is out of their price range is that outrageous and dealing with that as a decorator is just part of the business. When these customers watch Ace of Cakes or any of the many other cake shows on TV, no one ever mentions price or even the range of the price. Does the average viewer at home have any idea how much time really went into those cakes when they can be summed up in a half hour TV show? And how many of them realize that even the cheapest cake that someone like that does is $500?
Ace of Cakes states on their website that their minimum order is $1000. I don't think people have any idea.
What most people here complain about isn't the kind of customer who brings in a picture and finds out it's out of their price range, it's the kind of customer who wants a three tier fondant covered cake with gumpaste shoes on top, to feed 100 people, for $50. Basically the kind of customer who wants a custom cake for less per serving than it would cost to buy a grocery store donut for each guest. Or the kind of person who expects the cake to be cheaper than Walmart.