Yesterday morning, a customer's husband showed up to pick a cake up earlier than I expected. I wasn't entirely finished with the cake either...not to mention still in my PJs ! I was humiliated plus the kitchen was definitely looking like one huge cake mess. In my rush, all I could remember since I was working on another cake as well was that the Hello Kitty cake still needed the girl's name on it. I just realized after looking at the pic again...that I forgot HK's whiskers!! I sent the customer an email giving my regrets and explaining that I wasn't expecting them that early. She had sent me an email, but never responded with an exact time. I was planning to call her in a couple of hours to meet her with the cake.
Did I handle the situation correctly or should I not be worried at all since it was such a small detail?
Actually, I wouldn't consider the omission of Hello Kitty's whisker a small detail. I mean, she only really has three facial features (eyes, nose, whiskers), four if you count her bow.
before I opened my shop, back when I just had a studio (no specific opening hours), I would be the one to dictate pick-up times to the client. For example, I told them they could pick up the cake between 10 am and 11 am. I also made sure to say that if they were early there was a risk that the cake wasn't done and they would have to take a cake that was missing details, and if they were late there was a risk that I had already left.
I think you learned a couple of valuable lessons here:
1. Make sure you have a time scheduled for pick-up in advance - don't wait until the day the cake is due! And don't relu on e-mail all of the time. Sometimes a phone call is the best form of communication to avoid confusion.
2. You can take this or leave it, but I also cake from home, and I treat cake decorating just like a "job". Hence, I don't decorate in my PJs... I wear a clean shirt and pants, socks and SHOES, a hat and usually an apron when I am baking or decorating. I may not be all prettied up when I'm caking, but I am always presentable, because I don't want anybody (not even friends) stopping by and seeing me decoarting a cake and looking unprofessional.
I think the kitchen being a cake-mess isn't necassarily a bad thing. As long as things were sanitary, and it was really just the usual cake decoarting stuff, no problem. If it was more than that, then you may want to re-evaluate the conditions in which you work on people's cakes.
As for HK's whiskers, I also think that's kind of a big thing. I mean, her face doesn't have much to it! But you were caught off guard. You live, you learn...
I'd not worry. It's just common courtesy to call and arrange pickup time for anything that's not coming out of a store publicly open for 8 hours per day. If you just turn up, esp to someones house, expect to see pj's. If it's the cake in the faves at the moment, it was fab anyway.
I always arrange pickup times ahead....sometimes people are early and I hate that haha but usually it works fine.
Also, I generally try to get the cake done the night before. I don't like to still be working on a cake hours before its due...too much pressure. That way if something changes and someone needs their cake early, its done already.
I was glad for that because one time I wrote someone down for a cake the wrong date...I had them down for Saturday and they came Friday (my fault)...I was so happy I had their cake done! *phew*
i completely agree if you are doing cake decorating as a business even if its from home you should always look presentable when making/decorating cakes, I would expect all the standards (if not higher standards) from someones home business as i would an "actual" bakery. I mean how would it look if food hygiene or environmental health turned up to find you in PJ's.
And yes i do think HK's whiskers would be quite an issue, i work in childcare (cake decorating as hobby) and there is one little girl who loves HK picked up a book a while back and someone had pulled the whiskers off the little girl noticed immediately.
Oh and as what has already been said let this be a lesson that you arrange collection time and dont just rely on email, LOL
Isn't HK a copyrighted character? Was it difficult to get permission to use it?
Thanks for all the replies. I do take the detail seriously and when using minor I guess I'm meaning that I did include all the features the customer requested -- HK, number, & name. It was definitely an oversight. I even at one time started to put the whiskers on, but decided to wait until I had attached HK to the cake to add them. The cake still looked cute and was edible...much better than the other options in our area -- Wal-Mart and a bakery that produces Wal-Mart looking cakes. Maybe if I had never mentioned the whiskers, she wouldn't notice.
I do bake out of my home and teach full-time. I would love to have finished the night before, but just didn't have the time. Typically, customers do not come to my house to pick up cakes since I live a bit out of town. My home is sanitary and pet-free. The mess was the typical after effects of baking and decorating with most all the dishes already washed.
I've definitely learned a lesson about the appt time & the pjs! I see no problem with decorating in my PJs since it's my home...I got up early and they're comfortable. The customer didn't see me in my PJs...I ran and changed before he came in.
Yes, I assume Hello Kitty is TM and I didn't get permission to use it. I could use that as my argument I guess...didn't want to copy the original!
Whiskers or no, Hello Kitty is still Hello Kitty, and trademarked.
Oh, I meant that as a customer, *I'd* expect to have to set up a time and confirm, or else I'd expect that I might see mess/pjs/rogue children/an unprepared cake decorator. I guess that to me, unless you've had an arrangement for pickup times, you're entitled to lounge around in yer pjs until 4pm if you want to. Maybe a kiwi thing.
I always shower or bathe, then put on a clean set of my kitchen duds, and tie my hair back under a handkerchief. I do this whether it's for a customer or friends/family. It's just a habit I ogt into when working at the bakery (although we wore hairnets there). I just don't feel comfortable getting into baking or cooking for anyone more than me and my DH unless I'm all clean and fresh (although, I will cook breakfast for my parents or my nephews while still in my pjs...I think it's because it's breakfast ). But, then, I have to shower before and after I clean the house, so I think I might just be wierd!
I certainly wouldn't decorate someone else's cake in my pj's. You've been cosied up in the heat of your bed with all the dead skin cells etc (it still builds up with weekly linen changes).
I always wash and put on clean clothes and apron to do someone's cake. I tie my hair back too but I'm thinking I really ought to cover it.