Upset Customer - I Declined Her Order

Decorating By WhyNotCakes Updated 5 May 2010 , 11:11pm by Elcee

WhyNotCakes Posted 4 May 2010 , 8:16pm
post #1 of 31

I would really appreciate your input....... Do we have the option of deciding whether or not to accept a cake order? I was asked to make a dog (carved, gumpaste, whatever).

Customer says "you don't want to make cakes for me anymore." That is not at all what I said -- I simply said this was not something I was willing to make.

Your thoughts? Thank you.

30 replies
casme Posted 4 May 2010 , 8:21pm
post #2 of 31

If you are not comfortable with your skills on making that type of cake I feel you should be able to decline.

JGMB Posted 4 May 2010 , 8:23pm
post #3 of 31

Agreed. Better to decline than to make it and have her not like it. She sounds like a baby -- hopefully, she'll get over it!

ttehan4 Posted 4 May 2010 , 8:26pm
post #4 of 31

Maybe you could have suggested something else to fit the theme that you were comfortable making.

tarheelgirl Posted 4 May 2010 , 8:30pm
post #5 of 31

Definitely would have suggested something in the similar design but at a skill level your comfortable with. Refer her to someone you know and trust to take on the cake.

WhyNotCakes Posted 4 May 2010 , 8:34pm
post #6 of 31

Below is the response I got after my suggestion to change it a bit......

. I guess I dont really understand how that is different than making any sort of theme item for a cake. But, it is up to you of course. I will find someone else. Thanks

KHalstead Posted 4 May 2010 , 8:34pm
post #7 of 31

If you're running your own cake business, you have EVERY right to turn down anyone you want for ANY reason.

I have turned down many cakes in my short couple of years doing cakes, some because I had too much on my plate, some because I didn't like what they were ordering (naughty cakes, etc.) and some.......because I just didn't feel like it at the time! I don't have to tell them WHY I'm declining unless I want to!!

If your reason for not taking the order was because you didn't think you COULD make the cake, then you should have just told her that, or like was mentioned....suggest something you COULD do!

mayo2222 Posted 4 May 2010 , 8:36pm
post #8 of 31

Of course you have the option to decline a cake. No one can force you to make a cake, especially if you don't feel capable of making it. Better to decline a cake than to try to make a cake that ends up looking bad/not up to your customers expectations.

mamawrobin Posted 4 May 2010 , 8:38pm
post #9 of 31

You have every right to decline doing a cake. She'll get over it and in the meantime don't worry about it. thumbs_up.gif

hsmomma Posted 4 May 2010 , 10:48pm
post #10 of 31

This is what I do if I'm unsure of my ability in a certain area:
It it's something I've never done before...I tell them. Then I give them the option of me trying it and if I'm not happy with it...adapting it/changing it to something I am comfortable with. Many times I will give them a price discount if they are willing to allow me the experience of doing something I've never done. That way they get their cake at a lower price and I get the experience of trying something I've never done. I've only had 1 bride/client turn my "experience offer" down (and I didn't fault them) and never have had to "adapt down". All the clients that have given me the opportunity have loved their cakes. And I felt less pressure creating them because I was honest and told them my experience level with their particular cake.
The cakes that end up being the biggest challenge for me...are the ones I appreciate and love more in the long run. And truthfully they are the ones that I spend the most time practicing and learning to get just right verses the ones I can do in my sleep because I've done them a million times.
BTW...I ended up doing the cake the bride turned down just for experience for a show...it's the brush embroidery one in my photos that has over 200 favorites. SO wish that bride could see it!!!
ps Not sure if the op turned down because of experience or not...but, thought I'd share anyways icon_razz.gif

Kiddiekakes Posted 4 May 2010 , 11:18pm
post #11 of 31

I have declined an order before and I was up front to the customer that it wasn't a cake I felt I could do... let alone well.He was very appreciative that I was honest with him.If she is going to get angry then do be it.

me_mysister Posted 4 May 2010 , 11:32pm
post #12 of 31

I have declined a cake order before. They wanted us to make a 3D sculpted car for her husband's bday. I told her that I was not experienced in that area yet, but I would be more than happy to recommend her to other bakers that I know. I never heard back from her, but I would rather the client be happy with my cake than not be happy.

cakeville82 Posted 5 May 2010 , 12:09am
post #13 of 31

Unless she's already paid in full and signed a contract then no you don't have to make the cake if you don't want to , it's your business you decided what you want to do, that's the beauty of working for yourself.

bobwonderbuns Posted 5 May 2010 , 12:20am
post #14 of 31
Quote:
Originally Posted by WhyNotCakes

Below is the response I got after my suggestion to change it a bit......

. I guess I dont really understand how that is different than making any sort of theme item for a cake. But, it is up to you of course. I will find someone else. Thanks




Don't feel bad about that. Next time that comes up simply tell them that "my skills in that particular kind of cake artistry are not what they could be and I would be doing you a disservice if I took on that type of commission." Let her find someone else for this -- she'll appreciate your honesty and know she's getting a good cake from you in the future. I've done that and the customers appreciated it.

cheatize Posted 5 May 2010 , 2:12am
post #15 of 31

I'm seeing where the op said the order was turned down because of a possible skill issue?

As long as you are not discriminating based on age, sex, religion, you can turn down any customer. Even if it's because your big toe itches and you think this is a sign you shouldn't accept the order.

dalis4joe Posted 5 May 2010 , 3:33am
post #16 of 31

She should be glad that u were honest enough to say u didn't feel comfortable with that.... there are others that STILL take it and give them a disaster of a cake and don't care at all... she should see that u were honest with her and say thank you.... not threaten u.... that's a bit childish if u ask me....

Rose_N_Crantz Posted 5 May 2010 , 3:50am
post #17 of 31

What would you rather deal with, a customer that's a little disappointed that she'll have to find someone else to make the cake she's envisioned; or an irate customer that's paid you money for something you said you could do but turned out it was beyond your abilities and now she's stuck with a cake without enough time to get a replacement?

I'd take the disappointed customer. I would explain how you wouldn't feel comfortable for that reason I listed above. Then I would start practicing the design she described and once I get a result I like, I take a picture and send it to her with a note saying how you couldn't stop thinking about her order that you had to turn down and how badly you felt about it. So you started practicing and just had to share this with her. And be sure to thank her for challenging you!

Ruth0209 Posted 5 May 2010 , 3:53am
post #18 of 31

I don't think they OP said she didn't think she had the skill to do it. She just said she didn't want to do it.

And of course you can refuse to make it. I went round and round with a bride trying to hit on the design she thought she wanted, but couldn't come up with anything that seemed like what her vision was for the cake. Finally, I just said, "I think you need to consult with another baker because I don't think I can make the vision you have for your cake come to life." She found someone else.

tesso Posted 5 May 2010 , 4:15am
post #19 of 31

oh yeah, you have the right to turn down a cake for any reason. I turned down three last month and two this month and it is only the 4th day of the month !! I just don't like doing birthday cakes. so I don't. I even turned down a wedding cake.. lady wanted angel food and it was a no go for me.

you were right in turning down an order if you have any concerns about it.

SpecialtyCakesbyKelli Posted 5 May 2010 , 8:14am
post #20 of 31

I always reserve the right to decline a cake. If it's something I am not comfortable doing, I will tell them so. Just the other day, I had a request for a 3D cake that I didn't feel would be worth the time and headache it would take to create it, so I turned her down and told her why. She has ordered the cake from someone else, I just hope they have more talent than me icon_biggrin.gif

WhyNotCakes Posted 5 May 2010 , 12:01pm
post #21 of 31

Thanks everyone.......this was a repeat customer, but the cakes she picks are horrendous, and making those types of cakes goes along with my name. I've always said I wouldn't make something just because I felt pressured.

I think I'm a pretty good decorator, but certain cakes just aren't my style. A huge problem for me are the cake shows -- so if you're a decorator, the perception is that you're expected to make any type of cake (BUT FOR LESS MONEY) -- and since I've made some for her, my declining this particular order set her off.

Big lesson learned here ---- THANK YOU ALL.

cheatize Posted 5 May 2010 , 12:34pm
post #22 of 31
Quote:
Originally Posted by cheatize

I'm seeing where the op said the order was turned down because of a possible skill issue?

As long as you are not discriminating based on age, sex, religion, you can turn down any customer. Even if it's because your big toe itches and you think this is a sign you shouldn't accept the order.




Sorry, I meant not seeing, not seeing.

Rose_N_Crantz Posted 5 May 2010 , 12:55pm
post #23 of 31
Quote:
Originally Posted by WhyNotCakes

Thanks everyone.......this was a repeat customer, but the cakes she picks are horrendous, and making those types of cakes goes along with my name. I've always said I wouldn't make something just because I felt pressured.

I think I'm a pretty good decorator, but certain cakes just aren't my style. A huge problem for me are the cake shows -- so if you're a decorator, the perception is that you're expected to make any type of cake (BUT FOR LESS MONEY) -- and since I've made some for her, my declining this particular order set her off.

Big lesson learned here ---- THANK YOU ALL.




Sorry about the confusion, I was under the impression it was a skill issue, my apologies. This is what happens when I'm on the forums way too late!! icon_rolleyes.gif

I know how you feel, I work in a grocery store bakery and around grad season we get all these mothers that have watched the cake shows and come in with a sketch of what they want their kid's cake to look like. If I had a larger array of tools and equipment I would happily do them, but I don't. And I've seen that "oh, that's not what I thought it was going to look like" face all too often because we can't turn down a cake order. Lately I've been considering letting them know right away that the more they deviate from the designs in our book, the less likely they are to get what they have in mind. Not due to skill, but because the smallest piping tip I have is a 4, the smallest border tip I have is a 22, we don't mix our colors, our colors come premixed, our cakes are too soft and the frosting is too thick to get a perfectly crisp squared off edge when I ice them, etc. Frustrating and I can't exactly say, "well, I can't get you that here, but if you want to email me I can send you a quote for me to do it from home!"

dreamcakesmom Posted 5 May 2010 , 1:09pm
post #24 of 31

I guess I don;t really see in the post exactly why the order was turned down? Did you just not loke the design of the cake she ordered or was it beyond your skill level. To me that does make a difference. I have certainly done cakes that are not exactly my design aesthetic, ie color palette, maybe an odd combination of ideas, etc. but ultimately the customers loved their cakes and I got more business because 1. they still tasted great and 2. the customer who ordered the wacky design loved it! I would certainly respectfully and tactfully turn down an order that was beyond my skill level. Not sure where your situation falls into play here.

KHalstead Posted 5 May 2010 , 1:20pm
post #25 of 31

oh, if it was just a "style" issue then I would have made it.......sorry.

I have a lot of cakes on my website that I think are disgusting looking, but it's what the customer ordered.

Most times i don't post the ones I think are ugly, but every now and then I get the customer that ordered and LOVED the cake asking "where is my cake on your website, I keep looking for it everyday but haven't found it...is it on there yet?" so then I feel like I need to put it up there, because they loved it and were proud of it!

In those cases where I post them though, I make sure to include a note "designed by customer" so that people know it wasn't MY IDEA!!! lol

Babarooskie Posted 5 May 2010 , 1:33pm
post #26 of 31

Style issue? No, I wouldn't have turned down the order. Money is money and personally, I will be very appreciative of how I got it. Plus, what you may not like, someone else probably will.

Everyone has different tastes and look for different aspects in things. How would you feel if you went to a clothing store, was interested in buying a shirt and the cashier said she can't sell it to you because SHE doesn't like it?

tracycakes Posted 5 May 2010 , 1:50pm
post #27 of 31

Since I am trying to build a customer base still, I take just about anything unless I honestly just don't have the time and I try to fit it in if it isn't huge and overly detailed. I reserve the right to turn down anything but so far, I haven't turned one down based on the design alone (except the one naughty cake request. They just asked if I did them and I said no).

For example, I had a cake last weekend that was the customers design. They wanted a '60' cutout in a cake but it needed to feed quite a few people so I had suggested we put it on top of a sheet cake. They wanted electric blue on the 60 with white swirls and the sheet cake to be white with electric blue swirls and they wanted Happy Birthday using the funky letters.

They ordered it over a 1 1/2 months ago and had faithfully come in to make payments on it. I made the cake and just couldn't get in to the design at all but of course, I made it anyway. I didn't really care for the cake when it was done either, the design or the color.

BUT, when my customer came to pick it up, she was thrilled! My husband said he thought that she was going to cry. She said it was just as she envisioned it. THAT'S why I'm in business, to make my customers happy.

In fact, I've decided that is what I live for, to see the happiness in my customers eyes when they get the cake and then to hear back from them later that it was such a hit, it tasted so good, etc. I think I'm a compliment junkie! icon_lol.gificon_redface.gif

leah_s Posted 5 May 2010 , 1:51pm
post #28 of 31

I certainly have turned down orders due to style. I also don't do carved cakes and neither does anyone else in my city. Go figure. There's a lady waaaay out in the next county over that does them. She can have them.

I *always* turn down sheet cakes and wedding cakes with stairs. I'm not putting my name on that stuff.

As a biz owner, sure you can turn down orders.

PinkZiab Posted 5 May 2010 , 6:20pm
post #29 of 31
Quote:
Originally Posted by leah_s

I certainly have turned down orders due to style. I also don't do carved cakes and neither does anyone else in my city. Go figure. There's a lady waaaay out in the next county over that does them. She can have them.

I *always* turn down sheet cakes and wedding cakes with stairs. I'm not putting my name on that stuff.

As a biz owner, sure you can turn down orders.




Ditto... I have no problem turning down a cake if I think the end-result will be unattractive. I'm not putting my name and reputation on something I don't like. I've even turned down orders just because I didn't FEEL like doing that type of cake (felt like it was going to be more of a hassle than it was worth). I don't do sheetcakes, plastic stairs, fountains, pregnant bellies, baby butts... I could go on, but you get the point lol.

dreamcakesmom Posted 5 May 2010 , 6:24pm
post #30 of 31

Pink ziab- you are so funny. I guess maybe I would turn down a baby butt request too!!

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