So it is Mother's Day morning and I am enjoying the delightful breakfast my husband and son made for me and I get an email... (they come to my phone so I know right away when I have one) The email is from my client who picked up her cake yesterday at 12:45 She comes in says she likes the cake and leaves. So I get this email the next morning...
I don't really want to sound mean or anything but the cake was somewhat off from my expectations. The things I wasn't really happy with were the orange on top was more peach to everyone and we had talked about the tree in the middle or something and I guess it was a little plain for what I expected. The fondant was kind of chalky tasting and the white bottom was a bit dry. I promise I am not being mean because I see you do wonderful work, that's. Why I chose you. I was just a little unhappy.
Okay this being my first negative I have received in the 2+ years I opened my shop I was devastated! Of course at this point I am crying and wondering WTH? I basically copied the picture she sent me, how could it not be what she expected? The orange thing, fine. I purposely did not make the orange a bright orange and was going for more of a pumpkin color so I can see how in some lights it might look different than my lighting As far as the cake dry??? Well, I have never had one person tell me that my cake is dry and this is the same recipe I have been using since I started not to mention I myself had some scraps that were really moist!
When she ordered the cake we talked about the fondant, I told her that some people do not like fondant. Everyone has either a love-hate relationship with it. I explained that there is a healthy coat of buttercream under the fondant so one could just peel it off if they do not like it. (1/4 thick all around plus 3 layers of ¼ thick icing in the middle)
Alright this is getting long, but I want to still talk about it!!
I called her up after the complaint and explained that I was really sorry she was not happy and sort of went over the complaints in the email, for some reason she thought the cake was to be all camo? I was like that is not what the picture showed? She thinks she was thinking about a different picture she had seen. Then she told me how everyone at the party was so amazed that she had to pay THAT much for the cake that was so not worth it! She even went on to say how she had to pull up my website to show people that I really can make cakes? At this point I am thinking fine, the cake was plain for you but was it so bad that people didnt think I could make cakes??? (I think I was more hurt by that comment than anything) I really wanted to tell her that the same cake could have been plain white fondant with a peal boarder and still the same price (I didnt charge her any extras because she was a friend of a friend and a new customer and I was trying to work within her budget). She also said her mother knows what fondant tastes like cause she worked as a cake decorated at the Walmart and thinks the fondant may have made the cake taste dry? The other thing that got me was she didnt think the deer head was going to be on the cake? I thought that was weird cause in our conversation I explained how I would be making it out of RKT and covering it chocolate? Not sure how we had miscommuicated that badly? I just hate that she was unhappy with my cake! It is making me hate cakes today and second guessing what I am doing! Dramatic maybe, what can I say Im 5.5 months pregnant so emotions are running kind of high for me today! I just can not get over this and I really just want to move on, I came on here just to tell people who might understand where I am coming from because you may have been there.
I sort of think that she didnt want to spend that much anyway and when she told people (muggles, Im sure) including her husband she got a little buyers remorse. Although she did not ask for a refund at all, she just wanted to let me know she was not happy. Being someones disappointment sucks!
Thanks for listening! (or reading in your case)
Sorry to hear you got complaints on what i think is an adorable and well-done cake. My first question has to be: Did you have a contract outlining all of the details and decorations, colors, etc that were to be on the cake, and did she sign it? If so, then her issues with the look and price (and value for the money) are unfounded and yes she was likely having buyer's remorse. If you do not, I highly recommend a contract for EVERY custom order.
I think the cake is awesome! I think the shade of orange is perfect! It wouldn't look as nice if you used bright orange! You did a wonderful job on this! This is the exact reason why I am scared to go into business (even though I have a lot of pressure to do so). Do you have the picture of the original cake she wanted? If you do, post it too, then maybe we'll be able to see what her problem is. Don't you let this get you down okay, please!
Geez...how could someone complain with that kind of work! I still think you did a good job on it...
I think you did a great job. Sorry she wet all over your Mother's day. Some people are just rude. Maybe she as waiting on you to offer her a refund. Glad you didn't give in. Some people are never happy. I have a neighbor like that. She does it on purpose so she can get things discounted and/or free. I hate to go shopping with her. LOL....
Definitely buyers remorse! The cake is beautiful!!! You know someone is grasping for straws when they just keep coming up with more things they were "unhappy" with. Usually when someone has a genuine complaint it is one major thing.....she had something like seven. If this was a Cake Wreck cake, seven different problems might not be unusual.....but the cake is perfect! Although maybe she has not come out and said it, I think she is fishing for some money refunded (Don't even think about it!). Also, how rude to call you (pregnant momma) on Mother's day with her fake complaint! Don't let this get you down! This customer is not worth any more of your time, your two years of great work and no complaints proves it!
i love the cake!
did you guys correspond through email? if so, go back and reread them. see if there's a place where you made a major mistake. if there isn't, then definitely do not offer a refund.
if you feel like there were some grey areas that you could have been clearer about (fondant, coloring, design, placement of deer, etc.), then use this as a learning experience to be a bit clearer.
again, i think the cake looks great and i'm sure the kid loved it! brush this one off and go onto the next one!
Ditto on the contract. Write down exactly what each part of the cake is to look like and attach any photos/emails she gives you. And re the fondant: I would ask the person to taste it before you agree to use it and then write a statement in my contract that the client tasted it and is OK with using it as covering on the cake. And even then you are going to get those people who complain no matter what......keep in mind you have no idea what the guests thought (about the taste) only what she is telling you. Guests probably like the cake is my guess.
btw did she even say if Tyler liked the cake (seems that would be most important since it was his birthday!!!!!)
Sounds like a B-I-O-T-C-H to me. Your cake is wonderful and so nicely executed. She liked the cake when she picked it up! When her cheapo friends heard how much she paid for this amazing cake they probably started picking it apart because they have no clue how much time, talent and love goes into something like this. Unless you totally messed up the order don't give her a dime back.
Just chalk it all up to experience and vow to document every discussion and all communication in the future.
That is why I posted this on here! Not to have a whoa is me party, but just to have some good words from fellow cakers!
I do do contracts on larger cakes, this one I did not. That was my bad and I have now learned my lesson! I figured since she sent me a picture of what she was expecting we were on the same page. Let that be a lesson learned!
I did not offer her a refund or any sort on that cake; however, I did offer to make her some free cupcakes. In hindsight I am a little nervous to even do anymore business for her because I feel like I will not be able to please them and will feel like I have to add a whole bunch of extras that are not needed just to not make it plain without charging for all those extras and then in return she will always be getting cakes for cheaper.
Thank you everyone for taking the time to read my long long post and responding! I appreciate all the advice and kind words! I feel so much better about my cakes for this week now!
Your cake is awesome. The fondant is flawless, the colors spot-on, and the deer is impeccable. It sounds like she's suffering from a case of buyer's remorse, which I understand plagues the industry (I'm just a hobby baker). She was probably trying to get some money back. Her comments were uncalled for. Honestly - you did a great job and I guess it just goes yo show that you can't please everyone despite doing amazing work.
If I had been at that party and she complained about that cake, I would have snapped off one of those cattails and smacked her across the face with it...
She is probably one of those people that is never satisfied with anything.
Also, you're a cake designer, not a mind reader. If she was "thinking" of another picture, maybe she should have shown you THAT picture.
I live in the South and it's a great cake! No refund for her.
Sorry, I'm a little on edge today.
Your cake is really good she was just mean.
I bought a cake from a lady last year for my daughters 16 B-Day before I stated doing cakes, it was very cool but it tasted really bad, threw most of it away and it wasn't cheap. I never told her didn't have the heart but then I took a class and now I am selling cakes. So sorry that lady put a damper on your mothers day.
Hello, I'm new to the board, but couldn't help but give my input on your situation. First off, your cake is wonderful. Being a hunter myself as well as many friends and family members, they would love to have something like that for their birthday.
I am not a cake maker, but because of many requests at my ice cream business, have decided to take the plunge and start making ice cream cakes. So far they are doing great and glad I listened to my customers in what they wanted. Now to learn all the little tricks of the trade. My sister has done cakes for over 20 years and I know that every now and then she will get someone that complains, but mainly a minor thing. I always told her as long as you did what they asked for, then don't worry about it so much. But, I know it is hard to get complaints.
I have learned that as the economy has gotten worse, people will complain more about things and expect freebies. There are sites on the web that tell people to be the squeaky wheel to get free items and discounts. Sadly, people read these type of sites and let loose and not think about the person on the other side that takes pride in their work.
At my business, I have people that complain about portions and prices all the time. It is funny that I can have a great customer base, but it is the sames ones that complain over and over. I finally have said enough and do not issue discounts or give free products to them. If they were so unhappy with my things, why do they come back? We have signs up that state, Tot size portions of for toddlers only. Needless to say, you will get adults that try to order it and then complain it is not enough ice cream for .75. Of course it isn't enough ice cream for an adult, it is a tot size portion. If you want something of substance, get at least a kiddie size or a small.
I hope you can put this complaint behind you and not dwell on it. It sounds as if you have many satisfied customer over the years and they will stick up for your business should someone decide to try and knock it.
The cake looks awesome, the lady is obviously a little on the nutty side and probably said one negative thing and then her friends decided to chime in on the matter!
Here is an example of the "contract" I sign with people for non-wedding cakes. There is a place at the bottom for them to sign which states they agree everything written on this form is exactly how they want it and that it's what I will refer to when filling their order!
Maybe something like this would work for you?
I know it helps to have a sketch too for the customer to review. That way she could have looked at the sketch and maybe said she didn't want the deer head on the cake, or where is the tree in the middle? After everything is agreed on, then a simple initial by the customer in the corner okaying everything gives you the go ahead with knowing exactly what to do. Kind of like you have to do when you place an ad in the paper or when you order address labels.
The last wedding cake I did the bride thought she could just tell me what colors she wanted, but I have been down that road where my yellow wasn't as bright as they thought it would be or the green wasn't the same as what they were thinking. I insist on a paint chip, piece of fabric or anything tangible that I can staple to my work order for the cake and use as proof later that yes, this is the color you asked for.
Your cake is sure cute and well executed--I am guessing she wanted the top tier to be hunter orange, right? Like almost fluorescent? A paint chip would have helped you know that.
Overall it sounds like a bad case of buyer's remorse, which is her problem, not yours.
Your cake is wonderful. I am going to go into your picts. and save as a favorite. I hope you don't mind if I use your cake as inspiration for hunting cake that someone wants. This is exactly what I was looking for. : )
As I scrolled down and based upon what she said, i was really expecting to see a mess of a cake- this cake is gorgeous, there is nothing to complain about! If you don't mind me asking, roughly how much did you charge her, where she thinks she was overcharged- what was she expecting to pay for this...i think she was fine with the cake, but maybe someone else put that bug in her ear, and she convinced herself it was no good.
Your cake is wonderful..I can see if she felt the orange was not neon enough but that is a minor detail..The deer is Exceptional!!!I find it odd that everyone at the party had to see your site to believe you could make cakes...someone must have fire started that one... If I am out at a friends or family members and they serve a dessert that maybe isn't that good or something...I say nothing...I just don't eat it all or say no Thankyou politely... It sounds to me like she whined to everyone how unhappy she was with the cake.Pay no mind..Those kind of people you don't need and next time she calls back to order a cake..You are booked!!!
Any way to show us the picture you worked from? Because your cake is flawless! I think the colors work great together and everything.
And if you matched the picture...well she has no leg to stand on. If you have an email where she sent you a picture and asked you to copy it...then there's no way she even has a right to complain. And even if she was "thinking about a different picture" if you can prove she sent you THIS picture then you can prove she's just being stupid.
The only other thing is...what did she mean about a "tree" in the middle?
KHalstead - Thanks for the order form! I will have to start implimenting this sort of thing even for smaller cakes!
sheilabelle - I can not really take credit for the design as the customer brought me the picture, I have no idea who originally did the cake or where she got the picture. I am sure the true artist would be happy you wanted to use the design though
I charged $130 for the cake, the funny thing is that she came in said she liked the cake handed me the cash ($140) and I asked her if she wanted the change back, she said no. ??? She did tell me on the phone that she was in such a hury she didnt have time to really look the cake over when she picked it up.
Those websites out there that tell people to complain about things to try and get free stuff really suck! I can't believe people are telling you to basically steal from the little guy!
Your cake is exceptional!!! I would love to see a picture of the "inspiration" cake. I'm so confused why she tipped you and then emailed on Mother's Day to complain!
I bet anything someone was admiring the cake and asked the cost. When the buyer shared that, someone freaked out and started nit picking. And then "mob mentality" (not mother of the bride like CC is insisting I typed!) ensued and she felt boosted up by these shocked party goers enough to email you with her regrets. Only she insulted you instead of owning up to her own lavish purchase.
If you copied her picture, I would be sending a side by side with your reproduction to end that argument! And if the cake was served and eaten, well....that one doesn't hold water either.
Don't fret! Although preggo hormones will make you cry at a charmin commercial.
Okay the tree thing came up when I had mentioned (yes, this is my fault to even mention it...) that maybe i could incorporate a tree stand somewhere on the cake. In my head I was thinking of adding a tree and a tree stand. As I was doing the cake I was thinking how the heck could I add a tree and still have the deer head on the top of the cake and make it all look cohesive? I didn't come out and say you will have a tree on the cake, I was just rambling ideas out while talking to her. Yes, this could have been bad communication on my part and made her feel like I missed some details on the cake. A drawing would have really helped on that.
Here is the picture she sent me. I did tell her I was going to loose the triangle chucks of fondant from around the grass on the tiers.
Looking at the cakes side by side, I can see how my orange looks lighter than that cake (could be the lighting or flash though) but by no means is the color peach. I also think the other artist did a much better deer head, but what I can say it was my first deer head and I brushed on all these different shades of chocolate to get that look of hair....
Another comment - personally I find it rude when someone asks me how much I paid for something and then comment that I paid too much! That implies poor judgement on my part and also puts a damper on the purchase. Not very considerate I don't think.....
I think you did an amazing job! Just write her off one of "those" customers, and maybe think twice before you accept another job from her if she calls you again....Who needs the stress!!?
UGH _ I'm so sorry this happened to you! I can't believe she would actually call you on Mother's Day to whine about it. The way you were talking I expected something horrendous (she had to prove you could make cakes????) then I see the photo and it's a really cute cake! I mean - as cute as a cake can be with a deer's head mounted on the top. I guess that speaks about the client a bit... classy!
Really - it was cute. I guess maybe they were looking for that neon orange like what hunters wear. But honestly - this is total buyer's remorse. Someone was taking a bite and casually asked how much she paid for it is my guess - and then everyone started in on her and then started picking it apart. Oh and I love the part about the grandma with her wal-mart fondant expertise. Good lord!
She was totally trying to get you to offer her a refund - or a discount on a future cake. Next time she calls - if she does - make sure you're all booked up!
Hm - your cake looks pretty darned close to the picture to me......don't know why she is complaining
I guess next time she calls for an order you're all booked up, right
btw $130 (or $140) wasn't too much.......
And yeah - after seeing her sample photo - the woman is offer rocker. Completely disregard her insanity. The end
I love your cake and I love the camo. Very well done. I'd love to use the idea as well since I have many hunter family members.
I think a lot of people tend to think of cake prices what they would pay for a basic sheetcake at Walmart or Costco. This is not the case when you order a cake like you made.
I think you have nothing to be embarassed or ashamed about and I agree with prior posts, sounds like someone who doesn't know much about the costs of these types of cakes made a big stink that just went out of control. Keep up the good work!