Unhappy Customer

Decorating By Stephy42088 Updated 13 Jul 2010 , 1:52am by frostinggalore

Stephy42088 Posted 6 Jul 2010 , 11:44pm
post #1 of 54

So I just started this little business of baking and decorating cupcakes and cakes. To get my name out there I started selling at the local farmer's market and I had only been there twice and got a pretty good reaction! A lady called me to do her daughter's 20th bday cake for the weekend (it was already wednesday). She wanted vanilla cake w/vanilla buttercream and said that her daughter liked fashion so I added fondant accents of dresses and a 3D gumpaste shoe on top and charged $30 (wayyyy underpriced!). This same lady called me back yesterday and said the cake was so horrible that they threw it away and box mixes taste better than that. And that all 10 people at the party thought it was the most horrible cake they had ever tasted.

I cannot stop crying, seriously, I am right out of college and trying to juggle this and starting a full time job. I only did this because its something I enjoyed and a nice creative outlet, bc I work in business and there is little room for creativity. I am ready to quit my business and never pick up a spatula again. I have never ever gotten that kind of review on my baking before, others tried my cupcakes of the same flavor and really enjoyed them. Any one had experience with this and what did you do??? Please help! icon_cry.gif

53 replies
peg818 Posted 6 Jul 2010 , 11:51pm
post #2 of 54

Well, first off, you can not and will not please every one. Its just a fact of life.

Now work on your recipes (if they need to be worked on) get them where you are happy with them, and RAISE your prices!!

kelleym Posted 6 Jul 2010 , 11:56pm
post #3 of 54

I'm always suspicious when unhappy brides/customers say things like "everyone there said it was the worst cake they had ever had", because that is not the way people act in social situations. Imagine you've been invited to a party, you are served a piece of cake, and you don't like it. Do you walk up to the hostess and tell her she's just served you the worst cake you've ever had? Nah. You may not eat it all, but unless you were raised in a barn, you don't say anything about it.

You didn't say what you told your customer, or if she asked for some sort of refund. If you apologized and she accepted the apology, then that is the end of this episode.

Then do as peg818 suggested - work on perfecting your recipes if you think it's necessary, and raise your prices. I bet $30 barely covered your costs.

Stephy42088 Posted 7 Jul 2010 , 12:01am
post #4 of 54

I just told her that I apologize. I was basically in shock and speechless when she was telling me this because I had never had anyone say anything to me about that before. And $30 maybe BARELY covered my costs. But I thought I should keep things cheap when I'm just starting out. Should I give her a refund or offer to make her another cake? Right now I just feel like giving up and discontinuing any idea of having a baking business.

jgallant151 Posted 7 Jul 2010 , 12:10am
post #5 of 54

I work at a Bakery primarily as a cake decorator. I know one thing.. You NEED to be confident not matter what people say. It is horrible when you get miserable customers that complain about everything. And there are people that tend to get a bit hyperbolic with their complaints. You apologized and that is great, but I would only offer her a partial refund. What I usually do is take the cost of the cake and refund the rest. Like said in a previous reply, you will never please all and you will always get those that love to complain! So don't call it quits! If you have had many compliments already, don't let one little negative Nancy ruin your business!

awatterson Posted 7 Jul 2010 , 12:15am
post #6 of 54

Don't give her a refund. You already way undercharged her. What recipe are you using for your cakes? I am sure that it was not the worst cake that they had ever tasted. Maybe they tried to eat the shoe?

Stephy42088 Posted 7 Jul 2010 , 12:19am
post #7 of 54

Here is the recipe:
1/2 cup butter
1/2 cup white granulated sugar
1/2 cup light brown sugar
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
2 large eggs
1 1/2 cups flour
2 tsp vanilla
3/4 cup buttermilk

The customer said it was dry and brown (which it wasn't bc when I leveled the domes, myself and my parents ate those scraps lol) I didn't think it was dry at all. I think she thought that white cake and vanilla cake are the same? This was also the first cake order that I had professionally. I have done many cakes for people's birthdays, anniversaries, etc but never for money so I was really excited icon_sad.gif

awatterson Posted 7 Jul 2010 , 12:23am
post #8 of 54

You can't make everyone happy and some people will never be happy. She sounds like one of them.

Win Posted 7 Jul 2010 , 12:25am
post #9 of 54

Only refund her if she can return the unwanted/uneaten portion of the cake! She can't. NO REFUND!!! And, yes, people confuse white with vanilla all the time.

neelycharmed Posted 7 Jul 2010 , 12:34am
post #10 of 54

I'm so sorry that this happened to you, especially being your first paid order... icon_sad.gif
BUT, I wouldn't give her anything.. $30.00 for the cake was severly underpriced, and I highly doubt that all 10 or so people just sat around talking about how the cake tasted..
Keep On Caking!
icon_biggrin.gif Jodi

kse Posted 7 Jul 2010 , 12:38am
post #11 of 54

First of all, I think this person was rude, mean, etc. If she didn't like it, she could have told you in a much nicer way. Please, wipe your tears and don't let a person like that make you quit something you like to do. I will agree with the others, maybe you need to practice with you recipe. But really, I don't think that was the problem.

Stephy42088 Posted 7 Jul 2010 , 12:52am
post #12 of 54

Thank you guys! This has made me feel a lot better! The cake is not the sweetest recipe but because the frosting is so sweet I felt like it was much better this way. However, I think I will start experimenting with different recipes also. I'm thinking about sending the customer a letter of explanation with a coupon, thoughts?

MBHazel Posted 7 Jul 2010 , 12:52am
post #13 of 54

Hi Stephy,

Cheer up, chin up, dust yourself off......

Just curious, was this the first time you used this recipe, or is it one of your basics?

Just from reviewing the recipe it seems to have a low amount of fat, even with just 1 1/2 cups flour I would expect a little more fat.

For myself all my recipes use buttermilk, if I have one that doesn't, I substitute the buttermilk. (love buttermilk for baking, plus it makes some great onion rings too!!)

One other tip, watch your flour, the milling of the different brands will yield different results. White Lily is finely milled and makes for a very tender cake, other brands can be heavy and will make your cake heavy.

Develop your base recipes and stick with those. Experiment on family.

Hope today has brought a happier outlook for you.

Hazel

Montrealconfections Posted 7 Jul 2010 , 1:07am
post #14 of 54

So did she buy your cupcakes at the market and like them before she ordered the cake? She doesn't deserve a dime, I know it hurts but don't let her kill something that brings you joy.

jgallant151 Posted 7 Jul 2010 , 1:08am
post #15 of 54

Oh, I missed that you charged her only 30! No way! I would def not dish out a refund!

Cake_Bliss Posted 7 Jul 2010 , 1:12am
post #16 of 54

I am so sorry this happened to you! Don't quit if it is something you really enjoy. You can only please some of the people some of the time and the rest are just lessons learned. Some people just cannot be pleased and she seems like one of them icon_wink.gif My favorite recipe is the WASC never had a complaint with it. Just think of it as a regular job and brush it off and get back to bakingicon_smile.gificon_biggrin.gifthumbs_up.gif

psurrette Posted 7 Jul 2010 , 1:33am
post #17 of 54

everyone is right. you cant please everyone. People these days are so use to box mixes that they dont know what a real cake should taste like. I use a box mix for this reason. Can I make a scratch cake? of course but I dont. suck it up and move on there are many other fish in the sea!

hbarberycakes Posted 7 Jul 2010 , 1:46am
post #18 of 54

I completely understand how you feel. It's so upsetting to go through. I had a lady order a cake and it was my first paying customer as well. She changed her order FIVE times (no I'm not exagerating) and when I met up with her for the last time I told she needed to stick with something (and yes I was polite and kind about it). She kept lowering the amount of people she wanted cake for saying she would "pick" the people who would eat the cake and who wouldn't....seriously. UGH! Then she had the nerve to tell me I had to make this one cake she saw online for that price. Here's the catch: the cake had to feed 150 people. Yet the picture was of a cake the size of a 10" round. The nerve of some people! Don't give up just yet. I've had nothing but wonderful clients since the demon lady. I just took it as a test to find out if I had the strength to commit to this. Chin up Steph icon_biggrin.gif

leah_s Posted 7 Jul 2010 , 1:55am
post #19 of 54

Soooo, what is the difference between white cake and vanilla cake? 'Cause in my world they are the same thing. Really, just curious.

And good advice from everyone. I had a similar thing happen a few weeks ago. Since I torte and level every cake, I can taste a bit and I get to see the inside.

tinygoose Posted 7 Jul 2010 , 2:09am
post #20 of 54
Quote:
Originally Posted by leah_s

Soooo, what is the difference between white cake and vanilla cake? 'Cause in my world they are the same thing. Really, just curious.

And good advice from everyone. I had a similar thing happen a few weeks ago. Since I torte and level every cake, I can taste a bit and I get to see the inside.




I was curious about that too. I think (guessing here) that a white cake is made with egg whites only, and a vanilla cake also contains the yolk. No one has ever asked me for a vanilla cake, they always ask for white.

mariana7842731 Posted 7 Jul 2010 , 2:24am
post #21 of 54

soooooo, any chance that you didn't bake it right, or it really didn't taste as good as you think? only asking because there is a lot of "damn the customer" attitudes in this place and sometimes, just sometimes it ain't their fault.

kfr33man Posted 7 Jul 2010 , 2:28am
post #22 of 54

Kind of off topic, but just an FYI. I read that we should not start with prices that are too low. It sets the stage for low expecations, and people become angry when prices increase. I'm struggling w/ setting prices myself b/c I'm new too. However, at minimum, give yourself min. wage for ALL of your time and add supplies, cost of electricity, cleaning, etc. I have been under pircing my cakes b/c I've grossly under estimated my time to make my cakes so far. No matter what, even a cake mix, is waaaay better than most store cakes. Heck, Wal-Mart uses frozen cakes!! So, lesson learned and move on. I know I'm a broken record, and many have said it, but you can't please everyone! I have a friend I love to death, but she complains every time we go out to eat. She gets a free meal, or a big discount, everywhere she goes. It drives me nuts, but there are people like that. I'd be crying too, but with every cake I make I am learning that I am good enough to be doing this.
Take care, Katie

Stephy42088 Posted 7 Jul 2010 , 2:36am
post #23 of 54

Thanks guys! I really appreciate it, things haven't been easy lately its comforting to know others have had similar experiences. I'll try to keep my head up and try some new recipes, and increase my prices! Hopefully this has simply been a one time incident by someone who was simply having a bad day. I'll try to not let it get to me!

MCurry Posted 7 Jul 2010 , 2:53am
post #24 of 54

Don't quit Stephy. Eventually we will all run into a customer who does not like our work. Unfortunately yours came earlier in your cake decorating career.

I agree with the advice and suggest you experiment with other recipes so you can benchmark your own regarding taste. I personally have gone through several vanilla cake recipes to find the one that works for me. I agree with MBHazel about White Lily (love it). Cake Flour and White Lily have a lower protein content in comparison to all purpose flour which helps with the delicate and tender crumb.

Can't promise but if I have time this week, I will make the recipe you listed above and send you a private message with feedback if you would like.

Keep on baking!

Melanie

Win Posted 7 Jul 2010 , 2:56am
post #25 of 54
Quote:
Originally Posted by leah_s

Soooo, what is the difference between white cake and vanilla cake? 'Cause in my world they are the same thing. Really, just curious.

And good advice from everyone. I had a similar thing happen a few weeks ago. Since I torte and level every cake, I can taste a bit and I get to see the inside.




Well... in my world, a vanilla cake often leans on the side of being a more yellow-based (I prefer to think of it as a buttery color) cake because of the use of whole eggs vs. whites, often buttermilk vs. whole milk, and much more vanilla (my recipe calls for a tablespoon of vanilla paste.) It is a very "vanilla" cake. It is also a denser crumbed cake. White cake in my world is most often egg white based, whole milk and usually calls for only about a teaspoon of vanilla...

MessMaker Posted 7 Jul 2010 , 2:58am
post #26 of 54

DONT SHED TEARS OVER YOUR CUSTOMERS, ITS BAD ENOUGH THAT AS CAKERS WE SHED TEARS OVER OUR OWN UNMET EXPECTATION ( or atleast i do)... Dont give up something you love doing simply because of one unhappy person... Im sure your cake tasted fine...especially if you parents were eating the scraps....

frankdiabetes Posted 7 Jul 2010 , 2:59am
post #27 of 54
Quote:
Originally Posted by tinygoose

I was curious about that too. I think (guessing here) that a white cake is made with egg whites only, and a vanilla cake also contains the yolk. No one has ever asked me for a vanilla cake, they always ask for white.




So is yellow cake considered "vanilla"? I wouldn't call it vanilla myself, but it's not chocolate or banana or anything else either. Weird that the names of some flavors are referential to color, and others are to the actual flavor. If you blindfolded me, I don't know that I'd be able to tell white from yellow and I would probably consider them both to be "vanilla" flavored.

matthewkyrankelly Posted 7 Jul 2010 , 2:59am
post #28 of 54

Listen, many years ago I had a customer complain so long that it got boring. Doesn't matter what for. Another customer heard the whole thing and said, "There's an a$$ for every seat!".

And there is. I can point to every bakery in town and tell you what I like and don't like about 'em. But I pretty much still go. Let her loose.

That said, start asking for honest feedback from trusted friends and family. Tweak your recipes if you need to. Keep on cakin'!

ChefAngie Posted 7 Jul 2010 , 3:10am
post #29 of 54

Pray go on your way and call it a day.
Happy Baking and Decorating,
Chef Angie

tinygoose Posted 7 Jul 2010 , 3:22am
post #30 of 54
Quote:
Originally Posted by frankdiabetes

Quote:
Originally Posted by tinygoose

I was curious about that too. I think (guessing here) that a white cake is made with egg whites only, and a vanilla cake also contains the yolk. No one has ever asked me for a vanilla cake, they always ask for white.



So is yellow cake considered "vanilla"? I wouldn't call it vanilla myself, but it's not chocolate or banana or anything else either. Weird that the names of some flavors are referential to color, and others are to the actual flavor. If you blindfolded me, I don't know that I'd be able to tell white from yellow and I would probably consider them both to be "vanilla" flavored.




I don't know, I think it's perhaps more of a regional thing. West coast refers to white cake as vanilla/white. South may be more partial to yellow/vanilla cake, still vanilla really. It's a mystery I suppose...lol

Quote by @%username% on %date%

%body%