Yaknow how we're always reading "should I give a refund" questions on here? And most everyone always says "heck no, they ate the cake, no refund."
Soo, here's my story, which I started telling during a Friday Night Cake Club. Here's the ending.
About three weeks ago during a 5 wedding cake, 3 groom's cake and 1 party cake weekend, where I'd been up working all Friday night, that's right no sleep, we were off to do the 4 deliveries on Saturday. It was a fairly tight schedule as you can imagine. DH loses his mind and tries to beat a bus thru an intersection, gunning the SUV, taking a turn way too sharply and in the process runs up over a high curb and bounces us down on the other side. It was the kind of bounce that even in my Honda CR-V was a bit of a teeth rattler. The cake did not survive. It went sideways, although the SPS system was still holding it together - just on it's side. The butercreme covered cake was DOA.
We calmly went into the venue, informed the wedding coordinator that we'd had a bit of an accident, and that the cake was destroyed, but that we'd be back.
We rushed home, where I pulled cakes out of the freezer, shouted the recipe and directions at DH so he could make icing and started working. (I'd had a wedding cancel at the last minute the week prior which is why there were cake layers in the freezer.) So with all the careful filling and settling we all normally do, this cake didn't get any of that. I filled, squished it, iced it, decorated it, (three tiers) and redelivered 1 hour and 45 minutes later. Oh I had to repair the groom's cake too, as it had an edible image on top and I didn't have a spare.
Of the four original flavors the bride ordered, two were correct, the groom's cake and one of the wedding cake tiers, but only by chance. I wasn't even looking at the order.
So at the end of the day, I processed a refund for the entire amount. (I use Paypal.) That's what my contract says I'm to do if I don't deliver what's promised. And I didn't. Half the flavors were wrong, 3 out of 4 of the sizes were wrong (I delivered a larger cake) the fillings were wrong on two tiers and the design was close but not exact. I believe it was the right thing to do.
I also informed the wedding coordinator that the couple would get a full refund.
Yesterday the bride called wanting to know why I had refunded her entire fee, as she did not realize anything was wrong with the cake. Her wedding coordinator has a policy of not telling the bride anything bad on the wedding day, so she hadn't told her. I explained that's we'd had a bit of an accident in the car during delivery and that her cake had been destroyed. I explained that we'd pulled together another cake for her. She said she was happy with the cake and that she was sorry we'd had so much trouble.
This morning in my email I see that's she fully refunded to me, my refund to her. So in the end I got paid.
Will every bride be this nice and understanding? Heck no. But did a full refund for my non-performance go a long way to diffuse a possible bad feeling and bad mouthing, yes, I think so. Anyway, I firmly believe it was the right thing to do, no questions about it.
I agree - that just goes to show the professionalism you have Leah, and the end result of taking care of your clients, AND your reputation. Kudos to you and the bride!
Professional and honest on both sides of the contract- yours and the bride's.
Kudos to you both!
Great customer service!
I think it's funny, though, that the bride didn't even realize that the cake isn't what she ordered .
You are a true professional, Leah_s. Your business sense is (for me, anyway) almost awe-inspiring! I see so many things in your post to admire.
1. You said it was a tight delivery schedule - yet you still apparently left time to correct a small disaster.
2. The integrity to 'fess up to the wedding coordinator.
3. The skill and level head (as well as a little luck, with your leftover layers) to throw together an entire three-tier replacement wedding cake (which apparently didn't LOOK thrown together), re-delivered early enough that the bride was none the wiser.
4. The fair-minded and proactive following of your own contract in issuing a prompt refund.
Geez, I see planning, skill, quick (and good) decision-making, honesty, integrity, grace under pressure, level-headedness...
The moral of this story was supposed to be in the swift refund for non-performance, yes? In my humble opinion, I don't think it was *just* your swift refund that diffused bad feelings. I think it was your ultra-professionalism and integrity throughout the entire ordeal that contributed to the bride's understanding and refund of your refund. She wasn't even aware there was a problem? That speaks VOLUMES. Your whole post seems to illustrate that a cake destroyed in transit does not necessarily mean disaster, but the way you react to it might.
(Forgive me if I sound like I'm in awe, but I kinda am!)
I like that Leah!!!! Honesty is always the best policy and doing the right thing and when you do, most of the time you will always come out a winner!!!!!!!
Wow...what a mess! Great story. So glad everything worked out in the end.
Great story, great moral, great thread. Thanks for an inspiring message.
Sounds like a happy ending and a great save!.......................................
......................bet your hubby felt this small!
I enjoyed that story and love your integrity. And the bride she was very understanding and full of integrity also.
OT, your husband was driving like mine does on a regular basis (lol).
Did your husband survive??? I would have let him have it!!! I have to do the driving because he has no clue how to drive with a cake in the back!
Aww, guys, I seriously have a tear in my eye from your kind comments.
This wasn't to pat myself on the back, and I honestly hadn't even thought of most of what SugarFiend wrote. DH was very glad he was still breathing at the end of the day.
In 11 years I've had exactly two of these delivery accidents. The first was with a fondant cake, (probably 10 years ago) and that one was easy. Just peeled the fondant off and refondanted. Buttercreme is not as forgiving.
When it's crunch time, there's no reason for yelling. Just planning. By the time we drove back home - about 1.5 miles, I already had my plan in place from the time we'd hit the door to redelivery.
Thanks for posting this! I enjoyed your story (not so funny when it happened, I'm sure) and it's a great ending. I applaud your honesty and professionalism.
p.s. Your DH sounds like a terrific guy despite his driving skills
It's obvious why you are so successful. I'm glad it all worked out for you.
I also admire your integrity and professionalism and am glad you were able to pull it off. What else REALLY impresses me is how you could put together a 3 tiered cake AND deliver it in 1 HOUR and 45 MINUTES!
leah_s thank you for sharing your story. Great moral!
I'm really curious now, did you get pictures of both cakes? The one before the accident and the replacement. Would you be willing to share?
Let me look in the camera. I think I only have after the accident and the replacement. I generally take a picture after I get to the venue, not at home before delivery.
The order was for a three tier 6/8/10 lattice piped on the top and bottom tiers with dible pearls at the intersections. Fleur de Lis piped onto the middle tier with an edible pearl at the base of the Fleur.
Delivered was a 8/10/12, the bottom and middle tiers as described, but the top tier have rows of pearls without the lattice piping. I was just out of time.
Thanks for posting Leah! Accidents happen to everyone but you handled it just like the professional that you are. You were very blessed to have cake ready in the freezer and you had a wonderful bride. However, I truly believe that because you did the right thing, you were repaid in kind. I haven't yet been faced with that kind of problem but I hope that I would do the same thing. Kudos!
Holy cow! I think this speaks to taking the proactive approach to problems, too. If you know something is wrong you should be the one to address it, don't wait to see if the bride will. It works out better when you face it head-on.
Wow, I am highly impressed! I think if that had happened to me I would have had a hysterical breakdown! Very well done!
Leah, there are a handful of people on this site that I hold as my idols, and you're definitely one of them. This incident speaks volumes about why.
Hats off to a true profesional. It's speaks volumes to anybody, not just cakers!
Hi Leah, wonderful ending to what could have been a disaster. I have been preaching this to my daughters for years. Just be honest when something doesn't go right and you will have respect oozing out of your pores. I was stopped by a police office once with one of my daughters in tow. First thing he asked was "do you know why I pulled you over?". Without missing a beat, I replied, "yes, I was speeding." He was so shocked I admitted it, he didn't know how to respond. He pulled my driving record, came back to the car and said he was letting me off since I was "honest" and didn't make up some lame excuse for driving too fast.
SugarFiend said it in a way that I can't improve on. You did an amazing job under trying circumstances and kept the customer happy (and your integrity intact!). Great job!