She Made Me Mad! So, I Responded.

Decorating By step0nmi Updated 29 Jul 2010 , 9:18pm by sweetheart6710

step0nmi Posted 28 Jul 2010 , 3:07pm
post #1 of 43

icon_lol.gif So, I have been emailing with an old school acquaintance for the past MONTH about this cake she would like for her daughter's 1st birthday. Normally emailing is easy for me , but I also do research for ideas when my customers aren't sure what they want....this of course takes up some of my time icon_razz.gif

So, this "friend" icon_lol.gif finally decided on the type of cake she wanted. I'm giving her a deal because she made my logo and even willing to take the cake a little ways to meet her since she lives about 40 mins away.

After giving her a price quote (which I had already given her one before this one) this is the response she gives me:

I will get back to you as soon as I know what is going on, I'm sorry for so much back and forth! The money situation here has been outrageous, we own a duplex, our tenants moved out, which left us a month without rentors, and then when the new tenant came in, we had a bunch of windows to replace, as water was leaking into our bedrooms during the bad storms!! GAAAHH, I tell you, can I win the lottery now??? I really appreciate all of your help, the below is good, and as soon I can give you the final okay, I will.

icon_mad.gificon_mad.gificon_mad.gificon_mad.gif

SERIOUSLY!!! I can't believe she is pulling this S*&t!
So, I responded icon_lol.gificon_lol.gificon_lol.gif

Well, I understand your situation. I'm not even working and my husband is making half as much as he was last year while going to school and still having all those expenses. We haven't even been able to pay rent for the last two months icon_sad.gif we are in quite a bind. If I wasn't working out of my house I would have to charge a more than I already am.

Let's see if THAT makes her feel silly about trying to give me a sob story! If she doesn't want this cake I'm never trying to give her a cake again! icon_twisted.gif

(i totally understand that times are tough...but if all this stuff was happening why didn't she just tell me to put the idea on hold and get back to me! icon_cry.gif )

42 replies
sadsmile Posted 28 Jul 2010 , 3:20pm
post #2 of 43

I would have left the personal info out. The client does not need to know your information, beyond what cake at what price you are offering and when the payment is due. Stipulate the applied discount to the estimate and let the client/customer take it from there.

When running a business you are going to get people who feel the need to tell you more then you need to know or want to know. The bottom line is can the client pay for the cake?

And informing the client when the deposit and final payment are due or you will not be able to make the cake.

Period.

Leave the "friends" thing out of the business aspect of it. No payment= no cake.

You can not have a "friends" attitude with business, because it just won't work.

I don't run a cake business... but that's how I would if I were.

CrumblesConfections Posted 28 Jul 2010 , 3:20pm
post #3 of 43

Yeah, I don't understand why people always think their story is worse than someone else's. Sheesh! What does all of that have to do with the price of tea in China? I personally don't like dealing with "friends" because they can be some of the biggest pains in the butt! I hope it works out for you and she buys the cake because that's what it's all about.

indydebi Posted 28 Jul 2010 , 3:25pm
post #4 of 43
Quote:
Originally Posted by phoxphire1

Yeah, I don't understand why people always think their story is worse than someone else's.


Kinda along these lines are the people who are "so busy" and the ones who are "in a hurry!" I always want to look at them and say, "Oh .... YOU'RE the one! I heard there was *A* person who was (busy / in a hurry) today! Didn't know it was YOU!"

They always think they're the ONLY one!

Makes my a$$ tired!

Sucrea Posted 28 Jul 2010 , 3:27pm
post #5 of 43

As a fellow landlord, I can see her situation. HOWEVER, she was totally wrong in making you do all that work for nothing. All of those things did not happen to her overnight, not even in the same day! I honestly think that she was probably trying to get you to give her the cake or a bigger discount! Keep to your guns and don't give anymore off! Next time she wants a cake, require a deposit before you do all the prep work!!

itsmylife Posted 28 Jul 2010 , 3:40pm
post #6 of 43

It's obvious the deal you gave her wasn't what she was expecting. Maybe she was thinking that you were going to do it for free for her....even though you gave her a price quote before. Did she give any sort of comment after the first quote you gave her?

Glad you gave it right back to her. If she emails you back, maybe you could mention to her how much you would normally charge for the cake she is asking for so that she can see how much of a loss you are taking by making it for her.

CWR41 Posted 28 Jul 2010 , 3:56pm
post #7 of 43

[quote="step0nmi]
I will get back to you as soon as I know what is going on....
....I really appreciate all of your help, the below is good, and as soon I can give you the final okay, I will.


SERIOUSLY!!! I can't believe she is pulling this S*&t!
So, I responded icon_lol.gificon_lol.gificon_lol.gif

(i totally understand that times are tough...but if all this stuff was happening why didn't she just tell me to put the idea on hold and get back to me! icon_cry.gif )[/quote]

I don't see anything wrong with her response, and it looks quite polite. What S*&t? She did tell you to put the idea on hold basically... TWICE, by saying she'll get back to you, and she'll give you the final okay when she can. What more was she suppose to say? It's just business courtesy if you need to spend a little of your time answering your customer's questions.

cakesbycathy Posted 28 Jul 2010 , 4:05pm
post #8 of 43

I can certainly understand that you feel like she wasted your time, and I'm sure you were counting on the money so that it made it even more frustrating for you.

But I also think you are overreacting a little bit. My Dh is a real estate investor. He has 28 properties that he manages. Trust me, I know from first- hand experience that is very, very possible that all of the issues that have come up with their properties happened very suddenly and she did not anticipate having to deal with them and the loss of income on her part. It's npt a sob story. It's reality.

While she is your friend, next time it might be better if you calmed down a little and sent a more professional response.

KASCARLETT Posted 28 Jul 2010 , 4:06pm
post #9 of 43

Honestly, I don't see where the customer was telling you that she can't afford your cake or that she didn't want you to do it. It looks to me like she was just "venting", something that we all do sometimes, not meaning anything by it and not really asking for a response, but just wanting to get it off their chest, perse. Why does everyone always assume people just want "a free cake" just because they voice concerns about something? I'm sure it is like that in some cases, but not all.

tiggy2 Posted 28 Jul 2010 , 4:23pm
post #10 of 43

I too think you are over reacting a little. Cake mugles have no idea how much work you may have put into this. I think we're all guilty of "price shopping" and telling people we'll get back to them.

Kiddiekakes Posted 28 Jul 2010 , 4:34pm
post #11 of 43

I agree also that you may have over reacted a bit...I have spent hours going back and forth with some customers by email sending pictures etc and in the end they say the same thing..I'll get back to you..some do..some don't ..just a part of business!!Chin up...she will probably order but needs to see how things end up going.

kansaslaura Posted 28 Jul 2010 , 4:46pm
post #12 of 43

As a business woman, I try to adapt the appearance of a swan. Gliding along on the surface, making it look oh so easy, but underneath paddling like crazy to keep every ball in the air, bill paid and all the work done.

The customer, friend or not should not be made aware or made to feel bad about YOUR circumstances. There is a professional distance in all transactions that needs to be kept.

...I mean how would you feel if you went to a restaurant because you'd had a really hard day--nothing went right! The cook hears you telling the waitress you've had a bad day and out he comes, sits down and tells you all his woes. Hungry stiill?? Or do you feel like you're now part of his problem or worse yet, your circumstances now look petty in the light of the sob story he just gave you??

Next time, swallow hard and return a "I understand things are tough, just let me know when you decide" --press send. And vent to your DH instead.

PattyT Posted 28 Jul 2010 , 4:49pm
post #13 of 43

I don't know....I think I'd have done similar to step0nmi.

Her friend was clearly fishing for a free cake. The birthday date is coming no matter what. She's stalling and hoping for a discount.

kansaslaura Posted 28 Jul 2010 , 4:52pm
post #14 of 43
Quote:
Originally Posted by PattyT

I don't know....I think I'd have done similar to step0nmi.

Her friend was clearly fishing for a free cake. The birthday date is coming no matter what. She's stalling and hoping for a discount.




I see nothing in the OP that hints at a free cake.

sweettreat101 Posted 28 Jul 2010 , 4:52pm
post #15 of 43

I understand how you feel. I had the same thing happen to me a couple of weeks ago. One of the ladies at work had asked me to make her bridal shower cake months ago and told me that I had to keep that day for her. When it came down to it her friend decided to use someone else and couldn't even take the time to contact me. I had to ask the lady at work what was going on was the party changed. Her response was no I will contact my friend. Then I get an email telling me that she found someone else. Ticked me off. I spent time planning out her cake. I decided that I am booked if they ever ask for a cake again.

kansaslaura Posted 28 Jul 2010 , 4:54pm
post #16 of 43
Quote:
Originally Posted by sweettreat101

.... Then I get an email telling me that she found someone else. Ticked me off. I spent time planning out her cake. I decided that I am booked if they ever ask for a cake again.




That's why you don't hold a date without a deposit.

KitchenKat Posted 28 Jul 2010 , 4:56pm
post #17 of 43

I didn't see anything wrong with her reply either.

I can understand how frustrated you must feel what with all the back and forth over her cake only to have her put it on hold. But that's the risk we take as sales people. We may wheel and deal but we can't always be sure of the sale.

MelanieMarley Posted 28 Jul 2010 , 5:07pm
post #18 of 43

I find that when people make loads of excuses there usually is only one - they don't want to pay the price. BUT as a professional we should always respond with humbleness and not bleet on about our own circumstance, otherwise it never ends!

Here is a tip which I learned the hard way: Whether it is friend, family or client - ALWAYS ALWAYS ALWAYS secure the date with a deposit.

sadsmile Posted 28 Jul 2010 , 5:37pm
post #19 of 43

I am also thinking that you may get some backlash for your vent if you hear back from her at all regarding the order, because it was unprofessional and pissy like : "my troubles are bigger than yours are."

CakeFaerieK Posted 28 Jul 2010 , 6:14pm
post #20 of 43

I've had similar things happen. I just write them off and if/when they need something else, I'm booked. Period.
Let Walmart deal with them!

I completely understand about your time researching....I do that too.
I never get paid for my time.

That's just part of it.
What ticks me off is when you're keeping in touch and sharing your ideas with the person and they just stop responding. Then the time is there to make the cake and you haven't heard a word in a week or more.

I think they are taking your ideas to someone else that is cheaper or someone that will make it for free.

The only free cakes I make are for family and close friends.

Ruth0209 Posted 28 Jul 2010 , 6:44pm
post #21 of 43

You might want to consider that she is embarrassed that now she can't afford the cake. Things do come up and make it hard to fulfull commitments we thought we could do. It never feels good to say, "I'm sorry, I just can't afford that now." Trust me, I'm doing it a lot lately and it sucks on all levels.

Give the poor woman a break (if you're really her friend, you will) and let her bow out of her cake order with a little dignity intact if she needs to.

This mentality of "everyone is scamming for a free cake" is rampant on this site, and frankly sometimes it's just crap. Sometimes people are, but to assume everyone is, is just uncharitable. A LOT of people are having a hard time these days. A little forgiveness goes a long way.

Bskinne Posted 28 Jul 2010 , 6:55pm
post #22 of 43

I also think that the OP overreacted. I think it's completely innappropriate to relate your personal problems back to your friend, it just sounds like you are trying to make her feel guilty enough to buy the cake. Don't start a cake unless you have a deposit to hold the date. Before that, it's part of our business to come up with ideas, etc., so you can't let your feelings get hurt when you do that work. Not everyone you propose an idea is going to buy the cake. You should have just left it at "Look forward to hearing back from you when you can make a decision." If I banked on every email and phone call that I got about a cake, I would really be pissed! And majorly in the hole!

Babarooskie Posted 28 Jul 2010 , 6:59pm
post #23 of 43

I read your post about 5 times to see if maybe I would get a different perspective each time, but I didn't. I, honestly, didn't see anything wrong with her reply....

Did she give out a little too munch info? Perhaps. But like another poster mentioned, she may have been venting. Also, coming back with a response like what you did may have been a little harsh. A simple, "I completely understand. Just let me know when you have decided to move forward. Look forward to speaking with you soon!" would have been more appropriate.

I wish you well with this order and hope everything turns ok great in the end! icon_smile.gif

pmarks0 Posted 28 Jul 2010 , 7:20pm
post #24 of 43

I hate to say this, but like a number of others, I think you may have over reacted. Your friend made the transaction personal by relaying the troubles she's having and she shouldn't have. But at the same time, you responded in the same manner. My DH is constantly telling me to think like a business woman when dealing with friends and family. It's hard. When I do quote prices that are discounted to family or friends I always make a point of telling them what the cake normally sells for and what I'm giving it them as.

Two stories -

A colleague of my DH asked me to make her 50th birthday cake, and she really had no clue of what it might be. She gives me a picture that she *loves* which is a 3 tiered, buttercream with fondant accents, and gumpaste topper. We decided she could pay cost and my labour was our gift. I finally get around to costing it all out, including supports etc, and give her a quote of $180. (It was a 6,8,12) which may have had an extra $20 in there because it was difficult to estimate fondant needs. She asked me if this was just for cost which proved she really had no clue. We finally settled on a 2 tiered, simple design which was within her budget. I wanted to kick her to the curb because in the course of the last 5 months (party isn't until September) I had no less than 23 emails from her changing her design.

The other - my DHs cousin saw my pics on Facebook and contacted me because she wanted a cake for her son's 9th birthday, with Super Mario on it. I quoted her $75 for a 9x13 cake with a FBCT on it. And I offered her a 25% discount as family. Gave her a very detailed email about what we could do. She asked me with a week to go to his birthday. She doesn't answer and I have to find her online on Facebook to find out what's going on. She tells me her mother had decided to make the boy's cake. Fine, that's grandma doing it. However, that's not what happened. She ended up going to some bakery and getting a two tiered Mario cake which, IMHO, didn't look very professional. I don't care that she went somewhere else. Just do me the courtesy of telling me that you did that. Don't lie to me. When I showed my DH he was pissed off and was going to say something but in the end we left it and made no comment to her.

You're always going to run into stuff like this, especially with family and friends. You've got to let it roll off you like water on a duck's back.

Spuddysmom Posted 28 Jul 2010 , 7:22pm
post #25 of 43

There are so many truly unreasonable, grouchy people in this world, but this potential client didn't sound like one of them. Her e-mail didn't merit getting upset over.
She did not ask for a free cake, and unless there is a lot more to the story than this, the OP over-reacted. Since she is an "old school acquaintance" she may have included the personal info, thinking you were friends and wanting to cry on someone's shoulder. Obviously, she is mistaken. Move on to your next cake until you hear from her.

tokazodo Posted 28 Jul 2010 , 7:31pm
post #26 of 43

If you checked it out with my personal friends, (and my mother!) I probably don't charge enough for my cakes, or I give them away. If it is a friend of yours, who has come upon hard times, (and who hasn't) and if the cake isn't too outrageously big, Why not just give it to her. (cut back a little on the decorating maybe?) Did she charge you when she made the logo for you? Did she charge you full price? Why not barter for services?
As far as giving free cakes away, I look at it as free publicity. People get to see a sample and taste of your work and remember good cakes.

Of the 46 cake photos I have on this website, 11 of them are give aways. Wedding cakes make great gifts, and how can I charge a woman, who has just found out her cancer is back, when she gave me a big break on my taxes years ago?
Treat others as you would want to be treated. I make enough on my paying jobs, that I can afford to give away a cake or two or three.
Pay it forward. It will always come back to you, I promise!

TexasSugar Posted 28 Jul 2010 , 8:14pm
post #27 of 43
Quote:
Originally Posted by tokazodo

If it is a friend of yours, who has come upon hard times, (and who hasn't) and if the cake isn't too outrageously big, Why not just give it to her. (cut back a little on the decorating maybe?) Did she charge you when she made the logo for you? Did she charge you full price? Why not barter for services?
As far as giving free cakes away, I look at it as free publicity. People get to see a sample and taste of your work and remember good cakes.
......
Treat others as you would want to be treated. I make enough on my paying jobs, that I can afford to give away a cake or two or three.
Pay it forward. It will always come back to you, I promise!




OP said she was behind on her bills and hubby had half the income coming in that he had last year. I'm not sure doing a free cake for anyone, even if they are always having issues is always the best advice.

Paying it forward and random acts of kindness are always nice, but if comes down to feeding your family or making a cake for someone for free then I think you have to choose feeding your family.

Now the part about the logo is interesting, because it could be a freebie or discounting situation there and if so, then maybe she expected something along the same lines.

With what was typed, I lean toward the overreacting part. But unless you know the full story it is hard to tell. I do totally agree with those that say when you are in business you need to handle every transaction as a business transaction.

I dont believe in friends and family discounts, in general. If you want my services then you should pay for it. If you are ordering something from me because you dont want to pay too much or because xyz bakery wants to charge you some (in your opinion) outrageous price and you think you can get it from me for next to nothing, then thank you but, no thank you. My limited free time between the full time job and the part time job is worth something to me, and I dont feel the need to fill it making a next to free cake, just so you can do me a favor by ordering from me.

Now if it is a trade situation, such as my brother does an oil change in my car for me, then I have no problem repaying him with a cake.

I too agree with the person that said it seems like any time a negative response or situation comes out everyone automatically assumes the person is out for nothing. While there are people out there that are that way, not everyone is.

Joyfull4444 Posted 28 Jul 2010 , 8:17pm
post #28 of 43

Sorry, but I have to agree with the others that you over reacted on this one. I also wonder why you would show your friends email like this?
If it was my personal email, I'd be horrified to find my 'friend' put it out there for everybody to read.

This is the cake decorating forum. Thousands of non members pop in & out of this forum daily. They are free to read all the threads even tho they are not members.

If you felt the need to vent about your friend, the lounge would have been a wiser choice.
Unless the rules have changed. Non members cannot access the lounge..

Win Posted 28 Jul 2010 , 8:39pm
post #29 of 43

I haven't taken the time to read everyone's response, but seriously, I don't see that much wrong with the way your friend responded. She was polite and apologized for taking up so much of your time... your response didn't offend me either, but it was not necessary. Maybe if you step back and read her words again, you will see them in a new light.

Texas_Rose Posted 28 Jul 2010 , 8:47pm
post #30 of 43
Quote:
Originally Posted by step0nmi

icon_lol.gif So, I have been emailing with an old school acquaintance for the past MONTH

our tenants moved out, which left us a month without rentors, and then when the new tenant came in, we had a bunch of windows to replace, as water was leaking into our bedrooms during the bad storms!!





The point here is that the OP has been emailing back and forth with her old friend for a month. The situation the friend described was already happening and so she knew she was short on funds, but she didn't tell the OP, who probably could have come up with a cake on a budget for her friend. I'm guessing the cake in question isn't an 8" round with a smash cake on the side but something fairly grand.

Obviously there is some friendship and history between the two...I bet she's not telling the cashier at the grocery store about her financial troubles and hoping for a discount. So if the customer was sharing her troubles as a friend with the OP, I don't see why the OP shouldn't have shared hers right back.

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