What Would You Have Done?

Business By karateka Updated 26 Sep 2010 , 11:54am by elliespartycake

karateka Posted 24 Sep 2010 , 6:40pm
post #1 of 15

I got a call from a lady who wanted a castle cake for her son. No date on the message. I return her call right away and she wants a cake for Tuesday. Not at all convenient, but I need the business, so I tell her yes. She insists it not be fondant, even though I tell her it would look better that way. I tell her I will call her back with a price. She only wants it to feed 15 people.

I look at some pics of buttercream castles and see some cute ones, so I try to figure out how to make it small enough, and come up with (if memory serves) 30 servings for $100 including the SPS and turrets and detailing. I leave her a message on her cell phone.

She calls me later, telling me that she is seeing if I found anything out yet. icon_confused.gif I ask if she got my message and she says she hasn't checked her messages. I tell her again. Then she says she found a picture of a castle she wants, can she email it to me? I say sure, mail it to "[email protected]" Several hours later she calls again, to get my email addresss. icon_confused.gif I go check and see the picture, which is the size of my thumbnail. I try to enlarge it. It is a picture of a fondant castle with LOTS of detail, 2 squares stacked plus a turret on each corner, and another small cucpcake sized tier on top.

I email to tell her that it: 1: is fondant. 2: is larger than she wants and will be closer to $200 even if I pare it down a good deal. I notice at this time that her return email address if from a local custom bakery and cafe. I am suspicious that she is just price shopping me.

I hear nothing from her until yesterday, when she says can you do anything smaller? I am wondering how the heck I'm supposed to do this....castle cakes are inherently involved and I don't really want to make it too small.....it just will look funny. I am also curious as to why she doesn't check her messages and why it is taking her so long to reply to my emails. The party is less than 1 week away.

I get a call today asking if I have come up with anything....(I wasn't able to answer the phone just then, so it was a VM). I think on this and decide I don't want to do it. She is being odd and I don't want to do it if I'm trying to make a 20 serving castle, and these are the perks of working for yourself, right? So I call her cellular and leave her a message stating that I hadn't heard back from her so I assumed that she wasn't interested and accepted another order. I also email her to be sure she isn't clueless.

She calls back a few hours later and asks if I got her message. I ask her if she got mine, and she said she hadn't checked her messages. I tell her again, whereupon she proceeds to yell at me, telling me that I should have told her that she needed to put a deposit down. I respond with an apology, and and indicate that from the continued negotiations on price and size that she wasn't sure yet that she wanted to order, and she responds that "Of course I want to order, why else would I be talking to you? You should have told me I needed to place a deposit, I could have called another baker!"

I feel a little bad....but I was given the impression that she had been to my website, which clearly states the need for a deposit. But I am sorta glad I'm not doing the order. She was starting to give me a bad juju sorta feeling.

What's your take? Do you tell everyone who asks these types of questions that they have to deposit? It didn't appear to me that she was in the actual "order" phase of investigation. Am I completely clueless?

14 replies
jason_kraft Posted 24 Sep 2010 , 6:48pm
post #2 of 15

For a $1000 order I might deal with a flaky customer, but for a $100 order it sounds like more trouble than it's worth. Especially with her suspicious return email address.

jenmat Posted 24 Sep 2010 , 6:57pm
post #3 of 15

I think you probably did the right thing. Sometimes you have to fire your customer. She never signed a contract or gave a deposit, so really there was no agreement made.

The only thing I could see is that she was so focused on the deposit. The issue was not a lack of deposit, it was the back and forth communication. Did you explain that part?
I had to fire a customer a month back. Told him after 10 or so back and forths, that I was just not able to help him with what he needed, since he couldn't make a decision and had a faulty budget. He didn't like it, but I'm much happier!

lauralee422 Posted 24 Sep 2010 , 6:59pm
post #4 of 15

If she was price shopping, I doubt she would have yelled at you like that. Odd that she had a bakery sounding email though! I would have done the same, although what I do is really for fun. I dont' invest in any supplies until there is an exact moment when I give a price and the person says go ahead. I always the day after we decide to do it write up and email saying "just confirming that you want this cake, with this filling/frosting on this day and you'll pick it up or I'll drop it off...' etc. Just to cover myself, as i have been burned before.

karateka Posted 24 Sep 2010 , 7:00pm
post #5 of 15

Well....the thing I figure is that I told her that I accepted the other order because she came right over and paid in full that day, and I have to accept orders on a "first deposited" basis.

But the whole tone of the conversations was that she didn't like what I was telling her, and might not order if I couldn't come up with something small and cheap.

karateka Posted 24 Sep 2010 , 7:04pm
post #6 of 15
Quote:
Originally Posted by lauralee422

If she was price shopping, I doubt she would have yelled at you like that. Odd that she had a bakery sounding email though! I would have done the same, although what I do is really for fun. I dont' invest in any supplies until there is an exact moment when I give a price and the person says go ahead. I always the day after we decide to do it write up and email saying "just confirming that you want this cake, with this filling/frosting on this day and you'll pick it up or I'll drop it off...' etc. Just to cover myself, as i have been burned before.




Oh, it wasn't bakery sounding.....it was the name of a bakery. I googled the name and it was a bakery/cafe locally! They do wedding and birthday and all kinds of stuff. That's why I assumed that something odd was going on.

cheatize Posted 24 Sep 2010 , 10:45pm
post #7 of 15

Either she's price shopping or she's just a flake. I don't deal well with flakes. I want to tell them, "Call me when you get it together. I have neither the time nor patience to allow your flakiness to muck up my life."

lindseylu8 Posted 24 Sep 2010 , 10:47pm
post #8 of 15

I wouldnt have wanted to deal w/ her either. Odds are if she is this picky/ flakey beforehand she would be after you deliver. She could flake on the rest of the payment, be unhappy w/ your work (or just say she is), demand a refund, complain publically. I think you did the right thing in backing out- those bad feelings serve as a warning to us.

And IDK what to say about the bakery email address? Wierd.

Ladiesofthehouse Posted 25 Sep 2010 , 12:32am
post #9 of 15

Maybe she is the baker at the bakery and committed to a small castle cake but is not able to pull it off. She's seen your work on your website and figures she will just order one from you cheap and resell it to her customer. She doesn't have deposit money because she hasn't gotten a deposit from her customer--didn't think of it at the time and is now pissed that you have thrown a wrench into her monkey program.

Just a theory.

lollyponpon Posted 25 Sep 2010 , 12:51am
post #10 of 15

oooohhhhh i like ladiesofthehouse theory!! she probably sold herself short of skill or time and now needs to just keep the customer pleased!! it could also explain the time delays, whilst she is communicating with her customer, to then pretend she is ur customer!!

3GCakes Posted 25 Sep 2010 , 12:51am
post #11 of 15

I wouldn't give it another thought. It doesn't seem like an order worth hassling with given the time and size constraints, and the chinks in the chain of communication.

As Indidebi says: "Next?"

CWR41 Posted 25 Sep 2010 , 4:27am
post #12 of 15

In one instance that I received a strange call about pricing (which was from a banquet center according to the Caller ID), I simply told them that I knew who they were, didn't appreciate them not identifying themselves correctly, and that a quote would not be provided.

They apologized, then admitted that they were only trying to find out if they could afford me to provide a huge wedding cake during the decorator's vacation period. A win/win situation for all in the end!

(The bride's family was so excited that the decorator wasn't available, and that it was my cake because I had made their other daughter's cake the year before!)

costumeczar Posted 25 Sep 2010 , 1:06pm
post #13 of 15

You did the right thing...If your psycho-radar is going off, then it probably means that you're dealing with a psycho. Why would you want to deal with a psycho? You don't!

sweetcakes Posted 26 Sep 2010 , 3:33am
post #14 of 15

I had a customer just like this once, back and forth over emails, couldn't make a decision, i finally emailed her that another order had come in and i was completely booked now. She yelled at me also and said i was very unprofessional. It worried me for a while but i got over it. who has time to go back and forth, they wouldn't dare do that in person at a store. I think emails encourages this sort of thing, but i dont like to talk on the phone and perhaps underquote a price when i haven;t had time to consider it. I think you did the right thing. Some cakes just have to have a minimum servings to them regardless of what they want.

elliespartycake Posted 26 Sep 2010 , 11:54am
post #15 of 15

I agree with sweetcakes. Some cake designs have to be done in a certain size, regardless of the number of servings needed. With all of the detail involved in most castle cakes, it needs to be a certain size or the proportion is all wrong. You did the right thing by bailing on this "potential" order. You might be having second thoughts now but I'll bet if you had managed to secure the order you'd be kicking yourself right now. Be happy!

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