So I had a consult with the customer several weeks ago. She had a picture of a cake she wanted. Of course the cake is way too big for what she wants. It is 3 tiers with a satellite tier under the top tier with tons of rhinestones and high heel show and stars on top. I told her I would get it as close as possible, I NEVER tell people it will be exact.
She doesnt/can't spend over $150. Well with this cake that's almost impossible. I tell her she either needs to take a tier out, take rhinestones out, or decrease the size of the cake (do a 4,6 & 8" instead of 6,8,10) which still will feed more then she needs. She is afraid it will be too small but finally agrees to do the smaller 3 tier cake after more then an hour ( we didn't even do a tasting in the consult).
So today the cake is due and I finish it up earlier since she texted me last night telling me she needs it between 10-11. I actually mis-calculated the amount of rhinestones I needed on the satellite tier that will hang down from the top tier so I just adjusted how I would put them on, no big deal right?
She gets here very late, a little after 2 and I start boxing the cakes up. I forgot to write on the cake board so I go get my piping bag. She steps out and brings her mother back, so I'm thinking she doesn't like the cake, which I asked her if she didn't. She said it was fine.
After I finish writting on the cake out comes all the things she doesn't like. One was the rhinestones I missed. I explain what happened and if she is willing to pay a little extra I would be happy to put them on. She doesn't want to pay extra and thinks I should have at least called her, which I guess I should have but didn't think she wanted to pay extra ( which I was right) and thought is wasn't a big deal since there is so much on already and it looks really good anyways.
Then her mother says it nothing like the picture, which it is exactly like the picture. I ask her what is different and she doesn't answer. Then the woman is mad it doesn't have rhinestones around the cake board, which she told me in the consult to leave off to save money. I tell her this and she argues about it. I give in and tell her I will put it on for free.
She then asks how long it will take cause her party is starting soon. What?!!!! She is the one totally late, that is not my problem. I put the boarder on and ask if she wants me to add the missing rhinestones. No she doesn't cause she isn't willing to pay any extra, ok fine. I box the cake up and bid farewell.
She has ordered from me before but I will no longer take her orders. By the way, this big cake was for a 5 year old. I think it was totally inappropriate but I just take the orders. Sorry so long, I am just soo mad. Thanks for listening.
I would be mad too..sit back and have a coffee...or better yet..a drink..From now on decline her orders if you want!! Who needs her aggrevation!!!
I stopped dead in my tracks when I read that the cake was for a 5 year old. All along I was just sure it was for a small wedding reception, lol! Actually it sounds like the cake was for the two women and the five year old just gets to eat some of it! It seems to me like they got a very nice cake.
It sounds like you handled it well. I still can't get over the fact that this fancy cake was for a 5 year old!! That's unreal!!
I think she got a hellava good cake and a great deal on it to boot. I wish I could upload the picture but my computer has a virus on it so I am on my smart phone and it won't let me upload pictures.
Cakegirl, thanks for saying that, it makes me feel much better. I was so mad but was trying to not show it and I hated to give the rhinestones boarder for free but was not relenting on the other rhinestones.
My sister was in the back and I had to make a couple of trips back there to get some supplies and she saw how mad I was. When they left I explained what was wrong and she said I just need to keep my cool, which I thought I did but was confused after she said that.
I forgot that when I was boxing the cake up the mother complained about the rhinestone boarder on one of the tiers was coming off. It was in the back and the banding just did not want to stay down at the ends and since you can't glue it down there's not much you can do, especially since it was just one rhinestone.
My opinion... you miscalculated the rhinestones. You should have made it right because it was your miscalculation. And ribbons aren't supposed to fall off. I would have been upset if I was the customer. It does not matter what the person paid for the cake. The customer should get what she expects. It is not her fault that the price was too low. You accepted. And if corners are going to be cut from the original design, the customer must be in full understanding... in writing... exactly what will be included and what will not.
Sorry you had this problem, but you need to chalk this up to part of your business education. Be very clear with the customer and deliver what you contracted... in relatively perfect condition.
Wow......I thought it was for a wedding too...hey atleast you kept your cool in front of the customer...way to go!! You tried to remedey the situation and did good in my eyes to know left from right after all of that confusion
Scp1127, she actually did get free rhinestones. I gave in an did put rhinestones around the cake board even though she specifically told me not to put them on the boarder.
I was not going to also give her free rhinestones on the satellite tier, the boarder should have been more then sufficient especially since it had more rhinestones then the satellite tier.
The rhinestones were not falling off, I said the end of the banding did not want to stay all the way down. The banding I use is not flat on the back, the rhinestones they use are not flatback they have a pointed end like a diamond so the back of the banding is sorta pointed at each rhinestone.
The price of the cake was not an issue, she was more then willing to pay my price. And the cake was in perfect condition.
I just pointed out the to things that you said... miscalculation on the rhinestones and border coming off. I'm not trying to be mean. Borders are not supposed to pull away. And when you give a quote (vs. estimate), you must eat the miscalculations.
You may think these issues are insignificant, but your customer does not.
When you ask someone to spend money on anything over a few dollars and executed by someone representing themselves as an expert, then you must deliver the expected product. You also mentioned that you forgot to write on the cake and had to do it in front of the client. She obviously knew you forgot. This is the kind of customer issue that will hurt your business more than you can recover if you don't find a way to make it right.
Many members are so quick to jump on the side of the baker and not give the advice that is needed. You never see the pros on this site complaining about customers being irritating when the ribbon starts to come off. Because the ribbon does not come off. Too many peope learn to decorate a cake and then they think they are business people. If you are going to have a business, then treat it like one. I have a full refund policy and a satisfaction guarantee on my e-commerce site that the customer must check before the transaction is complete. I have never had to use it. I do not let an inferior product go out my door.
Don't sell anything until you can deliver a perfect product by industry standard. If you think I am being harsh, it is nothing compared to what that lady is saying to everyone she sees... not to mention facebook.
I agree, spc1127. Well said.
The cake was perfect. And again it is not ribbon but rhinestones that is not flat and was not coming off but slightly not staying down. What should I have used to keep the rhinestones down?
I actually did write down on her order form that she did not want the rhinestones around the boarder but again I gave it to her to appease her. The details she was complaining about are very small details of the cake and she was just trying to get out of paying the remainder of the cake.
She was satisfied with the cake when she left so I don't think she will be badmouthing me. But if she does then I will have to deal with that and this is a pretty big city. I actually did not post to get advise I was just venting because I was mad but thanks for your thoughts.
I can't picture how the rhinestones were supposed to be arranged but if the agreement was for rhinestones in a certain arrangement.....then that's what the customer should have received. If you miscalculated, then that is your problem and not her problem, and you should have either gotten more last minute, and if that was impossible, you owed her a small discount for not having the cake as agreed upon.
I realize that there are a lot of annoying customers out there (I've been dealing with a few of them) but we have to remember that this is our job, and our customers are paying us good money to serve them. We are not doing them a favor....we are serving them. Just like we expect hot food done as-ordered at a restaurant, our customers expects our cakes to be exactly like they ordered, and are paying us a lot of money to do that.
I might get upset at my customers once in awhile but every single customer I have deserves to have their cake as close to their requirements as physically possible by me....and that is heavy on my shoulders every time I do a cake. Mistakes happen, and that's when you eat cost and apologize and do whatever it takes to make it right.
Not trying to sound preachy LOL...I've just noticed lately several posts where bakers are upset that their customers are upset at mistakes made by the baker....as bakers, we should be willing to take it on the chin when we make mistakes and be gracious with our customers who have chosen us over many other bakers, and trusted us with their special occasion, and with their money, no matter who its for (even a five year old...that cake represents lots of love!).
now people expect more for there money. I agree if I make a mistake or calculate something wrong then I always give the customer an apology and money back or discount on future orders.
I have had some very outrageous childrens cakes also lately. I think they are more for the parent groups to see who can out do the other. And they start younger than 5yrs.. my last two have been for one year and two year olds.
none of the little sheet cakes anymore.. but 2 or three tier pink and black zebra stripe cakes with pink pearls for a 2yr old girl.. for example.
If the parents will spend $65 and up for a 2 yr olds birthday cake then we need to make sure that it is what they wanted. And like what has been said always get what people want in writing and let them know if you are having a problem giving them what they ordered with enough time to come up with an alternative that both of you can live with where everyone is happy and satisfied.
I am curious when is a 4,6, & 8" cake a large cake? The smallest cakes that end up with are 12,8.6 and people always want a big cake. And when it is for a party I always make sure that the cakes offer "party" size pieces. So that means larger tiers. Because no one knows how to cut small pices of cake at these things. no wedding cake slices here. Even wilton shows party calculations in some of the older yearbooks or wedding books.
Hopefully everyone at the party loved the cake and the lady will have forgotten all the problems. and you will get future customers.
I do agree with a lot of the comments, but maybe if the lady wasn't so d**n late, she may have had some time to make it right so that the customer was happy when walking out the door.
A little off topic, but on the over the top cakes for children are the norm here. Very seldom do I do a cake for under $150 for a child's birthday. I often do 1st birthday cakes for $350 or better. Granted the children don't care, but the parents do. I say the more over the top the better.
I do one child's cake every year and it has not been less than $300 every year.