What Did She Expect!!!!!! Vent!!!

Decorating By CakeLady1981 Updated 22 Jun 2011 , 6:07pm by BakerAnn

CakeLady1981 Posted 17 Jun 2011 , 4:18pm
post #1 of 54

We were doing a cake for a lady that was the general manager of several bowling alleys which do a lot of birthday parties. In exchange for a discount on her cakes she was going to do a little advertising for us and pass out flyers at the bowling alleys.

She posted on her facebook page that she has been let go and will no longer be working at the bowling alleys. I sent her a polite message that said that she would no longer receive a discount as she was not able to do the advertising! She had placed an order for a wedding cake and grooms cake...now she will not message me back on the cakes! I have to assume that she no longer wants them as I sent a message saying I needed payment to get supplies and she has not responded!

What did she expect to still get a discount when she couldn't hold up her end of the agreement? PULEASE!!

53 replies
jason_kraft Posted 17 Jun 2011 , 4:52pm
post #2 of 54

To be fair, I think it was a little forward to proactively send a message to the customer specifically saying they would not be receiving the discount. Another way to approach this would be to contact the customer and confirm the order at the non-discounted price. If the customer asks about the discount, that's when you can ask if she is still in position to fulfill her end of the advertising deal and let her tell you that she no longer works there.

cakification Posted 17 Jun 2011 , 5:01pm
post #3 of 54

Jason.. you are teaching me so much about how to (hopefully) run my business in the future.. I just wanted to thank you.

kristiemarie Posted 17 Jun 2011 , 5:07pm
post #4 of 54

I would have given her the discount still. She isn't holding up her end, not because she doesn't want to but because she can't. By you taking the discount away, you're going back on your word.

I'd have emailed her and told her that since she was no longer there, you couldn't offer the full discount but you wanted to keep up your end of the bargain and would be offering her a partial discount for this one cake or two cakes, whatever she ordered.

But that's just me.

SarahBeth3 Posted 17 Jun 2011 , 5:15pm
post #5 of 54

I do see where you are coming from, but poor lady, she just lost her job and then you kind of threw this at her. Who knows, she may have already assumed she couldn't get the discount, and if so then you kind of rubbed it in her face. I guess I think there might have been a better, more gentle manner of easing her into the idea that she can't have the discount, especially since she is already probably in a very sad place.

maggles Posted 17 Jun 2011 , 5:15pm
post #6 of 54

To be honest, I think I'd have been a more little sensitive to the fact that she'd obviously just lost her job, actually. No, she won't be able to do the advertising, but like kristiemarie said...it's because she can't. I think I'd give her the discounted price on the cakes already ordered, and renegotiate on future orders.

It must suck to lose your job and have someone contact you and say, "I see you just got fired. Remember the cake you ordered? Well, now you're going to have to pay more for it." I realize that was not your intention at all, but put yourself in her shoes. That's probably how it felt to her.

But, I'm a softie, so take it for what it's worth (not much, haha).

Jenniferkay Posted 17 Jun 2011 , 5:17pm
post #7 of 54

I would still offer a discount..maybe she's no longer at the alley, but maybe she'll be going someplace bigger and better! I would have a discussion with her regarding the discount. Maybe it's not on both; maybe just on the main cake, not the Groom's. Going above and beyond expectations is better PR.

LNW Posted 17 Jun 2011 , 5:35pm
post #8 of 54

I agree with the majority on this, Id still give her the discount. Its not like shes trying to take advantage of you maliciously. She lost her job unexpectedly and now gets an email from you about having to pay full price for a cake you both had already agreed to do at a discount. Its kind of harsh. Maybe you could work out another deal with her. Is there something else she could do for you that would be worthy of the discount? You never know, she could have something better lined up that would get you more exposure then the bowling alley deal.

lorieleann Posted 17 Jun 2011 , 5:40pm
post #9 of 54

Not because I'm a 'softie' but I do think that she still deserves a discount on her personal cake. I'm assuming that even though she is no longer the manager there, your cake shop will still have a relationship with the bowling alley? If she was the one who got your foot in the door and established you as the 'go to' cake provider for in house birthday parties, then your exchange still stands because as i see it you basically 'paid' her in personal discounts for her referred business.

I suppose if your future with the bowling alley is gone with her departure and you would be losing money with the discount, then it would be reasonable not to honor the discount. On that level I agree with the notion that it would have been better to confirm the order without the discount instead of hitting her with what could very well be seen as an insensitive message. I know if I just lost my job, I surely wouldn't want to be hit with that message right away. You want your customers to feel good about doing business with you; i'm sure she didn't expect to get kicked while she was already down.

MikeRowesHunny Posted 17 Jun 2011 , 5:41pm
post #10 of 54

Ouch! Talk about kicking someone when they are down! I'm sure you could have worked out some other way to get some free advertising (business cards on the table at the wedding perhaps?!.

leah_s Posted 17 Jun 2011 , 5:51pm
post #11 of 54

There are a couple of problems here.
1. Burning a bridge with the fired woman and assuming she's not going to get a job to refer business to you in the future.
2. Mixing business and personal - giving a discount on the *personal* cake because she advertises for you in her *business* life. That ONLY works if she's the owner of the business. Otherwise you provide a perk of some sort to the *business* for the advertising.

Relznik Posted 17 Jun 2011 , 5:53pm
post #12 of 54
Quote:
Originally Posted by MikeRowesHunny

Ouch! Talk about kicking someone when they are down!




These are the very words that left my mouth when I read the post.

Sorry; I'm sure that's not what you want to hear, but you did ask..... icon_sad.gif

Suzanne x

KatieKraft Posted 17 Jun 2011 , 6:07pm
post #13 of 54

It sounds like you have unnecessarily burned a bridge by hastily removing her discount.

For starters, it appears to have cost you this sale, which has immediate financial impact for you.

Secondly, you have lost a network connection. Never bite the hand that feeds you. Sure, she doesn't work for that one company anymore, but because of your connection you likely can make a new deal with whoever is tapped to replace her. She will also likely get another management job at a similar establishment. What if she goes on to manage every Discovery Zone type venue in your region? Too bad you alienated her instead of working out a compromise.

If I were you, I would have taken a far more subtle, sensative approach, as Jason recommended. You could have easily turned this into a situation where you look like you're doing her a favor.

"I'm sorry to hear about your departure from XXXXXXX. Although that severs our previous agreement to exchange advertising at the bowling alley for a discount on cake services, I would still really like to offer you a discount on your upcoming event in exchange for tasteful advertising at the event...."

Then, move into into what you need to complete the order, and for goodness sake end it with well wishes on her future endeavors.

Business is all about networking. Happy customers are your advocates. They are FREE sales people. I have worked several places that never used advertising, their entire customer base was based on word-of-mouth referals. Do you think this woman will likely give you a stellar referal? No. Sure, in comparison to the deal you made, advertising at her event would render less referals than advertising at a party venue but with the way you approached it, not only do you have no advertising at all, but you likely have someone who is going to work against you rather than advocate for you.

MamaDear Posted 17 Jun 2011 , 6:26pm
post #14 of 54

Question - Did you have a personal relationship with this person beforehand or did you just know her from the bowling alley as the Manager?

If you knew her only from the bowling alley, I agree with Leah, you were offering her a personal discount for her business connections. As a manager I seriously doubt that it was her decision to associate the bowling alley with your business in the first place. I think you still owe her a discount but am afraid you probably won't be able to fix your personal relationship with her now. If you still want to do discounts for advertising business with the bowling alley, I would suggest you getting in touch with the owner.

Sorry to disagree, I just see things in a different way. I am sure you will get it all worked out in the end.

justsweet Posted 17 Jun 2011 , 6:27pm
post #15 of 54

Great points made by all, sorry you burned that bridge.

FromScratchSF Posted 17 Jun 2011 , 6:46pm
post #16 of 54

Yes, that is exactly what she should expect!

My previous life was marketing and customer service. Lots of people make fantastic cake but lack business marketing and customer service 101 - so this is what I would have done or I think you should have done... because you've missed some major opportunities:

Upon hearing of her termination, you should have contacted the venue and found out who was replacing her position or who is taking over her duties. Then contacted that person to let them know the type of deal you had worked with the previous employee and see if they would still honor it or do something similar. Then sent her a sympathy type note/email being sensitive to her loss of employment, thanking her for the business she sent your way, letting her know that the venue has agreed to continue referring business/advertising for you and thanking her for paving the way for that agreement (or tell her you were working on continuing the agreement with the previous venue), and also let her know that you will still honor the discount on the cakes she already ordered. (* The discount you offered her was based on referrals she already sent you, I don't know why you'd think those orders don't count and that you should no longer give her that!*) Then, you could have told her that you liked working with her and would love to see if you could work out a new referral arrangement when she has a new position at a new venue.

Doing it this way you would have 1.) nicely terminated your agreement with her personally since she was no longer currently working at the venue from where she could refer business, 2.) set up a new agreement (which may have even had better terms then the old agreement) with the new person at the old venue, 3.) sill honored the agreement on the cakes she has on order with you because going back on that part is really tacky, thereby building on the friendship by showing sympathy and some tact, and 3.) continued or reworked your agreement at a new venue.

From what you posted, I would say what you did was kick someone when they are down, possibly make her financially challenged to pay for the cakes she had on order since finding extra money for things like cake is probably a very low priority to her. As I said, the discount was a kick-back for referrals you already got from her, removing her discount after the order has been placed is a mindblowingly poor business decision. And since she isn't emailing you back and it sounds like you got no money from her for the cakes, I'd say you totally lost that sale discount or no. You jepordized her referring another client to you ever again, not to mention you probably blew your chance on continuing your relationship with her previous employer. Why would you assume she'd never get another job similar to the one she had before? Why would you assume she'd never refer another cake to you? Bottom line, I think you were very shortsighted to get your one-time concession right now and missed the very big picture of gaining 2 new continuing income sources.

Jen

madicakes Posted 17 Jun 2011 , 7:10pm
post #17 of 54

I agree that your email was pretty harsh, and jumping the gun quite a bit. I have to say, were I this woman, I would definitely not purchase these cakes from you, nor any in the future. I would also pass the information on to my friends and family as to how you were so insensitive to send me an email without 1) hearing the news from me first and 2) waiting for me to even ask for the discount to remain in effect. Maybe she would have offered to pay full price for the cakes since she wasn't able to advertise at the bowling alley anymore. Unfortunately, you didn't even give her the chance to speak with you about it before making assumptions and sending a very unprofessional, not to mention insensitive, email.

artscallion Posted 17 Jun 2011 , 7:13pm
post #18 of 54

Two things came into my head when I read your post:

First, as many have said, not great to actively send out a kick to someone who is down like that.

Second is that you shouldn't have had the arrangement to begin with. It's shady, and probably considered some sort of illegal kickback for her to personally benefit from something the business is actually giving you...access to its customers. The benefit of such an arrangement is really not hers, personally, to reap, and people have been fired for less. Maybe that's why she no longer works there.

Think of it like someone who works in a Box Office, and they tell you they'll give you free tickets to a show if you give him a discount. The tickets are not his to give in exchange for personal profit.

madicakes Posted 17 Jun 2011 , 7:20pm
post #19 of 54
Quote:
Originally Posted by artscallion

Second is that you shouldn't have had the arrangement to begin with. It's shady, and probably considered some sort of illegal kickback for her to personally benefit from something the business is actually giving you...access to its customers. The benefit of such an arrangement is really not hers, personally, to reap, and people have been fired for less. Maybe that's why she no longer works there.




Good point!

SarahBeth3 Posted 17 Jun 2011 , 7:29pm
post #20 of 54
Quote:
Originally Posted by FromScratchSF


* The discount you offered her was based on referrals she already sent you, I don't know why you'd think those orders don't count and that you should no longer give her that!*




Jen, very VERY well said. I can tell you have experience in dealing with people! One thing though, you mentioned that the woman who worked at the alley's had already held up her part of the deal, which is what I thought at first too, but when I went back and reread the OP it doesn't actually say that. It was something that she was GOING to do, from what I can tell anyway. Really though, I just wanted to say, I agree with what you said, and it was well put. thumbs_up.gif

CalhounsCakery Posted 17 Jun 2011 , 7:51pm
post #21 of 54

What I'm reading here is what everyone one is saying she should have done. We all know hind site is 20/20. So, lets move on. There are lots of people here with great insight into this sort of area, so I pose the question, how does she fix it? There must be a way. Perhaps contacting the Bride, and apologizing for responding so quickly, (and harshly) and as an offer of reconciliation, perhaps a slightly larger discount? Any other thoughts?

kristiemarie Posted 17 Jun 2011 , 8:12pm
post #22 of 54

I don't think that there is any way to repair, unless she knows this person personally.

I'd be furious if I were the customer.

On the other hand, I do think everyone is being a little harsh on the op. She did have a knee jerk reaction that ended up being a poor business decision. Maybe she's new to this? If so, it's a great learning experience and one she can take with her. If not, perhaps she does need to re-evaluate her business practices.

I don't think we know enough about her or her business or her friend or their agreement.

Perhaps if she didn't agree that she did the wrong thing before, she does now. And hopefully she can move on from this.

But let's all take a lesson to remember that the ass you kick today might be the one you have to kiss tomorrow. icon_wink.gif

FromScratchSF Posted 17 Jun 2011 , 8:28pm
post #23 of 54
Quote:
Originally Posted by CalhounsCakery

What I'm reading here is what everyone one is saying she should have done. We all know hind site is 20/20. So, lets move on. There are lots of people here with great insight into this sort of area, so I pose the question, how does she fix it? There must be a way. Perhaps contacting the Bride, and apologizing for responding so quickly, (and harshly) and as an offer of reconciliation, perhaps a slightly larger discount? Any other thoughts?




It's hard to say how to damage control without more info from the original OP and the wording of the email... maybe there's a loophole to be found and reversed? The original post was very definitive with a big fat "NO SOUP FOR YOU" so I dunno. Contacting the original venue might be savable to continue that account.

Some have mentioned the legality or morality of someone personally benefiting from referrals - everyone in personally motivated. Everyone. It's perfectly legal (unless you are selling insurance, at least in California). Businesses have been doing referral kick-backs for as long as business has been done. Maybe they call it a "Rewards Program" or a "Customer Loyalty Appreciation" or some other snazzy marketing name, but it's all a just a kick-back to you or me for referring them business or buying their products in return for some sort of reward.

Jen

ptanyer Posted 17 Jun 2011 , 8:39pm
post #24 of 54
Quote:
Originally Posted by CakeLady1981

We were doing a cake for a lady that was the general manager of several bowling alleys which do a lot of birthday parties. In exchange for a discount on her cakes she was going to do a little advertising for us and pass out flyers at the bowling alleys.

She posted on her facebook page that she has been let go and will no longer be working at the bowling alleys. I sent her a polite message that said that she would no longer receive a discount as she was not able to do the advertising! She had placed an order for a wedding cake and grooms cake...now she will not message me back on the cakes! I have to assume that she no longer wants them as I sent a message saying I needed payment to get supplies and she has not responded!

What did she expect to still get a discount when she couldn't hold up her end of the agreement? PULEASE!!




First of all - shame on you icon_sad.gif As a professional, you should know that not everything you read on facebook is exactly how it appears. Maybe your perception of the situation was incorrect.

You stated in your post that she was going to do a little advertising. Not that she had done so in the past. Secondly, maybe she was "let go" because of her attempts to advertise for you. You don't know the reason she was let go. You just assumed you knew the whole story based on a facebook posting.

I don't think that your opening post was asking for a way to fix things with the customer. You were upset because you kicked her while she was down, and then have the nerve to think that she is still going to do business with you? And you want us to pat you on the back and tell you that you did "good" and we are so "sorry" this happened to you icon_rolleyes.gif Sorry, that is a no go. As others have pointed out, your customer service was non-existent in this situation. And it will come back to bite you in the end. This customer may very well share this story about you to everyone she knows and think of all the potential business you just blew away.

cakegirl1973 Posted 17 Jun 2011 , 8:58pm
post #25 of 54

To try to repair the damage, the OP should call her to apologize (leave a voice message if she doesn't take the call) and offer to either honor the original discount or a larger discount. I don't know if it will work, but the OP could at least try this approach.

Lisa23 Posted 17 Jun 2011 , 9:18pm
post #26 of 54

I think she hasn't returned the OP's phone calls because there may not be a wedding she's gonna need cakes for. Most people would halt all plans after something as life-altering as a job loss.

CakeLady1981 Posted 17 Jun 2011 , 9:27pm
post #27 of 54

Ok, so Maybe a little more back ground is needed before the next wave.

One, she has put on her own FaceBook page that the bowling alley was being given back to the original owner. Do not know the story behind that, but she has another job before this one is over and is bragging about how much she will like it better....so no pitiful lady got canned from her job and now will be homeless and I am an insensitive prude for not giving her a discount.

Also, she has not done any advertising for us as of yet. This all happened with in a week of her placing the order and we have not received the flyers we ordered to take up there.

She is not a personal friend...so there is no relationship to repair.

And yes after reading some of the comments I do now realize that what she offered (she asked for the discount in exchange for the advertising, I just thought it was a good idea) was not hers to give. No she did not own the bowling alley (she was the general manager) I have no idea why she was let go but the people who are now taking it back over again are not keeping any of the employees.

I do hate that I jumped the gun and sent out the message, that as I reread it was a little to the point with no fluff. I will be contacting the new owners who do have the right to offer advertising if they will allow us to place flyers up there.

ljchevygirl Posted 17 Jun 2011 , 9:34pm
post #28 of 54

I reread the OP. It says that she POLITELY told the lady there would not be a discount. I agree with what everyone has said, but at the same time I agree with not giving the customer the discount. We do not know the exact wording that was used to tell the customer she would not get the discount, but I am also the type of person that can tell someone off and by the end of the conversation they are telling me thank you and do not realize that I told them off. If a customer can not hold up their end of an agreement than they should not get the discount. Who is to say that this customer only said she would advertise just to get a discount and then after her wedding would never actually do it. I was part of another business, (not cakes) and we had people come in and would ask about leaving business cards, the owner would say sure and when they left, they would stay on the counter for a day or two and then they would disappear. I just wanted to add my two cents worth. Good luck!

FromScratchSF Posted 17 Jun 2011 , 9:43pm
post #29 of 54
Quote:
Originally Posted by CakeLady1981

Ok, so Maybe a little more back ground is needed before the next wave.




That's always a good idea, people draw their own conclusions based on the exact words you post, so I'm glad you clarified those few points!

Jen

ConnieJ Posted 17 Jun 2011 , 9:52pm
post #30 of 54

I appreciate everyone's input on this situation. I'm not in a place where I can sell cakes as a business, but I'm filing this type of stuff away for when I need it. icon_smile.gif

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