Silly Complaints?

Decorating By Cakes-and-bakes Updated 23 Jun 2011 , 8:23pm by Cakes-and-bakes

Cakes-and-bakes Posted 23 Jun 2011 , 12:53pm
post #1 of 26

hey everyone.
I made some baby cake pops on a stand (in my gallery) and delivered it to a baby shower a few days ago. Well about 4 hours after the delivery the woman contacts me with 2 complaints:
1- all the babies had binkies, she had requested binkies and some with different expressions.
2- i overcharged her for the stand because "its just foam". I charged $25 (items are expensive where I live) and other places, even the "cheaper" stores, actually charge around 100-300 for huge foam stands that Ipersonally think are on the tacky side.

With the binkies, the woman had actually changed the date of the shower to 3 days before her order was reserved for. I wanted the order so I said to myself fine, Ill get done with the order im working on, then pull an all nighter with this one. It takes a LOT of time to draw on different facial expressions so because of lack of time I did them with all binkies. but I did some of them awake and some of them asleep.


With the stand, I dont know what she was expecting cos all my stands are foam. I replied to her:

Dear xxxx,
with having to rush to have your order finished 72 hours before the agreed upon date, Time did not allow me to proceed with all of the different facial expressions, as these pops are very time consuming andI also had another order that needed to go out on time. However I did try to at least give you some that were asleep and some awake so they wouldnt all be exactly the same. As far as the stand goes, it is not "just foam". Stand pricing is based on foam, ribbons, papers, glue, trips into town to get items, gas, assembling and putting together, measuring and spacing pops out equally onto stand, and other time consuming factors. I spent 3 hours on the stand alone from making it to arranging pops on it. I'm sorry you feel taken advantage of but I assure you thats not the case. Thank you.


She never replied. the complaint didnt bother me that much, its just when i get complaints like this it makes me nervous on FUTURE orders thinking, oh god I hope they dont complain too..."

She didnt ask for compensation and I dont know if I should give her any (although i dont think I do given the circumstances). it just takes the fun out of the work I guess.

Oh well, just wanted to let it out, and I know this is the place to do it. Thank you CC. Did I handle this well?

25 replies
Cakes-and-bakes Posted 23 Jun 2011 , 12:55pm
post #2 of 26

clarification: she changed the date giving me less than 24 hours notice.

jason_kraft Posted 23 Jun 2011 , 1:19pm
post #3 of 26
Quote:
Originally Posted by Cakes-and-bakes

clarification: she changed the date giving me less than 24 hours notice.



I'm surprised you still filled the order.

cakegirl1973 Posted 23 Jun 2011 , 1:25pm
post #4 of 26

When she changed the order date, did you tell her that you would be unable to make the different faces due to shortage of time? Also, when she placed the order, did you tell her that the stand would be made of foam? It sounds like you might have been able to avoid some of these issues if you would have mentioned these things prior to delivery/pick-up. She may have been expecting one thing, but received something different. I wouldn't offer her a refund, but I would offer her a small discount (like maybe 10%-15%) off her next order, just because I think it would be good customer service.

Cakes-and-bakes Posted 23 Jun 2011 , 1:44pm
post #5 of 26

Thank you cake girl, I think I will do that.

I didnt mention the foam stand because all the stands in my photos are foam and pretty much the same, therefore I assumed the stand being foam was a given..its also mentioned in my facebook that they are foam....Theres my lesson in assuming.

And no to be honest, I didnt mention the facial expressions because, honestly I didnt think about it at the time...all I was really worried about was having them done on time. when i realized time wouldnt allow it, it was already about 2 am and too late to call her..

jason...usually I dont, but I needed the order.

Bluehue Posted 23 Jun 2011 , 1:48pm
post #6 of 26

I just viewed the cake pop pictures in your Gallery - you surely do great Cake Pop stands - - alot of people don't do half a good a job.
In saying that - i have no idea what your customer was expecting - perhaps the little white sticks to be pushed into a plastic plate icon_rolleyes.gificon_confused.gif

Honestly - with the time frame she cut you down to - and the work you do and effort you put into your Cake Pops and stand - i am not surprised you haven't heard back from her.....

Sometimes there is just no pleasing some people - and i think she may have been one of them.

As for a refund - pfftttttt, i don't think so.

Bluehue icon_smile.gif

Norasmom Posted 23 Jun 2011 , 2:12pm
post #7 of 26

Some people are unhappy no matter what. Your cake pops were amazing, and i am sure those attending the baby shower just loved them! Don't worry about future orders, not everyone is that picky. She has too much time on her hands. icon_biggrin.gif

Lcubed82 Posted 23 Jun 2011 , 2:27pm
post #8 of 26

Very cute cake pops! If you don't mind my asking, what did you use for the binkies?

solascakes Posted 23 Jun 2011 , 2:31pm
post #9 of 26

Cakes-and-bakes , you do not owe her a dime, not even a discount for future orders.

tiggy2 Posted 23 Jun 2011 , 2:34pm
post #10 of 26

The pops are adorable and very well done but as a customer I would have balked at paying $25 for the foam stand. You could make reusable wooden stands for the same amount or less and charge a deposit until they are returned.

kristiemarie Posted 23 Jun 2011 , 2:39pm
post #11 of 26

Have you thought about rolling the cost of your stand into the price of the pops? That would make each one a tiny bit more, but the customer wouldn't see paying for "just a foam" stand.

BuddyLee Posted 23 Jun 2011 , 2:45pm
post #12 of 26

First off let me say that your cake pops are GREAT! They truly are.

However, this type of thing irks me a little bit. I do not think the customer is being too picky, has too much time on her hands or is someone who just can't be pleased. For a situation like this, I think people need to step out of their "caker" shoes and put on their "customer" shoes. Now, are they due a refund? I don't think so but the idea of a small discount on a future order would be a nice gesture on your side (but not necessarily required).

Hypothetical situation. You are having a party and you need to order centerpieces for your tables. You go to the florist and order them but you request that some of them consist of roses, some consist of carnations, and some consist of tulips. Plus you want some of the vases in clear and some in blue. (I am not a florist so I'm not sure what that would really look like. lol. ) The party is supposed to be on a Saturday. For some reason or another the party is actually tomorrow and you call up the florist and try to move it up and they say fine.

Fast forward to the party and when you arrive you notice that all you got was centerpieces made up of carnations. They are very well done, but no tulips, no roses with some in clear vases and some in blue. How would you feel? Yes, you had moved the order up but the florist did not indicate that due to the moving of the date that anything would change.

I seem to see this all the time when people seem to think that these complaints are silly, or the person is too picky, has too much time on their hands or is a -zilla of some sort. When in fact, they ordered something and got something either different or not what exactly was expected (or there was a misunderstanding of sorts). So in their eyes they are not getting exactly what they paid for. In this situation, would the partygoers notice? Probably not. The only person who probably would is the party planner (unless they are the type to tell everyone about it) but most of the time that who is paying.

Now this is not meant to judge anyone or say that anyone is right or wrong but before we dismiss people's criticisms or concerns, try looking at it from their point of view.

As for the complaint about the stand, there's not much to say there. The stand was probably very nice looking and if the quality of your cake pops is any indicator of your stand then I'm sure that actually it was awesome. However, sometimes customers are expecting something different or better yet don't know what to expect and when they get it they just don't realize what went into making it.

Cakes-and-bakes Posted 23 Jun 2011 , 3:00pm
post #13 of 26

Thank you very much everyone.

I debated ordering "cake pop stands" that I see online made out of wood, plastic, etc but didnt for several reasons, some of which being I live overseas and will spend a fortune on shipping, ive rented some stands in the past but people dont return them on time, or at all, and just decide to keep them and let me keep the deposit. another issue is the stands only hold a certian amount of pops, and most my customers want 100-300 pops at a time on a display. The ones i see online just arent big enough. And even if i order several different sizes, some people order "12" pops, some order "30" pops. Some order "55" pops. what if the stand has more holes in it than the person ordered pops for? it would look funny with empty spaces...I dont get many "on a stand" orders anyway and think it might be an un-needed investment. if more people wanted them displayed that way sure...but the majority of my customers want them in a box or on a tray in ball form. Ive made those stands as high as 5 tiers and 2 feet across. It just seems simpler for me to, if they want a stand, have them purchase the foam one. Ive considered renting out the foam ones, but once you stick the pops in them and make a hole theyre not very pretty for the next customer...

Yes, its a bit pricey, but again, I live overseas things here are pricey. The stand costed me about 13 dollars to make, and thats just for the supplies, not gas, electricity, glue, etc.

What I do with the stands is get white foam squares or rounds that are about 2 inches in thickness. I buy scrapbooking paper (or any paper you like that has a pretty pattern) cut them out to match the size of the foam, and glue it onto one side with a glue stick. I then wrap ribbons (silk) around the sides securing them with hot glue. I'll also use the ribbons to make some big bows and glue those on as well, along with any little decorations I think might match. I then hot glue the tiers together (use lots of glue) I also attach sometimes little crystals with the glue to the ribbon going around if it is for a wedding or formal event. Before inserting the pops, I use a wooden skewer to make the hole first. the pops go in much easier that way.

At times when i cant find the pattern i want in stores for the paper covering the surface, I will look for a pretty pattern online ( I did this with the damask and burgundy stand in my gallery) and will enlarge it on the computer and print it onto sticky paper.

The binkies are pieces of a candy necklace.

Cakes-and-bakes Posted 23 Jun 2011 , 3:09pm
post #14 of 26

tiggy- a wonderful idea i did think of in the past! its just living in the middle east, which is mostly SAND, wood is VERY expensive. all wood products even trees lol are very expensive. I wanted to have some wooden shelves made for my kids room and the man quoted me $125 for 4 shelves. the metal ones were a fraction of that.

Cakes-and-bakes Posted 23 Jun 2011 , 3:24pm
post #15 of 26

Buddylee, thank you so much for your well thought out input! I do think out of kind nature I will give her 10% off of her future orders.
In any other instance i would have never not given what promised, it's just having to move the party up 3 days in advance and also working on another order I honestly didnt even think about the time factor of different facial expressions when she called me in a frenzy the party was now tomorrow. as a good businesswoman i think i should have stated on the spot time wouldnt allow for the different faces, but im still kind of new at this, and being distracted by the other order, kids, husband, etc...it just didnt dawn on me. Thats why I do think I should offer something for a future order.

its just when she sent me that text message, I kinda felt what all of you talk about in other threads. I was having thoughts like "did she tell the balloon arch arrangement man 'its just rubber and air'?" or did she tell whoever made the big flower arrangements "its just a glass vase".or whoever designed her huge banner 'its just plastic and ink'....etc...etc...

Spuddysmom Posted 23 Jun 2011 , 3:41pm
post #16 of 26

If your stand cost you $13, asking $25 seems more than reasonable. To avoid future complaints/confusion, make a couple of stands to show customers exactly what they are ordering.
Your reply should have been sufficient to explain the lack of different expressions was due to the rush order, although it would have been great to tell her that when she changed the date, but that's 20/20 hindsight.
Your pops are adorable.

Cakes-and-bakes Posted 23 Jun 2011 , 3:46pm
post #17 of 26

thank you spuddy's mom. you are very sweet.

Bluehue Posted 23 Jun 2011 , 3:59pm
post #18 of 26
Quote:
Originally Posted by Cakes-and-bakes



its just when she sent me that text message, I kinda felt what all of you talk about in other threads. I was having thoughts like "did she tell the balloon arch arrangement man 'its just rubber and air'?" or did she tell whoever made the big flower arrangements "its just a glass vase".or whoever designed her huge banner 'its just plastic and ink'....etc...etc...

I will come back into this conversation and say - "well said" - you hit the nail on the head.......
Those of us who are in business are all customers as well as Cakers - so i do know what it is like to stand in a customers shoes.
And as for paying huge prices for freight - 80% of the time i do - but thats my choice......

The point is - After paying for the Foam - the pretty paper - the ribbon - driving to the store and then constructing it - 25.00 is an acceptable price IMO to charge.

There are many things we learn in this business and one of them is this...

Once a consumable is consumed - its then very easy to complain about taste - filling - texture - delivery - presentaton - freshness - colour and everything else that goes with an order.............. especially 4 hours after the fact - and to alert you to the fact by Text icon_rolleyes.gif - what ?? she had the gawl to complain, but not directly to you.
That in itself says alot more about her and her complaint - that your foam stand.
She wanted to sound you out - but wasn't prepared to hear you icon_rolleyes.gif

Your prices are your prices - you know what things are worth in your area -
Don't feel troubled - its upset you for now - but don't let that deter you.

Good grief - i've seen photos of cakes presented on scrappy silver/gold boards - for weddings - icon_surprised.gificon_eek.gif.

Your work and presentation is beautiful - stand proud.

Bluehue. icon_smile.gif


Cakes-and-bakes Posted 23 Jun 2011 , 4:46pm
post #19 of 26

Bluehue....God bless you. Thank you. I'm touched. huge cake crumb hugs sent your way.

TexasSugar Posted 23 Jun 2011 , 4:48pm
post #20 of 26

I can totally understand not figuring out that you didn't have time to do the faces until you got started. But I can also understand the customers side of things as well. She was expected one thing, when she changed the order, nothing was said about getting something different, so she thought it was still going to be the original order. Also because she was already unhappy about the faces on the pop's the 'just foam' stand could have just rubbed her wrong. It could be a situation where since she was already letting you know how she felt about one thing she'd decided to add the other, and either on their own she might have ignored.

I would have worded the email a little differently. I would have left about the part about having other orders to fill. That could make it seem like the other order was more important than hours. Just mentioning the time constraint of the rushed order was enough in my opinion. Even a "I apologize, when we did discussed moving the order up I didn't realize that I would not have time to do all the different facial expressions. I should have thought of that at the time, and I am sorry I didn't let you know," would have probably gone a long way with her.

Was the stand price discussed before? In the email I'm not sure I would have gotten all into the cost of you to you. The customer doesn't care. You could have cut that whole section down to something along the lines of "while the stands are made from foam, they are custom made and decorated for each order and our price for them reflects that."

I will say, in the picture you can see the foam beneath the bottom ribbon, and maybe that was part of the issue she had. Not that it was just foam, but more that it wasn't completely covered foam. Had the ribbon been wider you wouldn't have been able to tell just by looking at it that it was foam under it.

In the future, I would say, when you reply to a complaint of any sort. Write out your first thoughts, and stick that in mail waiting to be sent. Step away, consider the situation from the customers view point, and then come back and rewrite. You can also send the email to someone else, and ask them how the email reads to them.

Cakes-and-bakes Posted 23 Jun 2011 , 5:04pm
post #21 of 26

texas, thank you for the advice about writing it down first and stepping away. those are wise words and a very good idea.
I guess i thought i had to explain in that way because, well A- I was miffed. and B- the middle east is JUST being introduced to "custom" work. a LOT of people here arent familiar with the concept. I still have people call me and ask if they can "stop by" to see my pops. So I guess I felt ( at the time)I had to explain to her everything that actually went into making it...

When mentioning the "other" order, my thoughts were to convey to her NOT that her order wasnt important, but that since she had changed the date on me on such short notice, I wanted to give her the vibe she wasnt my only customer...

And yes, as a consumer as well as a caker I am offering her a percentage off her next order for not telling her at the time of the date change. Just for good karma's sake. icon_smile.gif

About the foam, she said "it's just foam."

Thank you so much for your input texas rose. icon_smile.gif

TexasSugar Posted 23 Jun 2011 , 6:13pm
post #22 of 26

I know you didn't mean that your other order was more important. I was just saying from the other side how it could have come off. We all tend to want to believe that we are the one and only don't we? icon_smile.gif

Explaining in detail is common for us, when we feel the need to defend ourselves and our products. Especially when it comes to pricing. Sometimes it works, sometimes the other person isn't gonna care either way.

I think offering a discount on the next order is nice of you. I'm not always a fan of that, but in this case, you didn't give her a bad product, you just didn't completely full fill your side of the order.

Every situation we are in is a learning experience, life is a learning experience. So take what you have learned from this and carry it into the future.

Your pops are really cute, and I do like how you got creative for the bases for the pops.

KatieKraft Posted 23 Jun 2011 , 6:57pm
post #23 of 26

I believe that BuddyLee has the right idea here. When she was gaining approval from you to move the date, you failed to gain approval from her to alter the design of her item. Regardless of the time constraint or not, you left her with the impression that she was still going to receive her order the way she originally envisioned it, and she didn't receive it that way. From a consumer stand point I think her disappointment is validated and providing her a small discount that is not of consequence to you but helps her, is a great way to showcase good customer service. thumbs_up.gif

In regards to the stand, I think your stands look very nice. I'm assuming she didnt inspect one personally or feel the weight of it. A lot of consumer websites on cake pops show those pricey, stacking cake pop/cupcake stands and so I think this is just a little bit of consumer ignorance about the options and a lack of communication about the product being sold. I wouldn't change your stands at all, I think they're great, but I agree that because of the consumer impression, it would be wise for you to devulge a little information about how you create the stands in a way that highlights their positive features.

The idea of incorporating the cost of the stand into the cost of the cake pops is fantastic, IMO. This would allow you to tell customers that your hand crafted, one-of-a-kind, custom cake pop stands are included with each order. That adds value rather than cost in a customers eyes.

The only other thing Id recommend is adjusting how you respond to complaints. Although its easy to see them as negative, personal attacks on something you worked very hard on, they are really just opportunities to connect with a customer and improve your business. Listen, stay neutral in your response, thank her for her feedback and let her know how it will enrich your business. Because of her complaint youll likely employ a new approach to last minute changes and how you represent your stands with future clients. Thats helpful! So, her complaint has really opened a door to an improvement in your processes and that type of a response from you will help her feel listened to and appreciated.

charliecakes Posted 23 Jun 2011 , 7:20pm
post #24 of 26
Quote:
Originally Posted by Cakes-and-bakes

Buddylee, thank you so much for your well thought out input! I do think out of kind nature I will give her 10% off of her future orders.
In any other instance i would have never not given what promised, it's just having to move the party up 3 days in advance and also working on another order I honestly didnt even think about the time factor of different facial expressions when she called me in a frenzy the party was now tomorrow. as a good businesswoman i think i should have stated on the spot time wouldnt allow for the different faces, but im still kind of new at this, and being distracted by the other order, kids, husband, etc...it just didnt dawn on me. Thats why I do think I should offer something for a future order.

its just when she sent me that text message, I kinda felt what all of you talk about in other threads. I was having thoughts like "did she tell the balloon arch arrangement man 'its just rubber and air'?" or did she tell whoever made the big flower arrangements "its just a glass vase".or whoever designed her huge banner 'its just plastic and ink'....etc...etc...




First of all Cakes and Bakes your work is spectactular. Great work. Also, you are exactly right in saying maybe you should have told her time wouldn't allow for the original design idea but hey....chalk it up to a learning experience. This pastry/baking business sure does come with a swift learning curve doesn't it?

Having said that, Buddy Lee made some great comments about the customer's side of things. I have been in your position before and quickly learned that the customer has expectations and those expectations are usually exactly what we, (the business owner /baker )promised them or above and beyond that. They want what they paid for and in most cases hold a death ear to any unforseen circumstances us business owners may have. Unfortunately, most customers will not lend a sympathetic ear to our timing or family issues. They expect us to be professional and business savy. In short, Almost good enough is Never good enough for the customer.

TinkerCakes Posted 23 Jun 2011 , 7:57pm
post #25 of 26

I love your cake pops...already PM'd you about that! I am currently trying to figure out how to package/display cake pops (I"m in FL, Cottage Food Bill just got signed! Hopefully I can start selling eventually) Anyway....that stupid styrofoam is driving me NUTS...it's so expensive! If you make a display (like yours) or put them in a container, you still have to use styrofoam. I wish there was another way....I'm scared I will get the same reaction "it's just foam".....yeah, that one piece on FOAM is $8!!!! I am considering making the wooden stands and renting them out...each with 12 holes since I will sell by the dozen.????Who knows...

I guess this a learning experience for you....AND ME...thanks for sharing your story.

Cakes-and-bakes Posted 23 Jun 2011 , 8:23pm
post #26 of 26

Thank you very very much everyone for taking time out to answer my post, I highly appriciate everyones valuable input and all the different points of view!

jason-lisa,lol yes it is expensive grrr.

I dont think (and I hope...)my reply to her didnt sound like i was attacking/defensive...does it seem that way when yall read it? it truly wasnt my intent...in my head my tone of voice was very calm and explanitory...didnt realize how it might have come off.

To clarify to some, allt he stands in my photos are foam, and I explain to all customers the stands are foam, and on my facebook in the FAQ I state the stands are foam so it is obvious to those who take the time to read about the product. I tell them if they want a stand/ tray that is NOT foam, that is fine, but the cake ball would be resting on the stand and the stick will be up in the air.

yes it truly is a learning experience!! We must learn to think really fast on our feet!!

I guess, thinking from a caker point of view, if I were to order from say, jason lisa, and the same thing happened with the no facial expressions, I would have been more understanding about it seeing as I KNOW all the work that goes into these things. But as the customer who has no idea how time consuming and detailed our work is, yes they would have no idea would they?

Thank you again everyone very much for all of your input and insight, it is very helpful and much appriciated.

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