fedra Posted 21 Aug 2011 , 8:36pm
post #1 of

I'm still a beginner at cake decorating. I usually just make cakes for friends and family. I would like to start a cake business someday so I've been "practicing" having a real cake business by making general cake contracts and providing diagrams to what might be potential customers (my friends/family). I do not ask or expect payment for any of my cakes. Some people have been generous and given me a small gift as a thank you for the cake. A girl who used to work with me was getting married so she asked me to make her wedding cake. I told her that I had not made a wedding cake before but I agreed to do it. She said it was a SIMPLE design. I had a consult/tasting with the bride and MIL. Her simple design turned out NOT so simple! She wanted black freehand scrolls and a fondant ribbon with a large fondant bow in front and the bow/ribbon had to have a deep gold color and shimmer. I told her I would try to do this. She understood I was still beginning and that I was not expecting payment. MIL insisted that I take atleast something to cover the ingredients. I told her that I did not feel comfortable taking money as I was not legal yet. When she left, she gave my 9 year old daughter $70 and told her to give to mommy as a thank you. Well, I made the cake as best as Zi could and delivered it to the venue. 1 week passed and I get a call from MIL. At first she wasnt making sense because she started telling me how bad the pictures were and that they were dark and thet maybe she should of paid $1000 for s photographer. When I finally got a word in, I told her she had the wrong person. She said "oh, no honey, you are on the list too!" she started saying that the cake looked really bad and it was NOT at all what she or the bride were expecting. She also said that the bride did not say anything about it to me when she saw me the following week because she did not want to "get into it" with me. She wanted to know what was going to be done about it. I apologized that she felt they way and reminded her that I was still new at this and she was aware of it. I told her that I would send her the $70 gift back since she was so horrified with the cake. I assume that this is what would of been done in a real cake business, correct? Customer is always right? I guess I've already had my first bad experience and I don't even have a business yet. Im feeling very sad and unworthy right now. Sorry so long and thanks for reading! Cake is in my gallery if you wanna see how bad it is. On second thought, I might post under disasters icon_sad.gif

99 replies
Occther Posted 21 Aug 2011 , 8:47pm
post #2 of

Looked at your cake. It really isn't that bad. Obviously, they wanted something free. If not, they should have gone to a licensed bakery and paid full price. As the old saying goes - "you get what you paid for." For $70, they got a very nice cake.

mplaidgirl2 Posted 21 Aug 2011 , 8:50pm
post #3 of

Sounds like if she had a 'list' she was trying to recoup some of the money from wedding.
IF she knew your ability upfront I don't see why you would owe her anything...

Do you have sketches or pictures of what they were looking for?
And was it the same as the cake.

It also sounds like they hired a bunch of people that weren't yet at the professionnal level of thier craft
if she was saying she should have paid 1000s for a photograher.

So she went cheap (please don't take offense to that... I just mean she knew you weren't 'charging')
on multiple parts of the wedding and probably had a plan to complain later to get even more of it back.

step0nmi Posted 21 Aug 2011 , 8:51pm
post #4 of

THAT LADY IS HORRIBLE AND INSENSITIVE! first of all you were up front with her...and second of all, i just looked at your cake, for a beginner you did a wonderful job!!!

the one thing i always tell people is "I cannot make a cake look exactly like a picture". this normally gets them to thinking that every designer is different and they don't expect it to look like the picture...cuz THEY did.

I'm so sorry to hear that this lady is ridiculous! I think for giving away your services you are very generous. But yes, lesson learned :p

coleslawcat Posted 21 Aug 2011 , 9:01pm
post #5 of

I think your cake looks beautiful! No way does she deserve any money back. You were completely upfront about your lack of experience. Sure, it may not be as polished as cakes made by the more experienced designers on this board, but you should be proud of it! It sounds like she's just trying to get something for free.

mommynana Posted 21 Aug 2011 , 9:30pm
post #6 of
Quote:
Originally Posted by Occther

Looked at your cake. It really isn't that bad. Obviously, they wanted something free. If not, they should have gone to a licensed bakery and paid full price. As the old saying goes - "you get what you paid for." For $70, they got a very nice cake.




I think the better saying is " No good deed goes unpunshied" I think you did a great job on the cake. She `s got a nerve, After you put your time in it. And it was FREE. I guess it would have been to difficult for her to say, Wow thank you so much, You did a great job. Some people are just ungratefull. Be proud of yourself thumbs_up.gif

bakingatthebeach Posted 21 Aug 2011 , 9:34pm
post #7 of

First, for a first time wedding cake you really did a great job! Second, I think if she has a list she is trying to pull one over on you!(she couldnt even keep track on who she was speaking with) Did they eat the cake? I would pull out what you paid for ingredients and give her the rest back. I know some on here say that you are still accepting payment and its not legal, my feeling is, and I have done this for my friends, if they want me to do their wedding cake, they can get me the ingredients and I will make it for them. Ive done a couple as gifts but they were really close friends. I just make sure they check with the venue to see if they will let them bring a cake in from their friend who baked it at home. Only one said no in the last 10 years.

Sugarflowers Posted 21 Aug 2011 , 9:34pm
post #8 of

The design sounds like it would not photograph well without an experienced professional photographer. Dark colors can look bad if the lighting is not perfect.

Did they eat the cake? If so, then it was good enough to serve and you owe her nothing. Maybe in your contract you should stipulate no refunds. You can't get refunds for the supplied you used.

I'm sorry to say that this will happen again and again as people try to lesson the sticker shock of a dream wedding or the customers are just cheap and will complain until they get their money back. It happens.

Best of luck to you.

Michele

all4cake Posted 21 Aug 2011 , 9:36pm
post #9 of

Since you already told her you'd give back the gift change, that's something I wouldn't recommend going back on but, I wouldn't have given her back kaka. You made them aware, and they acknowledged what you were going to try to accomplish her request, right?

I think I'd make a snide remark when returning the pocket lint though (that's just me and I am so intolerant of cheapass people who don't bat an eye at the idea of taking advantage of others). "Bless your heart. I told you you didn't have to pay. You didn't have to insist my daughter take the money if you couldn't afford it. Bless your heart. You must've been really been agonizing over all that money you were having to pay. Bless your heart. Don't you worry 'bout a thang. I'll be sure to get that money in the mail to you."

audrey0522 Posted 21 Aug 2011 , 9:48pm

. . . and while you are saying "Bless your heart" your thinking - "Kiss my butt!" ( :

carmijok Posted 21 Aug 2011 , 9:57pm

I don't understand people who expect the same skill set from a beginner as they would Collette Peters! Shame on them.

Honestly I wouldn't return the money, but since you have already said you would, then you must. I mean you were willing to do it for free anyway, right?

Chalk it up to experience and learn from that experience. You will get better. thumbs_up.gif

LKing12 Posted 21 Aug 2011 , 10:15pm

Evidently she got what she paid for, she was expecting a cake from a new baker to look like something from someone who had years of experience? Really? You did a good jog for a first time wedding cake. You really shouldn't owe her anything, but since you offered to give back the cost of ingredients, tell the mother to come get it. I would not send it back to her.

janbabe Posted 21 Aug 2011 , 10:16pm

well I think your cake looks very nice and for a beginner your other cakes are great.

For $70 she sure got a bargain - 3 tier for $70!!

Did they eat all the cake, if all she is concerned about is how the cake looked in the photos and she isnt happy with them - then its not you she should be having a go at - its the photographer.

No cake comes out exactly like a picture someone shows you and a sketch is the basis of the pattern and shape of the cake, which it sounds like you did.

You have now refunded the money, so its done, put it down to experience, but have faith in what you can do cos what you do is fine.

fedra Posted 21 Aug 2011 , 10:26pm

All4cake: LOL! your comment made me laugh...I needed it.
I asked the MIL how the cake itself was and she said, "it wasnt that bad however, I really liked the strawberry bottom tier". Even though she liked the strawberry tier, she was still upset at the design itself. I have attached a pic the picture that she wanted me to duplicate, only thicker fondant ribbon and freehand black scrolls (I hope it posted). I told her that I could not duplicate the cake exactly but I would try my best. She said "that's fine. Most of my family either doesn't like cake or are diabetic so cake doesnt really matter to us."
I just don't get this lady! She KNEW I had not made a wedding cake before and that I could not charge. Even when I told her "I will send you your GIFT back", she said "Well, I will talk with bride and tell her that this is what you are going to do. I'm not sure if this is ok with her. I do not want to worry her with this now as she is on a honeymoon, which had to be local because she spent so much money on her wedding. Anyway, we regret NOT spending the $500 for a wedding cake. The mailing address is ........". I guess I was so taken aback that I didnt even think to tell her that the person being taken advantaged of her was ME. Thanks for all your support and advice!
Fedra

fedra Posted 21 Aug 2011 , 10:30pm

I guess it didn't post. Here is the link:

http://static.weddingandcakes.com/wcakes/2010/08/gold-wedding-cakes-3.jpg

magicjulie1 Posted 21 Aug 2011 , 10:30pm

First off you did a great cake for a beginner and a first time wedding cake. You gave her a free cake, told her upfront that you are still learning. She still wanted to you to make her cake. After you had the consultation again, you told her yet again you would try that you are still getting your decorating skills up there. She is the one with the problem. I wouldn't have given her the "gift" back. Yes you want the customer to be satisfied, but there was no satisfying this woman. Both bride and Mother understood what they were getting into, the risk that is. If she wanted more, she could have paid someone else to do it. But both wanted YOUR cake for Free. The lesson I would take from this is, when you do start your business, contract, contract, contract. And a personal note here, if you had refused to give the"gift" back, no problem. A child cannot legally enter into a contract since she was the one given the money. Especially since you had refused payment several times.

kelleym Posted 21 Aug 2011 , 10:31pm

People never cease to shock me.

I was expecting some sort of disaster from your description, then I went to look at your photo. Your cake is not even close to being a disaster. It is exactly what you promised her.

This woman has no shame, no class, no manners, no good breeding, no whatever you want to call it. She got a very nice wedding cake, essentially at cost, and she wants to make you feel bad about it. She's trying to get the few pennies she spent on the wedding back. $1,000 for a photographer is nothing.

I would not only not give the money back, but I might also tell her where to go. Someplace hot. What a heinous, unforgivable, witch. I pity the people who have to live with her. icon_evil.gif

traci_doodle Posted 21 Aug 2011 , 10:31pm

Sheesh! Some people! $70 was a total steal and she had the nerve to call and talk trash? I think your cake looks great and that MOB was a total jerk. I'm sorry this happened to you! I wish you hadn't already offered the $70 back as well. I wish you could send her some sort of invoice to show her how much time and cost it took to make the cake. Then again, she sounds heartless and probably doesn't even care. icon_evil.gif

cakestyles Posted 21 Aug 2011 , 11:42pm

I agree with everyone...I held my breath as I clicked on your photos totally expecting to see a "cakewreck"...but I didn't.

I think you did a really nice job on your first wedding cake and I think these people are being very ignorant and ungrateful.

Walmart wouldn't even do a cake that size for $70.

The only thing I can think of that would explain her phone call is that the photo they gave you for inspiration was a fondant cake, were they expecting fondant?

artscallion Posted 22 Aug 2011 , 12:33am

If it were me, I would send the $70. directly to the bride, not the mother. I would include a note saying, "I'm sending this back per your mother's request since she was so disappointed in the cake. (bride may not even know mother is doing this) I'm doing this against my better judgement as I believe you were well aware that I was a beginner when you came to me, a former coworker, in order to save yourself eight or nine hundred dollars by asking me to do your cake for free.
Now, not only have I spent tens of hours of labor on your cake, but now my costs are not even covered because your mother didn't feel my beginner efforts were up to the standard of a seasoned professional that would have charged you eight or nine hundred dollars. So I am in the hole because of this "favor" you've asked for.

Please take this $70 and spend it on something nice for your mother. And please do not ever call me for a cake again."

NerdyGirl Posted 22 Aug 2011 , 12:44am

I'd agree with artscallion. Send the money to the bride with a note stating the MIL requested that the gift be returned. If the MIL doesn't want to "bother" the bride, that sounds suspicious to me. The bride may not even know what her MIL was doing. That poor girl.

cakestyles Posted 22 Aug 2011 , 12:47am

Perfect!

jenmat Posted 22 Aug 2011 , 12:47am

So, let me get this straight. She's on the phone with you trying not to "worry" the bride who is on her honeymoon, and will "check" with the bride to see if your offer of the refund will suffice?

You had better be prepared for another phone call wanting additional compensation or some such jerkery because they aren't satisfied.

People will never cease to amaze me.

Adevag Posted 22 Aug 2011 , 12:53am
Quote:
Originally Posted by artscallion

If it were me, I would send the $70. directly to the bride, not the mother. I would include a note saying, "I'm sending this back per your mother's request since she was so disappointed in the cake. (bride may not even know mother is doing this) I'm doing this against my better judgement as I believe you were well aware that I was a beginner when you came to me, a former coworker, in order to save yourself eight or nine hundred dollars by asking me to do your cake for free.
Now, not only have I spent tens of hours of labor on your cake, but now my costs are not even covered because your mother didn't feel my beginner efforts were up to the standard of a seasoned professional that would have charged you eight or nine hundred dollars. So I am in the hole because of this "favor" you've asked for.

Please take this $70 and spend it on something nice for your mother. And please do not ever call me for a cake again."




THIS!!!

I also wanted to add that I understand you are eager to find people to bake for and as a beginner (and without a business) you need to offer cakes for free. It could be worth it in just the experience. (I do it too).

However, you will most likely attract this type of personality: greedy and cheap who are not doing a deal with you of getting a nice cake for free and in turn help you get experience in various cake designs (I know this one was a tiny $70 as a gift, but I'm talking about making cakes for free in general).
These kind of people will not think or care about all the work and effort you put into it. They are only taking advantage of you and are only hearing the "free" in what you're saying!
Stick to your family and real friends who will appreciate every hour of work in your cakes. Let your family and real friends be the ones to give you more experience (not saying you need it, just saying it because I'm guessing you want it) and only make cakes for them.
The other kind are not worth your time and money! thumbs_up.gif

SweetSuzieQ Posted 22 Aug 2011 , 12:56am
Quote:
Originally Posted by artscallion

If it were me, I would send the $70. directly to the bride, not the mother. I would include a note saying, "I'm sending this back per your mother's request since she was so disappointed in the cake. (bride may not even know mother is doing this) I'm doing this against my better judgement as I believe you were well aware that I was a beginner when you came to me, a former coworker, in order to save yourself eight or nine hundred dollars by asking me to do your cake for free.
Now, not only have I spent tens of hours of labor on your cake, but now my costs are not even covered because your mother didn't feel my beginner efforts were up to the standard of a seasoned professional that would have charged you eight or nine hundred dollars. So I am in the hole because of this "favor" you've asked for.

Please take this $70 and spend it on something nice for your mother. And please do not ever call me for a cake again."




Yes, yes, please do this! Honestly, I'm not sure why but your story has really struck a chord with me and I am PISSED for you. From the sounds of it, they went "on the cheap" foir everything at the weding and they wanted a champagne wedding on a beer budget.

There is nothing wrong with your cake and, it is certainly not "wreck" worthy so don't beat yourself up. I, and I think most NORMAL people would be pleased to get what you gave for $70. Especially since you were very upfront with them about everything.

all4cake Posted 22 Aug 2011 , 12:57am
Quote:
Originally Posted by fedra

she said "Well, I will talk with bride and tell her that this is what you are going to do. I'm not sure if this is ok with her.

Whatthehellever! LOL!

I do not want to worry her with this now as she is on a honeymoon, which had to be local because she spent so much money on her wedding.

Somebody call the waaaaaaaaaambulance!

Anyway, we regret NOT spending the $500 for a wedding cake.

Oh! Hayell! If they'd spent more on any of the vendors, they may have had to honeymoon in the mother's backyard!

The mailing address is ........". I guess I was so taken aback that I didnt even think to tell her that the person being taken advantaged of her was ME. Thanks for all your support and advice!
Fedra


all4cake Posted 22 Aug 2011 , 12:58am

If anyone needs an Evalinda, it's this woman!

all4cake Posted 22 Aug 2011 , 1:05am
Quote:
Originally Posted by audrey0522

. . . and while you are saying "Bless your heart" your thinking - "Kiss my butt!" ( :




Here, a "bless your heart" , not always but, quite often ain't a good thing.

Has the same effect of a backhanded compliment...a dig with a spot of honey.

Surely, that's not just a NC thing. (although, I'd never been subjected to such a "bless your heart" until I moved here.)

cakestyles Posted 22 Aug 2011 , 1:19am

I have the same feeling when someone says "bless your heart" to me....I'm thinking...yeah right. lol

sugarflour2 Posted 22 Aug 2011 , 1:42am

MIL was definitely trying to recoup some money, because for $70 she got a lovely cake. If I were you I wouldn't have given the money back, because the cake looks pretty nice, I've seen worse at some bakeries. Try not to let it get you down for too long, just chalk it up to a learning experience and move on to the next cake. All of your cakes are beautiful, and I'm sure your next wedding cake will be fabulous.

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