Micromanaging Customers.... Long And Funny

Lounge By cakelady2266 Updated 26 Nov 2011 , 2:47am by luckylibra

cakelady2266 Posted 5 Nov 2011 , 9:52pm
post #1 of 24

I posted an "ode" about this customer in the lounge the other day because I was at my wits end. I chose this as a stress reliever because pulling out her hair was not the best idea.

I received this order about a couple months ago (maybe longer) for her daughters 1st birthday. I told her to let me know the design or theme, size, flavor and all the details when she decided on one. OK.

Couple weeks pass then this call, "I want zebra strips on the bottom tier and on the top tier I want it pink with dots but I'm not sure what color dots I want" OK let me know when you decide.

Couple weeks later this call "I want the dots to be white, but the pink needs to be more different than other cakes on your website or Facebook page oh and I had a cake the other day and I didn't like the buttercream" OK so I ask was it a cake I had done? her "no but I just wanted you to know" OK so I info her I have no idea what the other icing tasted like since it wasn't my work. She says "well I don't want mine to taste like that" me again "I don't know what it tasted like and I will do a sample cake $20" her "no that's okay as long as it doesn't taste like the other persons icing"

So a week passes she calls back "I want zebra stripes on the bottom tier and the top tier pink with white dots and I'm not sure what the border should look like" Ok I tell her I'll just make it look gorgeous thinking that would be it, OH BUT NO. She said she needed more time.

I got a call the other day and it went like this "I want the cake to be chocolate with good buttercream, I want the bottom tier to have white icing with zebra stripes and you know those are black right?" me "yes I got that" Her "I want the top to be pink but not like Pepto or pale pink with white dots" me "ok" her "oh and I like the dimensions of the cake in your album you know it's brown and blue with dots" me "no I don't know which one I have a lot of cakes like that, so you can email it to me or let me know the number of it the album" her "like if I comment on it will that work?" me "no, email me the number" her "so do I email you on facebook or something" me "no my regular email address I gave you" her "okay, now how many does that one feed?" me "I don't know which one you are talking about yet" her "well if I comment on it will that work?" So to save my sanity I told her I would make the cake to serve the number she need it to feed. She said "okay so if the cake I like serves a different number of people how does that work?" I told her if she wanted a cake to serve x number of people it would cost xx and if the cake she liked the dimensions of and it was larger it would serve more and cost more. Then it derailed, she says "okay, I don't understand I'm having 30 people so why would the cake cost more since I'm not feeding more?" me "if the cake you liked the dimension of serves 60 people I'm not selling that to you for the same price as a cake that serves 30, now you let me know which cake it is and I will give you a price but I have to go to work on other peoples cakes now"

Wednesday she calls me on my cell because I didn't answer my other phone. So I told her I wasn't at my shop and I didn't have my order book so she needed to call me later. Apparently not hearing me she keeps talking "I want to talk to you about the cake, the pink I want is more like this" I stopped her in mid sentence, "do you have a particular pink you are trying to match?" her "yes the invitations" me "okay mail it to me, my address is blah blah.." So I had hope that I could move on if I got the color and she would leave me the hell alone. WRONG.

Thursday she calls, "I'm putting it in the mail" me "okay" her "if I comment on your facebook page about the cake dimension will that work?" me "no because I don't always get my notifications on my business page and I'm not looking through a couple hundred pictures so just email it to me" so long story short more talk about the size and color of the dot border, the pink and the size.

Friday, I'm buying supplies enjoying the first Friday I've had off in forever the my cell phone rings. Guess who? "I was wondering if I could drop by and leave you the color pink I want?" me "I"m not at my shop, just mail it." Her "I found something I like it's a pair of pants I think she is wearing for the party." me "I'll be back around 4 will that work and whatever it is you need to be able to leave it" her "oh no problem, I'll call you at 4" Well 7pm rolls around she calls "can I stop by now?" me "I have company now, but if you just want to drop it off that's fine" 10 minutes later she shows up "This is the pink, but it really looks darker than I realized, what do you think?" me "if that's what you want fine but yes it's very dark, how about I make it a couple shades lighter and all will be good?" so at that point she wanted to find things and show me pictures of cakes I've done to get the right pink. I told her I had company and it was the first Friday I'd had off in years and I had no more time for this. She thought it would be a good idea to find another shade of pink and come back on Saturday or Sunday or both. I told her to get it together or find someone else because this cake wasn't worth the trouble it was causing me. I wish I had told her that weeks ago.

23 replies
MelissaJeane Posted 5 Nov 2011 , 10:12pm
post #2 of 24

I'm dying here laughing, only because I'm picturing the look that must have been on your face. I'm sorry you suffered through this. There just comes a point when enough is enough.

mrslivvix Posted 5 Nov 2011 , 10:18pm
post #3 of 24

OMG LOL...I would have wanted to shoot her! I know I've had annoying customers like that too. I mean I'm glad they take the initative to be specific on their order but at the same time...give some space for me to be creative also. I'm a florist also and it drives me crazy to have someone who is not a designer try to design flowers for me. Sometimes it's just best to leave it to the professionals. icon_smile.gif

cakesondemand Posted 5 Nov 2011 , 10:19pm
post #4 of 24

Oh MY Im glad you had the courage to tell her to take a hike.

traci_doodle Posted 5 Nov 2011 , 10:23pm
post #5 of 24

Really? Really???!!! Come on! Is she going to have a meltdown if the shade is not exactly the pink she wants? I think she needs to have a little more faith in your ability to execute a VERY BASIC design! I looked in your gallery, and your cakes look awesome. She sounds like a total control freak! Her daughter's turning ONE!!! Who's the cake for, anyway?

costumeczar Posted 5 Nov 2011 , 10:26pm
post #6 of 24

I just read this to my kids and they couldn't believe it was true. What a loon...

I was just about to write a blog entry about te kinds of customers who get put on the "no cake for you list." This would be the perfect example, Good Lord...

jhay Posted 5 Nov 2011 , 10:40pm
post #7 of 24

You may consider cutting this one loose or risk losing years off your life....just sayin' icon_lol.gif

Panel7124 Posted 5 Nov 2011 , 11:05pm
post #8 of 24

More like macromanaging... You've been incredibly patient. thumbs_up.gif

destineysway Posted 5 Nov 2011 , 11:13pm
post #9 of 24

OMG.....she kinda sounds like my EX- sis in law bahahahah. SO SORRY you had to deal with that!!!

AnnieCahill Posted 5 Nov 2011 , 11:42pm
post #10 of 24

This is insanely whack. I would politely email her and say I don't think I'm the right baker for the job. But that's just me.

mcaulir Posted 6 Nov 2011 , 12:02am
post #11 of 24

Wow - isn't there an 80/20 rule about these things? 20% of your customers take up 80% of your time? Maybe more like 95/5 rule in this case!

indydebi Posted 6 Nov 2011 , 1:00am
post #12 of 24

....and this is for a FIRST birthday. Like the kid is going to have ANY freakin' idea what color pink even IS, let alone what shade it is!!!

God, I hate mothers like this!!!

cakelady2266 Posted 6 Nov 2011 , 2:03am
post #13 of 24

That's what I'm saying ladies....the kid won't know from crap and won't care in years to come. All this brew haha birthday crap is for the parents and who they are trying to impress. Now I'm all for doing the cake to go along with the theme or whatever, but I do so much better just being turned loose on it without a ton of input.

Oh and I left out the whole lengthy conversation about the monogram and number toppers and their type font, shape and size. Then there was the smash cake that ate a hole in my soul. She even went so far as to hint that she could "sit in" while I iced the cake for a "color check." I told her they are still searching for the last person that wanted to spend time with me while I iced the cake.

Now all I can say about this woman is "bless her heart, God love her."

aprilismaius Posted 6 Nov 2011 , 2:05am
post #14 of 24

Ha, ha, ha! I could have typed your post. I had a customer like this a week ago, and I completely ruined her daughter's first birthday because the pink was not the right color of pink, even though it matched all of the decorations in the room.

FromScratchSF Posted 6 Nov 2011 , 3:41am
post #15 of 24

HAHAHAHAHAHA I totally just had a client like this, also for a 1st B-day! She was such a handful. Before she even booked the cake she sent me 15 pics of her kid for "inspiration". Sure, cute kid, but I can honestly say I'd never just send pics of my kid to a random stranger. She wanted a sketch. For an 8" cake that was supposed to feed 10. I told her I don't do sketches for cakes in that price range, but it will be white fondant, covered in hand painted stars to match the kid's favorite blankie (that he was laying on in 10 of the pics) and will have a sugarpaste cut-out of his favorite toy with a smash cake. "Have you ever done a cake like that before?" I HATE this question because NO, it is a unique custom cake based on her kid. Of course I've never done THAT cake before. I tell her that in a nice way. OK, cake booked. Few days later, I get an email, "how the cake is coming?" I say "your cake isn't for 8 days, so I haven't started it.". "Oh, OK I was just getting worried about what the toy decoration will look like". 7 emails back and forth talking again about the decorations. Sigh. I tell her I'll email her a pic when I start working on them. So a few days till the cake is due I make the gumpaste toy cut-out. Take a pic and text her. She emails me back freaking out. See, the decorations were on a 1/2 sheet lined with brown parchment. She thought it was the cake. Total melt down. "I thought you didn't make cakes in advance like that, it better not be stale and I though you said it would be white with stars not brown and you got paint everywhere, it's so sloppy and I can't see the detail of the toy's sweater" and on and on. I explain to her the parchment/cookie sheet, I had just airbrushed the color and I used my camera phone in crappy lighting. "Well I really want you to do a sketch because I just don't understand what you are doing, either that or I'd like to come by when you make the cake to make sure it looks good". I finally told her, "It'll be cute like all my other cakes an unless you are licensed with a food handler's permit you can't come into the kitchen I bake out of. And no, no sketch". In the end she was very happy with the cake.

I just chalked it up to her freaking out because it's an expensive thing that she just has to trust will look and taste good. She says she wants me to do her wedding cake. I can't even imagine how that's going to go.

BlakesCakes Posted 6 Nov 2011 , 5:52am
post #16 of 24

I've been very lucky. I haven't had any wahoos like those described...knock on wood......

But I do ALL of my "work" using e-mail--almost exclusively. After the initial phone call by the prospective client, I explain that I'll e-mail them a copy of what we discussed and from that point on, we'll tweak it using e-mail so that we'll both always have a copy of the latest info.

I found out early on that the phone was very dangerous territory.

Cell phones have given people the idea that they can call or text at any hour of the day or night and then assume that you're in the wrong when you choose not to answer them immediately.
They refuse to believe that you can't recall minute details about their specific cake while you're driving 60MPH on a crowded interstate during rush hour..............

I've had a few chronic e-mailers, but I take my time answering, keeping the responses short & to the point.

By doing it all thru e-mail--and making it very clear that this is how I prefer to do business--I answer when I actually have time to and when I can send myself a copy of what's "discussed".

So far, no complaints.
Rae

AnnieCahill Posted 6 Nov 2011 , 10:20am
post #17 of 24
Quote:
Quote:

HAHAHAHAHAHA I totally just had a client like this, also for a 1st B-day! She was such a handful. Before she even booked the cake she sent me 15 pics of her kid for "inspiration". Sure, cute kid, but I can honestly say I'd never just send pics of my kid to a random stranger. She wanted a sketch. For an 8" cake that was supposed to feed 10. I told her I don't do sketches for cakes in that price range, but it will be white fondant, covered in hand painted stars to match the kid's favorite blankie (that he was laying on in 10 of the pics) and will have a sugarpaste cut-out of his favorite toy with a smash cake. "Have you ever done a cake like that before?" I HATE this question because NO, it is a unique custom cake based on her kid. Of course I've never done THAT cake before. I tell her that in a nice way. OK, cake booked. Few days later, I get an email, "how the cake is coming?" I say "your cake isn't for 8 days, so I haven't started it.". "Oh, OK I was just getting worried about what the toy decoration will look like". 7 emails back and forth talking again about the decorations. Sigh. I tell her I'll email her a pic when I start working on them. So a few days till the cake is due I make the gumpaste toy cut-out. Take a pic and text her. She emails me back freaking out. See, the decorations were on a 1/2 sheet lined with brown parchment. She thought it was the cake. Total melt down. "I thought you didn't make cakes in advance like that, it better not be stale and I though you said it would be white with stars not brown and you got paint everywhere, it's so sloppy and I can't see the detail of the toy's sweater" and on and on. I explain to her the parchment/cookie sheet, I had just airbrushed the color and I used my camera phone in crappy lighting. "Well I really want you to do a sketch because I just don't understand what you are doing, either that or I'd like to come by when you make the cake to make sure it looks good". I finally told her, "It'll be cute like all my other cakes an unless you are licensed with a food handler's permit you can't come into the kitchen I bake out of. And no, no sketch". In the end she was very happy with the cake.

I just chalked it up to her freaking out because it's an expensive thing that she just has to trust will look and taste good. She says she wants me to do her wedding cake. I can't even imagine how that's going to go.




Seriously? At some point during the ordeal (probably in the beginning, LOL) I would have said "well, you can either trust me or do it yourself." People are ridiculous. I mean, all this crap for a 1 year old. The kid isn't going to give two $hits because it doesn't know the difference. When the mom is a spoiled brat unfortunately the kid won't fall too far from the tree.

Twenty years from now, people aren't going to look at the pictures and pay attention to whether or not the pink icing matched the pants, but the gaudiness that is zebra.

cakelady2266 Posted 7 Nov 2011 , 4:15am
post #18 of 24

Back in the old days, before internet, cell phones and cake shows say 20 some years ago, I'd get the call for a Bugs Bunny, Big Bird or carousel cake for a kids birthday. Sheet or single tier cakes for baby showers, adults birthdays and the like. When I moved more toward wedding work I did the occasional birthday only for those whose weddings I done. Because birthday cakes don't pay the bills. I was out of the loop when the over the top kids birthday cake craze hit. I was blindsided by these type customers and it just keeps on.

I have an even better story: I was building a website and knew I need good pictures and more modern birthday cakes so I took on a lot just to get the pictures. In retrospect I wish I had just bought a bunch of dummy cakes and gone ape. But her it is----January 2010 get email from a friend of a friend of my niece, lady needs a 1st birthday cake in late April. There were 75 emails including pictures of the kid, the outfit, the decorations for inspirations and several telephone calls. By the time the birthday rolled around the cake to end all was zebra, pink and cupcake with a smash cake to match. The son's birthday rolls around and she trimmed it back to about 30 emails but wanted another showstopper for 20 real cheap. Husbands birthday she wants an huge 3 tier cake to serve 20. She loves to send me picks from site like Pink Cake Box and the like and I wish I was that talented but I Forest Gump my way through. By the time the daughters 2nd birthday rolled around I had my website up and things were good, so I wasn't inclined do one of her designer idea cakes for $40.

Now pay attention this is where it gets good.....She orders a cake and by the time she gets that it's not going to be cheap she backs off a bit and gets more realistic. The birthday party is April 30th and on April 27th we had tornadoes in Alabama that demolished many areas near me, and left many thousands powerless. I was very fortunate we suffered no damage but we were without power for 6 days, no biggie. I had a wedding that weekend and it was still going to happen albeit at a different location, so I found myself scrambling to find a generator. The closest one I found was about 75 miles from me, it wasn't in the store yet but on a truck headed to the store. When I arrived at the store I purchased generator 40 and 41 of 60 the store was expecting, one was for my niece. Now everybody that was planning birthdays that weekend cancelled due to damage or no power. Then SHE calls while I was waiting and hoping for my generator. Her "do you have power" me "no" her "well my husband thinks we should postpone the party but I don't want to." me "did you have damage, don't you live near on of the hard hit area?" her "yes, it went right next to my house and hit at my husbands work while he was there" me "is he okay?" her "yes, but he is a volunteer firefighter and he's helping people and he thinks it's a bad idea to have people come through the area for a birthday party" me "well yes it could be dangerous I heard on the radio there are power lines down everywhere, trees and houses and debris in the roadways, and they are searching for survivors" her "well I was going to tell him you were still doing the cake and we were going to have take it, I just don't want to cancel her party." me "well he will be happy because I don't have power and will be unable to do the cake." her "are you sure you won't do it?" me "oh I'm very sure I won't be doing it I have no power and I plan on helping those in need as best I can." NOW I kid you not the area she lived in looked like a war zone, if I had been dropped in it blindfolded I wouldn't have known where I was and I've lived here all my life. Anyway, it took over 16 hours for the generator to get to the store. I did the wedding cake though because it was hopefully a once in a lifetime event, not some birthday that could have been rescheduled for a couple weeks later.

She didn't learn her lesson, she called during the summer wanting a 3D gumball machine for the son's birthday. I took one look at the picture and priced it at $250. Her "but I can't spend that on a
cake" me "I won't do it cheaper, you can pick out something more in your budget or choose another decorator" her "on no I want you to do it" me "so do you want the $250 cake?" her "oh yes I want that one but I want it for less that $250" me "the cheapest I can do that cake for is $250 if you want that cake it is going to be $250 and not one cent less" her "I want that cake but I've gone over my budget renting a gumball bouncy inflatable, so can you do it for $50?" me "no, you need to select a different cake or a different decorator" her "but I want THAT cake for $50" me "people in hell want out but they aren't getting that either, so I'm not doing that cake for $50 you need to find someone else, and if the cake is that important you should take care of that first " her "what can you do for $50?" me "a sheet cake with a gumball machine drawn on it" her "okay that will be fine"

Anyway long rambling story over, it amazes me at how clueless and single minded some people can be. It's all about them and the rest of the world is just in the way. Oh and this blows my mind, my niece owns a hair salon and she had customers come in for their appointments the day after the tornado, gonna get their hair done in a salon with no power. Some people.

costumeczar Posted 7 Nov 2011 , 11:55am
post #19 of 24

cakelady2266, I'm cracking up at that gumball machine story! I read it to my family and my husband said "Is that real?" My son said "what the heck?" so even a teenager knows crazy when he hears it.

cakelady2266 Posted 10 Nov 2011 , 2:54am
post #20 of 24

Well I think I'm a magnet for crazy. I'm starting a "NO CAKE FOR YOU" cake nazi list. And if I find out who sends these nut jobs to me it will be "NO CAKE FOR THEM TOO."

cakelady2266 Posted 12 Nov 2011 , 5:10pm
post #21 of 24

Micromanager update: Well folks I thought you might like to know the latest.

As of last Friday 11/4 I thought she was history, well I was wrong. I got this call Monday..her "I found something for the color pink I want to use." me "oh so you still want me to do the cake?" her "yes, I'll drop this off today and if you aren't there I'll leave it in your shop." me "I"ll do the cake if you are sure of all the details." So later that day I go to my shop and find nothing. Tuesday she calls "I got busy and didn't get a chance to stop by but I'm bringing it today" me "I have to have it today or I won't do the cake." her "I'll bring it today." So Wednesday I go to my shop to find a stuffed animal. Thursday she calls and leaves a message on my cell phone wanting to get all the details of the cake because she had not written them down and she couldn't remember what colors she had wanted the borders. I call back and left her a message. She calls back and I am working on something and ask if I could call her right back, so that was fine. Call right back in 1 minute didn't get her so I leave a message. So she calls back and this is how it goes down, her "you are suppose to be doing the zebra cake for me tomorrow." me "yes, sorry about the phone tag but I've been working on a wedding for tomorrow." her "I understand you are busy, I need to cancel the cake and I dropped by and picked up the stuffed animal." me "WHAT, you just called a while ago wanting the details so you could write them down, if you don't mind I want to know why you are cancelling this cake?" her "well it was just to much money and my husband wouldn't go along with it.' me "mam, you knew the price of the cake over a week ago and all was good, I don't think this just happened." her "well, you said the cake was $xx and then it was $xx after I added the zebra stripe monograms and number and I didn't have a problem but my husband doesn't think it's worth it." me "I told you up front that adding those monogram toppers would increase the price of the cake and if you couldn't afford to do that you should have cancelled tho order a week ago not the day before the cake was due." her "well I'm sorry but we had to change the location and everything just got so expensive and I have got to cut back." me "well good luck finding somebody to give you the kind of cake you want on such short notice." her "there's another lady that is going to do it for $xx, she quoted me one like this for my other daughter." me "oh, I didn't realize you had other children since you told me this was your first time ordering a first birthday cake, but anyway good luck to you and make sure you keep THAT bakers number."

Now my husband had said all along that she was jerking my chain. He kept saying "normal people don't carry on like this." But I couldn't understand somebody jerking my chain over a birthday cake. So I figure she is either crazy or she has a friend that does cakes and they just wanted to have some fun. But at any rate lesson learned, turn crazy away at the door.

I have never had to work in contracts for birthday or party cakes but I am now. All my normal repeat customers won't have to deal with contracts but somebody new will have to sign the contract and pay at least half up front.

QTCakes1 Posted 12 Nov 2011 , 10:58pm
post #22 of 24

WOAH!!! I am tired! I don't know how you managed

costumeczar Posted 12 Nov 2011 , 11:12pm
post #23 of 24

I can't believe that she came back! I can believe that she cancelled the order, though. She sounds like the type that would do that. Love the comment you made about the other kids and the first birthday!

luckylibra Posted 26 Nov 2011 , 2:47am
post #24 of 24

It is amazing isn't it... these crazy cake muggles. I was contacted by a girl I went to school with who had seen some of my pictures.. she starts out with saying she wants a three tier topsy turvey with red damask...So I explain to her the pricing for that type of cake and inquire about servings and budget. It is for her daughters graduation June 2012. She avoids the budget question and goes into how the price for the topsy turvey and damask is too expensive and would I just tell her daughter that the design she wants is more of a wedding cake and she should get something else.. I talk to her about other sizes and styles which would be less expensive and inquire about what she would be wanting on it, sports, activities etc... she says her daughter was not really in anything and she has seen some of the more generic cakes and does not want that...she wants me to just come up with something... she can not be clear.. goes from sheet cake to maybe cupcakes to maybe cake truffles... all in one phone call while I am working on two other cakes... I must have told her ten times to email me her ideas and since it is still a ways out I can email her back some pricing... she then says she does still really want the topsy turvy but only wants to spend $60 or less.. so .... I explain there is no way I can do the that cake for anywhere near $60...I emailed her my price list and checked out the school for logo or mascot ideas and there are not any... go figure..

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