Osgirl Posted 7 Jan 2012 , 9:10pm

I am mostly a hobby baker. I have a friend who ordered decorated cookies for her DD's birthday party. She lives out of state, and we met through a parenting message board we are both on.

Anyway, I made the cookies last weekend and sent them on Tuesday. I always send cookies on Tuesdays and they arrive to their destination by Thursday or Friday. Well, today is the party and the cookies didn't arrive.

She owes me for the cost of the cookies and shipping which is about $60. I'm not really making much money off this because I am a hobby baker.

So, WWYD? I know she's super disappointed that the cookies didn't arrive on time. I am too! They've never not arrived to someone on time! I don't have a tracking number or anything like that since it's for a friend and it's a hobby (not my business). She hasn't said anything about payment; just an email today that says they are leaving for the party place and the cookies didn't arrive. I emailed back and told her that I am very sorry, disappointed, etc...and that they've never not arrived by Thursday or Friday.

So, I'm hoping she isn't thinking that she will not have to pay me anything. I mean, they take a lot of time to make, decorate, package, ship, etc...

Would it be okay if I figured out the exact cost of ingredients and just charged whatever that is? Again, I feel like I'm really not at fault and shouldn't have to do it for free completely. These things happen, right?

The only thing I can think that happened (my husband sent them for me and I have the receipt so I know he did!) is that he miscommunicated when they needed to arrive and that maybe he wasn't clear about when they needed to arrive. I know when I've sent packages I can choose the cheapest option which takes about a week otherwise there's a 2-4 day option. I'm wondering if that happened, but I'm not sure how I would find that out anyways.

30 replies
KateLS Posted 7 Jan 2012 , 9:25pm

If you sent it, USPS, they just closed a bunch of post offices and laid off a lot of workers, so mail is going slower to some areas.

As for the cost, well, she will be getting the cookies still, but yes, it will be past the time of the party. So I think a discount is in order.

That really stinks, though. So sorry it didn't get there in time.

QTCakes1 Posted 7 Jan 2012 , 9:30pm

I'ld want my money back. As a customer, what would I do with a bunch of cookie favors after the fact and now don't need them. If it was me, I wouldn't expect anything for them. Hobby or not, you didn't deliver on time.

KateLS Posted 7 Jan 2012 , 9:35pm

It also depends on her. Did she ask for a full refund? Is she just wanting a discount?

It is a hard place. I see both sides.

But if it was a wedding cake, I can see how you'd give a full refund if the cake wasn't delivered the date of the event. Although a smaller event, the principle could be the same.

CupcakeMum Posted 7 Jan 2012 , 9:45pm

Honestly if I were you I'd ring her and ask if there were another birthday celebration, like at school, kinder, neighbours, other family, etc, as kids birthday's often go on for a week of celebrations. If she can use them for another gathering then maybe she will offer to pay for the ingredient costs. Unfortunately you cant expect to get paid as they were ordered for a particular event, and also you dont want to spoil a friendship - it's worth more than the ingredients!!!!!! Good Luck sorting it out, thats a real shame after your hard work. Chris icon_redface.gif

pummy Posted 7 Jan 2012 , 9:48pm

You stated she is a friend of yours. For this reason alone I would just eat the cost on this one. icon_cry.gif

QTCakes1 Posted 7 Jan 2012 , 9:51pm

For me, regardless if this is a hobby or not, if you charge, you need to treat it as a business transaction. If you purchased something that is perishable for a specific date, and don't get it, you won't pay for it. You don't need it anymore and it is not your fault that it was not shipped to you in a timely manner. That's why I don't like to hear "I'm a hobby baker and I am all ready not making much money on this, but...". Hobby or not, you have to deliver. And wedding cake, birthday cake, cookie favors, cake pops, whatever it is, those are all items that 99% of the time are for specific dates. I don't care what the occassion, if I don't deliver, I owe a big apology and a refund.

Osgirl Posted 7 Jan 2012 , 10:11pm

Thank you for your opinions. I will not charge her anything. She hasn't said anything about payment, so I'll just go ahead and tell her not to send any money. Thanks!

ReneeFLL Posted 7 Jan 2012 , 10:17pm

Did you talk to hubby to find out if he sent them the slow way? Did the post office tell hubby how long it would take? If you shipped them on Tuesday and shipped them priority mail and they did not arrive in time then I dont think that it is all your fault. You cant be at fault if the po does not do as they said.

cownsj Posted 7 Jan 2012 , 10:37pm

I agree that it could be the post office because of closed locations. I'd ask at the post office if that might be the case. Plus, different locations, even at the same distance, can take different times for delivery, it depends on the routing for a particular area.

Now, having said that, yes, I'd ask my husband how he shipped them, it might even say on your receipt. 2nd, and here I'm playing devil's advocate. You say she's a friend, but you also say you met her through a "parenting message board". Is she an online friend. If that's the case, it's hard to really "know" someone, so is it possible that the cookies did arrive and you are just being told differently?

ReneeFLL Posted 7 Jan 2012 , 11:00pm
Quote:
Originally Posted by cownsj

I'm playing devil's advocate. You say she's a friend, but you also say you met her through a "parenting message board". Is she an online friend. If that's the case, it's hard to really "know" someone, so is it possible that the cookies did arrive and you are just being told differently?




I was thinking the same thing.

Lovelyladylibra Posted 7 Jan 2012 , 11:02pm

how come you didn't get a tracking number. Hobby or not I like to see where my packages are and I check on them all the time like a hawk. I also print out my own shipping labels though

CWR41 Posted 7 Jan 2012 , 11:38pm
Quote:
Originally Posted by Osgirl

She owes me for the cost of the cookies and shipping which is about $60.




If you had gotten paid before you turned on your oven, you'd have the option to offer a discount (or refund, with the returned package).

As it stands now, there's no reason for them to pay and no incentive for them to return the unwanted package. They can get away without paying, and you lose everything because you don't have the leverage without a deposit to work out a solution.

They get the [late] cookies, and can eat them too! (All for free, unless they offer to reimburse you for any portion of it.)
Looks like you'll have to take this as a lesson learned for your future business orders... it should be noted in your [future] contract.

jason_kraft Posted 8 Jan 2012 , 12:48am

I'm also curious how you sent the cookies...if you are sending anything remotely time dependent you should never ship parcel post or first class, always use at least USPS priority or UPS/Fedex/Ontrac.

GatuPR Posted 8 Jan 2012 , 1:07am

If you have the receipt, can you see what form of shipment your husband used to send the package?

carmijok Posted 8 Jan 2012 , 1:52am

Wow, there's no way I would have mailed ANYTHING that was time sensitive with NO tracking number or insurance. What if they had arrived and had been destroyed in transit? You'd still be screwed! And why would you skimp on this? I'm assuming you're passing the cost of shipping to your client. If not, that's a big mistake. If you want, give them a choice between paying a guaranteed delivery & insurance cost or what it would be to send snail mail.
If they are given the option of the higher priced guaranteed delivery cost and they refuse, then it's on them if the item doesn't arrive on time. But regardless, you should always collect the money--including delivery fee-- up front before anything happens.

Lesson learned here. You're going to have to eat this one. icon_sad.gif

LKing12 Posted 8 Jan 2012 , 2:44am

I am not sure that I would have gone to the expense and trouble of filling such an order without prepayment. Allowing someone else the responsibility of mailing an order without specific instructions on which service to use and not purchasing a confirmation number-which is less than $1.00 are good lessons for future transactions.
Hobbyist or not you have to look out for number one first. Sorry that this happened.

Osgirl Posted 8 Jan 2012 , 3:48am

Thanks everyone. I do trust her and we have met in person! I would very very highly doubt that she would tell me the cookies didn't arrive when they really did. That hadn't even crossed my mind.

I will start sending anything with a confirmation and tracking number. Honestly, I hardly send anything (hobbyist!) so I don't know the "ins and outs" of shipping orders. The ones I have sent have always made it on time and made it in great shape. I didn't think this time would be any different!

cownsj Posted 8 Jan 2012 , 3:51am

Then I would have to guess it's the means the package was sent and/or the routing it took.

One rate Priority is great, but even with that, make sure you do delivery confirmation. I had a package get lost one time, but because it had the delivery confirmation, they found it and got it to its proper destination within a few days. It was an ebay item, so not "as" time sensitive as this, but at least the package wasn't lost.

I hope you don't run into this problem again.

Osgirl Posted 8 Jan 2012 , 4:40am

She emailed back and said that she was disappointed but knows these things happen. She thanked me for not charging her. Honestly, if I were her, I would've been super disappointed but I probably would still give the person a little bit of money knowing he/she put time, effort, energy, and money into making the cookies, and it really wasn't my fault they didn't make it.

Oh well. Live and learn. Next time I'll make sure and get a confirmation number and tracking.

cownsj Posted 8 Jan 2012 , 5:02am

While disappointed she didn't offer you some money, I think she was more than gracious, under the circumstances. I'm guessing she ran out last minute to buy "something" that she could use. Not what she wanted, but money was spent. And frankly, it was your fault it didn't arrive on time. You were responsible for shipping it in a manner that would assure it arrived in time. You can never assume your package will arrive in the same amount of time as another unless you use a service that guarantees a time frame. I don't mean to sound harsh, but this is where you paid the least amount of attention. You sent someone else to mail it, without instructions or expressing concern to them about urgency. You didn't even ask him when he returned how he sent it, and you still don't know how it was sent. This one, I'm sorry to say, is on you.

Osgirl Posted 8 Jan 2012 , 5:55am
Quote:
Originally Posted by cownsj

While disappointed she didn't offer you some money, I think she was more than gracious, under the circumstances. I'm guessing she ran out last minute to buy "something" that she could use. Not what she wanted, but money was spent. And frankly, it was your fault it didn't arrive on time. You were responsible for shipping it in a manner that would assure it arrived in time. You can never assume your package will arrive in the same amount of time as another unless you use a service that guarantees a time frame. I don't mean to sound harsh, but this is where you paid the least amount of attention. You sent someone else to mail it, without instructions or expressing concern to them about urgency. You didn't even ask him when he returned how he sent it, and you still don't know how it was sent. This one, I'm sorry to say, is on you.




I sent my HUSBAND. He has sent every other package for me. He did know when it needed to arrive and where it was going. I didn't feel I needed to ask him how he sent it when he returned, because it has NEVER been a problem in the past.

This is a HOBBY. This is NOT MY BUSINESS. Geesh. Seriously, the people on this forum can be so rude. I stated that I very graciously told her she owed me nothing for the cookies and I have apologized numerous times for them not arriving on time.

jason_kraft Posted 8 Jan 2012 , 6:05am
Quote:
Originally Posted by Osgirl

This is a HOBBY. This is NOT MY BUSINESS.



I agree that the previous post could have been more diplomatic, but the point is a valid one...if you are providing a product for someone's important event in exchange for money, you are operating a business and need to ensure your customers are taken care of.

Luckily you had an understanding customer and this particular lesson didn't end up costing you too much, but I wouldn't rely on the "just a hobby" excuse in the future.

cangela4re Posted 8 Jan 2012 , 6:10am

Ive never shipped perishables but I did ship something I sold online a couple of weeks ago and it took the USPS a whopping 12 days to deliver from Florida to Missouri which usually takes like 4 days. Thank God for delivery confirmation (which does give you a tracking number for like 50 cents) but still, the guy filed a claim with paypal and I was pissed thinking that he might get his money back AND get the goods eventually. Anyway;....lesson learned, hope sharing this experience helps...get delivery confirmation!

KateLS Posted 8 Jan 2012 , 6:20am

I don't think anyone is meaning to be mean or rude. As a hobby decorator myself, I completely see your side of the situation. You're doing this for a friend, not really businesslike. I honestly would feel exactly the way you do about the situation.

However, the advice coming from these other bakers are sound advice as one wades through the waters from hobbiest to business. You did ask for their opinion on the situation, and so they felt to give it. And although you did mention you were going to give the full refund, I think they want you to try to understand the business side of being a decorator.

Situations like these is one reason why I don't ever sell. I don't want to worry about the ins and outs of what should be done as a business.

But I really don't think these gals are trying to be mean, but just trying to open your eyes to the rules/handling of selling your items.

Keep your chin up. =)

cownsj Posted 8 Jan 2012 , 5:21pm
Quote:
Originally Posted by Osgirl

Quote:
Originally Posted by cownsj

While disappointed she didn't offer you some money, I think she was more than gracious, under the circumstances. I'm guessing she ran out last minute to buy "something" that she could use. Not what she wanted, but money was spent. And frankly, it was your fault it didn't arrive on time. You were responsible for shipping it in a manner that would assure it arrived in time. You can never assume your package will arrive in the same amount of time as another unless you use a service that guarantees a time frame. I don't mean to sound harsh, but this is where you paid the least amount of attention. You sent someone else to mail it, without instructions or expressing concern to them about urgency. You didn't even ask him when he returned how he sent it, and you still don't know how it was sent. This one, I'm sorry to say, is on you.



I sent my HUSBAND. He has sent every other package for me. He did know when it needed to arrive and where it was going. I didn't feel I needed to ask him how he sent it when he returned, because it has NEVER been a problem in the past.

This is a HOBBY. This is NOT MY BUSINESS. Geesh. Seriously, the people on this forum can be so rude. I stated that I very graciously told her she owed me nothing for the cookies and I have apologized numerous times for them not arriving on time.




Once again, I was not saying anything to try to hurt your feelings. I have reread my post and don't see anything wrong in what I said, only that it was a bit to the point. I don't think I have ever said anything hurtful to anyone in here, ever. My concern was to simply point out where I thought the problem lay since you still thought she should have offered you money, even though the day probably did cost her money for products she had to buy as replacement.

I am a hobby baker as well, and certainly make more mistakes than I would like to be making. Hopefully I learn with each mistake I make. I'm not a big business coming down on a hobby baker. But being a hobbyist, you have the same responsibility to their event, even if you were doing it for free for them. It's their day and something they plan out. For some reason you are feeling defensive, and that is not what I intended because when we get defensive we don't necessarily see the whole story of what is going on around us. You had concerns, no one knew how your cookies were shipped, and even you have changed your story in your defensive mode. You stated your husband has shipped all your packages. But in your original post you wrote, "The only thing I can think that happened (my husband sent them for me and I have the receipt so I know he did!) is that he miscommunicated when they needed to arrive and that maybe he wasn't clear about when they needed to arrive. I know when I've sent packages I can choose the cheapest option which takes about a week otherwise there's a 2-4 day option. I'm wondering if that happened, but I'm not sure how I would find that out anyways. So I will apologize one more time if I have offended you, that has not once, in any of my posts here, been my intention. And I certainly hope you don't run into this same problem again.

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