Free Cake Or Not..?

Decorating By Sabz Updated 5 May 2012 , 4:47am by scp1127

Sabz Posted 3 May 2012 , 1:22pm
post #1 of 27

I have bit of a dilemma. I think I'd have to mention all the circumstances in order to put whole story across but I'll shorten it as best I can.
My husband is epileptic and it took a turn for the worse recently. He's been on very strong medication that has altered his behaviour and thoughts. He gets a lot more anxious over very small things and it escalates matters.
Anyway, beginning of April I had an order for a 5 tiered buttercream wedding cake. My sis in laws' friends daughter had commissioned me to make it. It had turned out just as I had planned it and I loaded my car for the delivery. As you can imagine, any bakers worse nightmare came true for me. At the first roundabout I got to, the cake collapsed! I have made loads of tiered cakes before this one and I always transport them assembled and I have never had a disaster on my hands.
The bottom 3 and top tiers were absolutely fine. It was my 8" that somehow broke. As I was running out of time, I did as best a cover up job I could and we delivered it. All this time, my husband was mega stressed and in turn, he was stressing me out (don't want to go into details but it was horrible)
As my sis in law was going to be at the wedding, I find out that the cake was tipping to one side dangerously. I was in a very bad state by then because I was trying to handle hubby at same time and I must have told my sis in law to tell the bride and brides mum that I won't take any money for it and I was very ashamed.
My sis in law has some experience with cakes so she managed to salvage it for me.
After everything calmed down, SIL had said she'll have a word with her friend and I was expecting some payment at least to cover costs.
After not hearing about it for another week or so, I asked my SIL again and she said because I had said on the day I won't take money for it, they thought it was settled. And I've left it too late.
There are a lot of personal things involved in this because its been a very hard time for me to cope with things going on. Hence I couldnt really face them because it just reminds me of that particularly rough patch and gives me the shivers.
I don't want to go into details of what may have gone wrong with the cake.
But I'd really like to hear opinions on whether i'm justified to ask for payment or if my SIL is right about leaving it too late etc

26 replies
vtcake Posted 3 May 2012 , 1:36pm
post #2 of 27

You told her to tell the bride to forget about payment, so in my opinion that's what they did. It's too late to deal with it now, although you probably should've talked directly to someone involved and not a 3rd party.

The reality of the world is that no one cares about your personal life when it comes to business, so this time you have to let it go.

Sorry about your husband's problems. Sounds like you may have to find someone to care for him or keep him occupied if you want to continue selling cakes just so you can have the stress free time to deal with one thing at a time. good luck.

jgifford Posted 3 May 2012 , 1:45pm
post #3 of 27
Quote:
Originally Posted by vtcake

You told her to tell the bride to forget about payment, so in my opinion that's what they did. It's too late to deal with it now, although you probably should've talked directly to someone involved and not a 3rd party.

The reality of the world is that no one cares about your personal life when it comes to business, so this time you have to let it go.

Sorry about your husband's problems. Sounds like you may have to find someone to care for him or keep him occupied if you want to continue selling cakes just so you can have the stress free time to deal with one thing at a time. good luck.




This is a very difficult thing for some people to accept. Everyone has their own life and their own problems and won't be concerned or understanding about yours. You're in business; therefore your personal life isn't a consideration to your customers.

I'm sorry, but it looks like you're going to have to bite the bullet on this one. You told SIL to tell them there was no charge. You technically made her your agent and she followed your instructions. There is now no recourse.

jgifford Posted 3 May 2012 , 1:46pm
post #4 of 27
Quote:
Originally Posted by vtcake

You told her to tell the bride to forget about payment, so in my opinion that's what they did. It's too late to deal with it now, although you probably should've talked directly to someone involved and not a 3rd party.

The reality of the world is that no one cares about your personal life when it comes to business, so this time you have to let it go.

Sorry about your husband's problems. Sounds like you may have to find someone to care for him or keep him occupied if you want to continue selling cakes just so you can have the stress free time to deal with one thing at a time. good luck.




This is a very difficult thing for some people to accept. Everyone has their own life and their own problems and won't be concerned or understanding about yours. You're in business; therefore your personal life isn't a consideration to your customers.

I'm sorry, but it looks like you're going to have to bite the bullet on this one. You told SIL to tell them there was no charge. You technically made her your agent and she followed your instructions. There is now no recourse.

jgifford Posted 3 May 2012 , 1:47pm
post #5 of 27
Quote:
Originally Posted by vtcake

You told her to tell the bride to forget about payment, so in my opinion that's what they did. It's too late to deal with it now, although you probably should've talked directly to someone involved and not a 3rd party.

The reality of the world is that no one cares about your personal life when it comes to business, so this time you have to let it go.

Sorry about your husband's problems. Sounds like you may have to find someone to care for him or keep him occupied if you want to continue selling cakes just so you can have the stress free time to deal with one thing at a time. good luck.




This is a very difficult thing for some people to accept. Everyone has their own life and their own problems and won't be concerned or understanding about yours. You're in business; therefore your personal life isn't a consideration to your customers.

I'm sorry, but it looks like you're going to have to bite the bullet on this one. You told SIL to tell them there was no charge. You technically made her your agent and she followed your instructions. There is now no recourse.

Polarcakes Posted 3 May 2012 , 1:51pm
post #6 of 27

You told them through someone else you would not take a payment. This was told to the client. You cannot go back now and ask for compensation to cover costs.

denetteb Posted 3 May 2012 , 1:52pm
post #7 of 27

If you said no payment at the time, you should stick with your word. Next time don't be so rash in deciding what to do. I agree, the customers don't care what is going on with your personal life and that should remain separate. Most importantly, you should be dealing with the customer directly, not putting your SIL in the middle of it. You should apologize to her for getting her involved and let it all go and move on. And perhaps scale back your orders and size of your orders till you can get your personal life in order. Why was your husband along on the delivery anyway? I don't mean to sound harsh about this but it was your cake to deliver, repair, and deal with payment issues.

Sabz Posted 3 May 2012 , 2:22pm
post #8 of 27

I didn't mention the circumstances to imply i was expecting any sympathy from my clients but merely to say I wasn't fully aware of what I was saying.
I also did not say my husband was there for the delivery.
But thank you all for your input, much appreciated.

Donny13 Posted 3 May 2012 , 2:25pm
post #9 of 27

Im also sorry for what your going thru, good luck to you and your family in the future.

I agree with the others in that, if you told them no payment on that day it would be too late to go back and say something, i also agree u should have waited to make such a rash desicion but i DO understand that you were going thru preassure and it just "came out". With that being said, if the cake was fixed and they still HAD a wedding cake and everyone ate it, even tho you "volonteerd" the cake, they should have offered to cover the costs, that's what i would have done. I may be way off here, but, maybe you could send them a thank you note and tell them its was a pleasure making the cake for them and how sorry you were that things didnt go exactly as planned, briefly explain your situation and wish them well in the future, maybe it will instill some sympathy and they'll come to there sences!

Sabz Posted 3 May 2012 , 2:34pm
post #10 of 27

Thank you Donny13 for your kind words, and advice.

denetteb Posted 3 May 2012 , 2:38pm
post #11 of 27

I guess I mis-understood your post.
"As I was running out of time, I did as best a cover up job I could and we delivered it. All this time, my husband was mega stressed and in turn, he was stressing me out (don't want to go into details but it was horrible)
As my sis in law was going to be at the wedding, I find out that the cake was tipping to one side dangerously. I was in a very bad state by then because I was trying to handle hubby at same time and I must have told my sis in law to tell the bride and brides mum that I won't take any money for it and I was very ashamed. " The "we" and the two comments regarding your husband made me think he was along. My mistake.

Rosiepan Posted 3 May 2012 , 3:06pm
post #12 of 27

Really sorry that you have had such a traumatic exprience which was further compounded by your husbands condition. I fully understand where you were coming from when you offered the cake for free. But the reality is they did eat the cake and your SIL must have realised the exceptional strain you were under and if she knows you well enough should also have been able to see where you were coming from.I don't think it is unreasonable to ask for payments to cover ingredients. She should have been able to relate why you said what you did at the time. But I think the reality is she probably doesn't want to approach them herself to ask for some payment.So unfortunately you may just have to chalk this one up.The only thing you can do is learn from this and make sure you have at least half the money up front to cover the ingredients and if such a thing should happen again you could just forfiet anything over that amount as a reimbursement.Oviously if it was inedible that would be a different matter.
I really hope the situation with your husband's condition and his meds get under control.
Big hugs.

laurabeth73 Posted 3 May 2012 , 3:25pm
post #13 of 27

Dear Sans, I am so sorry for ALL that you & your family are going through & dealing with. I can completely sympathize with you as I am in a similar situation. You will be in my prayers. As for situation, I completely agree with Donny13. What he suggested is exactly what I would do. Also, I may be living in a dream world but I refuse to believe that no one cares about anyone else whether it comes to business or whatever. I believe there are still kind, understanding people left in this world.

rosech Posted 3 May 2012 , 4:30pm
post #14 of 27

So sorry about your circumstances. I am sure you said what you said in the heat of the moment with all the stress. Unfortunately that cannot be reversed. Let it go. Things will get better. You will be fine. God bless you.

Lynne3 Posted 3 May 2012 , 4:56pm
post #15 of 27

I agree that you have to let it go.
That being said, I'm also sorry that the family who enjoyed eating the cake were so quick to use your moment of panic to their financial advantage.

I'm sure the day was traumatic and you could have used a hug instead of working so hard for no return. Put it in the past where it belongs. I hope your hubby is doing better.

LisaPeps Posted 3 May 2012 , 4:57pm
post #16 of 27
Quote:
Originally Posted by Donny13

Im also sorry for what your going thru, good luck to you and your family in the future.

I agree with the others in that, if you told them no payment on that day it would be too late to go back and say something, i also agree u should have waited to make such a rash desicion but i DO understand that you were going thru preassure and it just "came out". With that being said, if the cake was fixed and they still HAD a wedding cake and everyone ate it, even tho you "volonteerd" the cake, they should have offered to cover the costs, that's what i would have done. I may be way off here, but, maybe you could send them a thank you note and tell them its was a pleasure making the cake for them and how sorry you were that things didnt go exactly as planned, briefly explain your situation and wish them well in the future, maybe it will instill some sympathy and they'll come to there sences!




I would absolutely not do this. You can't guilt trip someone into giving you money. This was a business transaction and unfortunately you told your client that they didn't have to pay. If I received a note like this from a business I was dealing with I wouldn't want to use them again. As a customer all I'm interested in is my business transaction with you and the goods you are providing. I don't want to know your private life.

My opinion is it's a free cake. You told them they didn't need to pay, that's exactly how they took it. Write it off as a bad experience and keep on caking.

LisaPeps Posted 3 May 2012 , 4:58pm
post #17 of 27
Quote:
Originally Posted by Donny13

Im also sorry for what your going thru, good luck to you and your family in the future.

I agree with the others in that, if you told them no payment on that day it would be too late to go back and say something, i also agree u should have waited to make such a rash desicion but i DO understand that you were going thru preassure and it just "came out". With that being said, if the cake was fixed and they still HAD a wedding cake and everyone ate it, even tho you "volonteerd" the cake, they should have offered to cover the costs, that's what i would have done. I may be way off here, but, maybe you could send them a thank you note and tell them its was a pleasure making the cake for them and how sorry you were that things didnt go exactly as planned, briefly explain your situation and wish them well in the future, maybe it will instill some sympathy and they'll come to there sences!




I would absolutely not do this. You can't guilt trip someone into giving you money. This was a business transaction and unfortunately you told your client that they didn't have to pay. If I received a note like this from a business I was dealing with I wouldn't want to use them again. As a customer all I'm interested in is my business transaction with you and the goods you are providing. I don't want to know your private life.

My opinion is it's a free cake. You told them they didn't need to pay, that's exactly how they took it. Write it off as a bad experience and keep on caking.

LisaPeps Posted 3 May 2012 , 4:59pm
post #18 of 27
Quote:
Originally Posted by Donny13

Im also sorry for what your going thru, good luck to you and your family in the future.

I agree with the others in that, if you told them no payment on that day it would be too late to go back and say something, i also agree u should have waited to make such a rash desicion but i DO understand that you were going thru preassure and it just "came out". With that being said, if the cake was fixed and they still HAD a wedding cake and everyone ate it, even tho you "volonteerd" the cake, they should have offered to cover the costs, that's what i would have done. I may be way off here, but, maybe you could send them a thank you note and tell them its was a pleasure making the cake for them and how sorry you were that things didnt go exactly as planned, briefly explain your situation and wish them well in the future, maybe it will instill some sympathy and they'll come to there sences!




I would absolutely not do this. You can't guilt trip someone into giving you money. This was a business transaction and unfortunately you told your client that they didn't have to pay. If I received a note like this from a business I was dealing with I wouldn't want to use them again. As a customer all I'm interested in is my business transaction with you and the goods you are providing. I don't want to know your private life.

My opinion is it's a free cake. You told them they didn't need to pay, that's exactly how they took it. Write it off as a bad experience and keep on caking.

Cakery2012 Posted 3 May 2012 , 5:28pm
post #19 of 27

I am so sorry for you stressful situation.HUGS .

Even if you said free cake under your duress. It wasn't your sil's place to tell them that the cake was free.

She should have said you had a medical emergency in your family and you will talk with them later. That you send your apologies .

Polarcakes Posted 3 May 2012 , 5:59pm
post #20 of 27
Quote:
Originally Posted by LisaPeps

Quote:
Originally Posted by Donny13

Im also sorry for what your going thru, good luck to you and your family in the future.

I may be way off here, but, maybe you could send them a thank you note and tell them its was a pleasure making the cake for them and how sorry you were that things didnt go exactly as planned, briefly explain your situation and wish them well in the future, maybe it will instill some sympathy and they'll come to there sences!



I would absolutely not do this. You can't guilt trip someone into giving you money. This was a business transaction and unfortunately you told your client that they didn't have to pay. If I received a note like this from a business I was dealing with I wouldn't want to use them again. As a customer all I'm interested in is my business transaction with you and the goods you are providing. I don't want to know your private life.

My opinion is it's a free cake. You told them they didn't need to pay, that's exactly how they took it. Write it off as a bad experience and keep on caking.




Absolutely agree with this. I believe this transaction was completed when the OPs sister in law told them that the OP would not take any payment for this cake, as she was also embarrassed to how it turned out.

vgcea Posted 3 May 2012 , 6:24pm
post #21 of 27

I'm sorry you had to go through this OP. I'll take this as a learning experience for next time.

Since you said, no payment, keep your word. You already look unprofessional as it is to these people as you were not able to deliver what they requested (even though the circumstances were against you), going back on your word does not help the matter. Also keep your personal life SEPARATE from your business, your clients do not need to know all that.

We all know how stressful caking can be, I say plan to de-stress your life as much as possible before your next (big?) order. Have a talk with DH and see how you both can minimize the stress on each other. Maybe he can go off and do something else while you focus on your cake, and you both can catch up later.

As someone mentioned, please modify your contract (and I hope you have one) to include a non-refundable retainer that covers your cost at least. You might want to add a clause in the contract that nullifies any verbal promises outside the written contract.

hbquikcomjamesl Posted 3 May 2012 , 11:39pm
post #22 of 27

If it turned out so badly that you felt (and presumably still feel) that you could not, in good conscience, charge for it, then you should stand by that, and eat your losses. Money can't buy integrity.

I recently did a side job (nothing to do with cakes, or with programming, my real trade) for my best friend, and it turned out so badly that I am refusing to turn in a time card, or accept any pay (even expenses) for the 26 1/2 hours (2 1/2 hours advance setup and 2 12-hour shifts) I spent on it. I'm about $400 poorer, but I'll be damned if I'm going to accept pay after letting somebody down at least as badly as if I'd turned him down outright.

Osgirl Posted 3 May 2012 , 11:53pm
post #23 of 27

So sorry! That stinks especially when you think about the time and cost of ingredients that go into making a cake.

Unfortunately, I would just let this one go. I think it would be hard to go back on what you already told them. I'd like to think if it was me I would pay you some money knowing what goes into making a cake. That said, most people have no idea.

cheatize Posted 4 May 2012 , 2:47am
post #24 of 27

Yes, gonna have to let this one go. Consider this: the customer isn't complaining right now, correct? Her story that she will tell people is that yes, the cake collapsed. Hopefully she will also say she received an apology and a full refund.

If you even hint to anyone about any amount of payment, the bride's story that she tells changes dramatically.

Honey, you can't AFFORD to ask for any payment. The bad word of mouth will far outweigh how much money you are out right now.

Let it go. Stop stressing about getting money for it. Lord knows you don't need any more stress right now.

Sabz Posted 4 May 2012 , 9:36am
post #25 of 27

Thank you all for your opinions and kind words. Sometimes it helps to think out loud

Elcee Posted 5 May 2012 , 1:29am
post #26 of 27
Quote:
Originally Posted by vgcea

As someone mentioned, please modify your contract (and I hope you have one) to include a non-refundable retainer that covers your cost at least.




This doesn't really have t do with the OP but I'm curious...would you really keep the deposit if you delivered a collapsed cake?

scp1127 Posted 5 May 2012 , 4:47am
post #27 of 27

Please don't ake my suggestion as unsympathetic. I am sorry for your situation.

But here is the reality. The cake was not in acceptable condition. It should have been a no charge situation and you are lucky you weren't sued in small claims. The cake is more than just a cake on the wedding day. It affects the photos and its condition is a direct reflection on the bride.

That idea about, "they ate the cake" just doesn't fly professionally or legally. Of course they ate the cake. They had over a hundred guests expecting to eat cake. As stressful as a battered cake is to the wedding party, their first obligation is to feed the guests and to deal with the cake problem later.

Because you actually did the right thing by not charging, it saved them the issue of having to deal with you later, which would have added even more stress to your personal life.

I gave away a cake last week, just a 9 inch, because the ganache drips were not as pretty as pictured on my site. The client din't care like I did, but I have had several great emails from her thanking me for the delicious cake that was still very pretty with swirled sides. I already have another order. Those acts of goodwill do come back to you in a good way.

I would send the bride a note, not giving personal reasons, but blame the car ride. Let her know that the cake is indeed free and that you would love the opportunity to win her trust in the future. A free anniversary cake would be in order.

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