reginaherrin Posted 6 Aug 2012 , 3:32pm
post #1 of

I just had a customer that picked up her cake on Saturday call me and I am so steaming mad I have to just vent a bit. She ordered a margarita flavored cake in the shape of a margarita glass. I told her it had to be laying down and look like half the cup flat on a cake board, which was no problem for her. For the margarita flavor, I use margarita mix in the cake batter with a bit of real lime juice as well as in the buttercream. To decorate the cake I put sugar around the rim to look like salt and painted on the color and put limes all around the cake. It looked great and when she picked it up she said the same. There was no problem when she picked it up early on Saturday. She just called me today (2 days after the party) to tell me that no one liked the cake and the decorations were a bit plain and she had to spruce it up (which she did not tell me what she did when I asked). I asked what she did not like about the cake and she just said it did not taste like a margarita and that I should have added tequilla. She said no one like the taste and no one ate the cake and she even has pictures of an uneaten cake. I told her that I was sorry about her not liking that particular flavor but if there was nothing techniqually wrong with the cake I could not give a refund which is what she was wanting. On the decorations I told her I did exactly like we talked about which she agreed with but she said that since she did not like how it looked she thought she should have a refund. I have never had someone not like a flavor and in fact this is a super popular and sought after flavor. I know that not everyone will like the same thing but just because she did not like the flavor does not mean it is a bad flavor. If I ordered a mean at a resturant and did not like how it tastes I will not be able to get it for free which I actually used this analogy when talking to her and she said she has done it and they will give it to her for free. She was just nickpicking everything and I knew she just wanted her money back because she may have had buyers remorse but this cake was not that expensive in the first place. She ended the conversation by saying she hopes I close down and never gets any more business and then hangs up on me. I so just hate people like this. I will add a picture once I upload it on my computer.

23 replies
Bluehue Posted 6 Aug 2012 , 3:53pm
post #2 of

She ended the conversation by saying she hopes I close down and never gets any more business and then hangs up on me.

Don't be steaming mad petal - laugh along with me - you know why she said that - and why she hung up.
Because you weren't playing her game - and you weren't telling her how much refund you were going to give.
You met her match - she didn't like what she was hearing....so ...*click*

She was some piece of work.

As you say - there was nothing wrong with the cake - all was fine when she collected it.
As to the flavour - pffftttt - everyones tastebuds are different - but what you have to remember is.......If it was as horrid as she said it was - you would have heard from her alot earlier than you did - thats a given.

Chalk it up to another *i want my money back* customer - who probably spent too much on her party - ....

Many assume that because one complains that means they must receive a refund -
The customer isn't always right -
Sometimes the customer can be down right rude and obnoxious - just because they can be.

I would pay more crediance to her if she bought some cake back - instead of slamming you down the phone line.... icon_rolleyes.gif

Bluehue

reginaherrin Posted 6 Aug 2012 , 3:58pm
post #3 of

I thought the same, if she really hated the cake and tasted so bad why did she not call the same day or even the next day? Why because she just wanted to get her money back for no actual reason. I so thought it was funny when she said that she had pictures of uneaten cake. Great that changes the whole thing, show me the pics and I will refund your money, haha.

kimmisue2009 Posted 6 Aug 2012 , 4:00pm
post #4 of

Count your blessings that you will probably never have to deal with the likes of her again. You gave her the flavor she ordered; she saw the cake and approved of it when she picked it up; I peeked at your cakes - you can obviously turn out a quality product, so strike three and she's OUTTA THERE!

On a side note, I have three friends that frequently guilt me into making them margarita cupcakes - they swear they make the angels sing. I got full of myself and entered them into the dessert part of a cook-off. Came in dead last. So, they are obviously not for everyone, but again, not your problem.

Don't give her any more of your day. Check her off the list.

Bluehue Posted 6 Aug 2012 , 4:05pm
post #5 of
Quote:
Originally Posted by reginaherrin

I thought the same, if she really hated the cake and tasted so bad why did she not call the same day or even the next day? Why because she just wanted to get her money back for no actual reason. I so thought it was funny when she said that she had pictures of uneaten cake. Great that changes the whole thing, show me the pics and I will refund your money, haha.





hmmmm - the photos could have been taken before any of her guests arrived - having a photo of a cake proves nothing.
Bringing cake back to show you cou;d have proven something
.... glad you are thinking along the lines of ...............
*i want my money back and i want it back NOW*...

Bluehue

jason_kraft Posted 6 Aug 2012 , 5:16pm
post #6 of
Quote:
Originally Posted by reginaherrin

If I ordered a mean at a resturant and did not like how it tastes I will not be able to get it for free which I actually used this analogy when talking to her and she said she has done it and they will give it to her for free.



Maybe not at McDonald's, but at high-end restaurants that value the customer's experience they will absolutely comp a meal if the customer is not satisfied. I would have asked for some of the uneaten cake and tried it to see if there was a problem (other than having dried out).

reginaherrin Posted 6 Aug 2012 , 6:42pm
post #7 of

Jason-so if she did bring me a piece of the cake and I tasted it and it tastes fine to me what would your response be? If I go somewhere and order something and it tastes exactly like it is suppose to but I just happen to not like it then why should anyone refund me my money, it was not their fault I did not like it. If it was made incorrectly, or it was raw or overcooked then yes I should not have to pay for it. The cake was not dry, she agreed it was not just that she did not like that it did not taste like a margarita.

jason_kraft Posted 6 Aug 2012 , 6:44pm
post #8 of
Quote:
Originally Posted by reginaherrin

Jason-so if she did bring me a piece of the cake and I tasted it and it tastes fine to me what would your response be?



If the cake tasted fine there would probably be no refund, unless you wanted to go above and beyond. Premium restaurants will sometimes refund the cost of the dish for an unsatisfied customer even if it tastes the way it is "supposed to", that's one competitive advantage that separates them from their competition.

Quote:
Quote:

The cake was not dry, she agreed it was not just that she did not like that it did not taste like a margarita.



I'm referring to the state of the cake when she brings it to you, not when it was originally delivered. Depending on how it had been stored for the past couple days it may have dried out.

KoryAK Posted 7 Aug 2012 , 2:59am
post #9 of

Every time I have had a customer bring cake back to me (and there have only been a few) it has been to my standards. Hell, half the time the staff and I will continue to munch on it after they leave! But if they go through all the trouble to contact me AND bring some back in and I don't get the feeling that they are trying to pull a scam then I will chalk it up to different tastes and issue them a store credit for some % of the order (or a small refund and a store credit). We also have coffee and cookies and such so even if they weren't willing to give a different flavor a try they could get something.

scp1127 Posted 7 Aug 2012 , 7:44am

Sorry, but I have to take the opposing side on this one. I make many alcoholic cakes for the premium flavor that fine liqueurs add, not for the novelty effect, so I am very aware of what a customer wants in one of these cakes. They still want great flavor, not shock value.

The first issue I saw was that it was a Margarita cake and you did not discuss the alcohol issue with her. It doesn't matter if she didn't ask, on that flavor, alcohol should be addressed. I don't blame her if she was mad about that. Also, Margarita mix does not taste good, so I would have expected the components of a Margarita from a baker charging a premium price.

Margarita is lime, Triple Sec or Cointreau (orange liqueur), Tequila, and salt, and you did not use any of those flavors.

I would have made a real lime cake, possibly Key Lime, brushed with Triple Sec, with a Tequila, lime, and Triple Sec IMBC, finished with coarse salt sprinkled on the top. I use coarse sea salt on my Salted Caramel buttercream and caramel/chocolate toffee and it is excellent on buttercreams and sweets. These flavors could have been used just as easily in a box mix if you are not a scratch baker.

I would suggest that in the future, you discuss your method and ingredients on non-mainstream orders, and on cakes expected to be alcoholic, be clear if you don't use it.

I'm sorry, but a cake made with Margarita mix and sugar would have upset me too. I would not have expected that.

reginaherrin Posted 7 Aug 2012 , 3:16pm

Scp-I'm not surprised you to take the opposing side, which is your right, we are all entitled to our own opinions. There are as many different ways to make a margarita as there is to make a margarita cake. I believe I actually got the recipe from this site. Margarita does not neccessarily mean it will have alcohol in it. I just went to a resturante and ordered a martini and it had champagne in it which is not traditional in a martini. A margarita is lime based, triple sec or cointreau is not always put in the drink, it all depends on where you go or who is making it. In fact most people that make the drink at home just use the mix and tequila. Salt is also another item that not everyone likes, my sister in law always tells them to leave it off since she hates it and most resturantes ask you if you want salt or sugar on the rim. And if margarita mix does not taste good then adding tequila will not make it better, the mix is the biggest part of the drink. I also said that I did use real limes so it had the margarita taste and did not just have shock value. I did not charge anything extra for this flavor, it cost just as much if she would have ordered a chocolate cake then margarita cake. I do not discuss how I make any of my flavors when someone orders a cake unless they have specific questions. Should I discuss all my flavors with everyone like how do I make my butterscotch cake or white chocolate cake or whatever?

juicyscakes Posted 7 Aug 2012 , 5:58pm

I know this was a few years ago.. I need advise, I had a customer call me ask for a birthday cake for her 2 year old of Elmo I said ok sent her a pic of an elmo cake I did remind one of my first cakes just to see if that is what she would like she then repiled back to me after back and forth on what cake she would like and pricing to tell me she was going for the elmo face and cupcakes. She says me a message saying why is the nose shinny in the pick and the eyes look melted and that she can see cake through the star piping explained to her that was one of my first cakes it was a practice cake but maybe she should find someone else to do the cake. How do you deal with people like that?

jason_kraft Posted 7 Aug 2012 , 6:15pm
Quote:
Originally Posted by juicyscakes

I know this was a few years ago.. I need advise, I had a customer call me ask for a birthday cake for her 2 year old of Elmo I said ok sent her a pic of an elmo cake I did remind one of my first cakes just to see if that is what she would like she then repiled back to me after back and forth on what cake she would like and pricing to tell me she was going for the elmo face and cupcakes. She says me a message saying why is the nose shinny in the pick and the eyes look melted and that she can see cake through the star piping explained to her that was one of my first cakes it was a practice cake but maybe she should find someone else to do the cake. How do you deal with people like that?



If you aren't satisfied with the quality of a cake, you probably shouldn't send pictures of that cake to a customer as an example of your work.

Rose_N_Crantz Posted 7 Aug 2012 , 6:19pm
Quote:
Originally Posted by juicyscakes

I know this was a few years ago.. I need advise, I had a customer call me ask for a birthday cake for her 2 year old of Elmo I said ok sent her a pic of an elmo cake I did remind one of my first cakes just to see if that is what she would like she then repiled back to me after back and forth on what cake she would like and pricing to tell me she was going for the elmo face and cupcakes. She says me a message saying why is the nose shinny in the pick and the eyes look melted and that she can see cake through the star piping explained to her that was one of my first cakes it was a practice cake but maybe she should find someone else to do the cake. How do you deal with people like that?




I'll avoid the whole issue of reproducing copywritten work, as I hate opening that can of worms, but I'll give you some advice on your question.

The client was put off by the photo example that you provided. You admitted that the photo was of one of your first cakes so it's wasn't your best. Next time, I wouldn't even show that photo. I would only show photos of your best work. If they're asking for a specific photo (Do you have any pictures of a ____ cake?), just say, "I don't have a photo of a cake you're requesting, but here's some examples of my work that display my skill level." Doesn't matter if you actually do have a picture of the cake and you're not happy with it. DON'T SHOW IT TO THEM! Only show them your best. Why would I show people pictures of my worst work and then point out why it's the worst?

EDIT: bah, jason beat me to it. But glad to see others think the same way i do.

Katiebelle74 Posted 7 Aug 2012 , 6:39pm

If a customer wants a refund because "no one ate the cake" then they need to bring back the uneaten cake to prove it. My suggestion is to raise your prices. When my prices were too low for the market in the very beginning I seemed to attract this type of client who wants to get everything for free. I learned a lot of lessons back then. Like NOT accepting checks the same week as event as someone wrote a check off of a closed account and stiffed me on the whole cake order. If your attracting this sort your prices are probably too low.

KoryAK Posted 7 Aug 2012 , 11:45pm

For the majority of the flavors we make, no, the specifics are not discussed - it would be silly as you mentioned. But there are several flavors that we make where it does need to be asked if they want alcohol or not, for me that's black forest (kirchwasser), tiramisu (kahlua), pina colada (rum), and margarita (tequila) would apply here too. It's all about giving the customer the opportunity to be specific about what they are expecting BEFORE they are potentially unhappy with what you assumed. The tequila may not make it taste "better" (matter of opinion) but it does make it taste more like a real margarita.

For your example of the champagne martini, I'd bet it was listed on the menu that it included it OR it was a place with only a beer/wine license. We have a lot of places like that here where you know going in that the alcohol in your margarita is going to be sake or something.

lorieleann Posted 8 Aug 2012 , 4:33am

I second the post by spc1127-- I too would be disappointed with a margarita cake that had no salt or tequila essence in it. There is a reason that margaritas are special ordered "without salt" or labeled as a "strawberry margarita"-- because those are deviations on what is considered a classic margarita: sweet and sour ( ideally a combination of fresh squeezed lime, lemon, and orange juice), an orange liqueur, tequila and salt. When you are in 'margarita country' like I am, you don't even have to specify on the rocks, because blender margaritas aren't taken seriously. Because i appreciate a well rafted margarita, a mix margarita made with jose cuervo gold won't cut it for me. It's like trying to serve a wine snob a Boonesfarm strawberry wine. Both drinks have fans, but it just shows different folks will have different expectations of what you call a glass of wine.

No one likes criticism, but I hope this can at least be a learning experience that you could benefit by managing your customer's expectations by giving a more complete description of flavors that could have more than one interpretation.

As for the refund, personally I think I would have to weigh how much I wanted to save the business relationship and what her word of mouth is worth to me. If the price of the cake was something I could easily refund fully, I would (it's what a higher end restaurant would do, though not after they had an opportunity to replace your meal with one to your liking, and since there isn't an opportunity to redo a party just for a cake, a refund is easiest). If I couldn't do a full refund, then a partial or credit for a future cake. Unless it is a clear scam on a perfectly fine cake, then as much as it sucks, sucking it up to make the customer happy is a small price to pay (ie refund) .

carmijok Posted 8 Aug 2012 , 5:26am

If the customer did not like the flavor and it wasn't what she was expecting, then basically to me she should have specified what she WAS expecting! If I am ordering a cake like a Margarita cake I will ask what's in it! I wouldn't assume there would be tequilla in it...it's a cake with Margarita flavoring...NOT a margarita. What if you put tequilla in it and then got the complaint that it was served at a kid's party and all the parents were upset because it had liquor in it! To me it's better to err on the no-liquor side.

Unless you do a tasting or have experience with a baker, then you take a chance with any specialty flavor they produce. Not everyone's chocolate cake tastes the same, nor does every vanilla. Nor should you assume a margarita cake that you've eaten at one cake shop is going to taste the same as another.

I would be sure from now on to either label your ingredients somewhere or discuss with clients any specialty cake that may or may not call for liquor just so they know and you know what expectations they have.

scp1127 Posted 8 Aug 2012 , 8:22am

To the OP, yes, as others who agree have already stated, on these specific cakes, it is YOUR job to describe the cake, not, have a "Let the buyer beware" cake policy.

Sorry, but again, a premium price calls for premium quality. And when I referred to "premium", I meant a cake decorator who calls themselves a professional and charges accordingly. Walmart can add a margarita mix.

When someone asks for these flavors, you had better be sure of what the customer wants of be prepared to refund. These cakes require detailed information. And yes, you can be catty and reason why by posting that you do not describe your chocolate, but in some cases, this is also needed. Do you think I would sell my $89.00 German Chocolate Cake over my $50.00 traditional without explanation? No, but I do describe, and I have only sold one traditional. The other is a best-seller.

If you are going to make a cake based on a drink, you should specify if it is a mix or the real deal. And by the way, I have never made a margarita with a mix, and maybe you don't know this, but many places do not use mixes. They are the low price, bottom quality margaritas. They are nasty in a drink and I can't imagine adding it to a cake.

And you, yourself mentioned variations and that people ask for them. But with no instructions, a margarita will come to you with salt.

I don't drink a drop, but I have bartended at a casino at the high roller bar, so I have extensive experience with how people ask for their drinks. We didn't have a mix anywhere in site.

So to all but the OP, be sure to detail these specialty cakes not only on your site, including the process and the ingredients, reiterate this when talking to your client. Anyone interested can look on my site and read my descriptions. On specialty cakes, you want to allow them to taste the cake mentally and you need to deliver that exact cake. The accurate description will keep you from surprising the customer with something they don't like and will insure that you don't have an unhappy customer asking for a refund.

And no, I do not take the opposing side just for the fun of it. Other people besides the OP read these threads and this one, since I sell so many alcoholic cakes, is one that I happen to have experience. I have also shared the use of alcohol in cakes numerous times on CC and in multitudes of PM's.

reginaherrin Posted 8 Aug 2012 , 11:42pm

I'm not sure how you would know how a drink is suppose to taste if you don't drink a drop. Following a recipe, which varies from place to place, doesn't give you experience on how that drink will taste. I can read the ingredients in a drink and still not know how the different ingredients will come together to taste so if you don't drink how do you know how a certain drink is suppose to taste and then translate that into a cake? It actually does say on my website what I use in my margarita cake and that I don't use alcohol. I have the same thought about using alcohol in a cake as carmijok does which is why I try not to use alcohol when I can as well as extracts which actually have a lot of alcohol in them. If I had 2 variations on this cake, one that cost more and has alcohol or something different in it, then yes I would have let her know the differences between the 2 margarita cakes to let her choose which you would perfer. I think you would be surprised at how many restaurants do use mixes just as I was surprised to find out how many store front bakeries use box mixes. Yes the highend ones don't but most of the restaurants in my area are not high end and you would have to travel to the 2 major cities closest to my location to go to those types of restaurants. So the majority of people go to the restaurants that aren't considered high end and are more likely to use mixes in their drinks. I live in margarita country as well, being in Texas and all, and every place I have gone to and ordered a margarita will ask if you want salt or not. That may just be a cultural thing for my area compared to your area. I treated the customer according to what I thought appropriate. I always test out my flavors before I start selling them as well as always try a bit of cake that is cut off each cake I work on so I did not find that what she said was accurate to the cake she received. I believed she was trying to scam me out of a free cake, if there was something techniqually wrong with the cake, like it being dry or not looking like what it was suppose to then it would have been a different story. Again, if she was so upset about the cake flavor then she would have called the same day or even the next day but she waited 2 days to complain.

jason_kraft Posted 9 Aug 2012 , 12:01am
Quote:
Originally Posted by reginaherrin

Again, if she was so upset about the cake flavor then she would have called the same day or even the next day but she waited 2 days to complain.



If this cake was for an important event like a wedding there were probably other higher priority items on her to-do list than complaining to a vendor.

reginaherrin Posted 9 Aug 2012 , 12:24am

It was not a wedding but a birthday party cake.

kelleym Posted 9 Aug 2012 , 12:27am

Regina, I think she was trying to get money back. "Pictures of uneaten cake" is laughable in its lack of logic. All cake pictures are of uneaten cake, otherwise they would just be pictures of plates and air. :/

Whether or not you want to appease her by offering her something depends on 1) how much you think she could hurt you by bad-mouthing you, 2) how upset she really is, and 3) how much you want to keep her as a customer. But I don't think you automatically owe her anything.

FrecklesCakes Posted 9 Aug 2012 , 1:00pm

Looks like you are happy with your cake and decision which is the main thing.

I personally would have like to taste and would have make it according to the flavours listed in a traditional Margarita as discussed above not from a mix. (unless the customer said otherwise)

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