CarolLee Posted 25 Aug 2012 , 8:19pm
post #1 of

Just this morning, I had a wedding cake that served 100 people picked up by the bride's grandparents. When they arrived - they were in a 4 door sedan. I told the grandfather I did not believe the 18" X 18" box would fit in their car! He told me "Sure it will!" Which it did. Barely and at a total slant!

I have no idea how that thing rode...AND they were traveling an hour and a half AND going to the beach where the wedding would be outside!

Where does my responsibility end when a cake is picked up? If the cake didn't make it do I owe a refund? My stomach hurts just thinking about it. Somebody help me. icon_sad.gif

36 replies
jason_kraft Posted 25 Aug 2012 , 8:25pm
post #2 of

What does it say in your contract? Typically there would be a separate disclaimer for pickups where the customer agrees to take full responsibility for the cake once it is loaded into their vehicle.

kakeladi Posted 25 Aug 2012 , 9:16pm
post #3 of

IMHO If you didn't inform them how to transport that cake then you probably will need to make some adjustments on the price when they scream icon_sad.gif
This is where a good contract comes in handy....then you verbably inform them of the necessary things that make a good transport......cake *MUST!* remain *flat* and kept as cool as possible.

mommachris Posted 25 Aug 2012 , 10:40pm
post #4 of

If fully informed when the cake was ordered( this needs so and so much space, a place surface and super good AC), and they still came in a car that wouldn't accommodate..that is their problem. You just have them sign off on it accepting responsibility.
Why do people do this?
Seriously, if I order $50 worth of KFC, I wouldn't then drive 100 miles to the beach and think that the food will be fine when I get there. It will not be hot, it may be smashed, I'll probably get food poisoning and I have myself to blame. I certainly wouldn't call KFC and complain.

As a baker, I know that even with the AC on the sun coming through the windows can cause a headache. More and more I'm seeing that we just need to educate people as to the fragility our product. And if they won't listen, we need to back away.
I turned down a bride just this year because she not only changed her March date to July, but she also moved the party from local to 2 1/2 hours away in the mountains. Sorry, but my butter icing can not do that.
You'll probably hear from them. It will be a miracle if this cake 'made it' in the same shape you sent it in.

mommachris

costumeczar Posted 25 Aug 2012 , 11:17pm
post #5 of

What a bunch of idiots. I say that when they drive away it's out of your hands. As long as you told them it had to be flat and they ignored you, it isn't anything that you have control over.

CarolLee Posted 25 Aug 2012 , 11:23pm
post #6 of

The grandparents said they "use to be" cake people. Grandpa said "We've delivered hundreds of cakes in the back seat." I haven't heard a word. Maybe it made it. I just don't know. I do hope to hear soon because I'm fairly new in my business and don't want bad "press". Grrrr. I've learned never to give up the cake without a contract.

I know, I know! I should have known. But we're a small community and not many bakers....yada yada yada.... icon_sad.gif

BakingIrene Posted 26 Aug 2012 , 12:56am
post #7 of

The only thing you could have done was to put rolled up newspapers under the seat to counter the slope.

I suspect that grandma will nag grandpa to drive slowly...but that makes more time for the cake to heat up. Sure hope they had some capable strong person to lift that baby out of the car...

You might consider that if you cannot deliver a cake yourself, then you should not accept the order in the first place--especially for a stacked cake which sounds like this was.

CarolLee Posted 26 Aug 2012 , 12:13pm
post #8 of

Not only was it stacked, it was tall. I will never accept an order under these conditions again. If I can't deliver it, then I won't take the business.

I posted a photo on facebook and the last comment was "It didn't look like that when it arrived at the wedding". Made me sick!!

costumeczar Posted 26 Aug 2012 , 1:34pm
post #9 of
Quote:
Originally Posted by CarolLee

Not only was it stacked, it was tall. I will never accept an order under these conditions again. If I can't deliver it, then I won't take the business.

I posted a photo on facebook and the last comment was "It didn't look like that when it arrived at the wedding". Made me sick!!




Oh crap...well, i bet it didn't, but that wasn't your fault. Can you post something about how them insisting on shoving a cake box onto an uneven surface could possibly have had something to so with the cake's appearance? In a polite way, of course.

CarolLee Posted 26 Aug 2012 , 2:56pm

At this point I'm not sure if I should contact them? Or wait until somebody says something to me. I've got to settle it soon because I can't think of anything else!!

I do so appreciate all the comments and advice. icon_smile.gif

LoveMeSomeCake615 Posted 26 Aug 2012 , 3:04pm

I would not contact them. I know you want some kind of resolution, but I think if you contact them you are just asking for trouble. Hopefully they realize that it's their own fault for ignoring your warning about the cake not being level.

BakingIrene Posted 26 Aug 2012 , 3:04pm
Quote:
Originally Posted by costumeczar

Quote:
Originally Posted by CarolLee

Not only was it stacked, it was tall. I will never accept an order under these conditions again. If I can't deliver it, then I won't take the business.

I posted a photo on facebook and the last comment was "It didn't look like that when it arrived at the wedding". Made me sick!!



Oh crap...well, i bet it didn't, but that wasn't your fault. Can you post something about how them insisting on shoving a cake box onto an uneven surface could possibly have had something to so with the cake's appearance? In a polite way, of course.




No I wouldn't post to FB yet.

Ask the bride for a pic of the cake in its final condition. SHE made the decision to have her grandparents pick it up. NO you don't owe her any $$$ refund...if a customer picks up at your shop they own the cake that they have fully paid for, and what happens to it after they take it away is NOT your problem. That principle is stuck somewhere in most state laws.

Put both pics into your contract with a warning of WHY you require to deliver cakes (for a fee outside of your local area).

EvMarie Posted 26 Aug 2012 , 3:48pm

I think you may be "poking the bear" if you make contact.

But, it's not uncommon to want a picture of the cake in it's final setting. Most times, the table and flowers surrounding the cake make the picture better.

Obviously you wouldn't expect that in this particular situation. But, maybe that would help you test the waters?

That's great YOU posted a picture of the cake looking it's best. If you're worried about your reputation...this should help.

Good Luck!

costumeczar Posted 26 Aug 2012 , 6:23pm

I was joking about posting on her page! Don't do that! I'd just wait and see if they contact you. You posted the photo of the cake to show that it was beauteous, so leave it alone at this point. They know they're responsible...

CarolLee Posted 26 Aug 2012 , 6:34pm

Well. I did just hear from the bride. She says her grandparents told her the cake "crumbled" just a short way down the road from my kitchen. Then, they went to the venue and the grandmother tried to fix it best she could. It was very little by then.

My question is: Why the heck didn't they just bring it back to me??? I say it fell over during a turn and they just kept going. She had my phone number. grrr. I do believe the bride will ask for a full refund.

costumeczar Posted 26 Aug 2012 , 7:35pm

If it was in a box how would they know it "crumbled" close to your house? I would email the bride back and tell her exactly what happened with the grandparents insisting on shoving it in the car against your advice. If the box was closed there's no way they would know what condition it was in until they got to the venue. You're not responsible for their stupidity.

LKing12 Posted 26 Aug 2012 , 7:37pm

Unless she contacts you again, I would leave this alone. She told you how it arrived and who tried to fix it. She has acknowledged that the grandparents knew there was a problem, when it became a problem and decided to leave you out and fix it themselves. That's what they did and you have no more part in the situation other than the learning experience-should there be a next time! I would offer no refund.

CarolLee Posted 26 Aug 2012 , 8:46pm

Our community is pretty small. Not to acknowledge the problem or give some compensation is going to cause a backlash I'm thinking. I do not believe I owe one. I'm just trying to be proactive to head it off.

I'll try to attach the photo I took.

EvMarie Posted 26 Aug 2012 , 9:17pm

Sometimes we get so ahead of ourselves...I know when I get worked up in a good OR bad way...I just keep going and going and going!

I would simply ask that exact question you asked here. If the cake crumbled so quickly & you were just down the road...why didn't you come back?

AND THEN WAIT for an answer.

Perhaps you could have patched & re-piped. Added a support. Shoot, you could have helped them situtate the cake better in the car. After all...in a sedan? And, the cake was tall? I wonder if it didn't bump the ceiling?

And, the box question is equally curious. How DID they see something was wrong? Not sure how to word that one with out calling them a liar though.

The type of compensation? I think it's purely your judgement call. If you honestly know it wasn't your fault, I'd say so. No matter if you give a partial refund or not.

After all, the grandparents did say they've transported lots of cakes in their day. You did warn about keeping it level.

Boy - I know a little about small towns. BRUTAL! Just try your best. Don't be a doormat. Just try your best...that's all any of us can do!

Pearl645 Posted 26 Aug 2012 , 9:34pm

This type of story is becoming way too common. I am sorry this happened. Not one of my clients has ever properly held a cake in their lap initially without me having to repeat several times before they take off, "you need to hold it flat". It is very frustrating.

A mother picked up a 1 tier cake from me yesterday and said to let her 10 year old son hold it. He held it at a 45 degree angle on his lap like he was cradling a baby. I have seen customers shove a box of cake and cupcakes into their car trunk. "Oh it will be fine". Even though it is on my website how to transport and store cakes, etc. they are usually very careless. Up to this day, I have never let anyone pick up a wedding cake on my 20" cake stands. They wouldn't even be able to get it off them unless they have lots of help or are iron man.

LoveMeSomeCake615 Posted 26 Aug 2012 , 9:50pm
Quote:
Originally Posted by EvMarie

Sometimes we get so ahead of ourselves...I know when I get worked up in a good OR bad way...I just keep going and going and going!

I would simply ask that exact question you asked here. If the cake crumbled so quickly & you were just down the road...why didn't you come back?

AND THEN WAIT for an answer.




I agree. Don't just jump right to a refund. Ask more questions, get more info, and go from there.

Formynana Posted 26 Aug 2012 , 10:09pm

Being from a small community I can understand where you are coming from. On the other hand, lots of people may also know grandma and grandpa and know he should be the last one transporting a cake ! Though the cake is an important part of the day, unless the bride in my opinion come screaming and ranting to you, it wasn't the cake that was faulty, it was the transportation. We all know no one else can "fix" a cake they didn't create themselves! Give it a little time, let her come to you, otherwise you may be creating a problem that isn't there
icon_smile.gif

JackieDryden Posted 26 Aug 2012 , 10:12pm

I had someone put the cake (it was boxed) in the back of their van...all the way in the back, telling me it will be fine. They had to travel 30-45minutes away in hot weather. She texted me after an hour, and said the cake fell. I said, the whole box fell over? She said no, the cake had fell inside the box, it was leaning against the side when she got it out. She said they think they "fixed it" and put it in a walk in cooler. She just wanted to let me know. I told her I'm not sure how that could have happened, falling over in the box, since I used extra dowels for the tiers and I used 2 long 5/16 dowels all the way thru all 3 tiers (ran them close to the top of the cake) So I'm thinking the long drive, not really getting the air sitting in the back of the van in a box...maybe the driving...though she said she was carefull. I felt bad for them, as she posted pics to my FB wall and you could tell that even the bottom tier had either damage or heat problems because the way the fondant looked. But I too had posted pictures I took the night before pick up and as it sat for 12 hours~it was fine. It's the avengers cake in my photos. I would appologize and say your sorry that happened, but you did warn them, and you were told they've done this many times before. I would NOT offer a refund. Once that cake is picked up THEY are responsible. I make that clear. If I deliver and something happens to it, it's on me. I would try to fix it. But I always take extra caution with supports to make sure nothing happens to the cake, more so, when they pick it up. I had a 3 tier huge buttercream cake fully stacked, placed in the back of an SUV, with the graduating gal to "watch it" and it traveld 30 miles away and made it fine.

DeliciousDesserts Posted 26 Aug 2012 , 10:49pm

This is from my "Policies & Procedures" contract. I use this not only for wedding cakes but also for any specialty cake over $100.

Pick Up: Some cakes are not eligible for pick up and must be delivered. If you choose to pick up your cake, please remember that you will be the one responsible for ensuring the cake safely reaches its destination. I do not accept any responsibility for damages or losses once the cake leaves my personal control. Please don't bring any pets unless they are safely crated. Plan to have a nice level space to place the cake. You will be provided with the dimensions. Be sure that any other items are secured so they can't possibly fall during a sharp turn or hard brake. When you arrive at the event facility, personally walk the path to your destination before taking the cake. This will allow you an opportunity to notice (& possibly move) any obstacles. This also alerts the staff that you will be bringing in the cake & they should move out of the way! Should a disaster befall, every effort will be made to reach your location and repair the damage. Repair costs will be billed.

I know this doesn't help for THIS cake, but might help in the future. It spells it out as clearly as possible.

cakesbycathy Posted 26 Aug 2012 , 11:29pm

Absolutely no refund. The cake was fine when it left your house and you have the picture to prove it. The grandparents did not transport it safely.

I would tell the bride that you sympathize with her disappointment since you put many hours of hard work into the cake. You advised the grandparents how the cake should be transported and that you cannot be held responsible for the cake once it leaves your possession.

You might want to offer an anniversary tier or some cupcakes to help smooth things over.
Lesson learned for next time. Either insist on delivery or make them sign a waiver if they choose to pick up themselves. I personally do not allow pick-ups for anything over 2 tiers and even then I try and talk them into having it delivered.

CarolLee Posted 27 Aug 2012 , 1:05am

A fellow caker friend of mine contacted me to let me know she has seen the "wedding photos" and there is a photo of the "CAKE" standing in all it's glory!! I'm stunned to say the least that someone would actually try to get a free wedding cake.

I'm not offering ANY refund on her cake!! I'm so pissed right now............

Thanks for all the support. It has helped me get though one hell of a day that I should have spent resting from the work week.

costumeczar Posted 27 Aug 2012 , 1:32am

Oh for pete's sake...i have a blog post going up tomorrow about how people are increasingly trying to scam wedding businesses in general, and this is just another anecdote to add to the list. I'd see if your friend can get a screenshot of that photo to show that the cake survived when they call and try to rip you off for a refund.

Apti Posted 27 Aug 2012 , 2:11am

Quote:
Originally Posted by CarolLee

Well. I did just hear from the bride. She says her grandparents told her the cake "crumbled" just a short way down the road from my kitchen. Then, they went to the venue and the grandmother tried to fix it best she could. It was very little by then.

My question is: Why the heck didn't they just bring it back to me??? I say it fell over during a turn and they just kept going. She had my phone number. grrr. I do believe the bride will ask for a full refund.




Quote:
Originally Posted by CarolLee

A fellow caker friend of mine contacted me to let me know she has seen the "wedding photos" and there is a photo of the "CAKE" standing in all it's glory!! I'm stunned to say the least that someone would actually try to get a free wedding cake.

I'm not offering ANY refund on her cake!! I'm so pissed right now............

Thanks for all the support. It has helped me get though one hell of a day that I should have spent resting from the work week.




CarolLee~~I strongly suggest that before you say anything to anyone else about the cake, that you give yourself time to become calm. NEVER make business decisions or have a confrontation with a client unless YOU are calm and have fully considered the business options that are most appropriate.

Are you angry at them? Or, are you angry at yourself for releasing the cake without a contract that included a "self-delivery" clause? Have they actually asked you for a partial or full refund? Perhaps the grandparents who "used to do cake" were able to effect a wonderful repair job. Perhaps the grandparents will accept the blame, perhaps they won't. From the information provided above, it sounds as though any number of things is possible.

Take a long, hot bath and let your muscles relax. Finish with a cool rinse off, and do something else for an hour or two that has nothing to do with cake. THEN--come back to the situation refreshed.

Then you can come back on and tell us that everything is ok, and they didn't ask for a refund after all since the grandparents were able to fix it.
(You're also going to tell us how tasty they said that cake was!)

momsgoodies Posted 27 Aug 2012 , 2:20am

Unbelievable what people do things like that!! Delicious desserts thanks for that great clause for contracts.

BakingIrene Posted 27 Aug 2012 , 2:42am

Here's one thing to bear in mind in this specific case: that grandpa and grandma didn't do too many stacked cakes back 30+ years ago...they were all tiered on plates back then. Much less risk of falling sideways.

However that doesn't excuse them ignoring your instructions. NOTHING does. If they ask for a refund, then you need to ask for a notarized (like by the photographer) photo of the cake at the reception. Third-party online comments are not legally a reason to demand a refund.

I have lived in a small town and I know how fast the garbage gets around (compared to good news). Remember--people who gossip like that obviously have nothing better to do with their time.

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