Things Not To Ask/say To A Baker!

Decorating By step0nmi Updated 11 Jan 2016 , 1:15am by Apti

JuliaCEC Posted 5 Nov 2013 , 3:07am
post #2221 of 3199

Hey! I'm new to this site and this is the first thread I partially read through, I run a "cake problems" Tumblr with a couple of other decorators where we post stories like these and people submit their own. Here's the link-

www.cakeproblems.tumblr.com

FioreCakes Posted 5 Nov 2013 , 4:42am
post #2222 of 3199
Quote:
Originally Posted by howsweet 
 

Just got this --copying and pasting. I already replied, but curious what others would say.

 

Hello, I would like a cake serving about 20-24 kids, 2 smash cakes and 24 small cookies individually wrapped for each kid. My budget is $200. Please let me know if you can do this and what your price is per item and as a package deal.

 

She sent a picture of the cake she wanted... the whole thing would have been about $350-370, but what got me was the package deal comment.And the way she said itas if it were a foregone conclusion.  She clearly mistook me for someone who wanted her business at all.

 

I don't think she was that out of line? I think the whole point of her email was to see if that was within her budget...she really may not know. You may still want her business if she is willing to work with you! I really had no idea what cakes cost before I got into this hobby. Also, not to completely defend her but it is a trend to have package deals that include smash cakes nowadays! I think you shouldn't lose a potential customer over her not understanding unless she has been repeatedly difficult. Anyway...just my observation...I may be wrong! :-)

810whitechoc Posted 5 Nov 2013 , 12:20pm
post #2223 of 3199

Quote:

Originally Posted by JuliaCEC 
 

Hey! I'm new to this site and this is the first thread I partially read through, I run a "cake problems" Tumblr with a couple of other decorators where we post stories like these and people submit their own. Here's the link-

www.cakeproblems.tumblr.com

Hilarious, can I add "It's 11.18pm and have to be up at 5.30am and really should go to bed but sucked into checking out what's going on on CC, just one more thread, just one more thread - go to bed you fool and stop reading about cake"

MimiFix Posted 5 Nov 2013 , 1:32pm
post #2224 of 3199
Quote:
Originally Posted by FioreCakes 
 

 

I don't think she was that out of line... she really may not know.... I really had no idea what cakes cost before I got into this hobby. Also, not to completely defend her but it is a trend to have package deals that include smash cakes nowadays! I think you shouldn't lose a potential customer over her not understanding unless she has been repeatedly difficult. Anyway...just my observation...I may be wrong! :-)

 

Greetings FioreCakes, I agree with you that most people don't know. Initially, they need to be educated and treated with respect. This thread, however, is more of a bashfest amongst those in the know, an Insiders Club. Hopefully the snickers and jokes on this thread are not used to make a potential customer feel bad.

howsweet Posted 5 Nov 2013 , 2:30pm
post #2225 of 3199
Quote:
Originally Posted by FioreCakes 
 

 

I don't think she was that out of line? I think the whole point of her email was to see if that was within her budget...she really may not know. You may still want her business if she is willing to work with you! I really had no idea what cakes cost before I got into this hobby. Also, not to completely defend her but it is a trend to have package deals that include smash cakes nowadays! I think you shouldn't lose a potential customer over her not understanding unless she has been repeatedly difficult. Anyway...just my observation...I may be wrong! :-)

 

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by MimiFix 
 

 

Greetings FioreCakes, I agree with you that most people don't know. Initially, they need to be educated and treated with respect. This thread, however, is more of a bashfest amongst those in the know, an Insiders Club. Hopefully the snickers and jokes on this thread are not used to make a potential customer feel bad.


If she reads this and her feelings are hurt, she is welcome to explain that she really wasn't sending out a wide net of emails to lots of bakers in order to find the one who would work for less than minimum wage. Sure, there are plenty of people who don't know about pricing. I deal with them all day long. But if you don't know, then don't tell me what the price is going to be.

 

People willing to pay a fair price don't throw a price out there with exact details of what the order is to be. They may tell you what they have to work with and ask what they can get for that, not I want x, y and z and can you do for $200?

 

She was out to find someone to do all this for $200 - and probably already has. And that's to the heart of why her email annoyed me.

elittotto Posted 5 Nov 2013 , 4:27pm
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Yes, and we can thank to la Esperanza and those cheap ingredients they use. It´s so offensive when they want a discount.

hbquikcomjamesl Posted 5 Nov 2013 , 4:32pm
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Quote:

Originally Posted by howsweet 
She was out to find someone to do all this for $200 - and probably already has. And that's to the heart of why her email annoyed me.

Hmm. I normally research my vacations in great detail, well in advance, and by the time I start booking it, I typically know what kind of prices I can get online. And because my Amtrak Guest Rewards number never seem to stay attached to rail reservations I don't book myself (and because I probably understand rail booking better than a lot of travel agents do), I do all my own rail booking, even if I'm handing everything else over to a travel agent (and a good travel agent should have no problem with that). At any rate, before my travel agent retired, I would frequently, out of courtesy, let her know what kind of prices and routings I was getting on air, and then ask her if she could do better. Sometimes she could; sometimes she couldn't, but she never, to my knowledge, took offense.

 

Of course, we had an established relationship; I wasn't just walking in off the street. And that relationship was based on complete honesty and trust: on one occasion, she booked me into a really bad, and really overpriced, hotel (if you ever have to choose between the "W" Hotel, and another establishment known by a one-letter name, then you're better off staying at the "Y"), but she'd been completely honest with me up front, and told me very explicitly that she knew absolutely nothing about that particular city's hotels, and was taking a shot in the dark, and so while I told her just how bad the hotel was, I didn't blame her.

 

And more recently, when I went shopping for a little engraved brass plate to attach to a chair (designating it the "Luis Garcia Memorial Linotype Chair"), I made it clear every place I went, that I would not be placing the order until I'd at least solicited bids at all the engraving shops I'd found.

 

There's no reason to take offense because a customer is shopping around, and seeking the best value for the least money.

howsweet Posted 5 Nov 2013 , 6:39pm
post #2228 of 3199
Quote:
Originally Posted by hbquikcomjamesl 
 

Hmm. I normally research my vacations in great detail, well in advance, and by the time I start booking it, I typically know what kind of prices I can get online. And because my Amtrak Guest Rewards number never seem to stay attached to rail reservations I don't book myself (and because I probably understand rail booking better than a lot of travel agents do), I do all my own rail booking, even if I'm handing everything else over to a travel agent (and a good travel agent should have no problem with that). At any rate, before my travel agent retired, I would frequently, out of courtesy, let her know what kind of prices and routings I was getting on air, and then ask her if she could do better. Sometimes she could; sometimes she couldn't, but she never, to my knowledge, took offense.

 

Of course, we had an established relationship; I wasn't just walking in off the street. And that relationship was based on complete honesty and trust: on one occasion, she booked me into a really bad, and really overpriced, hotel (if you ever have to choose between the "W" Hotel, and another establishment known by a one-letter name, then you're better off staying at the "Y"), but she'd been completely honest with me up front, and told me very explicitly that she knew absolutely nothing about that particular city's hotels, and was taking a shot in the dark, and so while I told her just how bad the hotel was, I didn't blame her.

 

And more recently, when I went shopping for a little engraved brass plate to attach to a chair (designating it the "Luis Garcia Memorial Linotype Chair"), I made it clear every place I went, that I would not be placing the order until I'd at least solicited bids at all the engraving shops I'd found.

 

There's no reason to take offense because a customer is shopping around, and seeking the best value for the least money.

There's a big picture here to been seen. She wanted the order close to half price. Unlike Amtrak, I don't compete on a level playing field for customers. That, I would welcome. But instead I compete against people who drastically undercharge.  So while I completely agree that you can't blame the customers, I wholeheartedly blame cakers who create unfair competition.

 

I assume you must have not read ll the way to where I said: She was out to find someone to do all this for $200 - and probably already has. And that's to the heart of why her email annoyed me.

SugaredSaffron Posted 5 Nov 2013 , 6:53pm
post #2229 of 3199

A

Original message sent by JuliaCEC

Hey! I'm new to this site and this is the first thread I partially read through, I run a "cake problems" Tumblr with a couple of other decorators where we post stories like these and people submit their own. Here's the link-

[URL=http://www.cakeproblems.tumblr.com]www.cakeproblems.tumblr.com[/URL]

Haha love the gifs!!!

hbquikcomjamesl Posted 5 Nov 2013 , 8:53pm
post #2230 of 3199

Quote:

Originally Posted by howsweet 
I assume you must have not read ll the way to where I said: She was out to find someone to do all this for $200 - and probably already has. And that's to the heart of why her email annoyed me.

You assume incorrectly: I was responding DIRECTLY to that paragraph. And I stand by that response. You were perfectly free to decline her business, but taking offense at her because she contacted you with a both a detailed proposal and a price-point, probably after securing at least one other bid, does nobody any good, least of all yourself.

Sassyzan Posted 5 Nov 2013 , 8:57pm
post #2231 of 3199

A

Original message sent by howsweet

Just got this --copying and pasting. I already replied, but curious what others would say.

[I]Hello, I would like a cake serving about 20-24 kids, 2 smash cakes and 24 small cookies individually wrapped for each kid. My budget is $200. Please let me know if you can do this and what your price is per item and as a package deal.[/I]

She sent a picture of the cake she wanted... the whole thing would have been about $350-370, but what got me was the package deal comment.And the way she said it[I], [/I] as if it were a foregone conclusion.  She clearly mistook me for someone who wanted her business at all.

I would have interpreted her email as, "how much is all that together? And How much are the individual items so if it's more than $200, I can decide what to eliminate to stay within my budget."

howsweet Posted 6 Nov 2013 , 12:17am
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I did not mean to mess up this thread again. I thought people would see what I saw in the email and commiserate.

 

Quote:

Originally Posted by hbquikcomjamesl 
 

You assume incorrectly: I was responding DIRECTLY to that paragraph. And I stand by that response. You were perfectly free to decline her business, but taking offense at her because she contacted you with a both a detailed proposal and a price-point, probably after securing at least one other bid, does nobody any good, least of all yourself.

Her email annoyed me because I knew she would find someone to do her order for close to half what she should pay for it. The offense I took was less at her and more at people who undercharge. If there weren't plenty of folks who would do her cake on the cheap, my reaction would be different.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Sassyzan 


I would have interpreted her email as, "how much is all that together? And How much are the individual items so if it's more than $200, I can decide what to eliminate to stay within my budget."

You may be right- not everyone is able to communicate effectively over email. However, I've answered thousands of emails and after a while, you get a clear sense of where things are going to go from surprisingly little information. In case anyone wondered, I was booked for her date and let her know rather politely that for short notice orders, she might want to try a larger operation that's better set up to add orders in at the last minute. And I chose a bakery I knew would give her an appropriate price.

liz at sugar Posted 6 Nov 2013 , 2:22am
post #2233 of 3199

Quote:

Originally Posted by howsweet 
I was booked for her date and let her know rather politely that for short notice orders, she might want to try a larger operation that's better set up to add orders in at the last minute. And I chose a bakery I knew would give her an appropriate price.

 

High five!  Or fist bump, as is common these days! :)

 

Liz

SpeciallyYours Posted 6 Nov 2013 , 5:15pm
post #2234 of 3199

Quote:

Originally Posted by howsweet 
 

There's a big picture here to been seen. She wanted the order close to half price. Unlike Amtrak, I don't compete on a level playing field for customers. That, I would welcome. But instead I compete against people who drastically undercharge.  So while I completely agree that you can't blame the customers, I wholeheartedly blame cakers who create unfair competition.

 

I assume you must have not read ll the way to where I said: She was out to find someone to do all this for $200 - and probably already has. And that's to the heart of why her email annoyed me.


Exactly! Too many people want something (big) for nothing. That's why they are satisfied to get a cake from Walmart, Sam's, Costco, etc. Amtrak has one price at the time you order. They don't dicker with their pricing, and don't change it unless running a specific special. It's like comparing soup and nuts! Most of these people just watch the TV shows, and don't have a clue about what it really takes to make that "3 tier with"....blah blah blah figures/flowers/whatever "that I need this weekend". They just want something cheap!  I am considering offering a "this is how we do it" class locally. If I am going to be an educator for every person wanting something for nothing, then I think I should be paid to be! Sorry if this offends anyone, but after all the years of telling people how it's done, I am simply tired of spending "caking" time doing education, just to have them tell me that they can't afford the price. Sounds negative?!?! Hell yes, but generally I am a very easy going person. However, I am now in my mid-60s, and don't have the stamina I used to (especially after my bout with cancer). So, yes, I am getting just a bit more testy in my dealing with people. I don't argue with my favorite sweater shop on how to get a reduced price...and they didn't have to tell me how the wool was made! Just say'n......... :(

hbquikcomjamesl Posted 6 Nov 2013 , 5:55pm
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Why is it that my offhand reference to booking my own Amtrak (and if you think the playing field they compete on is even remotely level, you haven't been paying attention to what they're up against, or from whom), in the description of my relationship with my (now retired) travel agent, somehow morphed into a comparison of cakes to rail fares?

howsweet Posted 6 Nov 2013 , 9:14pm
post #2236 of 3199
Quote:
Originally Posted by hbquikcomjamesl 
 

Why is it that my offhand reference to booking my own Amtrak (and if you think the playing field they compete on is even remotely level, you haven't been paying attention to what they're up against, or from whom), in the description of my relationship with my (now retired) travel agent, somehow morphed into a comparison of cakes to rail fares?


Because you were saying one should shop around for prices. I just chose Amtrak for the example -what difference does it make? I was never bothered that a consumer would shop for the lowest price. The reason her inquiry irritated me was that it was clear she would hunt down the cheapest price and I cannot compete with the cheapest price. But I welcome competition with other bakers who must make a profit.


Using Amtrak as an example again..back to the issue of level playing field...  Amtrak competes against other companies who are in business to make a profit. There are no home train companies.  I compete against people who don't have the slightest clue about business and who are subsidized by their spouses without even realizing it. 

 

This is not a situation of a free market system under which your travel agent and Amtrak function, it's  different. The trade laws assume that a business will act in it's own best interest, but in this case that's not what's happening.

 

On a side note, how quickly do you think Amtrak would squash home train companies undercutting them if they existed?

sweetwhimzie Posted 6 Nov 2013 , 11:45pm
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Um, I like cake.:D

hbquikcomjamesl Posted 7 Nov 2013 , 12:13am
post #2238 of 3199

Quote:

Originally Posted by howsweet 
On a side note, how quickly do you think Amtrak would squash home train companies undercutting them if they existed?

 

Amtrak would not "squash" railroad-owned passenger trains. The realities of running passenger service, especially in an era of subsidized highway and air transportation, would do that, all by itself, and the railroads know it.

 

Amtrak exists because the majority of the railroads were at or near bankruptcy from unfunded federal mandates to maintain passenger service at a time when gasoline was pennies a gallon, and America's ill-advised love affair with the automobile was at its peak.

 

Passenger trains are almost never a profit-center. In the golden age of passenger trains, the reasons why the railroads were so enthusiastic about carrying passengers at a loss were (1) most passenger trains also carried mail and express, which subsidized the losses, and (2) at a time when everybody traveled by rail, "everybody" included the people who made decisions about which railroads got the profitable freight shipments (which is why passenger trains on highly competitive routes were luxurious, while those on routes monopolized by a single railroad were Spartan.)

 

All that ended in the late 1950s, when the Federal Government started building the Interstate Highway System, and started lavishly subsidizing every sector of the transportation industry except the railroads.

 

There was talk of eliminating the unfunded mandates for passenger service (which, without substituting something else for them, would have meant a quick and permanent end to passenger trains), and there was talk of nationalizing the railroads (something that had actually happened, on a temporary basis, during World War I). The National Association of Rail Passengers managed to put the fear of the American People into Congress and the Nixon Administration, leading to the formation of Amtrak.

 

The railroads were given a choice: either continue to maintain passenger service at mandated levels, or turn over their passenger rolling stock to Amtrak, and let it take over the burden of passenger service. Most of the railroads took the latter option with great enthusiasm; the handful that didn't (Southern, Rock Island, and Rio Grande were the biggest, as I recall) eventually either followed suit or went belly-up.

 

Today, the only railroad running its own scheduled intercity passenger trains on U.S. soil is the Alaska Railroad, which is partly owned by the State of Alaska; a combination of lucrative chartered-car contracts with the major cruise lines, and innovative cost-saving measures (like car attendants who are actually college student interns) is what keeps their passenger trains running.

A private company, Auto-Train Corporation, did run a passenger-only service (later revived by Amtrak) between Lorton, VA and Sanford, FL, carrying passengers and their vehicles; rather remarkably, they actually managed to stay afloat for nearly a decade, but an ill-advised attempt to expand to a second route toppled the precariously balanced company.

 

Now can we PLEASE get back to CAKES?

IAmPamCakes Posted 7 Nov 2013 , 12:20am
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AMoving on... I thought this was a cake forum. I, personally, don't care about trains, thank you.

MimiFix Posted 7 Nov 2013 , 12:22am
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Children, play nice. If you keep this up, mom (aka The Moderators) will close the thread.

hbquikcomjamesl Posted 7 Nov 2013 , 1:28am
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Quote:

Originally Posted by MimiFix 
 

Children, play nice. If you keep this up, mom (aka The Moderators) will close the thread.

 

And that would be a shame, given that we've kept this thread up longer than most of the threads on Fountain Pen Network's boards.

MimiFix Posted 7 Nov 2013 , 1:39am
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Shhhhhhhh...

IAmPamCakes Posted 7 Nov 2013 , 1:44am
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AOMG!

costumeczar Posted 7 Nov 2013 , 1:54am
post #2244 of 3199

Quote:

Originally Posted by hbquikcomjamesl 
 

 

And that would be a shame, given that we've kept this thread up longer than most of the threads on Fountain Pen Network's boards.

On the what? What?

costumeczar Posted 7 Nov 2013 , 1:56am
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Somehow I knew these two topics would dovetail somewhere on there http://www.fountainpennetwork.com/forum/index.php/topic/13015-bent-nib-on-star-trek-fountain-pen/

morganchampagne Posted 7 Nov 2013 , 2:09am
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AI have one! A lady emailed me about the cake she wanted. She wanted a four tier hand painted cake with orchids. Ok. So I sent her the quote. She says: well, my budget is about $275 but I'm willing to negotiate. Hows $290?

um. No. The quote is the quote and you either got it or you don't got it.

liz at sugar Posted 7 Nov 2013 , 2:26am
post #2247 of 3199

Quote:

Originally Posted by costumeczar 
 

Somehow I knew these two topics would dovetail somewhere on there http://www.fountainpennetwork.com/forum/index.php/topic/13015-bent-nib-on-star-trek-fountain-pen/

 

Just chuckling. :)

 

Liz

AZCouture Posted 7 Nov 2013 , 2:27am
post #2248 of 3199

AWhat the heck did I walk in on?

Shasha2727 Posted 7 Nov 2013 , 2:28am
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Some really AWESOME recipes are shared all over CakeCentral.....My Aunt used to 'share' recipes & leave out an essential ingredient; she was so insecure. Really, are people that scared of someone making something as well as you? If I have time, and someone is nice when they ask, I will give anyone any recipe, and many are my own originals, derived by many years of baking. Look up MAC'SMOMs recipe list on this site for a lesson in sharing.....She's a gifted baker, and an extremely generous soul....And pro's like Collette Peters & Elisa Strauss (and many others) share recipes freely. But hey, if you think you have some deep dark secret to making the something the better than everyone else, it is your call....

 

And if someone asks a stupid question, like 'can you add something extra (fondant) & reduce cost" I explain the process to them in simplest terms. If they are hopelessly clueless & refuse to understand logic, I tell them I'm out of time, here's what I can offer & for how much, and if that doesn't work for you, I hope you find someone who can help you with that.  And most people don't like fondant, they've had nasty stale Wilton from a box in some craft store. Even the BEST homemade fondant is intensly sweet, so I understand when people don't want it on their cake; if they are paying, it's their choice, but if you are gifting the cake, then any recipient would lack grace to complain.... 

Annabakescakes Posted 7 Nov 2013 , 3:33am
post #2250 of 3199

Wow, this thread certainly took a turn, got derailed, and is a complete train wreck...

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