Things Not To Ask/say To A Baker!

Decorating By step0nmi Updated 8 hours ago by costumeczar

TheCupcakeEng Posted 6 May 2014 , 5:23pm
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Thanks for the responses! I appreciate hearing from another baker's side of things!

LoveMeSomeCake615 Posted 7 May 2014 , 3:24pm
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I got an email yesterday from a girl who wants a three tier (60 servings), circus themed cake for a first birthday. The top tier is in the shape of a circus tent and decorated to look like one, the other tiers have various fondant cut outs. She only needs 20 servings, so I told her we could just do an 8 inch round with the tent as a gum paste figure on top. Due to the detail involved in the design I quoted $145.

 

She emails back this morning to say thanks for the info, but she wanted the three tier and would have been willing to pay $145 for the three tier design but not for an 8 inch.

 

Yeah, I'm sure you'd be happy to pay less than $2.50 per serving for that cake! :roll:

 

I would say good luck to her trying to find someone to do that cake for $145, but the sad fact is she probably will. :?

 

Oh well! If someone else wants to work for nothing, they are free to do so!

MimiFix Posted 7 May 2014 , 4:32pm
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Quote:

Originally Posted by LoveMeSomeCake615 
 

Oh well! If someone else wants to work for nothing, they are free to do so!

 

Very nice pun!

Jeff_Arnett Posted 7 May 2014 , 5:07pm
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I couldn't agree more....

 

People seriously have no clue what goes into the creation of a cake!!  $200 for a cake like that would be a bargain! 

 

Yes ...she might find someone to do it for a cut rate price...but wouldn't you like to see the finished product??

Jeff_Arnett Posted 7 May 2014 , 5:13pm
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Personally, I don't mind sharing MOST of my recipes with other decorators....many have shared some of theirs with me as well.  But certain of my cake formulas are the results of years of baking/tweeking...those I don't share. 

 

Now, if some general person asks for say a buttercream recipe...I will give them one....the one that's just a basic recipe like you'd find in a Wilton yearbook or in a cookbook.  I don't figure those folks are any threat...I mean, how can they be if they don't even have an icing recipe! 

 

Also, most people don't want a recipe once they find out my cakes are baked from scratch rather than a mix....too complicated for them.

mzteaze Posted 7 May 2014 , 5:22pm
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Quote:

Originally Posted by LoveMeSomeCake615 
 

I got an email yesterday from a girl who wants a three tier (60 servings), circus themed cake for a first birthday. The top tier is in the shape of a circus tent and decorated to look like one, the other tiers have various fondant cut outs. She only needs 20 servings, so I told her we could just do an 8 inch round with the tent as a gum paste figure on top. Due to the detail involved in the design I quoted $145.

 

She emails back this morning to say thanks for the info, but she wanted the three tier and would have been willing to pay $145 for the three tier design but not for an 8 inch.

 

Yeah, I'm sure you'd be happy to pay less than $2.50 per serving for that cake! :roll:

 

I would say good luck to her trying to find someone to do that cake for $145, but the sad fact is she probably will. :?

 

Oh well! If someone else wants to work for nothing, they are free to do so!

 

LOL I would love to see her reaction when she checks with the local cut-rate cake house (a la Costco or Walmart) and find out that they also cannot create her vision for that price.

 

It reminds me of the time I thought I could save money making a homemade version of General Tso's chicken.  Four hours later - I concluded it was more economical for me to just pay them to do it.

sarahgale314 Posted 7 May 2014 , 5:59pm
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A

Original message sent by LoveMeSomeCake615

I got an email yesterday from a girl who wants a three tier (60 servings), circus themed cake for a first birthday. The top tier is in the shape of a circus tent and decorated to look like one, the other tiers have various fondant cut outs. She only needs 20 servings, so I told her we could just do an 8 inch round with the tent as a gum paste figure on top. Due to the detail involved in the design I quoted $145.

She emails back this morning to say thanks for the info, but she wanted the three tier and would have been willing to pay $145 for the three tier design but not for an 8 inch.

Yeah, I'm sure you'd be happy to pay less than $2.50 per serving for that cake! :roll:

I would say good luck to her trying to find someone to do that cake for $145, but the sad fact is she probably will. :?

Oh well! If someone else wants to work for nothing, they are free to do so!

Send her to the craftsy class with Jessica Harris' kid's cakes. She does a circus cake in that class. The woman could make it herself! That will give her a good dose of "appreciate your baker" just to watch what goes into doing it.

Gingerlocks Posted 7 May 2014 , 6:58pm
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Quote:

Originally Posted by sarahgale314 


Send her to the craftsy class with Jessica Harris' kid's cakes. She does a circus cake in that class. The woman could make it herself! That will give her a good dose of "appreciate your baker" just to watch what goes into doing it.

That's a great idea..whenever I get one of those "well, so and so says they can do it for a third of that price! It's only cake." I should just start sending links to various tutorials; let them know what really goes into that cake!

howsweet Posted 7 May 2014 , 7:07pm
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Maybe, I think sometimes the tutorials make it look easier than it is. Don't forget we have some skills.

Gingerlocks Posted 7 May 2014 , 8:08pm
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Good point..may add the message "Yes, you are right it is just cake and you can easily make the cake you are looking for with this tutorial". Something tells me Cake Wrecks would be inundated with new entries..

basketpam Posted 7 May 2014 , 10:08pm
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The first time I read this my initial thought was wondering if she wasn't having cravings.  Some women do get some VERY weird cravings during this unusual time in their life and she might be afraid to tell you about it.  It's just a thought, I could be completely off the mark on this one. OR.... Do you think she's trying to make the cupcakes for her own shower?  One way to find out is to make a small batch of cupcakes, with the chocolate frosting of course, say....oh about a dozen and take them to her as a gift.  You did say she's a good friend, right?  And it might come out then what she's actually up to. Is she trying to make these cupcakes just for herself or is this info for the cake or whatever for her shower?   I've heard a lot of "wives tales" about cravings when a woman is expecting such as it's something a woman's body needs as in a craving for ice cream means her body needs calcium, etc., or something with meat she needs protein, so on and so forth.

 

All I know is that having a craving in today's world is MUCH easier to fulfill than when my own mother was expecting.  Imagine in the WINTER of 1960/1961 you are pregnant with your first child. The ONE item you are DESPERATELY craving, of all things, is watermelon.  Now unlike today in the mid-atlantic region in the dead of winter a person did NOT find any sort of summer fruit in a grocery store.  Finally, an aunt of my dad had a friend who of all things.....had watermelon frozen in her freezer.  What that was like I couldn't tell you since I've never heard of people freezing watermelon.  Sure....now here inthe 21st century food corporations have all sorts of frozen fruit in the freezer section in the supermarket but this wasn't so in 1960.  It must have satisfied her because I never heard any stories about her doing anything wild or crazy to get some.  But the odd thing.....once watermelon comes into our area fresh.....or at least starts to show up on the eastern shore (that's Maryland's eastern shore)and it's delivered almost daily to the more western part of Maryland  I crave it and want it EVERY day for almost every meal.  Also, one of my brother's all time favorite foods is my mother's craving while she was carrying him.  Now he had much more expensive taste than I did as an unborn child....he wanted shrimp.  We had a drive-in (not a drive thru), one of those old-fashioned drive-in's with the speaker boxes you pull your car up to and place your order when we were kids. (no roller skating waitresses though).  It was called Jim's Always Resturant and they had a "Shrimp In A Basket" that was WONDERFUL.  Even as a kid I love it.   It had the most beautifully breaded and deep-fried LARGE shrimp with a lovely, spicy cocktail sauce, delicate, brown, hot french fries and the creamiest, nicest cole slaw as the meal.  At 1 am in the morning my mom would get a craving for this Shrimp Basket and my dad would get up and go get one.  To this day my brother (and my dad too despite all those late night runs) are HUGE shrimp eaters.  So.......has anyone else felt that what they craved while they were expecting affected their child's food likes or what did YOUR mother crave and what's your favorites?

howsweet Posted 7 May 2014 , 10:12pm
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I usually just say, Thanks for following up! I wish you the best of luck with your event, and please let me know if we can serve you in the future. I got that from Jason. Because i didn't write it myself, it makes it easier to copy and paste that in. It helps me stay detached and not get annoyed.

milkmaid42 Posted 8 May 2014 , 4:32am
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APam, I don't know what cravings my mother ever had, but as I read this at a quarter to midnight, you have me lying here in bed with a puddle of drool collecting on my pillow! That shrimp....ooooh, what can I say? Darn you! :)

810whitechoc Posted 8 May 2014 , 11:26am
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Double darn you BasketPam, we call shrimp, prawns here in Australia but no matter what they're called I was drooling just reading your description of them.

howsweet Posted 15 May 2014 , 10:28pm
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Ring, ring, ring...

 

Me: Cake place, how can help you?

 

Her: Have you ever made a cake in the shape of an armadillo before?

 

Me: No, but we specialize in doing things we've never done before - most everything on the website was done for the first time. I can...

 

Her: Oh, I was really hoping to see an image of one you'd done.

 

Me: Sorry then i can't help you. Click.

 

 

Ok, maybe that was a little hasty.  But I just had another customer completely waste a ton of my time who started out the same way.  And I'm just thinking if that's the way you're going to start, maybe your tiny brain cells will never be able to comprehend the term CUSTOM CAKE.

 

If these people can't look at my website and give me a little credit, no cake for them.

 

 

AZCouture Posted 15 May 2014 , 10:45pm
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Quote:

Originally Posted by howsweet 
 

Ring, ring, ring...

 

Me: Cake place, how can help you?

 

Her: Have you ever made a cake in the shape of an armadillo before?

 

Me: No, but we specialize in doing things we've never done before - most everything on the website was done for the first time. I can...

 

Her: Oh, I was really hoping to see an image of one you'd done.

 

Me: Sorry then i can't help you. Click.

 

 

Ok, maybe that was a little hasty.  But I just had another customer completely waste a ton of my time who started out the same way.  And I'm just thinking if that's the way you're going to start, maybe your tiny brain cells will never be able to comprehend the term CUSTOM CAKE.

 

If these people can't look at my website and give me a little credit, no cake for them.:lol::lol:

 

 

 

Ok what irks me, is the ones who are usually picky like that, are asking for baby butts or something that would be featured on Cakewrecks.:-X It's almost insulting, but I gotta reign that in, cause those are truly some people's dream cakes.:duh:

Brettandkelly98 Posted 16 May 2014 , 12:15am
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A[SIZE=3][B][/B][/SIZE]

I totally feel your pain, each and every day!

Gingerlocks Posted 19 May 2014 , 1:22am
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I got a call yesterday (Saturday) morning; I was sat outside drinking a coffee and I answer the call..its a woman asking if I have any super hero cakes, like the mixed superhero ones on pinterest; two tiers that she could pick up in the afternoon.

 

I actually didn't know what to say..lol

basketpam Posted 19 May 2014 , 12:21pm
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So what's the problem?  You mean you DON'T operate like Little Ceasars and have a freshly made newly decorated cake on hand at all times for customers so they can stop buy and purchase one whenever they want?  Next time any person does something like this give them the local Little Ceasars telephone number and tell them they ALWAYS have things hot and ready to go and you're sure they can take care of them.  

basketpam Posted 19 May 2014 , 1:19pm
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You know, I am almost ALWAYS on the side of the baker and cake decorator because people today ARE so incredibly stupid, but this time, I feel sorry for the customer.  There is no other way to put it, but you were downright RUDE.  Also, do you realize you are using the word "custom" completely different than it's definition.  Did you realize the meaning of "custom" is:  

 

:an action or way of behaving that is usual and traditional among the people in a particular group or place  OR..........

: something that is done regularly by a person 

Perhaps  it would be better to advertise that you do cakes, "made to order" and specialize in "UNIQUE" and "ONE OF A KIND" cakes rather than leaving it us to a generalized term of "custom". Even if we go by your meaning of custom it doesn't mean you have NEVER in your life done an Armadillo Cake.  Unless you're website states that you "NEVER MAKE THE SAME CAKE TWICE" there is no way for a customer know you haven't done one before.  In fact, because of the movie I would think most bakeries that carve cakes would have had a request for one by now.

However, it's likely the only Armadillo Cake much of the world has ever seen is in the movie "Steel Magnolias".  You owe this customer an apology if you ever see her but the odds are great you will NEVER hear from her again, especially since you hung up on her.  I know I personally would never, no matter HOW desperate I became for a cake, deal with a person who behaved towards me in such a manner on the phone.  It doesn't matter what sort of day you're having, under NO circumstance was that professional behavior or even acceptable good manners. Something I learned in Graduate School that breaks away from the old saying...."the customer is always right"...is that the customer is NOT always right but the customer SHOULD always leave satisfied with the service and treatment and the final outcome of the interaction with the business.  There are many ways to say "NO" to a customer or not give them what they want, the skill is being able to do so and still leave the customer happy. 

It's a good thing you have your own business because if you were an employee of mine and did such a thing I'd let you go.  The worst thing is that you not only lost this one customer for all eternity most likely, she will spread this story to everyone she can.  People just LOVE to talk about the bad service or treatment they've had from a business but especially women will do so.  "Word of mouth" can make or break a business and I know in both businesses our family has had we received more customers and more referrals by word of mouth than all of the advertising combined.  Best of luck to you and I hope this lady DOES come back to you understanding you were probably having an off day. 

Happy Baking!

 

 

howsweet Posted 19 May 2014 , 4:07pm
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Quote:

Originally Posted by AZCouture 
 

Ok what irks me, is the ones who are usually picky like that, are asking for baby butts or something that would be featured on Cakewrecks.:-X It's almost insulting, but I gotta reign that in, cause those are truly some people's dream cakes.:duh:


Hahaha, I know, right? 

MimiFix Posted 19 May 2014 , 4:48pm
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Quote:
Originally Posted by basketpam 
 

You know, I am almost ALWAYS on the side of the baker and cake decorator because people today ARE so incredibly stupid, but this time, I feel sorry for the customer.  There is no other way to put it, but you were downright RUDE.

 

Pam, I actually didn't get the same impression from howsweet's post. I just thought she was a little curt with the caller. Overall, I thought she was only sounding off to us, venting her frustration to her fellow cakers. Many people come here to vent. I don't know how often you read the forums, but it's a very very very familiar refrain. (Vents can often take on the feel of a witch hunt, but that's only my opinion.) 

hbquikcomjamesl Posted 19 May 2014 , 5:00pm
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Quote:
Originally Posted by basketpam 
 

You know, I am almost ALWAYS on the side of the baker and cake decorator because people today ARE so incredibly stupid, but this time, I feel sorry for the customer.  There is no other way to put it, but you were downright RUDE.  Also, do you realize you are using the word "custom" completely different than it's definition.  Did you realize the meaning of "custom" is:  

 

:an action or way of behaving that is usual and traditional among the people in a particular group or place  OR..........

: something that is done regularly by a person 

You appear to have stopped at noun (and possibly verb) senses, and ignored the adjective sense of the word: "Made or done to order for a particular customer."

http://www.oxforddictionaries.com/us/definition/american_english/custom

 

The Online Etymology Dictionary gives this sense as going back to circa 1830, and somehow being derived (though it doesn't explain how) from the seemingly contradictory noun sense.

 

Now, can we get back to talking about cakes, instead of nitpicking over semantics of "custom"?

howsweet Posted 19 May 2014 , 5:18pm
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Good point James. Not to mention that the definition of a word I didn't use with the customer is irrelevant to Pam's criticism of me.

 

.

Quote:

Originally Posted by basketpam 
 

You know, I am almost ALWAYS on the side of the baker and cake decorator because people today ARE so incredibly stupid, but this time, I feel sorry for the customer.  There is no other way to put it, but you were downright RUDE. Here's something you're right about. It was rude.It was also self evident that it was rude. Why point out the obvious? But like the ever articulate Mimi said, I was curt. Good word for what I was.  Also, do you realize you are using the word "custom" completely different than it's definition.  Did you realize the meaning of "custom" is:  

 

:an action or way of behaving that is usual and traditional among the people in a particular group or place  OR..........

: something that is done regularly by a person 

Um, "custom" was not the word I used with the customer. Maybe go back and read. Quoting above, I was telling her, "we specialize in doing things we've never done before - most everything on the website was done for the first time. I can..."

Then she interrupted me to say in a very smug tone of voice "Oh, I was really hoping to see an image of one you'd done." Period. As if I could then somehow produce one. You know, because she wanted it.

Perhaps  it would be better to advertise that you do cakes, "made to order" and specialize in "UNIQUE" and "ONE OF A KIND" cakes rather than leaving it us to a generalized term of "custom". I DO. IT'S IN BIG LETTERS ON THE FRONT PAGE OF MY WEBSITE.  Even if we go by your meaning of custom it doesn't mean you have NEVER in your life done an Armadillo Cake.  Unless you're website states that you "NEVER MAKE THE SAME CAKE TWICE" there is no way for a customer know you haven't done one before.  In fact, because of the movie I would think most bakeries that carve cakes would have had a request for one by now. This is all so wrong. All I can say is you don't know what you're talking about. Maybe it's because you're not in the custom cake business.

However, it's likely the only Armadillo Cake much of the world has ever seen is in the movie "Steel Magnolias".   You owe this customer an apology if you ever see her but the odds are great you will NEVER hear from her again, especially since you hung up on her.  I know I personally would never, no matter HOW desperate I became for a cake, deal with a person who behaved towards me in such a manner on the phone. I don't know how you missed it, but I don't want to hear from her again. I don't want to deal with HER. It doesn't matter what sort of day you're having, under NO circumstance was that professional behavior or even acceptable good manners. Something I learned in Graduate School that breaks away from the old saying...."the customer is always right"...is that the customer is NOT always right but the customer SHOULD always leave satisfied with the service and treatment and the final outcome of the interaction with the business.  There are many ways to say "NO" to a customer or not give them what they want, the skill is being able to do so and still leave the customer happy.  Do you think you're telling me something I don't know? This is basic common sense. I'm sure you went to grad school for something other than that sort of thing.

It's a good thing you have your own business because if you were an employee of mine and did such a thing I'd let you go.   I doubt it -- you'd have a terrible time finding someone to replace me. And you'd have to find a way to deal with the orders on the books that you will be very unlikely to be able to do as promised.  The worst thing is that you not only lost this one customer for all eternity most likely, she will spread this story to everyone she can.  People just LOVE to talk about the bad service or treatment they've had from a business but especially women will do so.  "Word of mouth" can make or break a business and I know in both businesses our family has had we received more customers and more referrals by word of mouth than all of the advertising combined.  You talk as though you know nothing about me - oh wait, you don't. My cake business is my sole livelihood and it is the only income for my household.  If you have run businesses, it seems like you ought to know more about it than it sounds like you do. You are overreacting and over emphasizing this one interaction with this one customer. Best of luck to you and I hope this lady DOES come back to you understanding you were probably having an off day. Really? Why on earth would you feel that way? First, I don't believe you, considering the rant you went at me with. 

And second, again, you are over emphasizing the importance of this single interaction. My business isn't dependent on this person. There's a good chance she wasn't going to pay what I charge for cake, anyway. In fact, pretty much every time a customer gets all "nose up in the air" like she did, it means they are shopping in the wrong price range.

Happy Baking! That sounds pretty disingenuous to me.

 

 

AZCouture Posted 19 May 2014 , 9:01pm
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AGood grief, what a way to rain on a perfectly good thread.

as you wish Posted 19 May 2014 , 9:06pm
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AHere, I'll give you a new "thing not to say to a baker" to get that taste out if your mouth. :) When someone found out that I make cakes they looked at my husband, who is quite thin, and said "You must not be very good"!

AZCouture Posted 19 May 2014 , 9:09pm
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AI remember a few years back, this absolutely horrid person contacted me for a cake, and every bit of information that I gave her was met with comments like: "WHAT?! Why do I hafta pay all of it before you bring it?!" "What if I get it without the fondant, it's sooooo gross anyways!", and "well so and so only charged me $xx, why are YOU so much?!" Not exaggerating with the hysterical emphasis on the replies. What I'm leaving out is the awful grammar and sentence structure, etc. I don't concern myself with being proper on forums, but professional correspondence gets the red pen twice before hitting send.

Anywho...finally I told her I wasn't going to be able to make her cake, and when she asked "WHY?!" I didn't lie. I said I didn't feel that we were a good match, and didn't want to have to explain myself any further and deal with any issues after delivery because of the behavior she was exhibiting before we even got together. Of course she flew off the handle and one of her final remarks was that she was "gonna tell everyone [B]she knew[/B] I was rude to her and not to order from me. [B]GOOD.[/B] Thank you for that, I'd rather not deal with people that are probably just like you.

MimiFix Posted 19 May 2014 , 9:22pm
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Quote:
Originally Posted by AZCouture 

... she was "gonna tell everyone" she knew I was rude to her and not to order from me. GOOD. Thank you for that, I'd rather not deal with people that are probably just like you.

 

LOVE this! They don't realize they're doing us a favor.

Gerle Posted 19 May 2014 , 9:29pm
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asyouwish, the people I used to work with did the same thing to my husband.  He was always thin (before he retired!) and when my fellow employees finally met him, they asked how come he wasn't 300-400 pounds!  I used to bake all the birthday and celebration goodies for work and I always got lots of compliments about how good everything was.  They just assumed that my husband partook of everything I baked and, therefore, should "look" like he did.  He has always loved my cooking as well as my baking, but back then he was more active and worked it off (I also baked for his fellow employees).  When he had to retire for medical reasons, he wasn't able to be quite as active and now you can see that he does love what is cooked and baked for him.  We're both working on doing something about that!!  Unfortunately, I've always had the biggest sweet tooth on earth!

AZCouture Posted 19 May 2014 , 9:29pm
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ANo kidding.

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