Help! I Feel Just Awful!

Business By MKinPA Updated 10 Jun 2013 , 1:43am by costumeczar

MKinPA Posted 6 May 2013 , 2:32pm
post #1 of 23

I'm kicking myself all over the house today! A few weeks ago I did a first birthday cake and smash cake for a new client and she had a lot of very nice ladies at the party and gave me a glowing referral. One of the ladies ordered her baby's first birthday cake from me and a smash cake.

I entered this order in my computer.


Yesterday when I arrived home at midnight I checked my email and there are 2 posts from this dear lady - one was at 1:06 pm asking if I am delivering her cake (which was to be delivered at 1 pm yesterday) the second one was at 8 pm asking why I never delivered her cake!


Somehow, her order got deleted from my order sheet for the week - it's all my fault, I should have checked and double checked!


This was her child's first birthday and I feel I ruined it!


I answered her back and apologized profusely and asked her to  call me as soon as she has a moment today.


I'm not leaving this with just an apology. I'm asking if this has ever happened to any of you and what you did to fix it.


I've thought that I would reimburse her for the cake she must have had to purchase when mine didn't show up and give her a gift certificate for the baby's 2nd birthday.


Please let me know what you all think. I feel just awful!


Thanks so much!



22 replies
sweettales Posted 6 May 2013 , 3:03pm
post #2 of 23

ALinda, I think you are doing all the right things here. Is a mistake and mistakes are bound to take place. Not everything is lost though, you learned a tremendous lesson in regards to double checking your cake orders. I am glad that you are looking to speak with her.

Norasmom Posted 6 May 2013 , 3:19pm
post #3 of 23

Yes, sounds like you are taking all the necessary measures.  For some, first birthday parties are a BIG deal, for others, not so much, just a simple gathering.  Remembering my daughter's first birthday, if something like that had happened with the cake it would have been okay.


 It sounds like you didn't have a lot of back-and-forth conversation about this cake, which leads me to believe she was not a finicky, "my child's first birthday she won't even remember is SOOO important to my social status in life." sort of person.  


I hope she is understanding and will give you a "second" pun intended...icon_biggrin.gif

MKinPA Posted 6 May 2013 , 4:11pm
post #4 of 23

Thank you sweettales and Norasmom. I don't know what else to do for her. I'm waiting for her to call me back right now.  


You are correct, we didn't have a lot of conversation about the cake. But I kind of get the impression the first party for them was a small production. I'm just so embarrassed by all this. I've been in business for almost 2 years and get a lot of referrals and repeat business from some pretty great people.


My "hobby" business has taken off so much that we've purchased a building and soon will move there instead of our inspected home kitchen.


I'm hoping this will be satisfactory for her.


Thank again ladies.



costumeczar Posted 6 May 2013 , 6:57pm
post #5 of 23

Ugh...You must feel terrible, I'm sorry that happened.


I think that offering to reimburse her for a cake that she would have had to buy would be a nice gesture.


Had she paid you for the cake that you didn't make? I don't consider an order placed until I receive the deposit or the payment in full depending on how close it is to the date. There's no pay-on-delivery in my world...It eliminates a lot of the issues with payment. Take this as an opportunity to look into putting a system of keeping orders straight in place, with contracts, calendars and keeping track of payments.

I Heart Cake Posted 6 May 2013 , 10:31pm
post #6 of 23

I'm not a baker, just a cake glutton, so I'm responding purely from a customer service standpoint: while the gift certificate for a free 2nd birthday cake sounds nice, that gives your disappointed customer a whole year to remember being let down by you.


How about offering a free cake for an occasion that's just on the horizon, perhaps Mother's Day, Memorial Day, or the end of the school year? As a business owner, I'd want to wipe out a bad impression quickly. I also don't think the client is likely to remember or use a gift certificate 12 months from now.

KathleenC Posted 6 May 2013 , 10:35pm
post #7 of 23
Originally Posted by I Heart Cake 

I'm not a baker, just a cake glutton, so I'm responding purely from a customer service standpoint: while the gift certificate for a free 2nd birthday cake sounds nice, that gives your disappointed customer a whole year to remember being let down by you.


How about offering a free cake for an occasion that's just on the horizon, perhaps Mother's Day, Memorial Day, or the end of the school year? As a business owner, I'd want to wipe out a bad impression quickly. I also don't think the client is likely to remember or use a gift certificate 12 months from now.


^^ I agree.  Sooner would be better, if you're planning on offering a free cake in lieu.  You'll feel better sooner; they get a cake while the unfortunate event is still fresh in their minds, and everyone lives happily ever after.  icon_smile.gif

vgcea Posted 7 May 2013 , 12:34am
post #8 of 23

AI wouldn't wait for her to call me. I'd be on that phone being super proactive. You're on the right track.

MKinPA Posted 7 May 2013 , 1:53am
post #9 of 23

You are all so wonderful and I appreaciate your responses. I've tried to contact her twice today and she sent me a Facebook message to let me know that both of her children are home sick today and she will call me when she has time.

You are right also that instead of waiting to give her a cake in a year, I will offer her another cake for an occasion of her choice right now and I plan to pay her for the cake she must have had to purchase for this party.

I have a hard time dealing with causing this kind of grief for someone. I was hoping to speak with her before I go to bed so that I can sleep tonight.


Has this ever happened to any of you? If not, please tell me your worse "caketastrophy"


Thanks again!


Norasmom Posted 7 May 2013 , 2:15am
post #10 of 23

Not with cakes yet (too soon, just starting), but with plenty of other things!  Just today I lost track of time and was late to pick up 4 kindergarteners from school and it was awful...we just have to be reminded that we are human.  I hope you get some sleep, it will all turn out okay. 

JenniSize Posted 10 May 2013 , 4:00am
post #11 of 23

I did have something almost identical to this happen to me. The client was referred by another client. She called me a few weeks ahead of time. I make a job ticket for every order. I had the job ticket filled out, in our order book. I don't know how I overlooked it. I know I flipped through that book several times a day on a daily basis. I can't even explain how I missed it. The day of, I got a call from our landlord saying the client was there to pick up the cake. Then a bit later I got a call from the client. I can't begin to tell you the emotions that I went through. I'm glad I was sitting down, because I think I would have fainted. I felt terrible. I still do.


I apologized right then and there and told her it was unprofessional of me. I sent her a voucher for the price of the cake. Actually, it was for more than the price of the cake. It was a one time use with no expiration date. I wanted to reimburse her for the cake she had to buy instead. I discussed it with my landlord (who is a caterer) and she felt that wasn't necessary. I wish I didn't listen to her now. I should have gone with my gut on that one. I only listened to her because I had never been in a situation like that and was so distraught I didn't know what to do. Because I was so distraught I didn't want to over compensate. Which is why I listened to her.


I still feel a little sick when I think about what happened, but I took that experience and learned from it. I have reviewed our procedures and have made adjustments so it doesn't happen again. Like Norasmom said, we are all human.


Good luck!

Brettley Posted 10 May 2013 , 5:43am
post #12 of 23

This happened to me this past weekend actually......... and they were cupcakes, THANKFULLY. 


So the lady that ordered them is a very regular customer. She emailed me on Monday asking for a long-shot favor for 24 boy baby shower cupcakes for Sunday. I didn't have much for Sunday so I said sure. We agreed 10 am Sunday morning her hubby would pick them up. I didn't write the order down in my main Calender.... I wrote the order down in my travel calender in my purse.... and somehow overlooked it a few times actually when transferring to the main one. She has another order for next Sunday so I think I just thought it was then, I dunno. I don't have an explanation. We were getting ready to go Sunday morning and had planned to leave at 9:30am BUT I am usually running behind, thank goodness I was Sunday. The husband knocks on the door. And as soon as I saw him my heart sank.

I was lucky enough to be able to fix the situation. I told him I would drop the cupcakes off at his house in 30 min. I am SOOO thankful that it was coming up on mothers day week as I had pre-baked a bunch of cupcakes on the weekend, and I had frosting left over from the cakes that week. And I even had blue frosting . I quickly made up 24 baby face cupcake toppers and my husband delivered them 30 min later.


I told the husband that I would not take payment for these cupcakes and the next order is on me as well. At 5pm that day they show up here with a cheque, apparently the wife absolutely loved them and could not believe that I had made them so fast. They were a huge hit at the shower.  I refused the cheque and I was just so grateful that they were happy and that I was able to make the situation right. They order several cakes a year and recommend lots of customers.


I learned my lesson BIGTIME! That was such a terrible feeling, and I hope I never have to feel that way again. I am lucky though that it was just cupcakes and that they weren't picking them up on the way to the party.

Evoir Posted 10 May 2013 , 7:20am
post #13 of 23

AIt's happened to me. A small wedding cupcake order somehow got entered one month later in the calendar than it was due. I'd finished delivering a big wedding cake on the Friday afternoon, was coming home to chillax, and got a call from another venue. My guts dropped to my feet. My husband and I immediately went into action mode. I checked I'd really made a mistake when I got home (in my main calendar), then got to work slamming together a two tier cake and delivering it an hour away to the venue. It wasn't what they ordered (only the buttercream matched, but TG i had some on hand!) but they had cake at least for their guests and for photos. They'd ordered cupcakes with special order wrappers etc (which I had preordered months before!!). Thankfully I had a fresh 9" and a 6" round mud cake ready to go for the next day (another order) so I used that.

Anyhow, I too could not forgive myself for this stupid data entry error.

I sent them a long, contrite apology email as soon as I delivered the cake. I paid back all the money they'd paid for their original order. I said I would recreate their proper order and pay for their photographer to take more photos for their album. I also offered to pay the extra 30 minutes the photographer waited for us to deliver the replacement cake. I also said I'd make the cupcakes and deliver them as they were staying at a resort with family, so at least they might have shared their ordered cupcakes the next day. I also offered them my husband's and my tickets to an opera in the vineyards concert we were going to the next night in the same area as the resort, by way of compensation (including a wine and cheese hamper).

The client was so understanding, even though she could've been a cow about it. She was mostly happy that we had acted immediately to at least supply something on the night! She didn't get my email till he following Monday so that weekend was excruciating as I waited for her reply to my email and my offers of compensation. I seriously have never felt so rotten about something I'd done.

In the end, I refunded the cake order amount, and told them I would make them a free special occasion cake to the value of $250 whenever they next had something to celebrate. Like a christening. I hope they remember that offer when the time comes! They live overseas, so they would have to be back here to celebrate something important.

It happens. It's a silly mistake. But my aim was to go above and beyond in terms of compensating them. As I said, they were great about it...but it was terrible that it happened at all.

tokazodo Posted 11 May 2013 , 12:14am
post #14 of 23

Last year I had someone call to order a 40th wedding anniversary cake and completely forgot about the order. I used to hand write my orders, and then stick them too the calendar at home, and then rewrite at the shop, or actually take the large desk calendar back and forth. 

The customer came looking for the cake. I was an hour and a half away, in the bathroom at Wendy's when I got the call. 

I felt so bad and I had an 1 1/2 to think on the way home. (I don't even think I had the cake baked yet) I rushed home, baked the cake, popped in the freezer while I mixed the icing and I GAVE the customer the cake I felt so bad. I felt sick, until I realized that I am a human, humans make mistakes. It was one cake order misplaced out of over 200. That's a 99.5 percent accuracy, and that's okay for me. 

I kept the order when I found it, taped it to the wall and in pink highlighter wrote, "Never, Ever, do this again!"


I now enter my cake orders into Google Calendar which is synced to my phone. I can see 2 years ahead. I can print out the orders from the calendar. It has helped tremendously. 


You realized your mistake, and you are trying to fix it. No worries. Learn from the mistake and move on. 

MKinPA Posted 12 May 2013 , 9:44pm
post #15 of 23

AThanks so much everyone for sharing. My latest update - I sent her a check for the cost of the order plus I sent her a letter of apology and included a certificate for a free sheet cake with no expiration. That was 6 days ago and she has not responded back in any way. I realize this was my oversight and I acknowledged this to her several times but I'm disappointed that she has not responded back in either a positive or negative way so that I know where I stand with this. it makes me feel like I still have a ? Hanging over the situation.

vgcea Posted 12 May 2013 , 10:28pm
post #16 of 23

I think you've made a good-faith effort to right things. At this point there's not much else you can do. Don't let it hang over your head, you did the best you could given the circumstances.

vtcake Posted 25 May 2013 , 7:19pm
post #17 of 23

How did you know how much to refund her?

Norasmom Posted 25 May 2013 , 7:22pm
post #18 of 23

Maybe she'll contact you when she needs her next cake.  You did everything you could so try not to worry too much.

mightydragon663 Posted 25 May 2013 , 9:08pm
post #19 of 23

Last fall, I made a beautiful three tiered cake for a "Sweet 16" birthday party, as well as 60 cake pops for a different customer.  They were in my van and ready to be delivered, but I had to run home and gather some props for another event that I was doing that same evening.  I had loaded some of the things I needed and went back in the house to get another load.  I closed the van door, but it didn't close completely and it opened up again.  While I was inside, my precious Goldens helped themselves to the cake and a bunch of the cake pops.  I was so upset, I just sat down and cried.  I called both customers and told them what happened.  They both were so incredibly sweet about it and were actually concerned about my dogs, since it was chocolate cake that they ate.  I greatly discounted the remaining cake pops for the one customer and a week later made another small cake for the young lady and delivered it to her at no cost.  Now, I make absolutely sure that the van door closes any time I have  cake in the van.  I'm pretty sure that my dogs are not the only creatures who would take advantage of such easy access to cake. :)

MKinPA Posted 9 Jun 2013 , 5:30am
post #20 of 23

Latest update. I finally got to speak with the customer, she sent me a Facebook inbox message explaining that her children were sick and she meant to ge tback to me but was so busy. She appreciated that I refunded the money to her that she spent for cupcakes and cake to replace the order I did not deliver and she also appreciated  the certificate I gave her for a free sheetcake. I think everything is ok with her. She cashed my check but has not ordered the free sheetcake.

Thank you all so much for your responses. I never want to go through that again. Now a month later I can go over my mistake and make sure it never happens again. Live and learn~!

Sammy09 Posted 9 Jun 2013 , 6:25am
post #21 of 23

AWhat software program would you recommend? TIA

Sammy09 Posted 9 Jun 2013 , 6:26am
post #22 of 23

AI mean costume czar?

costumeczar Posted 10 Jun 2013 , 1:43am
post #23 of 23
Originally Posted by Sammy09 

I mean costume czar?

I'm a pencil and paper person...I have a calendar that each order gets entered into, and a ledger where I enter each payment that I receive. I also enter it all into an excel spreadsheet for my taxes to make it easy to add up. I also have a separate excel spreadsheet with each order by date and how much they've paid so far so that I can glance at it to see who's late on their payments. That's duplicated in a notebook that's got everybody listed by month. I probably don't need to do it that way, but it's saved my butt a few times to have everything in duplicate. If I've forgotten to put it in one place it's in another place, so I can double-check.


For example, I had one person who booked a wedding cake late, and she didn't have a contract printed out yet since it was still in my computer and I hadn't printed it. I was pulling the orders for next weekend and I checked my written calendar and saw her name, but I didn't have the contract, so I knew to go figure that one out.


I also keep each order's contract in a folder in a file box so that I can pull contracts by date to send bills etc.

Quote by @%username% on %date%