Just Venting

Baking By cjCustmCreation Updated 15 Mar 2014 , 5:44pm by OneHotMess

cjCustmCreation Posted 3 Jun 2013 , 4:28pm
post #1 of 19

I work in the Superintendent's office at a school. When word got around that I teach Wilton cake decorating at a local JoAnn store, the junior class sponsors approached me about making cupcakes for Prom. They told me the theme, but said to use my imagination to come up with a design. I did so, made a sample, and brought it to them. Knowing that the class had a very small budget, I said that I would charge them $1 each for 84 cupcakes (sorta my contribution to the festivities). They informed me a few days later that they had found another source for the cupcakes; they were "bundling" and getting several items from Sam's Club. I didn't go to Prom, but asked my boss to take a photo of their "discount" cupcakes. They had Sam's decorate them with MY DESIGN!!!!! The EXACT SAME THING!!! It's been three weeks and there's still smoke coming out of my ears, I'm so hot!! I did not make a big deal of it, but those sponsors will get no cooperation from me on anything, ever again - cake-related or otherwise! (And as many will tell you, I'm not someone you want ticked off at you!!) Thanks for listening to my rant!!

18 replies
jason_kraft Posted 3 Jun 2013 , 4:40pm
post #2 of 19

AConsidering you were essentially giving away the cupcakes anyway, perhaps you could think of your design as your contribution to the event instead.

remnant3333 Posted 3 Jun 2013 , 4:49pm
post #3 of 19

Try not to let it bother you. I am sure that Sam's cupcakes did not taste as good as yours would have!!! Hang in there and don't let it get you down.

Sparklekat6 Posted 3 Jun 2013 , 4:53pm
post #4 of 19

SO......they're teenagers.  What did you expect?  : \

Nin55 Posted 3 Jun 2013 , 4:54pm
post #5 of 19

I can understand your being upset.  People that don''t bake or decorate just don't realize the time and effort involved in designing and baking. 

Omas Cakes Posted 3 Jun 2013 , 5:00pm
post #6 of 19

AYep I'd have been upset too! However, they obviously loved your design enough to have it copied. That's the highest form of flattery! YOU did it and should be very proud of yourself! Let it go, lesson learned.....

leah_s Posted 3 Jun 2013 , 5:05pm
post #7 of 19

The teens or sponsors really need to be confronted.  Stealing intellectual property (your design) is a concept they need to understand as they transition into the "real world."  Taking advantage of people is another life lesson they need to learn is not cool.  This is the age when they are impressionable and need to learn the right way to act.  Think of this as a "teachable moment."

cjCustmCreation Posted 3 Jun 2013 , 5:42pm
post #8 of 19

I have to admit that just venting to someone(s) (?) LOL who understand allowed me to let it go. The students didn't even know the theme, so it was all the sponsors. All the distress is gone. But they're still not getting any cooperation from me!

BakerBee7468 Posted 3 Jun 2013 , 7:01pm
post #9 of 19

i would be highly upset just as you were. stealing someone's design is to go somewhere else is just wrong. It makes me think about ways to protect product/pictures so that no one can copy them, at least not without my permission.

DeliciousDesserts Posted 3 Jun 2013 , 7:02pm
post #10 of 19


Original message sent by Sparklekat6

SO......they're teenagers.  What did you expect?  : \

Exactly my thoughts

Baking Sis Posted 3 Jun 2013 , 10:01pm
post #11 of 19
Originally Posted by Sparklekat6 

SO......they're teenagers.  What did you expect?  : \

Not sure how things work in other school districts, but around my area, the class sponsors are teachers/faculty staff  that guide/chaperone the students.  And they certainly would be old enough to know better.  icon_rolleyes.gif

cakefat Posted 3 Jun 2013 , 11:15pm
post #12 of 19
Originally Posted by leah_s 

The teens or sponsors really need to be confronted.  Stealing intellectual property (your design) is a concept they need to understand as they transition into the "real world."  Taking advantage of people is another life lesson they need to learn is not cool.  This is the age when they are impressionable and need to learn the right way to act.  Think of this as a "teachable moment."

I so agree here.


I think the sponsors or someone who was in charge needs to be aware of what happened.  Sadly, I think the in the "real world", this happens every single day- and some could argue that their behavior already in the 'real world' but it doesn't make it right and I think this is the perfect moment to let them know what sort of boundaries they crossed- and hopefully to instill better ethics/values etc in them.

jason_kraft Posted 3 Jun 2013 , 11:39pm
post #13 of 19

AGiven how much cheating is involved in school these days, this would be a good opportunity for a lesson plan that includes plagiarism and a basic overview of IP protection, laws, and penalties. Assuming there is enough time left in the day after teaching to standardized tests.

Evoir Posted 3 Jun 2013 , 11:48pm
post #14 of 19

AI'd be writing a letter to those in charge and asking staff to distribute a copy of my letter to all concerned. This sucks big time, and its a suitable opportunity to educate people about IP and ethical business practices.

Sweetnkind Posted 14 Mar 2014 , 1:34pm
post #15 of 19

AWow this is super old but I thought I'd put in my two cents. The situation must've sucked big time! I always charge a small fee for a 'sampling service' and always have the client at least put down a deposit before I send them any kind of design input!

jennycakes41 Posted 14 Mar 2014 , 2:32pm
post #16 of 19

That is a bummer that they took your idea and used it at Sam's.  But, $1 per cupcake is way over priced.  The Pta works hard to get money for schools.  I am sure you are much more worth $1 per cupcake, but for a school function it is not feasible.

AZCouture Posted 14 Mar 2014 , 6:18pm
post #17 of 19

AExactly why you don't bother with fundraisers like that, unless you are completely ok with not making any money.

tsaria Posted 15 Mar 2014 , 5:17pm
post #18 of 19

Ajennycakes41, it's not over priced. It's out of their budget. There's a big difference.

OneHotMess Posted 15 Mar 2014 , 5:44pm
post #19 of 19

I'm with LeahS and the others who said this goes beyond "just venting" - for example, if the students had plagiarized a book or article while writing a paper, they'd likely be suspended - *even if* their plagiarism was accidental or unintentional. As in, maybe they simply forgot to put in a citation, or didn't understand how to properly reference an author. This is different.


As the "author" of that design idea, you've been intentionally plagiarized. Sam's probably had no idea the design was yours, but those students intentionally took actions to have your work replicated without any credit being given to you (that's leaving the idea of compensation entirely to the side, for now), and also likely did so without the adults in the situation being any the wiser.


I can't imagine the parents and school faculty involved in the event being too happy that you, first as a paid decorating professional (you teach!), second as a member of the school faculty, and third as an owner of an intellectual idea, were taken to the cleaners. And if there were adults involved who thought you'd just "be okay" with this idea, well...I'll roll up a newspaper and whack them in the nose.


Take the head of the event to the side and explain what happened. It's not like you can get the design or event "back" at this point, but you can make sure Sam's doesn't continue to use it, and that the students understand what they did was not acceptable. This sort of sloppy "borrowing" can leak into other areas of their lives, and it seems they don't understand potential consequences. What happens if they do something similar in a collegiate or employment setting? Eek.

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