Rosie93095 Posted 12 Jun 2013 , 10:39am
post #1 of

I have a situation that is upsetting. I have a cottage industry cake business that I do after my day job. One of the directors at my work has ordered 50 specialty cupcakes for a "wedding" reception for her son, 2 times and has cancelled at the last minute both times. I have already purchased the ingredients for the 35 red velvet and 25 Almond cupcakes- both with fillings and beautiful flowers and pearl dragee's. I also already have  the gumpaste flowers

I have on my order form that there is a 50% non refundable deposit on any special orders, but she insisted on paying in full for the order. Now it is 3 days before the event and she had her son call and cancel due to an aunt's death in Puerto Rico. They have decided not to have the wedding.

Should I keep 50% of her payment for cancelling? This could get touchy since she works where I do.

22 replies
Godot Posted 12 Jun 2013 , 10:47am
post #2 of

AThree days?

I'd keep the whole amount.

scrumdiddlycakes Posted 12 Jun 2013 , 11:14am
post #3 of

I am usually a real stickler for things like this, and I would say a contract is a contract, hold her to it. But that's a tricky one, for any other client I wouldn't be refunding at all... but for a director in your workplace, it's probably better to refund and keep a good working relationship.

I also try to be really understanding if a customer has to cancel due to a death in the family, I've been through that a few times the past 3 years, and I have had people be so kind and understanding, it really means a lot when someone who doesn't owe you anything, goes the extra mile for you.

 

That said, I can pretty much always reuse ingredients, so the only real loss for me would be the time. Flowers can almost always be resold. If that isn't the case for you, I would keep whatever money you are out, and refund the rest, and just quietly let her know that.

Rosie93095 Posted 12 Jun 2013 , 12:14pm
post #4 of

Thank you all for your responses. I am a small business so I don't know when I can resell the flowers. I think I will just keep what my flowers cost and refund the rest. I had to buy the flowers because I have 2 other large  cakes due this weekend and was trying to be efficient with my time so I did not make them myself. Usually I do make my own, but thought this would be a time savings for me.

melanie-1221 Posted 12 Jun 2013 , 12:43pm
post #5 of

Seeing as it's someone you have to maintain a good relationship at work I would refund everything except the cost of the flowers and explain to her that you have already purchased all of the materials for her order and are absorbing the cost of the ingredients.I'd also give her the flowers to use as she wishes seeing as she is paying for them.

I'd  let her know that you normally wouldn't do this but you understand her situation.  Most people will understand once it's explained to them. 

cupadeecakes Posted 12 Jun 2013 , 1:12pm
post #6 of

I agree with the others.  Deaths are a little different story.  Keep the money for any costs you have incurred, and refund the rest with your condolences.
 

Sweet_Cakes Posted 12 Jun 2013 , 1:35pm
post #7 of
Quote:
Originally Posted by scrumdiddlycakes 

I am usually a real stickler for things like this, and I would say a contract is a contract, hold her to it. But that's a tricky one, for any other client I wouldn't be refunding at all... but for a director in your workplace, it's probably better to refund and keep a good working relationship.

I also try to be really understanding if a customer has to cancel due to a death in the family, I've been through that a few times the past 3 years, and I have had people be so kind and understanding, it really means a lot when someone who doesn't owe you anything, goes the extra mile for you.

 

That said, I can pretty much always reuse ingredients, so the only real loss for me would be the time. Flowers can almost always be resold. If that isn't the case for you, I would keep whatever money you are out, and refund the rest, and just quietly let her know that.

I think that this is the best way to handle this. And IMO, I don't take orders from co-workers just because of issues like this.

Rosie93095 Posted 12 Jun 2013 , 1:47pm
post #8 of

I agree, I will rethink taking orders from co-workers in the future......

jenje Posted 12 Jun 2013 , 2:19pm
post #9 of

I agree with the others posters about refunding the amount except for your cost of supplies.

remnant3333 Posted 12 Jun 2013 , 4:36pm

I agree with the others that you should never do business with co workers!!! Especially a director who could actually make your life at work miserable if they so choose to!! I feel for you and I am hoping that this director will not have hard feelings. You never know how people will react!! Good luck and let us know how things go.

Rosie93095 Posted 12 Jun 2013 , 5:56pm

Thank you all for your support. I will be seeing her at the end of the day to give her the refund minus my supply costs. If she wants the flowers' they are hers and she can have them. I definitely learned my lesson:)

Rosie93095 Posted 13 Jun 2013 , 5:54pm

Thanks again for all the feedback. I talked to her after work and gave her a refund for all but my costs. She was grateful, but said that she wouldn't have been offended if I kept it all because "business is business"

Well, I'm off to do two cakes tonight, so on a positive note, her cancellation has given me more time to concentrate on my other 2  cakes:)

remnant3333 Posted 13 Jun 2013 , 8:15pm

I am so glad that everything turned out okay!!!
 

Annabakescakes Posted 13 Jun 2013 , 9:38pm
Quote:
Originally Posted by Rosie93095 

Thanks again for all the feedback. I talked to her after work and gave her a refund for all but my costs. She was grateful, but said that she wouldn't have been offended if I kept it all because "business is business"

Well, I'm off to do two cakes tonight, so on a positive note, her cancellation has given me more time to concentrate on my other 2  cakes:)

I'd be like "NOW YOU TELL ME!!!" And be thinking of the "free money" I could've had, and what I could've done with it :-)

Bettyboo64 Posted 14 Jun 2013 , 2:07am

AI'm currently dealing with a co-worker and let me just say its been a nightmare, first it was a 1/2 sheet cake with cap and diploma on top.. Easy right? This past Monday she comes to me and wants the cap and diploma but she wants to bring in her sons hockey and lacrosse as well. Um I only have 3 days befor the cake is due. I bust butt to do fondant hockey items in the school colors, today (cake due tomorrow) she asks me to please put Warrior on the hockey stick. My reply? Sorry to late. I will never do another cake for a co worker. What a pia!

Smckinney07 Posted 14 Jun 2013 , 3:03am

AYou probably made the right decision since you work together, but the professional respect should go both ways! I've been in a similar situation, so I feel for you. I have a small business as well, I'm in the process of expanding, it seems to be more difficult dealing with family, friends, or co-workers than strangers which is crazy lol! A death in the family is understandable, I would imagine they would be postponing rather than canceling (that seems strange to me) I can only assume the rest of the vendors weren't as kind as you to offer them full/mostly partial refunds but you'd think they would still have some sort of party if they are still planning on a wedding. I guess it doesn't matter, it sounds like its been more of a headache than anything else! I'm curious why they postponed the first time, did they give you an explanation?

Small or large business, it hurts. You reserved two dates for this family, planning, sketching, consultation, purchasing supplies, potential loss of other business/family/free time...I realize most people don't really get how much planning and preperation we go through, not to mention countless hours refining skills, trying new recipes, etc.

Like I said, I recently went through a similar situation, I suppose that's why I'm ranting so much lol. But I've since made changes to my contract (which I didn't even have my bad experience customer sign since we were close, I just wrote out a detailed quote including flavors, sizes, etc & a final sketch) I charge $25 for tastings and ask they bring 3 people or less, (one of my first consultations-which were initially free- the bride wanted to taste 8 or 9 different flavors and bring her entire wedding party plus both sides of parents, I offered to make three flavors for her to try free of charge but additional flavors would be extra) if they book with me that day it goes toward their cake. I also ask for 50% up front and the other 50% two weeks prior to their event.

Again, a death in the family is completely understandable, and I think you did a very kind thing giving her the refund-I think it was awful of her to accept the entire refund after she told you '...business was business'!

Rosie93095 Posted 14 Jun 2013 , 5:24pm

The first time she cancelled, she just said that they couldn't get the whole family here on time, so they set the new date. Oh well, I am just blessed that I have the ability to do something I really enjoy. I'm sure there will be more orders!

morganchampagne Posted 14 Jun 2013 , 7:58pm

A

Original message sent by Rosie93095

The first time she cancelled, she just said that they couldn't get the whole family here on time, so they set the new date. Oh well, I am just blessed that I have the ability to do something I really enjoy. I'm sure there will be more orders!

This really inspired me. It's easy to get bogged down in the irritants of day to day with cake. At the end of the day we are all blessed, lucky, fortunate whatever word fits best to be able to do what we love!! I will be taking this attitude more often :)

Smckinney07 Posted 15 Jun 2013 , 3:12am

AYes, your right!

Rosie93095 Posted 15 Jun 2013 , 5:59pm

 

 Well, I truly am blessed. I was able to fininsh both of these cakes last night and this morning!

JSKConfections Posted 15 Jun 2013 , 6:51pm

I agree when its a co worker things could be weird at work if you keep all the money.  I brought custom cupcakes to work ONCE for a co workers birthday because I'm closer to her, and then had a ton of people wanting me to make them cupcakes, fainting at the price, so for months I kept saying I'm busy because I didn't want anything happening like this. Good luck!

kikiandkyle Posted 17 Jun 2013 , 12:31pm

AAnd as she's a director she likely knows some people with money, so hopefully she'll repay the gesture and recommend you to some of them.

Rosie93095 Posted 19 Jun 2013 , 6:24pm

Thanks to all for your feedback. The extra time I took for the two other cakes was worth it, I got a couple of referrals and both customers handed out some of my business cards!

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