Wishy Washy -- Aaargh

Business By embersmom Updated 26 Aug 2013 , 2:28am by cakesbycathy

embersmom Posted 22 Aug 2013 , 5:22pm
post #1 of 58

I threw in this scenario as part of a comment I made on a thread around here recently:

 

One of my husband's coworkers asked me if I'd be interested in making a dinosaur pull-apart cake (a "cupcake cake" in other words) for her son's birthday.  50 to 75 cupcakes total.  She would pay me for the ingredients.  That's fine -- I don't have a business -- plus I could add it to my portfolio.

 

Her mother got wind of this and nixed the idea, saying that buying an actual cake from "wherever" would be cheaper than paying me for the ingredients.  Coworker was disappointed.  So was I, but whatever.

 

The party is in less than a week, and suddenly the mother comes back and figures that maybe it would be less expensive to pay for the ingredients and have me do the cupcakes.  Coworker is happy again. I tell coworker I'm fine, here's a list of what I need, I need everything by X day at the latest because I honestly will not have enough time to make what we're both envisioning if it's later than that.

 

Now both the coworker and mother and hem-hawing again -- do I really need X and Y?  Why can't I use this instead of that?  Mind you, these are very ordinary ingredients found in every supermarket.  The only out-of-the-ordinary-to-them thing I asked for was more green gel or paste color they could pick up at our local Michaels.

 

I asked coworker outright if she and her mom (I really believe the mom's more behind this than the coworker) might be better off making the whole thing themselves and leaving me out of it.  Well, you see, they live in a tiny apartment with a tiny oven and they only have one cupcake tin...

 

I know these people aren't made of money.  I'm doing this primarily as a favor because the coworker is a single mom and she "thinks the world of me", according to my husband. 

 

I've asked coworker if she could give me the money outright so I could pick up the ingredients.  She keeps deflecting the issue, which makes me think her mom is holding the money for...I don't know, maybe she doesn't trust me?  WTH?!?  I just hate to disappoint the coworker solely because of her mom, but still...

57 replies
KatieKake Posted 22 Aug 2013 , 5:30pm
post #2 of 58

They would be getting a great deal if you just asked for the cost of ingredients, you are not the person who will be causing any disappointment, it is Mom, or Grandma.  If they want the cake they will pay for the ingredients, if not you are not at fault. I would say opt out, because Grandma will never be happy with what you make from the sounds of it.

shanter Posted 22 Aug 2013 , 5:33pm
post #3 of 58

This has disappointment written all over it.

 

Are you licensed to sell baked goods? i.e., does your state/county/city have a cottage food law? If not, you can't legally accept compensation (money or ingredients) for a cake/cupcakes made at home. You could give it to them for free or not do it. It sounds like they don't have enought money for even the ingredients.

 

If you are accepting money or ingredients from someone to provide them with a cake or cupcakes, you are running a business.

kikiandkyle Posted 22 Aug 2013 , 5:34pm
post #4 of 58

ADo you like the girl enough to give her the cake as a gift? Will you be annoyed if you hear about how much they spent on everything else? If you say no will it be an issue for your husband?

If it were me I'd just say look I'm sorry but I'm making plans for that weekend since you clearly don't want the cake. Last chance ladies or this ship is sailing.

MimiFix Posted 22 Aug 2013 , 5:54pm
post #5 of 58
Quote:
Originally Posted by embersmom 

... I just hate to disappoint the coworker...

 

All the way around, a little disappointment is a good learning experience.

scwright Posted 22 Aug 2013 , 6:30pm
post #6 of 58

Save yourself the time and trouble and opt out of this situation now unless you are going to do it with your own funds. Otherwise leave the situation alone and if she comes back to ask you, apologize (not that you did anything wrong but just to ease the situation) and let her know that you got the impression they didn't want the cupcakes and made other plans for the day.

kaylawaylalayla Posted 22 Aug 2013 , 7:33pm
post #7 of 58

AI understand that you shouldn't be compensated for ingredients, but someone really can't buy ingredients and give them to you and then you make a cake with them? That just sounds crazy. I really don't get it. When I go home for my vacation my aunt has a couple of box mixes and some cans of grocery store frosting and tells me shes so excited to see what I can make for my cousins cake. So that is an illegal business?

jason_kraft Posted 22 Aug 2013 , 8:51pm
post #8 of 58

A

Original message sent by kaylawaylalayla

I understand that you shouldn't be compensated for ingredients, but someone really can't buy ingredients and give them to you and then you make a cake with them? That just sounds crazy. I really don't get it. When I go home for my vacation my aunt has a couple of box mixes and some cans of grocery store frosting and tells me shes so excited to see what I can make for my cousins cake. So that is an illegal business?

Generally it's not a big deal if you are doing this for friends and family, especially if there is no paper trail. People start getting into trouble when they advertise to the general public and accept money for edible products regardless of whether or not they make a profit, especially if they don't report it to the IRS (hobby income has more restrictive rules for deductions so you may owe tax even if you are not profitable).

kikiandkyle Posted 22 Aug 2013 , 9:00pm
post #9 of 58

AI asked the local health dept in my old state of IL and they said it was fine to accept reimbursement for supplies from friends and family, it was only once a person started advertising to and taking orders from the general public that they had an issue. Of course you need to check what the rules are in your area to be sure.

embersmom Posted 22 Aug 2013 , 9:11pm
post #10 of 58
Quote:
Originally Posted by KatieKake 

They would be getting a great deal if you just asked for the cost of ingredients, you are not the person who will be causing any disappointment, it is Mom, or Grandma.  If they want the cake they will pay for the ingredients, if not you are not at fault. I would say opt out, because Grandma will never be happy with what you make from the sounds of it.

 

That's my gut response :nodding:  OTOH I really do like this girl, her son is lovely (he's the most inquisitive 3-year old I've ever met), and then there's my husband and his working relationship with her...

 

If I had an actual legitimate business (which I don't) it would be easy to say, "I need a definite confirmation, I need a downpayment, here's the contract, etc."

 

I don't know the mother.  Neither does my husband.  The coworker speaks little of her, so it kind of makes me wonder...

Smckinney07 Posted 22 Aug 2013 , 9:12pm
post #11 of 58

AIn another thread were a similar situation was discussed someone asked how you charge for a teaspoon of this or Tablespoon of that. Of course it's a bargain why would someone order a cake from me at $x when they can come to you for ingredients only.

I would either make the cake and give it to them or walk away from the situation. You said yourself the coworker is deflecting the issue of your compensation. You've put enough effort into this project already and they are just jerking you around (at least from the sound of it).

embersmom Posted 22 Aug 2013 , 9:14pm
post #12 of 58
Quote:
Originally Posted by shanter 

This has disappointment written all over it.

 

Are you licensed to sell baked goods? i.e., does your state/county/city have a cottage food law? If not, you can't legally accept compensation (money or ingredients) for a cake/cupcakes made at home. You could give it to them for free or not do it. It sounds like they don't have enought money for even the ingredients.

 

If you are accepting money or ingredients from someone to provide them with a cake or cupcakes, you are running a business.

 

I know what you're saying, but IIRC (and maybe Jason can confirm) it depends on where you live whether or not "accepting compensation" also includes purchasing ingredients.  My state has a cottage food law.  To my understanding, as long as I don't advertise or sell to the public, someone I know who gives me $ for ingredients and/or my labor doesn't constitute my having a business.

Smckinney07 Posted 22 Aug 2013 , 9:18pm
post #13 of 58

AWhere do you live? I'm in IL and regardless you need food safety/ServSafe, you can bake from your home kitchen as long as the point of sale is a farmers market. You can't deliver it and they can't pick it up from your home unless you have a separate kitchen.

jason_kraft Posted 22 Aug 2013 , 9:26pm
post #14 of 58

A

Original message sent by embersmom

I know what you're saying, but IIRC (and maybe Jason can confirm) it depends on where you live whether or not "accepting compensation" also includes purchasing ingredients.  My state has a cottage food law.  To my understanding, as long as I don't advertise or sell to the public, someone I know who gives me $ for ingredients and/or my labor doesn't constitute my having a business.

"Business" is defined differently depending on whether you ask your HOA, insurance company, city licensing dept, city planning, county health, state tax authority, IRS, etc., so there's not a clear yes or no answer.

Pragmatically this is more a function of whether or not anyone else will ever know about the transaction and how your own ethical standards interpret the situation.

embersmom Posted 22 Aug 2013 , 9:32pm
post #15 of 58
Quote:
Originally Posted by kikiandkyle 

Do you like the girl enough to give her the cake as a gift? Will you be annoyed if you hear about how much they spent on everything else? If you say no will it be an issue for your husband?

If it were me I'd just say look I'm sorry but I'm making plans for that weekend since you clearly don't want the cake. Last chance ladies or this ship is sailing.


I'd have no issues giving to her as a gift (I've done it for a couple of my husband's other coworkers, who, btw, paid for the ingredients and gave me no issues with the $ and the timeline I demanded).  My husband. OTOH, thinks it's only fair for me to ask for the $ for ingredients because some of them I don't keep on hand all the time. We've discussed what's been going on with the wishy-washies, and he thinks if it were just up to the coworker, there wouldn't be any issue.

 

I'm almost ready to throw in the towel because it's sounding like the mother is going to be a PITA over a simple cupcake cake icon_rolleyes.gif   I just don't want to disappoint the coworker, you know?  She's young, and I know paying for the ingredients is going to eat up some of her paycheck.  OTOH I'm not made of $ either...

kikiandkyle Posted 22 Aug 2013 , 9:38pm
post #16 of 58

AI presume the mom is holding off because she doesn't want to pay. And if you give in and make the cake anyway, her tactic works. But it's the little boy who gets punished, not her if you don't do it. What a crappy situation to be in, and how rude of them to put you in it.

Smckinney07 Posted 22 Aug 2013 , 9:42pm
post #17 of 58

AIf you are going to make cakes for ingredient cost it might be easier for you to just price the ingredients and give them the total. At least then you won't be chasing people down.

morganchampagne Posted 22 Aug 2013 , 9:52pm
post #18 of 58

A

Original message sent by Smckinney07

Where do you live? I'm in IL and regardless you need food safety/ServSafe, you can bake from your home kitchen as long as the point of sale is a farmers market. You can't deliver it and they can't pick it up from your home unless you have a separate kitchen.

Wow! In Texas they just have to come to your home at some point in the transaction. Whether it be discussing the order, or picking if up. Then we have these labels they make us put explaining its in a home kitchen.

Apti Posted 22 Aug 2013 , 11:18pm
post #19 of 58
Quote:
Originally Posted by embersmom 

 

 I really do like this girl

Do you like her SO much that IF SHE DID NOT ASK YOU TO MAKE THE CAKE THAT YOU WOULD HAVE GONE "YIPPEE" AND VOLUNTEERED TO MAKE THE CAKE AS A GIFT?

 

then there's my husband and his working relationship with her...

"Danger, Danger, Will Robinson!"   Personally, I only give cakes/cupcakes as a FREE gift when I want to (not when someone asks me).  I have sent goodies to both places of work for my niece and her husband, but I would NEVER expect payment of ANY kind.  If someone did offer, I would tell them to donate whatever they were willing to "pay" to a local homeless shelter.

 

 

If I had an actual legitimate business (which I don't) it would be easy to say, "I need a definite confirmation, I need a downpayment, here's the contract, etc."

This is why you can't expect or receive payment. 

 

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by embersmom 


I'd have no issues giving to her as a gift (I've done it for a couple of my husband's other coworkers

Then provide this as a gift with no expectation of payment of any kind or say no.

 

I just don't want to disappoint the coworker, you know?  She's young, and I know paying for the ingredients is going to eat up some of her paycheck. 

 

No sympathy for the young girl here.  The cake isn't really for the kid (he's 3, after all).  It's for the adults that want the cake for the kid.  The kid would care less if he jams a homemade cupcake in his mouth or gets a fabulous "themed party" design.   All 3 year olds want to do at a birthday party is open their presents and ...P....L.....A.....Y.... with other kids.

 

 

I don't usually speak this candidly on a forum.   My personal opinion is that the workplace is sacred and not to be disturbed.

Smckinney07 Posted 22 Aug 2013 , 11:52pm
post #20 of 58

A

Original message sent by morganchampagne

Wow! In Texas they just have to come to your home at some point in the transaction. Whether it be discussing the order, or picking if up. Then we have these labels they make us put explaining its in a home kitchen.

In a neighboring state that I used to live in the rules aren't even as 'tough' as your state lol they don't even inspect which I find scary.

Yes, its really strange to me that if I bake from my own kitchen I can sell to the public-just not directly from my house-at an outside event no problem.

I had to have inspections from the water, health, fire, just city. Build a separate commercial grade kitchen, it isn't the size of a typical restaraunt kitchen but I do have to have certain things like a 3 compartment sink, separate hand sink, etc. If I wanted to do wholesale the state would need to inspect me too as well as some other forms. I understand the Farmers Market/Cottage Law are to help people get started but it still seems backwards to me in many areas. I apologize if I got 'huffy' in this post, it's upsetting when I've invested time & money into my business and in many states you don't have to go through as much so I simply don't understand why people don't go through the proper channels. They expect to be treated as a professional but they aren't being professional.

I'm certainly not referring to EmbersMom! Just a little rant.

kaylawaylalayla Posted 22 Aug 2013 , 11:56pm
post #21 of 58

AIs that state ohio? Cause I've been looking at their cfl laws and I don't see any regulations except if you want to sell cheese cake you ave to pay 10 $? Idk I think I might start another thread

Smckinney07 Posted 23 Aug 2013 , 12:34am
post #22 of 58

ASorry, sort of hijacking aren't we. No I'm in Illinois. Cheesecake is actually on our list of things we aren't supposed to sell b/c it's not shelf stable. But like my cheesecake frosting is alright because of the sugar. Oh and Morgan, I still have to label everything-Name, Date Opened, Date to Discard but as I understand I am working more as a Commercial Kitchen so the labeling that says 'Baked by Home Kitchen not inspected or FDA approved' doesn't apply to me since I'm not baking in my home kitchen, you know?

morganchampagne Posted 23 Aug 2013 , 12:37am
post #23 of 58

A

Original message sent by Smckinney07

Sorry, sort of hijacking aren't we. No I'm in Illinois. Cheesecake is actually on our list of things we aren't supposed to sell b/c it's not shelf stable. But like my cheesecake frosting is alright because of the sugar. Oh and Morgan, I still have to label everything-Name, Date Opened, Date to Discard but as I understand I am working more as a Commercial Kitchen so the labeling that says 'Baked by Home Kitchen not inspected or FDA approved' doesn't apply to me since I'm not baking in my home kitchen, you know?

Right. I'm shocked by how stringent other states are..I don't know if I should be happy of scared lol!!

Sorry OP for derailing your thread

Norasmom Posted 23 Aug 2013 , 1:15am
post #24 of 58

Okay, I am just wondering.  If they are short on money, why are they hosting such a large party requiring 50-75 cupcakes?  She should be paying for the cupcakes, legal or illegal.  

embersmom Posted 23 Aug 2013 , 2:28am
post #25 of 58
Quote:
Originally Posted by kikiandkyle 

I presume the mom is holding off because she doesn't want to pay. And if you give in and make the cake anyway, her tactic works. But it's the little boy who gets punished, not her if you don't do it. What a crappy situation to be in, and how rude of them to put you in it.


Exactly :nodding:  At first the coworker said roughly 100 cupcakes icon_eek.gif because she was under the impression everybody and his brother was attending the party.  Then she pared it down to the 50-75.  I'm thinking they must going to be using the common courtyard in their apartment complex (which isn't very large, btw) in order to have that many people attending  -- there's a fire pit and tables there, and coworker had mentioned that the owner of the shop where she and my husband work was going to give her a discount on pizza.  Then that got nixed for some reason, so...I asked my husband if she had since said anything about other food, and he said he didn't know because she was still up in arms over not getting the discount...???

 

Really, the more I discuss this, the more bizarre it's getting.  T

embersmom Posted 23 Aug 2013 , 2:28am
post #26 of 58
Quote:
Originally Posted by kikiandkyle 

I presume the mom is holding off because she doesn't want to pay. And if you give in and make the cake anyway, her tactic works. But it's the little boy who gets punished, not her if you don't do it. What a crappy situation to be in, and how rude of them to put you in it.


Exactly :nodding:  At first the coworker said roughly 100 cupcakes icon_eek.gif because she was under the impression everybody and his brother was attending the party.  Then she pared it down to the 50-75.  I'm thinking they must going to be using the common courtyard in their apartment complex (which isn't very large, btw) in order to have that many people attending  -- there's a fire pit and tables there, and coworker had mentioned that the owner of the shop where she and my husband work was going to give her a discount on pizza.  Then that got nixed for some reason, so...I asked my husband if she had since said anything about other food, and he said he didn't know because she was still up in arms over not getting the discount...???

 

Really, the more I discuss this, the more bizarre it's getting.  The party is scheduled for next weekend :eek:

embersmom Posted 23 Aug 2013 , 2:36am
post #27 of 58
Quote:
Originally Posted by Apti 

 

I don't usually speak this candidly on a forum.   My personal opinion is that the workplace is sacred and not to be disturbed.


I appreciate that.

 

If I am the one who offers to make something, I don't expect payment, but usually the other party will offer to kick in something toward the ingredients and/or labor.  However, this isn't the case in this particular scenario -- I was asked by my husband if I'd make this for his coworker, who is obviously very short on funds and is being jerked around by her mother.  The crying shame is that it's for a 3-year old's birthday.  I know the coworker (who didn't ask me about it directly btw) and her son.  I know he's not going to care as much as the adults will.  Sometimes I just wish my husband would stop "volunteering" me without my knowledge, you know?  He honestly believes he's doing me a favor, and most of the time he is.  Not this time, though.

embersmom Posted 23 Aug 2013 , 2:39am
post #28 of 58
Quote:
Originally Posted by Norasmom 

Okay, I am just wondering.  If they are short on money, why are they hosting such a large party requiring 50-75 cupcakes?  She should be paying for the cupcakes, legal or illegal.  


You've got me.  I'm just waiting to see if they're changing the menu AGAIN (read my comment about her not getting the pizza discount she thought she'd be getting).

 

I think, in her heart of hearts, she wants to have a nice party for her son, but the economics of it is scaring her.  Having her mother butt in on every single little thing isn't helping.

kikiandkyle Posted 23 Aug 2013 , 2:58am
post #29 of 58

AThis girl needs to grow up a bit by the sound of it. Poor girl.

embersmom Posted 23 Aug 2013 , 3:00am
post #30 of 58
Quote:
Originally Posted by morganchampagne 


Right. I'm shocked by how stringent other states are..I don't know if I should be happy of scared lol!!

Sorry OP for derailing your thread


No problem :)

 

Our CFL allows us to use our home kitchens but with restrictions.  If you don't/can't meet all of them you have to rent a commercial kitchen.  They're in very short supply in my area, and the few that do exist charge two arms, two legs, a torso, and a head for rent icon_surprised.gif

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