I Just Need To Vent For A Minute. No Biggie

Decorating By Nic Fury Updated 6 Jul 2014 , 9:48am by kuuushi

Nic Fury Posted 2 Jul 2014 , 5:03pm
post #1 of 36

I had a customer contact me on the 20th, asking for 3 cakes. One for the 30th, & the other two for august. I told her I could not do the 30th because I was booked the few days prior to then & was actually moving on the 30th, as well. I added that on one of the august dates I had a wedding, but since her order was small,  I could deliver her cake a day earlier, if that would be ok. The 3rd date I was open. She then sends me some cakes she likes & we discuss her budget. I tell her that I will come up with a sketch to suit & send it to her soon. I then begin my "vacation" from work & start getting everything ready to move, while coming up with her cake ideas, & still working with booked clients. I get an email from her saying she can't wait to see what I've come up with, & she receives an auto-reply stating I am unavailable until the 1st, like I had already told her. She re-sends this email 2 other times & adds she wasn't sure if I was getting her emails. Again, she gets the auto-reply. Now during this leave, I talk to my bride for the wedding in august & she finalizes what she'd like, which is much more than we originally discussed. That's fine, but this means I will not be able to do the other woman's cake in august.

 

So the 1st comes, & the very first email I reply to is hers, explaining exactly why I can't do her cake, & apologizing. I thought this was really going to be a light, "oh that's too bad" type of email. Instead, she replies that she knew this is how it was going to turn out after I ignored her for so long. She is so glad she contacted me early because I'd be screwing her if it were only a couple days before her party. She would have given me so much business but she needs someone reliable. She knows things come up, but this was very unprofessional & hopes I will take her good advice to save future clients. Um... am I missing something? I told her I'd be unavailable, & all we had done anyway was discuss a few details. She wasn't booked, or even close to it. Maybe it's me, but I thought she went from 0-60 way too fast, over pretty much nothing. I'm not sure how to even reply to her, because all I want to do is tell her off a bit. I usually don't let these things get to me, but I really was not expecting this type of response, & it has totally thrown me off. 

35 replies
NcLeora Posted 2 Jul 2014 , 5:34pm
post #2 of 36

AGood grief, I agree with you. It sounds like she is wanting you to apologize profusely while showing her with mountains of free cakes, and even then I doubt it would satisfy her. Save yourself the time and drama, and don't reply at all.

Nic Fury Posted 2 Jul 2014 , 6:00pm
post #3 of 36

Quote:

Originally Posted by NcLeora 

Good grief, I agree with you. It sounds like she is wanting you to apologize profusely while showing her with mountains of free cakes, and even then I doubt it would satisfy her. Save yourself the time and drama, and don't reply at all.

Thank you! That is just what I thought, too. Glad I got to see this side of her now & save myself what would have probably been tons of aggravation. 

NcLeora Posted 2 Jul 2014 , 7:03pm
post #4 of 36

AExactly!

cakegrandma Posted 2 Jul 2014 , 8:43pm
post #5 of 36

Like NcLeora said, just ignore her as talking with her or conversing through email will probably send your blood pressure sky high!  Actually, she sounds as though she may be a client that will find little things that aren't correct and nit pick you to death.  As for her saying she would have provided you with a lot of business, doubt it.

Nic Fury Posted 3 Jul 2014 , 1:00am
post #6 of 36

Yes, I a

Quote:

Originally Posted by cakegrandma 
 

Like NcLeora said, just ignore her as talking with her or conversing through email will probably send your blood pressure sky high!  Actually, she sounds as though she may be a client that will find little things that aren't correct and nit pick you to death.  As for her saying she would have provided you with a lot of business, doubt it.

Yes, I agree, & am also doubtful since she has posted on my facebook page numerous times that she really wants to order from me, or that she'll order soon, & it has taken almost a year to do so. 

costumeczar Posted 3 Jul 2014 , 1:59am
post #7 of 36

AHit delete on her email and thank your lucky stars that you dodged that bullet.

bubs1stbirthday Posted 3 Jul 2014 , 2:15am
post #8 of 36

Sorry, but I disagree with you, you did indeed tell her that you could do the cakes, she was awaiting on you to return to work and show her the sketches etc so that you could come to an agreement on the type/design of cake.

 

It is in my opinion, from the side of the customer, unprofessional to confirm that you could do the cakes, agree to do the designing over your 'closed period' and to continue the conversation once you open again and then to bail on her due to FORSEEN circumstances. The wedding cake was already booked, it is up to you to confirm the details of your already booked cakes before taking on more work.

 

Of course you are correct that there was no deposit paid so no real confirmation but you should have told her that there was a possibility that you may or may not be able to do the cake depending on the detail required for the wedding cake. It is just lucky that she has plenty of time to find another cake decorator.

 

I would be annoyed too if someone told me that they could definitely do something then they cancelled on me before I had had a chance to pay the deposit because they were indeed closed. I am not sure why you think her automatic response would be to only see things from your side of the road.

 

I don't mean to be rude but I think that it is wrong for everyone to just tell you that you were totally right and I hope that you can see it a bit from her side.

FioreCakes Posted 3 Jul 2014 , 3:30am
post #9 of 36

Yeah I agree with Bubs, your business will fail if you don't start thinking about the customer's feelings. She waited 10 days...10 DAYS just for you to tell her you couldn't do it. I'd be an upset customer for sure and would feel like you were picking and choosing clients. 

BrandisBaked Posted 3 Jul 2014 , 3:50am
post #10 of 36

AWhat ^they said...

Nadiaa Posted 3 Jul 2014 , 6:20am
post #11 of 36

I also agree with bubs. I would be upset if I was your customer as well. And I don't have a cake business, so my opinion is entirely as a consumer. You need to manage your bookings better and don't tell your customers you can do their cake then cancel on them. If you have a customer getting excited about seeing the design you've come up with, it sounds to me like she thought she was booked. I don't understand why you think she wasn't even close to being booked? Because she hadn't paid a deposit? Was she aware that there was no booking until a deposit was paid? 

mcaulir Posted 3 Jul 2014 , 8:23am
post #12 of 36

Yep, have to agree that I'd be pretty annoyed about being cancelled on after being told you were available. I realised you didn't consider her 'booked' but she obviously did given that a) you'd told her you were available, b)discussed a delivery date, c)had received design ideas from her, d)were working on a sketch, e)had discussed a budget.

 

From her perspective, I'd think we were definitely 'booked'.

costumeczar Posted 3 Jul 2014 , 11:06am
post #13 of 36

AI can see that to a certain extent, but the fact that the customer hadn't put deposits down means they're not booked. And if she knew that the OP was out of the office (how many autoresponses do you need to get) but kept emailing shows a bit of a high-maintenance client attitude. If the OP got back to her as soon as the "vacation" was over and told her the date wasn't available there's not a lot that you can do if no deposits were taken and nothing had officially been booked. Sure, be more reluctant to tell people you might be available in the futre if you're not sure, but getting a lecture from someone who can't take a hint from autoresponse is unnecessary.

This reminded me of a woman i had emaling me last year about possibly doing her wedding cake. Too long to go into here, but she was very demanding and couldn't take "I'm on vacation right now, sitting in my hotel room, and will get back to you next week" for an answer. After three or four emails where i kept telling her i would get back to her when I wasn't on vacation i told her I wasn't going to de her cake. I have to look those emails up now, that was one for the books...

costumeczar Posted 3 Jul 2014 , 11:29am
post #14 of 36

Bwuahahaha! I went back and found the emails and the whole story is coming back to me now. It's way too long to tell now but just say that this woman was expecting a lot for nothing. What made me laugh is that I finally told her I couldn't do her cake and referred her to someone I don't like, hahahaha!

mcaulir Posted 3 Jul 2014 , 12:07pm
post #15 of 36

Quote:

Originally Posted by costumeczar 

I can see that to a certain extent, but the fact that the customer hadn't put deposits down means they're not booked.

 

For people who don't engage a custom cake maker very often, that probably isn't common knowledge, no matter how obvious it seems to someone who goes through the process every day. I certainly wouldn't have known that before frequenting this board, and if the customer wasn't told that, it seems that she and the OP were pretty far along the designing process to just be told, 'No, actually, I'm not available after all,' a week later.

costumeczar Posted 3 Jul 2014 , 2:57pm
post #16 of 36

Quote:

Originally Posted by mcaulir 
 

 

For people who don't engage a custom cake maker very often, that probably isn't common knowledge, no matter how obvious it seems to someone who goes through the process every day. I certainly wouldn't have known that before frequenting this board, and if the customer wasn't told that, it seems that she and the OP were pretty far along the designing process to just be told, 'No, actually, I'm not available after all,' a week later.

Right, so in the future the OP can be more specific about this, but someone who keeps responding to automatic out of office replies is, in my experience, someone who might not be a reasonable person. I have no problem listening to my psycho radar and not taking on jobs from people if I think it's going to end badly. In this specific case the response the OP got was a little extreme, so I don't think it's a bad thing the job was turned down.

bakernoob Posted 3 Jul 2014 , 4:12pm
post #17 of 36

I completely agree with you on this. If she had cancelled at this point I'm sure you wouldn't have responded so negatively that quickly. I can think of several instances where I ordered something and paid for it and then find out weeks later that my order was cancelled because the item was no longer available.. I can understand her not being very happy but her response was a bit dramatic in my opinion. 

maisie73 Posted 3 Jul 2014 , 4:42pm
post #18 of 36

ASo from the customers point of view you said you could make her cake, discussed ideas and budget and told her you'd send her a sketch. So even if she did realise it wasn't booked until she'd paid the deposit, she couldn't pay anything until she'd approved the sketch and knew the price. She sent you an email and started worrying when she got the auto response. She sent several more and got even more worried, started to think you were going to say you couldn't make it after all. Then when you do reply to her it's to tell her you can't make it after all. I'd be upset I wasn't getting my expected cake and angry at the bad customer service. I agree with your (almost) customer, it was unprofessional.

mcaulir Posted 3 Jul 2014 , 10:07pm
post #19 of 36
Quote:
Originally Posted by costumeczar 
 

Right, so in the future the OP can be more specific about this, but someone who keeps responding to automatic out of office replies is, in my experience, someone who might not be a reasonable person. I have no problem listening to my psycho radar and not taking on jobs from people if I think it's going to end badly. In this specific case the response the OP got was a little extreme, so I don't think it's a bad thing the job was turned down.

From the OP:

 

"She replies that she knew this is how it was going to turn out after I ignored her for so long. She is so glad she contacted me early because I'd be screwing her if it were only a couple days before her party. She would have given me so much business but she needs someone reliable. She knows things come up, but this was very unprofessional & hopes I will take her good advice to save future clients."

 

I don't think one email stating the above is so terribly an extreme reaction. Not pleasant, sure. But sending three emails to an autoreply in hopes that the OP might be monitoring them anyway, which she was, especially since it seems that this was this customer's only method of contact with the OP, doesn't scream 'psycho' to me.

 

It's unclear also whether the OP told this customer that she wouldn't be answering emails during her vacation. She told her that she'd be working on her cake sketch, so I don't think it's at all unreasonable for the customer to think that the 'vacation' was from making cakes, rather than from communicating with clients. And I know she wasn't a booked customer yet, but she didn't have the opportunity to be, as maisie73 pointed out.

 

Of course, the OP doesn't have to accept anyone as a client for any reason. But I don't think the customer did anything especially strange.

costumeczar Posted 3 Jul 2014 , 11:32pm
post #20 of 36

Quote:

Originally Posted by mcaulir 
 

From the OP:

 

"She replies that she knew this is how it was going to turn out after I ignored her for so long. She is so glad she contacted me early because I'd be screwing her if it were only a couple days before her party. She would have given me so much business but she needs someone reliable. She knows things come up, but this was very unprofessional & hopes I will take her good advice to save future clients."

 

I don't think one email stating the above is so terribly an extreme reaction. Not pleasant, sure. But sending three emails to an autoreply in hopes that the OP might be monitoring them anyway, which she was, especially since it seems that this was this customer's only method of contact with the OP, doesn't scream 'psycho' to me.

 

It's unclear also whether the OP told this customer that she wouldn't be answering emails during her vacation. She told her that she'd be working on her cake sketch, so I don't think it's at all unreasonable for the customer to think that the 'vacation' was from making cakes, rather than from communicating with clients. And I know she wasn't a booked customer yet, but she didn't have the opportunity to be, as maisie73 pointed out.

 

Of course, the OP doesn't have to accept anyone as a client for any reason. But I don't think the customer did anything especially strange.

"Psycho radar" is my general term indicating the feeling that a customer is going to be more trouble than they're worth. Someone repeatedly emailing, then saying they knew you were going to"screw" them, throwing the "I was going to give you so much business line" at you, and helping you to "save future clients" is more trouble than they're worth!

mcaulir Posted 4 Jul 2014 , 12:57am
post #21 of 36

That's cool - of course anyone can refuse a client for whatever reason they like.

MBalaska Posted 4 Jul 2014 , 2:10am
post #22 of 36

Not in America.

costumeczar Posted 4 Jul 2014 , 2:21am
post #23 of 36

Quote:

Originally Posted by MBalaska 
 

Not in America.

Haha! That's true. Fortunately, we can always turn down a job and helpfully refer them to someone we don't like if necessary.

MimiFix Posted 4 Jul 2014 , 11:31am
post #24 of 36
Quote:
Originally Posted by costumeczar 
 
Quote:
Originally Posted by MBalaska 
 

Not in America.

Haha! That's true. Fortunately, we can always turn down a job and helpfully refer them to someone we don't like if necessary.

 

To clarify, in the U.S. we are allowed to turn customers away, as long as we don't discriminate against people based on race, ethnicity, religion, etc. Those groups are protected by law. Crazy customers are not (currently) protected. 

mcaulir Posted 4 Jul 2014 , 12:31pm
post #25 of 36

Quote:

Originally Posted by MBalaska 
 

Not in America.

 

I meant things like that you don't like the way they pronounce 'luxury', or that they look at the ceiling far too often when you're talking to them, rather than because they're a member of a protected class.

FioreCakes Posted 4 Jul 2014 , 4:10pm
post #26 of 36

Honestly, I think the OP's main problem is that she doesn't consider what the cake means to her clients. I actually see this a lot on these threads with people upset over customers asking for a refund. Customers get very excited and anxious about cakes!  They are emotionally invested in their event and the centerpiece. So for the customers cake to just be thrown away as unimportant at the sketch stage IS upsetting and I think it was a terrible move for the business. Its smart for event businesses to treat every event as if it is your own and act excited towards the customer to show them you are just as invested as they are....even if you are just acting. To you it's just a cake....to them its an emotional purchase. This is off topic but it also upsets me when people are like "NO REFUND for the damage---they still ate it didn't they??" so dumb. Anyone with half a brain knows that the cake is like 25% eating it and 75% enjoying it's appearance at a party. And what are they going to do, not serve cake at the event? yeah, no. Ok sorry...not sure why I am rambling....

MimiFix Posted 4 Jul 2014 , 5:34pm
post #27 of 36
Originally Posted by FioreCakes 
 

Honestly, I think the OP's main problem is that she doesn't consider what the cake means to her clients. I actually see this a lot on these threads with people upset over customers asking for a refund...  

 

This is off topic but it also upsets me when people are like "NO REFUND for the damage---they still ate it didn't they??" so dumb. Anyone with half a brain knows that the cake is like 25% eating it and 75% enjoying it's appearance at a party. And what are they going to do, not serve cake at the event? yeah, no. Ok sorry...not sure why I am rambling....

 

FioreCakes, I don't think you're rambling. Being in the cake business means that although we make cakes, we are mostly in the business of providing a service. You spoke up about an issue that hurts the reputation of everyone in this business. What I find most aggravating is the nonchalance of hobby bakers who disassociate their responses from the long term aspects of sound business principles.     

Rohini Posted 5 Jul 2014 , 8:45am
post #28 of 36

Completely agree with NcLeora! Don't reply at all!!

maisie73 Posted 5 Jul 2014 , 10:10am
post #29 of 36

ATime and time again I read that people running businesses and selling cakes are getting frustrated because customers don't understand or appreciate the work that goes into a custom cake. They talk about the quality and service customers will get from them as opposed to getting their cake from a supermarket. They complain about people who undercharge hurting the cake business as a whole. When somebody gets a customer who understands how important the cake is and can afford to pay for it wouldn't they want to hang on to her? I don't understand how anyone thinks cancelling this customers order is professional or good for the custom cake industry as a whole. OP, you said "am I missing something? I told her I'd be available........" Clearly you're not missing anything because you said yourself you told her you'd be available! And you said you were talking to your bride during your time off but didn't get back to this lady until you were back at work. You knew she was emailing you and getting worried, wouldn't it have been kinder to email her as soon as you'd spoken to your bride and realised you couldn't make the other cake? To give her as much notice as possible so she go somewhere else if nothing else. I'd be feeling really bad for letting her down if I were you. But I wouldn't have let her down. If I said I'd make her a cake, by hook or by crook I'd make her a cake.

cakebaby2 Posted 5 Jul 2014 , 6:43pm
post #30 of 36

Quote:

Originally Posted by maisie73 

Time and time again I read that people running businesses and selling cakes are getting frustrated because customers don't understand or appreciate the work that goes into a custom cake. They talk about the quality and service customers will get from them as opposed to getting their cake from a supermarket. They complain about people who undercharge hurting the cake business as a whole.
When somebody gets a customer who understands how important the cake is and can afford to pay for it wouldn't they want to hang on to her? I don't understand how anyone thinks cancelling this customers order is professional or good for the custom cake industry as a whole.
OP, you said "am I missing something? I told her I'd be available........" Clearly you're not missing anything because you said yourself you told her you'd be available!
And you said you were talking to your bride during your time off but didn't get back to this lady until you were back at work. You knew she was emailing you and getting worried, wouldn't it have been kinder to email her as soon as you'd spoken to your bride and realised you couldn't make the other cake? To give her as much notice as possible so she go somewhere else if nothing else.
I'd be feeling really bad for letting her down if I were you. But I wouldn't have let her down. If I said I'd make her a cake, by hook or by crook I'd make her a cake.

Have to say you're bang on the money there Maisie, being on vacation is fine but the client thought her cake was being sketched and designed during this break, not unreasonable to send an e-mail asking how its coming along.

Having been ignored by e-mail she panicked and sent more. The OP obviously contacted the bride during this "break" from work.

That's one client wary about parting with good money for a custom cake from a "professional".

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