Customer Got Exactly As She Asked For, Hated The Cake

Business By malgal7651 Updated 19 May 2016 , 10:14am by LelekBolek

malgal7651 Posted 16 May 2016 , 2:49am
post #1 of 40

So I need to vent on this one because I am so confused. I know customer complaints happen and we, as professionals, just have to deal with them and move on, but this one baffles me. This customer had ordered a cake from me a couple years ago, and when she came to order another one this past weekend, I figured it would be easy just as the last one. She specifically requested a sheet cake with Playbills placed on it from different theater shows and that was it. I then asked if she'd like anything else on it, perhaps a "Happy Birthday" of some kind. She said yes, and to make it look like a theater marquee. She specifically said just white buttercream, the Playbills (of which she sent five images of), and the happy birthday marquee decoration. That's it. We exchanged almost ten emails confirming this very simple cake. Even when we had exchanged emails for the cake she had ordered two years ago, she said she didn't want it to be too much or overdone. Ok. Easy, right? The theater marquee was nicely sized so it could sit in the center without taking up too much space to allow for the Playbills. It had royal icing "lights" and a very decorative shape. The Playbills were printed on edible icing sheets and stuck to pieces of gum paste so that they wouldn't just lie flat on the cake; they had a little depth to them. As a nice finishing touch, I added a piped red border on the top and bottom. I sized the Playbills big enough so they could be seen, but small enough so they could all fit without overlapping, and without looking too crowded. The cake was clean and simple with everything that she asked for. The cake she had ordered two years ago was nearly the same type of design, but instead of a theater theme, it had three or four "books" on it with a "diploma" in the center, and she said she absolutely loved the cake and said it was beyond beautiful. But I drop her cake off this time, and then get an email a couple hours later ripping this theater cake to pieces. She said she's never been so disappointed, we barely exchanged emails or spoke about the design (which isn't true, I have all of the emails where she specifically states what she wanted), and I should've added more to the cake or make suggestions (which I did, also evident in our emails), and if I knew I was only going to place the Playbills on the cake, that they should've been bigger. She complained that it looked naked and unfinished, that there were big empty patches (which there weren't at all). I am SO beyond shocked at her reaction. She got exactly what she asked for, I really don't get it. Based on my previous experience with her and not wanting the other cake to look like there is too much, I didn't want this cake to look crowded, which is why the decorations didn't overlap because of them being too big. Each Playbill decoration was placed on the cake at differing angles but without overlapping. I even pulled one of her graphics that she sent to use into Photoshop to fix it because she asked me to (I didn't even charge her for doing this). I really don't even know how to respond to her email. Do I refund? I wish I had taken a picture of it, but I didn't get the chance. I honestly just want to tell her that I did everything that she asked for including adding a border to frame the cake, which was something extra that I didn't charge for. She also said that I had said that I was looking forward to playing with the concept and adding fun elements to the cake, which I never said (I have the emails to prove this), and she complained that I did absolutely nothing. I simply said that I enjoy going to the theater, so it'll be a fun cake to work on. She said it was an emabarrasment and the person that the birthday cake was for just looked at it and walked away. When I read that, all I could think of was "are you freaking kidding me??" Damn I wish I had a picture of the cake to show all of you what it looked like. She said that she didn't know that I was just going to "plop" the Playbills on the cake...and I'm thinking "THAT'S WHAT YOU ASKED FOR". Ugh. I know all I can do is shrug and move on, but what gives? You give people what they want and then it's your fault that they asked for something so simple? So anyway, end of rant. Again, I don't know how to respond to her or if I should refund. I feel disappointed, as well as surprised/shocked that this was her reaction. Anyone had this type of thing happen? 

39 replies
angelcakes2811 Posted 16 May 2016 , 6:09am
post #2 of 40

Sounds to me like you covered all your bases i.e. email and suggestions. I would not refund her $ as you know you did the job she asked for. And how rude of the BD recipient to frown at the cake then walk away! Don't lose sleep over this one!

yjflores1 Posted 16 May 2016 , 6:18am
post #3 of 40

I'm so sorry to hear that! :( sometimes people can be so rude I'm a new b to making and selling cakes but if it were me I would just hear what she had to say, apologize and let her know you tried the best to your ability to make the cake the way she described it to you. Then ask her what you could have done differently . She has ordered from you before you could always offer her a dicount on her next cake or refund the ingredients you invested on the cake but not the time you spent on it. Like I said I'm knew to this but this is how I would handle it. Good luck and just take this as a learning experience. unfortunately it won't be the first and last time this will happen. 

Jinkies Posted 16 May 2016 , 11:06am
post #4 of 40

Oh boy, from your story, it sounds like she maybe didn't get the reaction she wanted from the birthday boy/girl.  

-K8memphis Posted 16 May 2016 , 11:21am
post #5 of 40

this is where a full time bakery has it over on the custom home baker -- the full time bakery would refund out of convenience/inconvenience -- just customer service -- can refund no problemo out of petty cash more or less -- a home baker takes a big hit to refund on an issue like this -- it's the children's milk money for a job performed to the best of the ability --

so as a home baker i would not refund -- because i have an 'i don't care' built in -- you (the customer) don't like it -- it's what you ordered -- tough -- but i'm 65 my sense of me is not tied up in a cake or a business -- and as a full time bakery i would refund just out of perfunctoryness -- both coming under the 'i dont' care' reflex in the different qualifiers --

if there had been an issue with damage to the cake it would be different but for the lady not getting the response she wanted -- ugh no not my purview -- she might have been hormonal and the honoree that walked away might have been who knows who cares right? 

it's not your job to get the big response from the birthday person -- it's a cake -- it's ok -- just say "next"

Jinkies Posted 16 May 2016 , 11:37am
post #6 of 40

Totally agree with @-K8memphis ‍.  

-K8memphis Posted 16 May 2016 , 11:37am
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i think i would say something like -- i'm so sorry you feel that way -- i've checked and re-checked our communication and i do not see where anything was left off of your cake -- i can forward you the emails if you would like to re-read them and help me to understand where we miscommunicated -- again sorry your honoree was non-plussed by our efforts --

and try not to let this over shadow your next cake -- just focus on what the order is for and do it -- try not to let this undermine your future efforts --

look how detailed you were for that order -- that's a well cared for customer -- that whatever happened happened is not your business -- that you are already that detailed and caring is just fine right as it is -- don't go freaking out and adding 5 pages to your contract as some of us are wont to do --

you're fine --

question  -- do you usually charge for a border?

malgal7651 Posted 16 May 2016 , 3:56pm
post #8 of 40

Thanks for all the feedback. I responded to her saying how deeply sorry I was, and that I did go back through our emails to figure out if I missed something, and that I felt I had executed the cake as she had requested. I was very polite and not accusatory at all, even when I know it wasn't my fault. But she responded so rudely and mean and ripped me and the cake to pieces again. I used to be a home based baker, but I moved to a retail shop location about a year ago. She requested a red velvet cake and that's what I made, and she said it wasn't red velvet at all, that it was terrible. Our red velvet is actually really popular among our customers, and is a favorite...many people tell us that it's the best RV that they've ever had. So I guess she's just going to be mad because she wants to be, and not for any real legitimate reason. She basically was yelling at me through her last email, says she gave me basic instructions and it was apparently my responsibility to add more, that she trusted me and it's all my fault. I really don't understand, and I did apologize profusely and it still wasn't enough for her. She also said that she's putting a stop payment on the check for the cake and that she's only willing to pay 50.00 for the ingredients and what "little" time she assumes I worked on it. I guess there's a first time for everything, I've never had this happen before, and she is a family friend of the cake decorator that I hired to work with me at my shop, who also helped me with the decorations for this cake. Can't win them all...I need to adopt more of an "I don't care" attitude, I suppose. I guess what really bothers me is that she can't accept an apology, who does that? Ugh.  

-K8memphis Posted 16 May 2016 , 4:03pm
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did you cash the check yet? could you run it to her bank real quick and get it cashed in person?

-K8memphis Posted 16 May 2016 , 4:07pm
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and it seems like she has a thing with the honoree -- don't know what it is but she needed to impress them, was using your cake ro do so and since it didn't happen...she's taking it out on you -- sorry this happened --

moral of the story -- you can't win 'em all i guess

-K8memphis Posted 16 May 2016 , 4:08pm
post #11 of 40

*to do so

costumeczar Posted 16 May 2016 , 6:25pm
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Now it's turned into the roaming complaint, eh? That's when the first round of complaints doesn't fly, so they think about something else to add to the list in the hopes that you'll cave in. If you haven't cashed the check yet I'd go do that. If she's stopped payment on it I'd just write it off as a loss on my taxes and put her on the "never any more cake for you, you heinous warpig" list. Because people like that think they're special and there;s no doubt she'll try to order from you again.

-K8memphis Posted 16 May 2016 , 6:32pm
post #13 of 40

clap.png"heinous warpig"  hahahaha

Jeff_Arnett Posted 16 May 2016 , 6:33pm
post #14 of 40

If she accepted the cake, then in the eyes of the law you fulfilled the contract.  If she stops payment, that is illegal and you have ground to take her to small claims court.

When it's all said and done.... money back...unless the entire, unused cake is returned....can't have your cake and money too!

Second...politely inform her no future orders will be accepted from her.

maybenot Posted 16 May 2016 , 11:11pm
post #15 of 40

Cash the check immediately--at the issuing bank-- if not sooner.  If she stops payment, sic the cops on her for theft of services.  If you can't do that, file immediately in small claims court the minute she stops payment on it. 

When she doesn't pay the judgement, put a lien on her house and leave it in place until she pays every cent, including court costs.  It will cost more than the cake, but idiots like her need to be taught expensive lessons.

Over the top? I don't think so--and I never give advice that I wouldn't follow...........

costumeczar Posted 17 May 2016 , 12:35am
post #16 of 40

I was thinking small claims court too, but most people won't want to do it. I think it would be worth it to have the judge tell her she got what she paid for and to shut up. She probably complains every time she buys anything, so taking her to court might be a public service to end her reign of terror. I just had someone threaten to take legal action against me for something that I 100% didn't do, so I got an attorney and she finally backed down after realizing that I wasn't going to admit to something I didn't do. Sometimes legal action is the only thing someone responds to.

johnson6ofus Posted 17 May 2016 , 3:03am
post #17 of 40

They ate the cake...they pay for it. Simple.

"Custom" cake is like "custom" anything else. Made to order, as specified by the provider. The whiny after thoughts and second guessing is THEIR problem.

I hope you get paid. No, you don't owe her a refund. And I love the "fishing" for excuses. If she really had a problem, it would have come up immediately.

Best of luck.....

gfbaby Posted 17 May 2016 , 7:36am
post #18 of 40

Quote by @Jeff_Arnett on 12 hours ago

If she accepted the cake, then in the eyes of the law you fulfilled the contract.  If she stops payment, that is illegal and you have ground to take her to small claims court.

When it's all said and done.... money back...unless the entire, unused cake is returned....can't have your cake and money too!

Second...politely inform her no future orders will be accepted from her.

Fully agree. I reckon she was expecting a better deal cos she knows the decorator and was upset she got charged full rate. Most of my cakes are for friends of friends and I'm constantly surprised and totally disgusted at how little they expect to actually PAY for the 20, 30, 40 hours work I've put in on their cake...they seem to ASSUME that some tenuous connection entitles them to freebies. I currently smile and offer a 'generous 10% discount because I know them'- right up front BEFORE I even discuss their cake requirements so they know thats all they will get right from scratch. I ended up handing over £800 cakes for £300 which hardly covered the costs- and even then, got dissaproving sneers. 

I am sure that's what the issue here is; nothing to do with the quality of your work- I bet your cake was totally magnificent and exactly what she asked for and  bet it got wolfed down no probs!! Make sure she pays full price is my feeling (unless she returns the cake) and never do another masterpiece for the tightwad rude haradon again. Blacklist her. How thoughtless to diss your talent just to save herself some money! And trust in Karma...

Now smile, shake yerself and move on to your next wonderful project girl. Don't let one a**eh**e curdle your mix! kissing_heart.png

LelekBolek Posted 17 May 2016 , 10:19am
post #19 of 40

"heinous warpig". That. (still laughing at it).

With PMS, so it sounds. 

I agree with what people said here.

Cash the check. Ban this customer. Don't forget to take photos of cakes! 

Apti Posted 17 May 2016 , 12:21pm
post #20 of 40

"never any more cake for you, you heinous warpig" ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha

Thought I'd heard 'em all, but warpig?   Was that by any chance a typo?  Come on, have you ever called anyone else a "warpig"??????

lol-ing at 5 in the morning....

malgal7651 Posted 18 May 2016 , 12:41am
post #21 of 40

Hahahaha, "heinous warpig"--that is by far the funniest thing I've heard in a long time, but it fits for this customer. I texted with my cake decorator (who is family friends with this heinous woman), and she was just as surprised and shocked as I am by her reaction. She didn't go to the party, but she did have some leftover cake from it in her fridge that I think her husband brought back; she had some and said it tasted really good, so she doesn't know why this woman freaked out the way she did. Even though my cake decorator is family friends' with her, she told me not to even worry about it, and in her words referring to this customer: "f**k her", haha. I'm definitely not going to lose sleep over this one. If I had more time, I would've definitely pursued the money issue further if she tried to put a stop payment on it, but I don't even want her money in my bank, so I tore the check up. The cake wasn't even that expensive (150.00), and it's seriously not worth it to me right now. I have SO much on plate as it is with running my shop, I do not need any drama with a stupid customer who is so obviously wrong. But my shop manager and I feel that we may not accept checks anymore, but we'll see what happens. I was considering responding to this woman's last nasty email, but I don't want to open that window for another opportunity for her to yell at me, insult me, and rip me and the cake to pieces yet again; and just reading her email was a headache since she felt the need to write in mostly all caps, and she seemed to be loving that exclamation point key. She even used the word "pathetic" regarding my "attempt" at decorating the cake. It's so infuriating, and what's unfair when you own your own business is that it's looked bad upon you as an owner if you try to defend yourself against a rude and nasty customer who is in the wrong. The customer is not always right...can we have a social revolution of some kind and change that??

malgal7651 Posted 18 May 2016 , 12:41am
post #22 of 40

Oh, and thank you ALL for the feedback and support. Love you all!!

kakeladi Posted 18 May 2016 , 3:48am
post #23 of 40 have ground to take her to small claims court..............

Unless things have changed over the last 40 yrs small claims court is a joke.  I STILL have a judgement I could never collect.  It is up to the 'winner' to collect - the court does NOTHING to secure that judgement.

johnson6ofus Posted 18 May 2016 , 4:39am
post #24 of 40

@kakladi... you turn it over to a collection agency that specializes in that sort of thing. Yeah, they take half but no hassle for you and they really harass the deadbeat who owes you.

gfbaby Posted 18 May 2016 , 7:05am
post #25 of 40

malgal; I salute you for moving on and not letting this fester and mess with your future projects. However, I'm still of the opinion that this 'heinous warpig' of a woman was - and has now succeeded in achieving - aiming for a freebie. We are all aware that our work is time consuming and requires skill and talent but is totally disregarded as such. The 'Just a piece of cake..' syndrome. I bet she does it with other products too if truth were known. Some people just want their cake AND eat it.

I'm feeling she's sitting smugly somewhere thinking she's won something which irks me immensely. I would get a photo of her and privately distribute it with her details to all your local fellow decorators with a warning that she is a potential difficult / non paying customer (pubs and shops do it..). Get her blacklisted. Maybe next time she wants a cake and has to get mass produced, wonky sawdust and sugar off the supermarket shelf- she will regret her pathetic shenanigans.

If you feel better putting it down to experience then sobeit, but be careful that she doesn't spread the word how she pulled one over and start a trend or rash of other tightwad opportunists trying it out. I suggest you put a clause in your contract which states you need CASH payment (or cleared cheque) before cake collection / delivery and complaints should be made AT collection / delivery; compensation only on return of untouched cake. I'm sure there's wording and legal jargon which would cover a cake decorator comprehensively against this type of issue but thank you for bringing the possibility to our attention and making us aware so we can safeguard ourselves not to fall into a similar trap. 

costumeczar Posted 18 May 2016 , 11:41am
post #26 of 40

Quote by @Apti on 23 hours ago

"never any more cake for you, you heinous warpig" ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha

Thought I'd heard 'em all, but warpig?   Was that by any chance a typo?  Come on, have you ever called anyone else a "warpig"??????

lol-ing at 5 in the morning....

"Heinous warpig" is a term coined by one of my roommates about 30 years ago. We used it freely and often to describe many people who deserved it. :)

gfbaby Posted 18 May 2016 , 7:09pm
post #27 of 40

Quote by @costumeczar on 7 hours ago

"Heinous warpig" is a term coined by one of my roommates about 30 years ago. We used it freely and often to describe many people who deserved it. :)

And here's someone else who totally deserves it. I think we should now adopt it for rubbish customers on cake central. A secret password... like.. I had another heinous warpig incident this week. And we'd KNOW... HEINOUS WARPIG alert; we'd KNOW. Would you mind..? I LOVE it!!! Thank you from the bottom of my cake tins to whoever coined it. 

malgal7651 Posted 18 May 2016 , 7:34pm
post #28 of 40

Yes, I agree with using "heinous warpig" as a way to refer to the these types of customers. Way to go cake central!! I ended up responding to her last insulting/rude email with a very short, to-the-point email, letting her know that I did make our standard red velvet (which is a customer favorite), and that regarding the payment, it is not her choice to decide how much she is willing to pay, but as a courtesy, I will destroy the check. I agree with gfbaby, that she probably is sitting somewhere thinking she's "won" and has put me in my place, so I had to say something, especially about the payment thing. I don't know who she thinks she is and in what world she thinks it's ok to talk to me like that...I mean, her emails were seriously rude, disrespectful, and just plain insulting. I would never ever talk to anyone like that, even if they were wrong and I was right. Maybe because I'm much younger than her she thinks she can scold me, as if I'm her kid or something? I talked with my business partner about it and she said that she'd take this woman to small claims too, even though the amount is not that much, but it's the principle. I can guarantee that if this woman were to ever come back asking for another cake, I'll gladly tell her where she can go shove it, hahaha. 

costumeczar Posted 18 May 2016 , 8:10pm
post #29 of 40

Go ahead and use it...I still use it whenever I run across someone who earns the distinction! ;)  My husband and I have a game where we try to come up with the correct derogatroy tem for people. Some people are jerks, some are idiots, but a jerk isn't necessrily an idiot. Some people are heinous warpigs and some aren't. My personal favorite is something else, but I don't know that I can print it here  stuck_out_tongue_closed_eyes.png

johnson6ofus Posted 18 May 2016 , 8:45pm
post #30 of 40

Or Disney speak of "treasured guest" for the real PITA people.... I guess we all have the "treasured customer" stories..

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