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they weren't happy with the cake, so now what? - Page 2  

post #16 of 56
Buttercream cakes can certainly decorated before delivery. I'm not sure why you thought otherwise icon_confused.gif

And it doesn't matter what you charged her. The bottom line is you sold her a wedding cake that had noticable flaws (being crooked in one of those) and that wasn't stable enough to withstand display. And money off a future order is not good enough, IMO. Let's face it, would you order a cake from someone again if you weren't happy the first time?

Again, even if they were in the car with AC and movie, the kids should not have been with you. Regardless of whether they were safe and preoccupied, the perception may be different to other people.

Keep in mind that no one is trying to be mean to you or throw you under the bus. We are just trying to help you for next time.
Tact is telling someone where to go so nicely they can't wait to take the trip!
Tact is telling someone where to go so nicely they can't wait to take the trip!
post #17 of 56
While I can appreciate that you choose to complete your cakes on site, (if that's what works for you) that should be clearly communicated at the time of the order and any issues can be addressed at that time if they are opposed. In the end, you want a happy and satisfied customer that will brag about you and your cakes in the most positive lighticon_smile.gif
Kats Suite Cakes......Cakes "to live for"
Kats Suite Cakes......Cakes "to live for"
post #18 of 56
Unfortunately I agree that having the kids in the car was not a good appearance....people are really sensitive about the "leaving kids in the car" thing. (A friend and I had to pull that one time delivering cookies to a craft show, and after the dirty looks we got, we realized it wasn't a good thing.) I understand its hard though...if all you would have had to do was drop the cake off, it would not have been so bad to bring the kids...but with extensive assembly.....that's not the best.

I always assemble my cakes, supporting and doweling as necessary. Always the day/night before. Then I refrigerate overnight. Then its nice and firm and ready to go in a cool A/C car to the venue. The only thing someone should really have to set up on site is any "stuff" you have to add to the tiers that might fall off during transport.

People understand stacking tiers on site but they aren't going to understand last minute scrollwork and monogramming and stuff. I think your cake is nice but I think it would have been done more neatly if you could have taken your time with it the night before, and gotten everything centered and smooth and nice.

I'm really sorry this had to happen...the MOB sounds reasonable and polite...I'd probably offer at least a 50% refund, really. Everyone has to will go better next time!!!!! thumbs_up.gif
post #19 of 56
I think 50% refund too!!
post #20 of 56
We learn from our mistakes, you know what you can do different next time so you will be happier with you cake and therefore have a happier client. For $250 the cake is not a total disaster. I am also in a small town and just do cakes as a hobby for now. I find it fun and best of all it allows me to be with my children. I'm the mom who gets to do the cookies and cupcakes for school parties.
post #21 of 56
So sorry this happened to you. But, life happens and we all learn things as we go. I agree offer her some kind of discount and put it behind you.

I just did my first wedding cake yesterday. It was 5 tiers and I was totally freaked out over it. The reception was outside in low 90 degree heat.

Here is what I did and for the most part it all went well.

The day before even stacked 14" and 12" tiers and stored in fridge. Stacked 10" and 8" and stored in fridge. The top was 6".

I frosted everthing and put my border and ribbon on the bottom of everything I could with the exception of where I would complete stacking on site.

When I arrived I knew I would have to work very quickly since the heat would destroy my buttercream smoothing abilities.

I stacked all tiers and ran the border around the last two layers. That took about 20 minutes and by then the butter cream was very soft so putting the last two tiers of ribbon on was tough and it wasn't completely straight.
The last touch were the flowers and I was so thankful for them to hide my buttercream

The cake did slant just a tad but I am pretty sure it was user error (me) and not the SPS system.
I did not like doing anything onsite because people were watching me closely and some asking questions which broke my concentration.

So, what I am saying is learn from it and go on. You can only get better from experiences right?
"I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me."
John 14:6
"I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me."
John 14:6
post #22 of 56
Well, this is a painful learning experience, but she does deserve some kind of refund. If the cake cracked and you weren't able to fix the top tier lean because you had to get out of there, you're basically saying that it wasn't up to your usual standards, and you know that. Since she said that the cake did taste good, I'd refund at least 50% of the cost (which was too low to begin with, but that's another lesson learned.)

I'm going to be straight up and tell you what you need to take away from this experience:

1. Don't take kids to deliveries with you.

2. Decorate at home, not on site. Assembling cakes that are transported in sections is one thing, but getting out bags to do the actual decorations is something completely different.

3. Charge more, but deliver what they paid for.

4. If you know that your work isn't up to your standards, be prepared for the customer to notice too. Sometimes they won't, because we're our own worst critics, but sometimes they will. If they do, refund their money.

5. Outdoor wedding in the summer? Fondant, not buttercream. No matter what they say, the icing will melt and make things more difficult for you, either as you're setting it up, or when the cake melts during the reception. Even Crisco-creme starts to look transparent and icky when it sits out in the heat for too long. I just posted this link on another thread, but it seems to be the topic of the day
post #23 of 56
I am sorry this happened, but stuff happens. You can't always control everything, but you can be better prepared next time. icon_biggrin.gif I hate those "school of hard knocks" lessons.
Here are some things I have learned: Do your decorating in the shop. I do stack big or tall and narrow cakes on site, but the only things that need finishing are borders. Refrigerate your cakes before delivery. Don't use wooden dowels unless you have a 2 tier cake. The SPS works wonders for your piece of mind!
Call the MOB. Don't just e-mail her. It is more personal. When people complain, whether they act like they want something free or not, they all want something. Most people are looking for a validation of their feelings and a vent for their frustrations. I think a heartfelt apology and a free cake next time would go a long way. You are working on building long term relationships, not just a one time order.
I have been decorating for a long time at our family owned bakery. We have been in business 22 years. I worked at our bakery from the time my parents bought it (I was almost 14) and so did my 3 sisters. My youngest sister was almost 6 when my parents bought the bakery. Sometimes, I bring my kids with me when I deliver cakes. My husband comes with me. They usually stay in the car briefly with me while my husband carries the cake, but sometimes my husband brings them in to see the final product. They carry boxes, open doors, etc. I look at it as a learning opportunity for them. I know I was in the minority in this position, but really I don't see anything wrong with it and I am a professional. icon_wink.gif
Best Wishes and better experiences ahead!
post #24 of 56
I would just like to add that your tiers would look better if there was more difference in size between each tier. I always have a 3-4" difference. i.e. 16" , 12", 9", 6". It is more pleasing to the eye and it gives more surface area for support. Better luck next time - don't give up!
post #25 of 56
I can understand both sides to a point. I know how upsetting it is when you cant get the cake done just right. I can also see it from the brides POV, and, even though my mother decorated my wedding cake, I didnt want to see it in progress, I just wanted the perfect finished product. If I was the client, I would be upset about the decorating on site, and the children coming, even though they were in the car, they were obviously in sight. And if it was a child free wedding, other guests could have been upset by the fact that there was children there if they couldnt bring there own. And just a tad unprofessional. As for the crooked cake, I can see it too, and I dont think its just the top tier..
Like everything else though, it is a personal prefrence, its sad and annoying that you didnt get it just right this time, but keep trying!! And why did you do a dummy and then a sheet? Is that what the bride requested?
post #26 of 56
This must be a very stressful experience for you - sorry. The advice you've been given here is wonderful and you will really grow from listening to these wise voices. One other thing - that MOB is unusually gracious! Reading any other threads on CC about complaining MOBs will open your eyes about how nice she is being. BTW your cakes must be delicious from her description and that should make you feel good. I agree with the 50% refund.
post #27 of 56
I also agree with a 50% refund - wanted to point out something that would have upset me if I was the MOB - in your email to her you state you were stuck in traffic for 25 minutes - I'm not in a position to judge you on the part of decorating here, there, home, etc..I'm new to this, but what I do know is if I was putting together a cake for someone on site, like you chose to do, I would give myself a minimum of two hours in case something went wrong. Please don't take it the wrong way, but if I was the MOB I would think between you having the kids in the car and the last minute decorating, that you were not professional. Honestly, I would learn from the mistake and refund her the money - either 50% or whatever your profit was. Good luck.
post #28 of 56
I'd give more than a 50% discount. If the you and the cake had all the issues stated above I would give pretty much the full amount back.

Due to circumstances out of my control I had a delivery that was late this very week. I was horrified. It wasn't for a cake but for a breakfast catering. I was late. End of story. Everything was done. I wasn't making anything on site, but I was late getting there. They were mad and who could blame them. I refunded all the money. This meant I was out $200 on just buying product. I was out a LOT more in time and profit. In the end I'm glad with my decision. Even though it wasn't my fault I was late, I was still late. All the excuses in the world do not matter, the time clock does as well as my reputation.

If I were you I would refund more than 50%, I'd refund all of it to save face.
Also, don't take your kids with you to work. Very unprofessional and everyone notices and will talk about it. Better to pay for a sitter.
Good luck in the future.
post #29 of 56
Everyone has pretty much covered the advice end of things...

I was just going to tell you, if you only put the dowels in partway and then set the next tier on top, the weight of the tier will slowly push the dowels in, leaving you time to get your fingers out from underneath without messing up the frosting.

Also, when you're transporting tiers to stack on site, non-slip drawer liner is your best friend icon_biggrin.gif That way you can set your decorated tiers in boxes and they won't get messed up on the way. Just in case, take an emergency kit with a bag of each color of frosting and a few tips and spatula.

You're braver than me! I would be so intimidated by the idea of decorating the cake at the event, with everyone watching.
post #30 of 56
Originally Posted by steph95

What is SPS? I did a search on here and nothing came up.

I read this thread and you have been given lots of good advice, here you go good luck.
God Makes all things Possible
Stressed Spelled Backwards Is Desserts.
God Makes all things Possible
Stressed Spelled Backwards Is Desserts.
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