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The Thread about Allergy-Suffering Client and Business Practices  

post #1 of 112
Thread Starter 
Here we go again, I just can't make anyone happy!
Long story very short..
I offered a free cake(as a prize win of my fb page)
The lady that won told me her son has nut allergys.
I agreed to take the order (not thinking clearly after 12 hours of caking and no sleep)
I go to make her cake and notice Lindt chocolates may contain nuts and a couple of other ingredients. ( she wanted chocolate on chocolate)
I panicked and emailed her that the chocolate ect contained nuts and I am not comfortable making his cake and apologized profusely I told her this the day before her cake was needed at 7pm
( I've never had a allergy order)
She showed up to my house the next day i was at a consultation.
She wrote all over my fb wall how bad of a person I am and how she will warn all of her friends to NEVER go to me for a cake. I messaged her again saying how sorry I am and that I seriously was concerned about her son having a nut allergy and I will make another free cake for her if the person does not have any allergy's. She then freaked out even more said I was unprofessional and that it was discrimination, that she will post everywhere on how I am not dependable ect ect.. I seriously feel HORRIBLE and I'm done with trying to start a business its ALWAYS something seriously!! I mean I have wonderful customers but then again I offer free cakes and people turn into hawlk when things don't go exactly there way! What if one of my children where sick and I couldn't make her cake would she still freak out ugh!
Okay I'm done b*tching lol!
post #2 of 112
If you look at it from the customer's perspective, I can understand how she would be upset considering that you cancelled the order the day before the party. At this point there's not really much you can do, but I definitely wouldn't quit over this. Mistakes happen.

It wouldn't have helped you in this situation, but having contact info for other reputable local bakeries that can fill a last-minute order in case of an emergency is crucial to avoid disappointing customers, especially if you are the only baker.

And if you constantly have 12 hour days without sleep you may want to look into raising your prices to decrease your workload.

Quote:
Originally Posted by CuteCakes1234 View Post

Here we go again, I just can't make anyone happy!
Long story very short..
I offered a free cake(as a prize win of my fb page)
The lady that won told me her son has nut allergys.
I agreed to take the order (not thinking clearly after 12 hours of caking and no sleep)
I go to make her cake and notice Lindt chocolates may contain nuts and a couple of other ingredients. ( she wanted chocolate on chocolate)
I panicked and emailed her that the chocolate ect contained nuts and I am not comfortable making his cake and apologized profusely I told her this the day before her cake was needed at 7pm
( I've never had a allergy order)
She showed up to my house the next day i was at a consultation.
She wrote all over my fb wall how bad of a person I am and how she will warn all of her friends to NEVER go to me for a cake. I messaged her again saying how sorry I am and that I seriously was concerned about her son having a nut allergy and I will make another free cake for her if the person does not have any allergy's. She then freaked out even more said I was unprofessional and that it was discrimination, that she will post everywhere on how I am not dependable ect ect.. I seriously feel HORRIBLE and I'm done with trying to start a business its ALWAYS something seriously!! I mean I have wonderful customers but then again I offer free cakes and people turn into hawlk when things don't go exactly there way! What if one of my children where sick and I couldn't make her cake would she still freak out ugh!
Okay I'm done b*tching lol!
post #3 of 112

No wait seriously--no offense to anyone who has allergies or has a loved one with an allergy. But some of the allergy challenged amongst us get this way about this. Seriously. They DO with regularity.

 

I could give you story after story after story after story. But first let me hasten to say my son had food allergies and he just did without or Mom made it. I told him he's not gonna get forlorn because he can't eat all the foods, he's gonna be grateful that we know what makes him sick and we can avoid it.

 

In some people with allergic children in particular they want the world to be the same for their child and it just isn't gonna be the same as for the non-allergic. The child feels left out and some of the parents over react. Typically they are pushy and want you to bake for them no matter what. I personally don't understand that but they push and push and push and don't take no for an answer. No offense to anyone--just talking in general from years of experience.

 

You seem to be a bit cake-customer-challenged here at first. But just think you'll be able to handle anything pretty soon icon_biggrin.gif

 

In my experience it is not unusual for parents to react this way which is why now you know you NEVER promise to bake for them. At least I never will. I mean if someone's life depends on it--agh no I'll leave that to Jason's former bakery.

one baker's 'never ever do' is the next baker's 'i swear by this'
one baker's 'never ever do' is the next baker's 'i swear by this'
post #4 of 112
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by jason_kraft View Post

If you look at it from the customer's perspective, I can understand how she would be upset considering that you cancelled the order the day before the party. At this point there's not really much you can do, but I definitely wouldn't quit over this. Mistakes happen.
It wouldn't have helped you in this situation, but having contact info for other reputable local bakeries that can fill a last-minute order in case of an emergency is crucial to avoid disappointing customers, especially if you are the only baker.
And if you constantly have 12 hour days without sleep you may want to look into raising your prices to decrease your workload.

No I seriously understand why she would be upset trust me I do!
Also I would normally give a two weeks notice or 72 hours on a cancel, this is the first one I've. Canceled less then 24 hours.. But I did offer another free cake and seriously apologized like 20 times lol.. Then said forget it and blocked her as a friend on facebook as I am not going to put up with her posting all over my personal wall.. I mean it was free! I've had nicer paying customers when I cancel witch I've only had to do three times in the last 4 years.. I should have been more professional but I guess Iet her get to me witch is a big no no in this industry!!
post #5 of 112
Quote:
Originally Posted by -K8memphis View Post

I'll leave that to Jason's former bakery.
The bakery is still open (just under new management) so if anyone in the SF Bay area needs to refer customers with allergies, send them over to http://www.allergyfriendlypastries.com/.

There were some instances when we could not accommodate a customer's allergy (corn and sugar were the most common), when this happened I would give the customer some tips on how to make their own safe cake. We would also get inquiries from around the world asking if we ship, since we don't I would usually do a quick search for allergy-friendly bakeries in the customer's area. You'd be surprised how many are out there.

I don't think I've ever told a customer a flat "no" with no additional tips or pointers, unless they were asking for a discount.
post #6 of 112
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by -K8memphis View Post

No wait seriously--no offense to anyone who has allergies or has a loved one with an allergy. But some of the allergy challenged amongst us get this way about this. Seriously. They DO with regularity.

I could give you story after story after story after story. But first let me hasten to say my son had food allergies and he just did without or Mom made it. I told him he's not gonna get forlorn because he can't eat all the foods, he's gonna be grateful that we know what makes him sick and we can avoid it.

In some people with allergic children in particular they want the world to be the same for their child and it just isn't gonna be the same as for the non-allergic. The child feels left out and some of the parents over react. Typically they are pushy and want you to bake for them no matter what. I personally don't understand that but they push and push and push and don't take no for an answer. No offense to anyone--just talking in general from years of experience.

You seem to be a bit cake-customer-challenged here at first. But just think you'll be able to handle anything pretty soon icon_biggrin.gif

In my experience it is not unusual for parents to react this way which is why now you know you NEVER promise to bake for them. At least I never will. I mean if someone's life depends on it--agh no I'll leave that to Jason's former bakery.

Thank you for this reply! I feel like 10x better knowing others have gone threw something like this and hopefully I will not let things get to me as much lol!!
post #7 of 112

As a Mother of 7 I would be grateful that you caught this before hand.Yes I would be a little irratated that it came 24 hrs before but grateful that i was not spending the night at the hospital with my child.

 

My first Gluten Free product had me in tears and i mean tears. Reading every label and so on, I called the customer 2 days before hand and told him I was just not wanting to hurt him at all and I give up.He was the best customer ever because he asked what I was using and he went through my ingredients with me on the phone.I know it sounds really bad because I am the one doing him a service but my point is once in awhile you run into a customer that just makes you feel better.

 

He is now one of my best customers and I call him Smiley because he is always smiling lol.I have had many contracts with him and his whole family.

 

Stick with it, believe me the good ones outweigh the bad and some just plain want to grow your business for you.

post #8 of 112
If you are going to do FB giveaways, you need to specify exactly what the prize is. At the very least, it needs to be an item from what you CAN supply or is on your "menu". I can't understand someone asking for a cake which you don't make, unless you worded it so it sounded like you'd make ANYTHING. But let's just say not all people out there understand the cake biz, and as k8memphis said, she's seeing it from her own little bubble.

As you've found out FB freebies are not a great marketing idea for cakers. This woman will bad mouth you and cause a disproportionate amount of negative press. I'm not aware of how you worded your offer, but like any contract, you need terms and conditions for your prize offer. Say for example you will give away a dozen regular chocolate butter cake cupcakes, with regular buttercream and sprinkles. Advise that the prize is as listed, no alterations possible. Also specify the amount of notice needed, and that the order is subject to your schedule too (if its a big cake).

At the very least, to make good on this offer, honour your disgruntled customer's prize on another occasion. She may want to bring a cake to a dinner, school fete, work function - or for anyone apart from her son. Tell her you do not make "special diet" cakes but she can redeem her prize on another occasion (giving a week's notice).

I know it's not what you wanted to hear, but you need to accept your part in this problem too. Be a professional, and leave the emotion out of your dealings online. You've apologised which is the first step icon_smile.gif

One other thing - next time, get a customers phone number, so you can speak to them directly instead of emailing. You cannot guarantee someone reads their emails!

Good luck, and don't give up...these are great learning experiences!

Life's too short to make cake pops.
___________________________________
www.sweetperfection.com.au

www.sweetperfectioncakes.blogspot.com.au/
www.facebook.com/sweetperfectioncakes (come visit sometime!)

Life's too short to make cake pops.
___________________________________
www.sweetperfection.com.au

www.sweetperfectioncakes.blogspot.com.au/
www.facebook.com/sweetperfectioncakes (come visit sometime!)

post #9 of 112

My website, facebook, and my mouth all tell people that I do NOT offer products for allergic or sensitive people.  Even if I used the appropriate ingredients, I'm still going to be using the spoons, mixers, table tops, that I used on yesterday's peanut butter filling.  I clean things VERY well, but I'm not willing to take the chance of a lawsuit.  Also, I can understand a customer being upset over the order being cancelled the day before a party.  That doesn't give her time to make other plans for her child, and I'm sure that's the most important thing to her.  She probably would have been just fine with you changing your ingredients to accomodate the allergy, but still have a chocolate/chocolate cake.  None of my recipes for chocolate cake or fillings include nuts, so I'm not sure if that's a recipe she asked for, or your own recipe, but that might have been reworked to avoid this situation. 

post #10 of 112
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Dani1081 View Post

My website, facebook, and my mouth all tell people that I do NOT offer products for allergic or sensitive people.  Even if I used the appropriate ingredients, I'm still going to be using the spoons, mixers, table tops, that I used on yesterday's peanut butter filling.  I clean things VERY well, but I'm not willing to take the chance of a lawsuit.  Also, I can understand a customer being upset over the order being cancelled the day before a party.  That doesn't give her time to make other plans for her child, and I'm sure that's the most important thing to her.  She probably would have been just fine with you changing your ingredients to accomodate the allergy, but still have a chocolate/chocolate cake.  None of my recipes for chocolate cake or fillings include nuts, so I'm not sure if that's a recipe she asked for, or your own recipe, but that might have been reworked to avoid this situation. 

Yes as I stated before hand, lindt chocolate bars (witch are what I use in all of my recipes) noted on package (may have come in contact with nuts). That alone scared me.. She only wanted chocolate and I did offer her another free cake for someone who is allergy free.. She still turned red.. She stated he was highly allergic so I was not taking any chances!!! If I was not professional who cares id rather be unprofessional then for something horribly wrong to happen to her son and I will be held liable!.. I didn't mean for that to sounds rude but seriously id rather be unprofessinal and cancel with in 24 hours then to have her poor son have a life threatning reaction!!! My job is not more important then her son.. what so ever.. so I will deal with her screaming and bashing me... icon_biggrin.gif
post #11 of 112

I know that's what I don't understand about a few of these most outspoken parents of children with life threatening allergies. It's really really hard on them.

one baker's 'never ever do' is the next baker's 'i swear by this'
one baker's 'never ever do' is the next baker's 'i swear by this'
post #12 of 112
We don't and won't produce allergy-friendy items. It's not discrimination, it's called CYA.
post #13 of 112

Not to question this lady, but the nut-allergy alert parents I know NEVER order chocolate cakes.... too much of a danger. I know you can make a nut-free chocolate cake, but I thought nut-allergy 101 was NEVER order chocolate ANYTHING unless you know where the chocolate used comes from. Seems like this lady was taking a chance just by ordering a chocolate chocolate cake and not asking you to check your chocolate source. 

life is short, get a cakesafe.
life is short, get a cakesafe.
post #14 of 112

Sorry to say, but that woman is a NUT CASE !!!

 

I have a niece, who is deathly allergic to anything dairy, beef or pork

 

No one in my family would ever be angry at a person, who honestly says even an hour before an event, that something FREE could not be made.I would most definately be angry, if something supplied free would cause my niece to end up in Intensive care or worse, just because, someone has not done their homework

 

I do use all those ingerdients in my kitchen, BUT before I cook or bake for my niece, I double check and clean my kitchen to hell and beyond, including buying new utensils, something which I have done for complete strangers, but i have expected them to pay for this. I have baked for allergic kids, but the parents must agree (and sign) that they understand, that I usually cook and bake normally for my family and other, but because i know, what these allergic kids go through, i do my best to  accomodate them. I wash everthing down, only offer limited stuff to allergic kids and have customers bring me the milk or margerine that their kids can eat,i if I can't get them here. I have had customers, whose kids have never had a cake for their birthdays, because no bakery out here would make them, and if they would offer that, the parents would not trust them anyway (I live in Chine)

 

For allergic customers, I dictate what I can or cannot do, NOT the other way around, because I wash everything I use first with soap, then vinegar, then in a dishwasher, that has been previously run in a disinfectant mode TWICE. I do that, because I know what the kids miss out on otherwise, and I would NEVER expect a complete stranger to do something like that for free, just because I "won" a normal cake.

regards from Shanghai, China
Ursula
http://www.flickr.com/photos/shanghai-schroeder/
regards from Shanghai, China
Ursula
http://www.flickr.com/photos/shanghai-schroeder/
post #15 of 112
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by jenmat View Post

Not to question this lady, but the nut-allergy alert parents I know NEVER order chocolate cakes.... too much of a danger. I know you can make a nut-free chocolate cake, but I thought nut-allergy 101 was NEVER order chocolate ANYTHING unless you know where the chocolate used comes from. Seems like this lady was taking a chance just by ordering a chocolate chocolate cake and not asking you to check your chocolate source. 

Yes that made me wonder as well, I know if my child has a nut allergy i would never order anything chocolate! Note: she's STILL bashing me after I blocked her off of face book.. I've done nothing wrong but sincerely care rather or not her child went to the hospital! Growl o.O she is now harassing me.. and taking this to a whole nother level, she keeps saying how I ruined her sons birthday and how he won't stop crying! Wouldn't you're sons birthday be tragic if something happened to him!!! Ahh some people lol.
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