No I didn't tell her that. She asked me a month ago on first contact if I was available on that date. I was available then, I'm now sold out (the day before Mothers Day!). I work on a first come first serve basis. When I sell out, I sell out.
I don't ask for deposits on small cakes. I only ask for deposits on wedding cakes or substantial projects. I do not state my terms to a prospective small cake clients. I don't have many of them!! I want to be able to reject unreasonable clients at any point. They can fire me at any time also, that's what I get by not asking for deposit. I give people quotes on cakes all the time, asking for a quote doesn't guarantee they'll buy from me, there is no contract. If I have a no show on a cake, my hubby is always happy to take it to work.
I didn't hear back from her for over a week after I gave her 6 different quotes on cakes. I figured she was busy shopping pricing with every decorator. I had no certainty that she'd finally order from me! I just continued on with my life. I didn't email her warnings, that's not my style.
Please don't take this the wrong way, and I understand some of your points about going on with your life, but by not following up on an order seems like bad business...people will start talking about you being unreliable or flaky. Since you didn't tell the woman specifically about needing a response to secure the date, you did give her the impression that you were doing it. She should have followed up, too. I am a very small business and when I send out a quote, I keep it in an email folder marked "QUOTES OUT" so that I can follow up with someone if another person has inquired about the date or I just haven't heard from them in awhile. Yes, it's annoying but it IS part of exceptional customer service. It's worth making it "your style". I would have a minimum order if you don't want to waste your time with them. Since you have a big order that you HAVE to do, I would suck it up and do it or, at least, apologize for the miscommunication saying that since you didn't hear from you assumed she didn't want the cake. Maybe offer her a discount on a future order. Do whatever you have to, within reason, to save your rep...she CAN be a great referral if it's handled properly. I make it a habit to never let a quote go more than a week without following up. I just tell them that someone else has inquired about their date and wanted to give them first dibs on it before I took on another order...and that I will need a deposit to secure the date. Hope this helps! Customer service is a huge part of business, which you know. That small order that you don't care about just might be for someone who can open some doors for you in the future! And being able to reject unreasonable clients is a perk of this business...but at any point??? Once you've committed...you've committed. Unless something is beyond your control you gotta do that cake! Would you drop a client who has paid a deposit? I sure hope not.....just some thoughts. Please don't think I am unsympathetic...I get it all, but you are building a reputation with each order, regardless of how large or small.