I was just writing the text when the phone ran. She will be here in 30 min! Thank you all! It's a big step for me that I will need to remember in the future.
Now I can get to work! Yeaa! I love what I do *squeal*
I used to be the biggest doormat ever, but I learned better. If you want to continue in business, you need to get a backbone, pronto! You can't allow any customer to do this to you. Whether she's a "friend" or not, her first consideration is not going to be your business's success or failure.
You must be of the mindset that your business comes first and if you don't take care of it, you won't have one to take care of. Put on your professional baker's hat and keep it on. You don't have to explain your policies, just enforce them. Courage has nothing to do with it - just tell it like it is: "These are my policies, take it or leave it." Of course, you'll put it a little more nicely, but basically this needs to be your attitude and the world won't come to an end if they walk out the door. You can't allow customers to scare or intimidate you into setting aside the policies you have in place. Just think how someone in another business would respond to you if you acted the same way.
You always have to stand up for yourself in this situation. Some people push on purpose and don't respect you if you don't push back.
I do have a good faith relationship with a handful of customers where I don't especially worry about deposits or deadlines. But these are customers who have given me so much business that even if I had collected payment, and they had to cancel at the last minute, I'd give them a refund. But these are situations of mutual respect and appreciation.
Some people just aren't happy unless they are exerting their power over you. Others are just extreme procrastinators. I recommend creating urgency in the sense that you only have so many spots and it's first come first served. It helps both types. You're just worried they aren't going to get their order in before someone gets their spot. You'd hate for that to happen.