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Guest Threatening to Picket Business - Help!!!

post #1 of 86
Thread Starter 
Ok guy and gals, I have a doozey for you o.O

I work out of a retail bakery in Brea CA, and this past weekend we did a cake for a guest and long story short, during transport (they picked up the cake), the guests managed to completely decimate the cake. They sent us pictures of the cake, and it definitely looked as if the driver turn a turn too sharply, or pumped the brakes too hard, as the layers literally all slid away from each other. We have been in business for over 3 years now, and the way we assemble our cakes has not changed, and we have NEVER had any stability issues.

Cut to today, we get a call from an extremely angry great grandmother who is demanding full compensation. Not only for the $200 cake, but she is also asking for a full car detail to get the red icing stains out of the transport vehicle. If they don't get what they demand, she is threatening the business with a picket this coming weekend.

Before you ask, the owner does not require any kind of contracts (which I have vehemently urged them to institute), so we have no kind of paper shield as it were.

What in the world can we do?!?
post #2 of 86

Talk to a lawyer!!

post #3 of 86
Thread Starter 
post #4 of 86
Thread Starter 
post #5 of 86

Was the cake 1 tier? About 4" high only? That cake looks like it was dropped...if it was from a sharp corner or hard braking I'm sure the car would be a wreck too. Why has that person got so stained from the BC? Were they holding onto the cake the entire journey?

post #6 of 86
Thread Starter 
Yes it was only 1 tier, but our cakes run anywhere between 5-6" tall.

The icing outside was whipped cream (Whip'n Top brand) as I work in an Asian based bakery.

The transport vehicle was also a compete wreck, and as part of their compensation, they are demanding a full car detail. As for the red hands, all we have been able to guess is that when the event happened, whoever who around the cake panicked and latched on to the cake in order to 'save' it.

post #7 of 86

Lawyer up.  I used to get angry customers at the grocery store all the time.  They always said something like "I'm going to boycott" or "i'm going to tell all my friends" or "I'm never going to shop here again!"  Usually they were right back in the next week like nothing ever happened. If they continue to insist on a full refund, the owner may have to consult a lawyer and may lose due to lack of contract. However, I cannot imagine they would be able to recoup the costs of the car detail.  Red icing on the seats is an expected consequence of of transporting a red cake.

post #8 of 86

let em picket. Most people will look at them like they are crazy and come in just so they can ask what the crazy people outside are *****ing about...They will get tired and go home.

post #9 of 86

I don't want to sound like I am on the customer's side, but the cake should have been in a box - this would at least have avoided staining their car. Also, they should have been told not to travel with the cake on the seat or on someone's lap - neither are level. And if the cake had been cold, with a whipped cream icing outside, there would have been less possibility of it sliding. In any case, you can't tell how someone drives when you are handing over the cake, so even with the above 3 points covered, it still may have slid. At the very least, the bakery owner should have some kind of sign off for releasing any responsibility when customers drive their cake home. He should definitely seek legal advice though. 

post #10 of 86

Yikes! Lots of issues here! Why on earth would the owner not want contracts? Why on earth would the owner sell Disney cakes? Was the cake not in a box for transport - or how did the frosting end up on the back of the car seat?

 

Man, sorry..without a contract, it may be cheaper to pay for the car detailing than have to pay lawyer fees.

Hope everything works out, keep us posted!

Let's eat grandma. Let's eat, grandma. Punctuation saves lives.
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Let's eat grandma. Let's eat, grandma. Punctuation saves lives.
Reply
post #11 of 86

Why no box?  That seems like the biggest negligence on the part of your employer (as well as the Mickey cake).  I wouldn't move a cake or pastries uncovered between coolers in our restaurant, let alone stick it on someone's lap in a car???

 

Wish your employer well, but use this as a learning experience.

 

Liz

Follow me on my Twitter handle: @Sugar_Iowa

Or on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/SugarFineBakedGoodsAndConfections

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Follow me on my Twitter handle: @Sugar_Iowa

Or on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/SugarFineBakedGoodsAndConfections

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post #12 of 86
Thread Starter 
Believe me, I am aware of all the issues here (the box, the Disney, the contract) and I have told them on countless occasions all of the issues, but at the end of the day, they sign my check you know?

We never use boxes for our larger cakes (anything with a 14" board or bigger) and never experiences issues when we deliver, or when we hand them off to our guests as we do give them explicit details as to how to care and transport the cake.

We do state that the cake is handed over chilled, and tell people to ensure it is on a flat surface (pointing out that laps and seats are NOT a viable option). A lot of the issue we feel is that the guest sent a son or grandson to pick up and transport the cake. The boy couldn't have been older than 18 o.O
post #13 of 86
Quote:
 Believe me, I am aware of all the issues here (the box, the Disney, the contract) and I have told them on countless occasions all of the issues, but at the end of the day, they sign my check you know?
 

 

Work elsewhere.  You do not want to be associated with this bakery, especially if you are planning on opening your own business someday.  Boxes for large cakes are easy...a lot of people use new, unused moving boxes.

 

As for the customer, this is a buyer beware issue.  If there is no contract, there is no paper trail whatsoever of money being exchanged.  They can picket, but I doubt they will get anywhere with it.  The police will show up and make them leave for trespassing.  Also, picket lines are generally for labor injustices and this was just a badly handled business transaction.

 

That cake was dropped, by the way!

 

I do not have contracts either, but I don't have a storefront and my business is quite small.  In my situation, I would refund the money, but I don't deal with the general public, I have a set clientelle.

post #14 of 86
Quote:
Originally Posted by TheNerdyBaker View Post

Believe me, I am aware of all the issues here (the box, the Disney, the contract) and I have told them on countless occasions all of the issues, but at the end of the day, they sign my check you know?

We never use boxes for our larger cakes (anything with a 14" board or bigger) and never experiences issues when we deliver, or when we hand them off to our guests as we do give them explicit details as to how to care and transport the cake.

We do state that the cake is handed over chilled, and tell people to ensure it is on a flat surface (pointing out that laps and seats are NOT a viable option). A lot of the issue we feel is that the guest sent a son or grandson to pick up and transport the cake. The boy couldn't have been older than 18 o.O

May I ask why you and not the owner are asking the questions?  If your employers (the owners), have chosen not to implement your suggestions over 3 years of business, then this is a wake up call.    If a business does not have a signed contract, then there is nothing but "he said, she said", when an angry customer calls. 

 

Whether the retail store or the 18 year old grandson is to blame, and whether the bakery ends up paying or not paying for the cake/car clean-up, the owners need to take immediate steps to prevent FUTURE problems. 

 

Good luck negotiating this one with the owners.  I am sending all sorts of good thoughts thru the internet!

post #15 of 86


At least you have learned a lot of the "what not to do's" when you have your own shop. Since it's not your shop, it's not your responsibility, but I would ask for my letter of recommendation now, while the place is still in business. :)  As for the pickets, the owner should tell them to bring lots of people, it is great free publicity. What are they going to put on the signs anyway?-- "This bakery's cakes fall apart when dropped." ??

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