Nightmare Experience (Very Long)

Decorating By Rising_Flours Updated 5 Aug 2008 , 6:50pm by poshcakedesigns

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Rising_Flours Posted 27 Jul 2008 , 5:27pm
post #1 of 13

A Bride called me two weeks ago and asked me to make a cake for her wedding. Not wanting to disappoint, I said it should be no problem, although I had serious concerns about the time frame.

I make cakes only as a hobby, and I have two other jobs that I use to pay the bills. Because of this, proper planning is critical.

Upon further investigation, the bride told me that she would be leaving the cake outdoors for the entire day. (Where I live, in July, this is not advisable for ANY food product, especially not one made of sugar and dairy products.) She then told me that half way through the day, they would be picking the cake up and moving it. At this point, I started to get really nervous about her expectations; but it continued to get worse.

She let me know that what she wanted specifically was a three tier vanilla cake with light cream icing and fresh raspberries in the filling. The colour of which would be all ivory. She wanted to do a taste test before the wedding, and wanted to pay only 100$. Although this is only my hobby, I do like to at least cover the expenses, so 100$ was far too low. Also, there was still the issue of fresh cream and fruit sitting out all day long.

I came up with a solution that I thought would solve at least some of my concerns. I would make her an artificial Styrofoam cake for display purposes, and smaller slab cakes in whatever flavour she wanted that could sit in the fridge until needed. I also let her know that it would not cost 100$.

She was not sold on the idea of an artificial cake, and only wanted a real one. At this point I was really weary of working with her, and sent her an email that basically said this is what I will do. and this is the cost, take it or leave it. I more or less wanted her to find somebody else to make the cake, and free me of my obligation. She was just too difficult to work with and the time frame was far too tight.

She took it.

After we were able to come up with a compromise for all of the details, I sent her one last email asking the directions to where I was delivering it to, and whether there would be flowers waiting for me there to add to the cake. This was a week before the wedding. I never heard back from her, and had to look up all the country clubs and banquets halls within 100km of my city to find one with the hall's name.

When the cake was done, I was really happy with how it turned out, although the colour was a little more saturated that I would have liked. I figured that Ivory was kind of a broad term though, and that it would be fine.

I finally found the hall, although I had no confirmation that it was the correct place, and set the cake up, left it with the event coordinator and left a copy of my invoice.

The next morning I received a voicemail message from the bride's mother saying that she thinks the cake must have gotten mixed up with another order. It was peach coloured, and her daughter had ordered ivory. They didn't use the cake at all as it did not match their colour scheme, and it was still sitting at the golf course.

They didn't even serve it and eat it; it's still just sitting there! The only reason I can think of that they would do this is that they don't want to pay me. At this point, I am more than ready to just cut my losses and be done with these people. As long as I don't have to deal with them again, I will accept not getting paid for the job.

Without offering them some kind of additional free service, is there anything else that I can do to save my reputation, which until this point was impeccable?

I'm just wondering if a similar thing has happened to anyone else, and what you did about it after the fact. I know that I won't charge her for the cake, and I know that I don't ever want to make anything else for her.

Sorry this was so long, just needed to rant to fellow bakers who might understand how I feel. I added a picture of the cake in question.

12 replies
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CakesByJen2 Posted 27 Jul 2008 , 5:49pm
post #2 of 13

First of all, your cake is beautifully decorated, and is by no means peach!! That is definitely an ivory cake. Is your picture taken at the reception site? I'm wondering if there was possibly some weird lighting when the MOB saw it that made her think it was peach? It makes no sense, though. Even if it WERE peach instead of ivory, that is no reason not to serve it! THat's just plain stupid. I think they are probably just looking for an excuse not to pay for it because the bride had second thoughts about having to compromise on what she really wanted. I would tell them it was ivory, that there must have been a problem with their lighting, and they are still expected to pay. I would not offer them anything because you absolutely did nothing wrong. I wouldn't worry about your reputation, because (1) you're just doing this as a hobby anyway, and (2) anybody who knows them or has to deal with them will recognize them for being the idiots that they are and not take anything they say at face value.

I have generally found that people who order on short notice are nothing but trouble, and I won't do anything with less than a month's notice anymore. Even if you are just doing this as a hobby, I would insist on being paid up front.

Sorry this happened to you!

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Texas_Rose Posted 27 Jul 2008 , 5:54pm
post #3 of 13

Did you actually go and pick up the cake? I'm wondering if they really used it and are trying to get out of paying for it, especially if you did go with a styrofoam display cake and the sheet cakes in the back. I can somehow imagine them displaying your cake and then serving some grocery store cakes instead so they could have a lovely cake on display and then stiff you for the bill.

I don't think that you need to offer them any sort of free service at all. She gave you really short notice and asked for something impossible (and weird, why did they need the cake to sit outside all day and move it halfway through the day?) She probably has her own reputation with everyone who knows her, and they won't pay attention to anything she says about you.

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indydebi Posted 27 Jul 2008 , 6:13pm
post #4 of 13

When she got to the "I'm only paying $100" I would have kicked her to the curb then and there. Add to that the issues with fruit and cream and I'm done with her. I HAVE told a bride who asked, "Can I get the whole cake iced in cream cheese?" and I said, "Not for an outdoor wedding you can't."

When it comes to food safety issues, no bride dictates to me how things will be done. icon_mad.gif Because if there's a problem, it's not the BRIDE they are going to sue! It's not the BRIDE the health dept will come after. It's ME. So that's why I have the final say. Period. No Negotiation.

Why you think you owe her a free service is totally beyond me. They didn't pay you. They didnt' tell you where to take the cake. icon_eek.gif You did WAY more than I would have done by tracking it down and then HOPING you were in the right facility!

Your reputation is at stake?? Holy Moly, you went so above and beyond on this cake it's pitiful!! How are they going to explain to their friends, "Yeah, I wanted something that would poison you at my reception, I didnt' tell her where to deliver the cake, I was just too picky on peach vs. ivory, and I stiffed her on the bill. Isn't she a terrible cake lady to work with?"

They bought the prom dress and left the tags on and now they are trying to return it the next day.

And especially for last minute cakes, you don't leave the cake AND an invoice. You don't even turn on the oven until you have money in your hand.

File it all under lessons-learned for next time.

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costumeczar Posted 27 Jul 2008 , 8:07pm
post #5 of 13

You say that you're willing to not get paid as long as you don't have to deal with these people again, so if you're really okay with that, just let it go and chalk it up to experience. Don't take last minute orders anymore, and make sure that you get paid beforehand. In cash if it's less than 2 weeks before the event.

On the other hand, you did deliver the cake, and you have pictures of it that are obviously not a peach color. Just because they chose not to use it doesn't mean they can decide not to pay you. I'd send her a copy of the invoice with a note stating that the cake was delivered to the correct venue, and you still expect her to pay you for services rendered. If she ignores it then you can either pursue it or not, but at least you'll have tried. If she does ignore it I'd definitely send her another letter stating that due to non-payment, you won't be accepting any orders from them in the future.

Definitely don't give her ANYTHING free because of this, and don't take any orders from her again.

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KitchenKat Posted 28 Jul 2008 , 8:37am
post #6 of 13

Ouch! A very painful lesson learned the really, really hard way. I echo what costumeczar and indydebi said. Push it for as far as you're willing and then let it go.

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grama_j Posted 28 Jul 2008 , 9:53am
post #7 of 13

This is very confusing to me....... what were your final arrangements ? Did you take the dummy cake and make sheets to serve ? If so, did you contact the venue to pick up the dummy ? Did you talk to the venue and see if they did indeed leave the cake or was it served ? I'm thinking they are NOT going to have a reception without a cake no matter WHAT color they think it is....... I think they are trying to get out of paying you........ contact the golf course and see what REALLY happened.........

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Tashablueyes Posted 30 Jul 2008 , 5:51am
post #8 of 13

I agree, this cake is NOT peach, and I also agree that you should speak with the venue, A. To get your supplies back, and B. To find out what actually did happen. People are jerks! I have only sold one cake so far to someone I didn't know and it turned out to be a good situation, but the more I read here on CC, the more I realize that goal # is to cover your own butt and get a deposit! Maybe after you speak with the venue and they actually did serve your cake, they will type something up and sign it stating that they did so you can use it to get your payment.

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Jasmine33 Posted 30 Jul 2008 , 6:04am
post #9 of 13

That is a beautiful cake. How much did you wind up charging her?

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HerBoudoir Posted 30 Jul 2008 , 1:18pm
post #10 of 13

Why did you spend all that time and effort chasing her down after she didn't return your calls and didn't pay for the cake?

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mbh724 Posted 30 Jul 2008 , 6:56pm
post #11 of 13

A lot of red flags went up and you ignored them all. Chalk it up to a huge learning experience and forget it.

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PinkZiab Posted 31 Jul 2008 , 3:51am
post #12 of 13

And especially for last minute cakes, you don't leave the cake AND an invoice. You don't even turn on the oven until you have money in your hand.

I agree 100%! Also the fact that you weren't even given a delivery address my guess is they went with another baker and just never canceled the order with you. Lesson learned... never even start working without a deposit nor deliver a cake that's not paid in full!

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poshcakedesigns Posted 5 Aug 2008 , 6:50pm
post #13 of 13

This is why I get paid weeks before the cake is delivered.

HUM didn't serve the cake because of the color? still would have tasted like cake and like your guest want eat it because the color is peach. yea right!!! icon_confused.gificon_confused.gif I bet they ate the cake and just want to stiff you on the bill.

Always Always Always get paid before you make the cake.

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