Ok, I've been really debating with myself if I should be posting this or not. A part of me is telling me look past it and get over it, but another part of me is still getting upset when I think about it so I guess I just needed the opinion of other cake decorators out there.
I got a really horrible email from a customer yesterday in relation to a cake I did for her last weekend. I've uploaded the initial sketch I gave her, and the invite it was based off and the finished cake. I'm upset because I don't know if what she said was justified. I've offered her a 50% refund on this cake because I don't want her money if that is how she really feels about my cake.
I've been running my business part time for over a year now and I have never ever had something like this said to me. I know I am not a 'professional' or perfect in anyway but this just really discourages me. And for a split second after reading that email yesterday I wondered if I should really be in this business (which is stupid I know! I should not let one person affect me like this!)
Just to be clear, the plastic wrap she is talking about is contact paper (I cover my larger boards that way). And by the way, the cake was covered with white chocolate ganache. I delivered the cake personally and she said 'oh wow' when she saw it so I don't know if she was just being polite to my face?!
Here is what she wrote:
I just wanted to send you an email in relationto the cake you did for my sons christening. Im sorry to say how disappointed i was with the cake. At first glance, i noticed that it was not a 3d cake, but i thought perhaps i made a mistake when i ordered it and i misunderstood our emails but i went through my emails today and no i did not make a mistake i asked for a 3D plane and that unfortuntely was not a 3d plane, it was 2d. Also, i have never seen a cake board covered in plastic wrap, i could not believe the cake board was not iced, the plane itself, did not even look like a plane, do you know how embarassing it was to have people ask me what the cake was supposed to be. Some people even thought it was a seal. The wings on the plane were different sizes and lengths and the cake itself, when it was cut, it was filled with butter-cream, i just couldn't believe it. I myself am an amateur cake decorator and i just did not understand how a cake could end up the way it did. To add to the disappointment the letters to his name kept falling down, before we even got to cut the cake and the propeller and the icing on the plane was so bumpy, it had ditches all over it. I just cant properly convey my disappointment, i was just so embarassed when people commented on the cake, they asked if i made it and when i stated i hadnt they were shocked that a "professional" had made the cake. I guess i just really needed to convey my disappointment and its taken me these few days to build up the courage to write this email as something like this has never happened to me before and i guess we can both learn from this experience.
Here is a link to the photo (I can't upload it here for some reason): http://img23.imageshack.us/img23/1096/cakebp.jpg
I dont think she needs a refund. how is there anything 2d about that? Its not like you piped a plane on a sheetcake.
If you dont mind, how much did you charge her for it? Maybe she is having buyers remorse about how much she paid for it.
From the picture, it looks like a very cute cake, nice and clean design too. The back wings are a little different from each other, I guess that's what she was talking about, but not in a way that really takes away from the design. And being filled with buttercream...well, isn't that how cakes are supposed to be? About it being 3D...it is 3D, right? if it was 2D it would be a picture of a plane, not a carved cake.
I think that cake is adorable, looks just like the sketch, and if her friends couldn't tell what it was they are idiots! I wonder what she thought a "3D" plane would be.
I'm so sorry that you got an email like that. Your cake looks just like your sketch, and if she approved the sketch then she has nothing to complain about. If people thought that was a seal, they're idiots.
And yes, that is a 3D cake. I mean, you don't have the whole thing represented (the underside) but if the customer asked you to use the invitation as your guide then you did your job and the cake looks great.
I would explain to the lady that you used contact paper, not plastic wrap to cover the board. What did she think the cake would be filled with? She said it was filled with buttercream?
I wouldn't offer her a refund at all. I'd apologize for the misunderstanding and tell her that you gave her a sketch of the cake and she did not bring up any issues with it at that time. If it wasn't what she was picturing then she should have done a better job conveying what she wanted and if she didn't like the sketch she should have said so at the appropriate time.
People are just dumb.... Chin up!
I think she liked it if that's what she said when she saw it. It sounds like others may have commented on it which caused her to change her mind about what she thought about it. She sounds like a very self conscious person from the email. Why would she be embarrassed? She didn't make it. Just really sounds like she was influenced by someone to me.
Wow. I think the cake is super cute and almost identical to your drawing and the invite/announcement pic. How "3D" did she expect it to be? Maybe she just wanted something for nothing, can't please everyone. Please don't stop your business for one crazy lady!!!
Does she think that 3d means it would fly in? cause that looks 3d, exactly like the one on the invite... i see buyers remorse.
Maybe she wanted the cake to be flying off the board?! I just can't understand
I charged her $320 for it and it needed to feed 75 people (coffee portions). Personally I don't think it's unreasonable considering that it needed to be carved.
And about the filling, I agreed with her before hand that I would be using white chocolate ganache, which is what i did use, but she's saying it was butter cream??
i was really expecting a mess, but that cake is adorable- and although it doesn't have a lot of detailing, if you see the picture on the invite, it totally makes sense. She specifically asked it to look like the invite?
I'm not sure the part about the "filled with buttercream." Did she mean there was too much filling in between the layers?
I think you did the right thing- she doesn't deserve a full refund, she doesn't even deserve a partial refund really- but the offer of 50% may help both of you get past it.
I think she expected the wings to be on the plane, its sounds like that was really her beef with the 3D. I can sort of see her point, but from a decorator's point of view- that isn't always possible.
I think the cake is super cute!
The cake looks fine to me...IDK what the problem is. What did she want on the inside other than BC, I just dont understand! I see a few bumps on the cake, but it looks good. Maybe the next time you do the letters like that, RI them down so they wont fall over..if they even did
You sure she doesn't want her money back? It definetly looks 3D to me, unless she was thinking how Buddy Valastro or Ace of Cakes does the full body standing cakes. If thats the case, tell her the cake would have been $1500. I think it came out really nice. I'm just thinking maybe she was thinking the whole body would be up. But $320 wouldn't come close to covering that!
Thank you everyone for your kind words, I know I'm not perfect and I thought I was going crazy. I hate it when I let people like that make me doubt myself. :/
I mean I would never have given her the cake if it was that big of a mess! BayCheeks, i did stick the letters down with royal icing. I placed it on her table myself and everthing was in place when I left her house.
Jentreu, I drew her a couple of sketches and she picked the one that was in the picture. And I said I will use ganache inside (rich melted chocolate mixed with cream) which i did! so she's basically saying it's butter cream, which it's not.
Well it seems like you covered all your basis, so I don't even know what to say. I mean she even picked out the design?!?!
A seal??? Good grief. She's not worth the heartache! You did a great job... looks just like the sketch.
Awwww, that cake is cute!
I expected to see a jacked up cake after reading her email. You did a great job, your cake looks just like the sketch, and the cake IS 3D, so don't offer her any money back!
Someone would have to be a fricking idiot to think that was a seal...or anything other than an airplane, for that matter.
Chin up, love...you did a great job. Keep the money - you earned it.
A seal? Seriously? Do they even know what a seal is?
Anyway, your cake is adorable...it looks exactly like the sketch (except for the board, but the clouds are cuter IMO). I wouldn't spend any more time worrying about her...and I wouldn't refund a cent. Next time, she can be Walmart's problem.
I don't know what was wrong with those people, but that is one cute cake, you did a good job, be proud of your work
She probably seen cake bosses plane and thought it should look like his. If so she should get a reality check on price. Was the blue the plane was sitting on a sheet cake or is that the paper she was talking about?
The cake looks exactly like the sketch, except for the amount of clouds. I see nothing wrong with this cake, its adorale. If this is what she agreed to, then tough noogies...she had buyers remorse................after she ate it of course. Ignorant person. Do not let her upset you. A far as "pro's". Honey let me tell you I have eaten some dry cake with nasty frosting from people calling themselves a pro.....let it roll off.................you did a great job. Period!
I expected to se a cake wreck. That cake is cute. She's talkin' outta her @$$.
By the way..... if you do have a business and sell your cakes, then yes, you are a professional.
I looked at the photo first before I read her email.
-Yes, that is 3D. 2D would have been just making the cake exactly like the sketch and using different tones and shading.
-Cake board-she's looking for something to complain about. Some boards I use fondant, some colored foil. I've never used the
contact paper, but a big designer in my area; that's all she uses.
-I knew it was a plane, not a seal. Sounds like buyer's remorse.
-As a general rule, I don't do any type of refunds unless there is ACTUAL damage to the cake. With that I have certain rules. IF there is damage...they have 24 HOURS to say something and bring me evidence. Believe me..if it's bad, THEY will call ASAP.
-Since she was upset, a credit would have been acceptable but not a refund because they ATE the cake and NOTHING WAS WRONG WITH THE CAKE!!
-Another way to gauge : Think of this, if she took you to Judge Judy, who do you think would win? I'm not trying to be funny, but seriously? Look at your cake and the contract, you delivered and she was hurt about the price.
Ugh some people.
i think you should print all of these replies and send it to her "the amatuer cake decorator" (lol) i would never - but it would make us all feel better...
you delivered a very cute cake...chin up !
I too was expecting a cake disaster, but what a cute cake! She must have idiots for friends if they received an invite with a little plane on it, and then at the party the same plane was in cake form, yet they thought it was a seal.
You did not need to refund any money IMO. I hope you don't let her email bother you for one minute longer.
the plane looks nothing like a seal.. it is way cute.. that amateur has no idea what she is talking about..
I do call anything that isn't completely sculpted 2d, or "bas relief" so that may be where she is coming from.. but that doesnt warrant refund to me
No seal here! That cake looks just like your sketch. It is simple and graphic. It is also definitely 3-D not 2-D. I might have laid the letters to the name down flat on the board(no one can knock them over and say they fell that way). Chin up- you are a pro. I use contact paper sometimes and othertimes fondant or other methods. There is nothing unprofessional about it.
She doesn't deserve a refund(not even 50%). I would say offer her a $20 credit on her next order. Did she eat the cake, return unused cake because there was a problem with the cake, etc.
She can't eat the cake and then complain about it later and hope to get it for free. You buy the shoes, wear them, honey at that point they are yours. Stores aren't going to take them back.
I think it's cute, definately not a seal. The only thing I would have done differently is put a little window/ door on each side, and made the whole thing blue. I know the window / door not in the sketch, but sometimes those little details make a big difference.
In my contracts I often have a part that states. "at decorator's discretion". I use this on custom cakes when I'm not sure exactly how it's going to look. For example. "Border discussed is a leaf type design in red or white at decorator's discretion." "cake to include blah blah blah, additional details at decorators discretion." etc. This gives me a little freedom to change things up, if I feel the cake needs a little something more, less, or slightly different. Overall I think it's a very cute cake...don't sweat it, she's overreacting a bit. I mean a seal...really, does she need glasses.
No...really! I've seen seals at the zoo! They have wings, propellors and everything! They're even blue and white! Didn't everybody know?
Seriously though, its a really cute cake. And I thought, if it was coming off the board, it was 3D; if it was drawn, 2D.
Since she's an "amateur cake decorator" herself and knows so much about it, maybe next time she should do her own cake, and see if she can make something look that good.
I'm sorry she did that to you. You really did a great job.
I just wanted to say that both myself and my hubby looked at the cake and it was awesome. I am not a professional and what I can do is no where near that level. You are a professional and your cake reflects that. I think that if she was that disappointed in the cake she would have called or left a message that same day. Sounds like what most of what everyone is saying..buyers remorse.
Keep baking honey you give hope to the "amateurs" like me!!!!
Great cake, just like the sketch and the invite.
It is 3d so maybe she should learn what that means before she complains about it.
I would not offer her any refund at all she got what she asked for to the letter!
Sounds like Buyers remorse!