My First Complaint!!!

Decorating By Jacscakes213 Updated 31 Mar 2011 , 3:11pm by cakedout

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Jacscakes213 Posted 15 Mar 2011 , 6:01am
post #1 of 16

Hello everyone, I am new to the forum but would love to share my most recent experience and get feedback. I have been doing cakes for about a year now and have tested some recipes and found the ones that work best for me. In this instance, the customer requested white/vanilla cake and lemon filling or some combo of the two so i did just that. The white cake recipe that i use is similar in texture and taste to angel food cake and holds up to stacking well.
The customer for this cake is someone I work with at my job and heard about me through othe coworkers that innate caked for. She requested a cake for her sons 18th bday. She wanted a two tiered cake with the design to incorporate the Paul Frank design for skull candy head phones( the monkey design). Before coming up with a design she asked me for a price and I quoted her 275 for three tiers and 225 for two. She balked at the prices and proceeded to "negotiate" with me. Because she is a coworker, I decided to give her a discount going with the twotiered cake with some sort of sculpted RKT headphones with the specific design. I charged her 160 which i felt was more than fair especially considering the work.
So the cake got made, the sone loved the design but upon delivering the cake I drove about 45 minutes away and was led to believe it was only 20 minutes--yikes gas!!!! I told the guy that the headphones were edible but not recommended.
The cake was delivered at 1:30 for the party at two. However , the cake was not consumed until almost eight o'clock that evening.
The next morning I got a text from my coworker who purchased the cake But did not Ttend the party saying that the cake was embarrassingly dry.
For the life of me I can not figure out how that i s possible.
When I delivered the cake, it was set on a table by open windows we live in an extremely dry climate, and left out for like seven hours. Needless to say the party goers ate the RKT headphones.
When I made the cake I kept a cut off top from the small tier which is the tier in question that was consumed, it was in my fridge unfrosted and unfilled loosely wrapped in plastic. The day after the cake was delivered , I tasted it and it was fine, so I cannot imagine how the frosted and filled cake covered in Fondant was dry. I just don't get it. I have used the same recipe before and had rave reviews....hmmmmm.
Any thoughts..I have to work with this woman...oh and her justification for getting me to discount the cake is that she was going to use me for her owns grad cake in a couple months....she makes costume bracelets and says that when one buys more than one she offers a discount..hmmm tiered cakes vs. Bead bracelets? Sorry this post is so long...please offer advice!!!!

15 replies
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CreativeCakesbyMichelle Posted 15 Mar 2011 , 7:08am
post #2 of 16

It sounds to me like this woman simply didn't want to pay the full price for the cake. She already convinced you to discount the cake and now wants to see if she can get it even cheaper by complaining and getting money back. I'd tel her you're sorry she was unhappy but there was nothing wrong with lthe quality of your cake and she'd be better off to find someone else for any future cakes. End the customer relationship with her now so she doesn't continue to try to take advantage of you. You lost some money by giving her a discount when you assumed she'd be purchasing future cakes from you but consider the money lost on the discount to be a small amount compared to the headache this woman would cause you in the future. Some people just aren't happy unless they are screwing someone else over.

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scp1127 Posted 15 Mar 2011 , 4:32pm
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If cake designers want respect for their craft, the respect starts at home. Come up with your price based on your skill and market price and stick to it. Sometimes you just need to graciously and respectfully say, "No". I certainly do. I have better things to do than sell my time for less than I am worth.

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divinecc Posted 15 Mar 2011 , 5:14pm
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Hi Jacs! I am from Utah (Northern) too! Welcome to the forums icon_lol.gif I am sorry to hear about the complaint, it is hard to cater to everyones different tastes and opinions. You had mentioned that the cake was kind of like an angel food cake? To me an angel food cake texture is a little dry, maybe she didn't know it was like angel food so it seemed a bit dry to her???? She seems like a handful from the beginning so like everyone else said, she could just want "free" cake and will use any excuse.

I have a hard time getting people to pay for custom cakes as well. Everyone is so used to getting deals at Wal Mart etc and don't think of how much time goes into them. Don't sell yourself short, it's really not worth it in the end. I was constantly giving people discounts and then I started hating making cakes because it wasn't worth all the time away from my family and the late nights. Now I quote the price I should and if they don't want to pay that, I explain everything that goes into it and let them choose. If they don't want it, no biggie, I get to use my time somewhere else wisely. I am much happier that way! That's just my experience!

Don't let her get you down...hope you figure everything out!

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yesmichelle Posted 15 Mar 2011 , 5:46pm
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I had a similar experience when I made a cake for a friends' birthday. I have done quite a few cakes for other friends of her's and she loved them. I suspect that she never inquired what I charge.

Well, we we sat down for the interview/tasting, she seemed like I was trying to ROB her. I told her a 2-tier round cake with Raspberry filling (10" & 14") would be $225 with basic vanilla buttercream. She went on and on about being in a tight spot financially and how she knew I could do it for way cheaper.

SO...I told her where the 5 nearest bakers were including grocery stores, Sams club and a local commercial baker. She seemed as if I spit on her... UGH! I don't ask her to sew clothes for me and only pay for the thread! It is more than the cost of the materials! Yes, I already had all the stuff on site and own my pans. But I am in a tight spot too...I am running a business and I can't offer discounts to customers and not get one for the gas that heats my stove or the suppliers of my raw materials. Combine that with the hours I work (which means I am not being a MOMMY...) and you can see she was getting off easy.

Luckly, she chose a different baker and the cake didn't taste to great. Everyone told her..."you should have let Michelle do it! Her cakes are edible and look way better than this __________!"

Long story short...know your worth and remember that when they start to complain about the price, you can expect that they will never be satisfied!!!

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Chasey Posted 15 Mar 2011 , 6:05pm
post #6 of 16

I'm sorry you had a complaint! That's pretty nervy for a coworker to complain to you. I would have just kept that to myself unless you specifcally asked me. By me not buying a future cake from you, that is all the hint I would give if I were her.

I'm thinking the angel food cake texture threw her off. I agree that by nature those cakes are dryer for sure.

I would tell her that you level all of your cakes and therefore have cut into them and tested each tier. Let her know how you stored it and that the next day it wasn't dry either. Gently suggest it was the texture and that it is from scratch (I assume) and not a box mix. Her expectations just don't seem to match up with the actual product. Doesn't mean your product was bad though.

Stick to your guns if you feel sure the cake was perfectly baked!

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sari66 Posted 15 Mar 2011 , 6:06pm
post #7 of 16

Sounds like buyers remorse to Me icon_sad.gif Don't give a customer a discount unless it's one you want to give! Tell her that you're sorry she didn't enjoy the cake and that may she needs to find someone else to make her Grad cake.
Good luck

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KeltoKel Posted 15 Mar 2011 , 6:18pm
post #8 of 16

ask her if there is anymore cake left because you would like to taste it. Then if she tells you all of it was eaten, you can simply say, "well, it must not have been that bad then..." LOL!

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KSMill Posted 15 Mar 2011 , 7:00pm
post #9 of 16

I agree you should stick to your prices. Your craft is worth a lot. You gave her a couple of choices so she had a couple of different price points.

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dreamcakesmom Posted 15 Mar 2011 , 7:26pm
post #10 of 16

I had a situation a while back where i got an email saying essentially, "The cake was a work of art however. . .I hate to complain but it was a little bit dry. At the time I didn't understand because based on my own taste the cake was moist, blah, blah blah but after getting some CC feedback I realized as you may that most customers are looking for more of a layer cake (buttercake) texture which is super moist. To me Angle food cake is on the dry side which is why I always eat it with soaked fruit or a sause. If they were expecting one thing and got something different I can see where the confusion may lie. You may want to consider noting to people that this particular cake is more like an angel food cake to cut down on any confusion in the future

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Jacscakes213 Posted 29 Mar 2011 , 6:05am
post #11 of 16

Well a little update....since the whole cake being dry thing..she treated me like crap at work ....yen she got herself fired for who knows what...karma sucks... When her friend called me , she had said that she had the bottom tier left over. I told he rot bring it to me, I never saw know that if I had Such a complaint and the baker was willing to look at it I would definitely get it to her.... I fuss she was just full of crap....ah well lesson learned thanks for all the feedback!!!!

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sweetaudrey Posted 29 Mar 2011 , 1:44pm
post #12 of 16

Glad karma worked out for you in this situation! HAHA That's too funny! icon_lol.gif

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Jacscakes213 Posted 30 Mar 2011 , 6:47pm
post #13 of 16

Well, finall figured out to get pictures on this deal...Yea. So here is the cake that this post is in regards to ..I charged 160 after many back and forths on price. Never again..Those headsphones took me forever!!

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Jacscakes213 Posted 30 Mar 2011 , 6:53pm
post #14 of 16

lets try this again....


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sweetaudrey Posted 31 Mar 2011 , 12:56pm
post #15 of 16

I think you did a good job. My favorite color just so happens to be blue sooooo this cake really apeals to me! icon_biggrin.gif

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cakedout Posted 31 Mar 2011 , 3:11pm
post #16 of 16

What a cute cake! Great job! icon_biggrin.gif

Yeah- ya live, ya learn. I remember getting a complaint early in my decorating years. It's kinda devastating. However-- this gal sounded like a piece of work from the beginning. icon_confused.gif She is probably one of those that complains about EVERYTHING!

If you have ANY reservations about your cake being dry, consider doing some recipe re-vamping. After several complaints of the same nature, I finally reworked my recipes. Been great in the 20 years since. icon_smile.gif

Time to move on.... Next! icon_lol.gifthumbs_up.gif

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