Cake Decorating Community - Cakes We Bake

Need some advice please! Grrrrr.....had a request for a cake due this evening from a woman I have baked for a  number of times, and she has referred many people my way. She wanted a three tier cake, topsy turvy, bright and crazy, full of candy for her daughters birthday. She had the same thing for her daughters birthday last year so she knew what she was aking for. I purchased all the ingredients needed, including all the candy, which is quite costly. She sends me a message of Facebook yesterday afternoon asking if we can 'put a pause on the cake because it's madness here". In my mind, pausing the cake means you still want it but not yet.....wrong. I sent her a message back saying to let me know when she did want it. She sends me a note this morning telling me that only 5 girls are coming to her party so it's just way too much cake - can I make her a big cupcake cake intsead. Seriously??! I'm ready to scream. I have been too much time and money for nothing. ....

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Oh dear - here we go again, customers not having a clue what's involved in making a cake.  You are really in a spot here aren't you?  Regular client, good referrals, can't really afford to upset her.  Clearly you haven't got time to make a different cake, plus the expense of the other.  If she is that good a client, can you make an exception this time and say she can have the topsy turvy for the cost of a giant cupcake, plus what you have already spent on the topsy cake?  But make it clear you are only making an exception this one time as she is a good client and you want to help her out without being out of pocket yourself.

Would be an option if I had time to finish it, but I don't. I stopped working on it yesterday when she told me to 'pause' it thinking she just wanted it at a later time, and I would just wrap and freeze the layers. Yesterday was my day to make that cake - I have three going out tomorrow that I need to focus on today - all three tier cakes so I have zero time to do anything for her.

I agree with Katy i would try to accommodate her somehow because she is a regular customer and has sent other customers to you, but I think you should tell her that for the future you may not be so accommodating.

In addition, what I would do moving forward is get a deposit on the cake from all customers.  I have started doing that from customers.  At least 50% deposit - non refundable.  This ensures that you dont waste and $ buying materials and the person cancels.

 

Oh dear - this makes it even trickier.  I think you will just have to turn her down - kindly, but firmly.

Joann Gottermeyer said:

Would be an option if I had time to finish it, but I don't. I stopped working on it yesterday when she told me to 'pause' it thinking she just wanted it at a later time, and I would just wrap and freeze the layers. Yesterday was my day to make that cake - I have three going out tomorrow that I need to focus on today - all three tier cakes so I have zero time to do anything for her.

I think part the problem is that I have bent over backwards to make her happy, her referrals have all been the same way...it's like 'well this is what I want and you have to accomodate me'. No, actually, I don't. I don't think she would be like this with a storefront bakery. It isn't right to order an expensive, labor intensive cake and then change your mind 24 hours before you are supposed to pay for it.

Tell because she changed her mind after you have already started working on the initial design you both agreed upon and then asked you to pause on the cake..her words.. now with all of the changes she has made in such a short amount of time you will not have to make another cake as your is tight you had clients already booked before her. Sometimes you have to tell them like it is.. I have lots of repeat clients who I don't want to push away either but if you can't do it you simply can't do it.. after all it's not your fault but hers because she kept changing her mind. 

I'm about to scream with you Joann...I'm with Hakima, tell her like it is...and PLEASE, start getting a non-refundable deposit.

If you would like to retain her as a client have you thought about telling her that you purchased items for her particular cake and are unable to return those items.  A compromising solution may be to offer her a "candy bar" or "build your own" cupcakes as an alternative to scratching everything.  With careful explanation you may be able to salvage this event and still come out as accommodating and yet not a push over.  Good luck! I look forward to hearing how this turns out. 

I'm with Susan.  Kids love to decorate their own items.  The "girls" would have a great time.  I hope it all works out.

Loved Susan's idea...we are waiting what happened...lol

Good afternoon everybody.......so here's what happened in condensed version. She's the type of person who wants what she wants and doesn't care what it costs, and who has to do it, and her teenage dtr is turning out just like her. Dtr couldn't decide what kind of cak she wanted so mom went the same route as last year. Day before party that was supposed to be 25/30 kids, only 5 are coming, so dtr pitches a fit....mom decides she doesn't need a big cake for 5 kids and cancels order with no regard to my time or expenses for cake she ordered. Wanted me to do something completely different - including different flavor - for 24 hours later. Didn't want any of the candy already purchased because that wasn't what her (spoiled rotten, self centered) daughter wanted. "She wants a big cupcake cake!" Didn't seem to care that I had spent time and money (gee, wonder where the daughter gets her attitude from?) just knew what she wanted and had to have it by the next evening. Sorry, I can't help you- have three cakes to finish for people who have respect for me and what I do. Oh, and then she sends me a message on facebook telling me that she's still my number one fan. Uh huh.

 

I have baked for other people for years and have never bothered with deposits or anything like that because until now I have never had anyone treat me like this.....not certain I will ever take another order from her again, but if I do you can be sure I will get a deposit ahead of time. On a high note, the three cakes I did after this all turned out great - a 2 tier, a 3 tier, and a 4 tier - and the people who got them could not have been happier. Two referrals from people at those parties already this morning who are excited about getting cakes for their events.....I feel better! Have a great day everyone - thanks for the support and advice....you guys are awesome!! Happy caking!!

You know Joann, out of everything that you said here, guess what sticks out most to me?  The fact that the daughter only had 5 out of an expected 30 coming to her party.  mmmmm, now let me think, I wonder why that was?  Oh I know - perhaps nobody actually LIKES HER!!!!!!!!!!!!!

I'm glad you're feeling up beat again - you are great at what you do and clearly everyone knows that.

Amazing how people back down when they're stood up to isn't it..........

Joann Gottermeyer said:

Good afternoon everybody.......so here's what happened in condensed version. She's the type of person who wants what she wants and doesn't care what it costs, and who has to do it, and her teenage dtr is turning out just like her. Dtr couldn't decide what kind of cak she wanted so mom went the same route as last year. Day before party that was supposed to be 25/30 kids, only 5 are coming, so dtr pitches a fit....mom decides she doesn't need a big cake for 5 kids and cancels order with no regard to my time or expenses for cake she ordered. Wanted me to do something completely different - including different flavor - for 24 hours later. Didn't want any of the candy already purchased because that wasn't what her (spoiled rotten, self centered) daughter wanted. "She wants a big cupcake cake!" Didn't seem to care that I had spent time and money (gee, wonder where the daughter gets her attitude from?) just knew what she wanted and had to have it by the next evening. Sorry, I can't help you- have three cakes to finish for people who have respect for me and what I do. Oh, and then she sends me a message on facebook telling me that she's still my number one fan. Uh huh.

 

I have baked for other people for years and have never bothered with deposits or anything like that because until now I have never had anyone treat me like this.....not certain I will ever take another order from her again, but if I do you can be sure I will get a deposit ahead of time. On a high note, the three cakes I did after this all turned out great - a 2 tier, a 3 tier, and a 4 tier - and the people who got them could not have been happier. Two referrals from people at those parties already this morning who are excited about getting cakes for their events.....I feel better! Have a great day everyone - thanks for the support and advice....you guys are awesome!! Happy caking!!

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