Remember the Soup Nazi on the sitcom Seinfeld? He screams NO SOUP FOR YOU! at Elaine after she annoys him. "Come back, one year!"
We have a "No Cake for You!" list. We call it the B-List.
What do you have to do to get on the B-List? (I'll let you guess that "B" stands for, and simply say it is the opposite of the "A" list.)
- Stick us with a cake we cannot sell. A customer orders a large baby shower cake. Three tiers. Lots of fondant. At the end of the day, she still hadn't come to pick up the cake, so we called her. Is this Jane? Yes. We have your cake here. (click). When we called back, no answer. Then we tried calling from a different phone. Jane? Yes. This is Mary's Cakes & Pastries. (click).
- It's always a cake that took a long time to decorate and on a Saturday when we are fixing to close for two days. Like the laptop cake. Or the pineapple house cake. Or the other computer cake. Or the graduation cake. Or the stadium cake.
- Ask for something totally outrageous then be nasty about our lack of enthusiasm to make it. A customer emails a picture of what she wanted...you know...a cake that looks like an oil rig... to serve about ten people. She wants a quote and happened to mention that she had already called another bakery and was waiting for them to get back to her with a price. The photo was extremely detailed and she said she wanted the cake to look "exactly like the photo." I just said no, sorry but I don't have anyone at the shop capable (or willing) to make a cake like this. She snapped back that she didn't believe me since we came "highly recommended."
- Display a total disregard for the value of what we do. A customer complained about how she had been quoted one price for a cake but when she came to pick it up, the price was higher. Yeah, I remember her. She asked the price for a buttercream cake for her daughter's graduation, then decided she wanted a fondant covered cake, to look like two specific textbooks, in specific sizes, stacked one on top of the other. We charged her $20 for the extra carving, fondant and artwork. When I explained this to her, she got her daughter involved, as if somehow training the younger customer to be ungracious was somehow a rite of passage. Not wanting to get into an argument in front of the daughter, (which would never end well), I simply refunded the entire amount hoping I never EVER see either of them in the bakery again. The cake was perfect, by the way. She even said so.
- Another customer comes in with her daughter to order a wedding cake. They spend an hour-and-a-half designing it, sign a contract, and pay a deposit. The mother comes in alone a couple of days later and asks to speak with me privately. She tells me we charge way too much for our cakes and she can buy the same cake elsewhere for less. She explains that she didn't want to embarrass me in front of her daughter who had her heart set on our cake. Then she asks what I can do about that. I went to the back office, wrote her a check to refund her deposit, then quietly gave it to her and told her to contact the other bakery.
- Bring a totally annoying and spoiled child. A customer who comes in with her child. We offer the child a cookie. She picks one out and we hand it to her. She takes it and puts it in her mouth. Then whines, I don't want THIS one, I want THAT one. And the mother actually asks us to change the cookie!
And do we talk about these customers after they walk out the door?