Wednesday, November 16, 2011

The Baker's Secret...Nasty People Go On The "No Cake For You" List

Everyone knows one. A person who is so nasty, entitled, and demanding they treat other people like dirt and expect to be thanked for it.

I used to work in a department store, and there were a couple of customers who we HATED. When they came in, every salesperson would suddenly want to take their break. Since I was the manager I'd inevitably have to deal with these two jerks because they always had something to complain about.

My finest moment at that store was right after I had turned in my notice. One of the customers came in and started with me. I told him that since we never seemed to be able to make him happy, he should go shop somewhere else from now on. He called me a censored name and said that he was going to turn me in. I said have at it, pal, I already quit. (The best part of this was that I had been chatting with the personnel director when Mr. Jerko came up to harass me, so I had a witness who saw how "delightful" the "gentleman" was.)

This guy thought that since he was the customer, and I worked for the store who wanted his business, he had the upper hand and could be as nasty as he wanted. Little did he know that mentally, I did not work for the store anymore, so my perspective had changed. I did not want his business and the aggravation it would guarantee, and I wasn't afraid to tell him that.

Sometimes people are afraid to turn down jobs for fear of not having enough business booked. This is pretty common for new businesses, but I still hear of established businesses who take any job even though they complain about the client's attitude. For your own mental health and stress level, you need to change your perspective on that.

I've heard of vendors in many different types of wedding businesses who just refused to accept contracts from nasty bridezillas. One photographer even put in her contract that if the bride started acting crazy she could cancel her contract! Those people have figured out that it's far happier to not deal with nasty people. Nobody wants to work with a pill.

And yes, this goes both ways. If you're nasty to a client, of course they're not going to hire you! I've had brides tell me some rude things that other vendors have told brides...One said that when she told the baker that she had 300 guests but only needed a small cake, the baker said "Well then why are you here?" What? Rude.

I'll say that I've been really lucky and have never been hired by a Bridezilla, and I'm going to go knock on some wood right now.

Okay, I'm back. So even though I've been pretty lucky so far, I do hear stories of people who have had to fire a client, or who have suddenly become booked for their date after talking to them for any length of time. (Strangely, a lot of these stories center around cakes for 1st birthdays. Luckily, I don't do many of those.)


Today I was talking to one of my cake friends, and she said that she had an appointment with a client who started in on a racist rant during their meeting. Well, I think that I'd be busy on their date if that happened. Racists don't deserve good cake, they deserve to get something nasty from the grocery store. Preferably something stale.

I've also heard of clients who had so many demands before they even sent a deposit or had a tasting, there's no way to know what they would do once they did hire you. I can tell the difference between a nervous bride and a rude one, so that kind of thing is easy to deal with. Nervous is fine and can be calmed down if you help the bride to understand the process and what you'll do to help make her wedding go smoothly. Rude can't be calmed down, it just exists.

Super nasty clients come along so rarely, it's not a concern most of the time. If your psycho radar goes off during the initial phone call or an appointment, though, be careful. Don't be afraid to set limits.

If someone is rude, abusive, or disrepectful of your time, that isn't someone who you want to work with. (And like I said before, it goes both ways. Brides shouldn't work with a vendor who is rude to them.) Don't be afraid to draw that red X through their date and take a day off. I guarantee that doing that will be far more relaxing than dealing with one of those people from Bridezillas.

How do you handle nasty clients? Do you refuse to take their business or do you just grit your teeth and deal with it? Let me know in the comments below.  (No client names please!)


 Kara Buntin owns A Cake To Remember LLC in Richmond VA, and cake supplies online at www.acaketoremember.com and www.acaketoremember.etsy.com

5 comments:

Jessica said...

I have been "booked" for a few customers that set off my zilla radar (momzilla,bridezilla,friendzilla, they come in all shapes and sizes). However I still have trouble saying no, not for fear of lost business but because I don't want to hurt anyone's feelings, dumb I know.

Jenniffer said...

Kara, we definitely think along the same lines. I have "No Cake For You" group in my Outlook, although I call it something else (not so nice!). I think certain people get it in their head that the whole world works like your department store - you have to nice to them because if not, they'll run and tell the boss.

Debby said...

Funny how so many people "forget" their manners when a wedding is involved!

Anonymous said...

Hello Kara,

Many thanks for this article!

Few months ago I got an email from a bride who told me what she wanted and how much her budget is for her wedding cake.

She wanted all inclusive cost, including delivery. I am lucky enough to live near vineyards where lots of wedding helds, and I never charge delivery because it is only like 5 - 15 minutes away.

She wanted ivory, with brown or gold color, she wanted 3-tier cake, desserts portions, sugar/gum paste roses in brown and ivory color. So I replied her email with my quotation.

Then she replied and changed to 2-tier cake, she said the icing doesn't need to be smooth, she wants the most cheapest options, this is exactly what she said in her email:

"I hope you can calculate something cheaper. I prefer to have the cake as cheap as possible so that in the event that you require a delivery fee, I still won't go over budget."

I don't know why but it kind of offended me. I feel that she doesn't appreciate my job at all. By the sound of it, she wanted a nice wedding cake but not willing to spend more. She also doesn't appreciate how much time and effort to make the wedding cake.

I replied her with my quotation again and told her politely referring her to another cake decorator and a cake shop in my area whom I know supplies wedding cakes too.

She was happy with my reference and then she said that she would like to do cake tasting first before she make a decision and will contact me again in Jan or Feb 2012 for cake tasting appointment.

I thought to myself, IF YOU WANT A CHEAP CAKE, WHY BOTHER WITH CAKE TASTING????!!!!!!

If you were me, what would you do? Would you still do cake tasting, or sell the cake to her?

Thank you for your enlightenment, Kara!


Cheers,
Anela

Kara said...

Anela, It depends on if you want the job or not. You could charge her for the cake tasting, which is something that a lot of bakers are starting to do if they don't already. Especially for smaller cakes with the profit margin being so small, a free tasting isn't as easily absorbed into the cost of the final cake. For a two-tier cake I'd see if I was making some samples for other people that day anyway, and I might do a tasting. But if I did samples on an individual basis I wouldn't do a tasting for a cake that small. If you don't feel right about it then don't do the tasting and let her find a different vendor, it will make your life easier in the long run.