Tuesday, July 18, 2006

Customers from Hell Volume V

First, a happy story to offset the 'Customer from Hell'.

A few years ago I was commissioned to create a likeness of a local museum (The Rahr West Art Museum). The museum has 2 parts, the newer art gallery addition & the older & historically preserved 3 story mansion. The Museum's president wanted me to recreate the mansion out of gingerbread. It was to be auctioned off to the highest bidder as a fundraiser.

Here is how something like this normally works: an individual donates the $ to pay me for my work, they write it off as a charitable contribution, the institution makes their $ from the sale of the item & everyone is happy.

I ALWAYS spend more time on a project like this than the amount of $ I receive from it. I feel that my extra hours & perfectionism is my donation. Most people are very pleased with an arrangement such as this.

Now I will treat you to the photos of the gingerbread mansion. (The link above will take you to a picture of the building itself.)

For scale: The base of the mansion was aprox. 2' x 2'. It stood roughly 4' tall.

This was a successful project. The persons involved were VERY pleased with the finished results. Yay!

Now...on to my rant. About 2 weeks ago I receive a call from the local courthouse. They are celebrating their centennial with a plan to restore a good portion of the beautiful building. The woman I spoke with explained that I came highly recommended as someone who could recreate the domed courthouse out of cake. "Of course!" I said.

She explained that they had a very limited budget & they needed cake to serve 200 people. As they were giving it away free I suggested the most cost effective option & told her I would give her an additional 10% discount just because. She said they really wanted me to make a small replica, whether or not they were able to order the additional sheet cakes from me. She stressed that it was very important that the cake resemble the courthouse from the stairs all the way up to the dome. I said that I could copy it in exquisite detail! She closed the conversation by saying she had to run it past a few more people yet, but that she would call back the next day either way.

People can be very rude & shallow in a small town. You'd think it would be the opposite. Nay. Very few people return phone calls or emails. (Except Uniquely Yours!) I really didn't think that would be the case here. I didn't expect the entire order but I did EXPECT the courtesy call back. Silly me. In hindsight, I have to wonder if the entire call wasn't just a 'hint' to see if I'd do it for FREE. In your fucking dreams lady! You can't tell me she couldn't collect 10 bucks from every well-to-do person in that building to fund an exquisitely 'Detailed Replica'. Oh, wait, I suppose they need that cash to run their gas guzzling trucks, bmw's, mercedes, lexus' & suv's. Right.

They did find someone else to do it for free. I assume. I mean I hope to hell they didn't pay one cent for the 'courthouse cake' that appeared on the front page of our local rag. I won't even post it here people. Sorry. I know you're dying to see it, too. It was the UGLIEST, most CROOKED cake I've EVER seen! Truly pathetic. If I were the person that was responsible for acquiring that monstrosity I would be embarrassed for the rest of my days. Not to mention whomever made it, because NO ONE took credit for it, in the article anyway. I did try to find a linky for you...no luck. Haha!!! They wouldn't even scan that badboy to put it up on the internet!

Ah well, c'est la vie. Life in a small town keeps getting better & better.

23 Responses to “Customers from Hell Volume V

Jewels said...

Well, you get what you pay for, right? Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha! Oh I kill myself!Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha!

B.T.W.: Your replica of the Art Galery is absolutely smashing (not unlike that Kid Rock C.D.!) But I probably would never eat a bit of it. It's too pretty... Well, unless I'm having a super manic P.M.S. Sugar craving attack.... But that's a different story... Ha! Ha! Ha!

Fuff said...

Never mind. Those who are in the know and have a lot more taste know who to go to.
What a cheek!
Love the gingerbread mansion :)

Cherry! said...

Love the cake! Tops!

But more than that I love your rants! Nothing like a good rant! Well maybe I could think of one thing.....

I'm totally dying to see that other cake!! I think it would be a good laugh. If it's one thing I can't stand it's tight asses and Italy is crawling with them.

BTW I have discovered a shop with THE best tiramisu icecream! OMFG! And they have all these other sweet treats there too. I may buy one to photgraph for you one day. Of you're lucky! hahaha!

MeHereNow said...

I hope the cake tasted as "good" *chuckle* as it looked!

You get what you pay for eh?!?

Lesley said...

Well... I'm not saying that I'm anti-small town, but I found that the peeps can be very very passive-aggressive. So instead of saying "Would you be willing to give us a deal on the cake?" which, indeed, you were, instead they'll call and ask and tiptoe around, hoping that instead you'll give it to them for free. Ridiculous!

But there are good things about small towns. I wouldn't mind living in a small town if it had a truly fabulous pastry shoppe! I'm just saying...

Katy said...

damn them I hope the cake was disgusting. Well obviously they did not care to much about the look just about the free cake!!!!!!

Lesley said...

btw, I forgot to mention that I really like the new colors on the blog. I hope that is a recent change and not something that took me about a month to notice!


Ace said...

As a small-town guy myself, I agree with The Lesley, that small-town people are completely passive-aggressive, or bipolar, or something.

Like me! You know, the one who alternates posts about munkees with posts about violence.

But I thought the museum thing rocked. You should be on the Food Network, I'm telling you. They just had a Gingerbread house contest show!

jin said...

jewels: You certainly do! I would NEVER ask you for free jewelry...um, well, then again.....wait, that's just TOTALLY different!!! Hahahaha!!!

Oh, but I like for people to eat it! LOL! The first large gingerbread house I made for me & family at Xmastime: no one wanted to touch it! I said "Last Chance!", balled up my fist & smashed clear through the roof!!! OOOOHHHHHHhhhhh....I LOVED DOING THAT!!!! LMAO!!! Then I proceeded to munch on it ike a little kid...mmming & ahhhing with every sweet crunchy decorated bite! :-D

fuff: Thanks fuff! :-D
David tells me the Americans he's met so far are WAY cheekier than the people he was used to back at home!

Hmmm....you gave me an idea. Never tried a gingerbread sail boat before!??! That'd be cute! LOL.


I have to see if I still have that newspaper rag sitting around. If I do I may be inclined to scan in the photo & email it to those wishing for a severe laugh!

meherenow: From the way it looked, I'd think it tasted pretty much like garbage! LOL.

lesley: But, you know, people are ballsy as hell here! They DO come right out & ask for free stuff ALL THE TIME! That's kinda why I don't get it?

I hate when people come in & say 'how much do you charge for desserts for 300 people?' Well, it depends what they want, right? Some don't get it. They want exact $$ for 300 people. I say, "We can do tiny things that run .50 a piece or we can do classy fancy things that run 2.50 per piece, (multiply that x 300 you get 2 TOTALLY different quotes!) what is your budget?"
Do you know some people, will NOT commit to how much they want to spend? How am I supposed to give a quote? ARRGGhhhh...

Um, new colours went up Saturday night!

cp: You said it! ;-)

katy: Eeeew...you should have seen it! The pic also showed an old guy getting the top round part. I CAN'T imagine even tasting it! The whole thing was frosted in white, with a few brown crroked windows on it & a cheesy paper flag on a toothpick sticking in the top! Hahahaha!!! :-P

ace: Well, I like the violence when you're reviewing a horror movie! LOL. You sound better today! GOOD! :-D Glad you came back over. :-)

Hey, BTW, know anyone at the Food Network?!!? ;-)

I wonder if the painting "Huge Moon" on Seb's Blog is hanging in that museum?

Tell the courthouse wench you already pay enough taxes without having to give away a Jin original. On the other hand, maybe you could get non-profit status and be exempt from taxes…

Anonymous said...

Garrision Keillor shirt. One of the many we made for everyday use as well as making the elderly jealous in suburban Chicago.

Maybe you should start making those fuck-off cupcakes; Just to have something on hand when somebody wants free work out of you.

jin said...

phos: Um...there's some pretty bad ones in there, could be! LOL!

Courthouse Wench...Hahaha! I LIKE that!!! :-D

andy: Excellent shirt!!! :-)

The cupcake idea doesn't sound too bad.....

Cherry! said...

Yes! Scan it in and email!
I'm always up for a laugh!

fairscape said...


I'll bet that bitch made the cake herself and went around telling everyone how much money she saved. I bet it was from a mix! I bet it was awful! There is no accounting for taste.

Screw that court house jerk. I was looking at your blog the other day and showed my husband a picture of your latest creation. He said "wow that's great" to which I replied "are you kidding...that's just one example look at this one and this one and this one..." I was talking like a bragging mother for god's sake!

jin said...

cherry: LOL! I forgot to look if it's still here. Will check tonight.

fairscape: I like how you think! I am also glad to see you back around again. If I win the lotto anytime soon I'm sending you a brand new laptop so you don't have to keep juggling with the hand-me-downs!

evi: Awww....*jin blushes* Thank you! It means a LOT. :-)

This is precisely why hubby runs our store, and I stay 'in the background'. As much as I like people, I'm afraid I'd be too tempted to wring someone's scrawny little neck the minute they tried the simpering/hinting/poor-us/anythingbuthonesty routine! Hubby knows this about me, too - he never lets me 'relieve' him at the store! And BTW - I positively detest that so many folks see nothing wrong with failing to send promised emails or calls. Arrrggghhhh ... please send a few soothing chocolate coins, before I implode!

jin said...

curious I certainly do not blame you! I just try to remember that "Being Polite" doesn't mean you have to let people walk all over you!

Here, a few coins for you & the kiddies:

(this way you don't have to share them with seb's crowd! :-)

Polyman2 said...

You are truly an artist, dear lady.
Have a feeling you were better off not working for those courthouse jerks anyway.

jin said...

Thanks poly, & you are a true gentleman! :-)

flatlander said...

As Grandmaster Melle Mel and the Furious Five succinctly stated in one of their songs "We Don't Work for Free".

And neither should you! That's a lovely gingerbread house, though.

jin said...

Thanks flatlander!!! :-)
I will remember that quote for next time!!!