Sunday, August 06, 2006

Customers from Hell Volume VI
"You Want Me to WHAT?!!?"

Most people used to plan weddings ahead of time. Lately they do not. Recently I have received several orders for wedding cakes 2-3 weeks before the wedding date. Interesting. The story that follows will not be supplemented with photos as per usual. This would be because I DID NOT take any. I don't care to be reminded of it.

Just over 2 weeks ago we had 3 ladies (Wedding Girl, Mom, Grandma) come in to order 50 cupcakes for a wedding. They had a photo of a stand with cupcakes on, it was decorated with beads, ribbon & fresh flowers. Unfortunately it was impossible to order a stand just like that with only 2 weeks to work with. I gave them 2 options, either rent equipment I already had (pedestal plates) or go shopping & purchase their own stand.

They discussed for a while without coming to an immediate conclusion. I mentioned that from checking out the local stores supply that there was only one type of cupcake stand readily available, it was a 3 tier stand made of heavy gauge silver wire which held approx. 25 single cupcakes.

Wedding Girl wanted to shoppe for a stand. Mom said they didn't have the time. Wedding Girl REALLY wanted the wire stand.

(I thought I'd be nice. Why you ask? Because of Karma...I try to do nice things for people when I can. I figured it'd only take me 10 minutes to pick up the stand & that's one less trip for these nice people.)

I offered to do that if they were sure they wanted the stand. I said we'd figure $25 into the bill because I was sure that'd cover it. I again mentioned it was a "plain silver metal wire stand" & did they want any additional adornments? They didn't think so. I went through the options, just in case.
Fresh flowers? No.
Tulle around the stand? No.
A ribbon on the top trailing down? No.

Just bright flowers piped on the cupcakes.

(Wedding Girl was very sweet, she picked delicious flavours & beautifully coloured flowers!)

Skip to a week later. I had picked up the stand. It was more money than I originally thought so I decided I'd offer to keep it & give them back $15 (the $10 is a minimum standard for equipment rental) when they returned the stand. This was discussed with Wedding Girl & she was pleased. BTW-I was impressed with the stand, high quality & pretty cool looking!

Skip to this past Friday. I was to deliver to the residence where the ceremony was being performed, in town but about a 15 minute drive each way. Before D & I left I grabbed a large portion of pretty pink tulle, just in case. (I'd rather have it with me if I need it or not. On rare occasion there is nothing dressing the cake table & this adds a nice touch.)

We arrive at the residence. Wedding Girl is not there but Mom & Grandma are, along with several other women. They have a small table in the living room with a blue cloth & a bouquet of flowers on for the cupcakes. I set the stand on the table & Mom stands next to me as I start to take out the tulle.

Me-"I brought along some tulle to bunch up under the stand."
She-(Looks at me kind of funny/strange.)
Me-"Unless you don't want me to use the tulle?"
She-"No. I have the table cloth. You can move the flower bouquet if you want to but DON'T use the tulle. It DOESN'T need it! No."
Me-"Ok. That's fine, I certainly don't have to use it."

I stuffed the tulle back into my bag. D & I set up the cupcakes EXACTLY as Wedding Girl requested. (As my regular blogfans already know, I am incredibly anal retentive. I LISTEN to the brides & MAKE SURE I remember/write down EXACTLY what they want!)

Set up is complete & our 'audience' of roughly 8 women comment how beautiful it looks! YAY! They seem excited & mention they can't wait to taste them. As we leave everyone is smiley & nice. Back to the shoppe to start tomorrows wedding cake orders.

As I start to turn on the oven & gather the pans that I need the phone rings. My mother answers it. I notice she isn't saying much of anything & then she shoots me an 'I can't believe this!' look. She rolls her eyes & tells me the woman on the phone said that's not the stand they wanted & are incredibly disappointed with the presentation of the cupcakes.

W. T. F. ?!!?

I grab the phone, (I assumed it was the Mom)
Me-"This is Jennifer. What seems to be the problem?" (I am audibly annoyed.)
She (turns out to be the older Sister of Wedding Girl)-"Hi. My Mom is very disappointed with the presentation of the cupcakes. She said she picked out a white stand with embellishments all over it & that you have the photo."
Me-"I informed your Mother that I could not POSSIBLY get that stand with only 2 weeks notice. This was discussed & she agreed to go with the exact silver wire stand that I set up in your living room."
(I can hear the Mom bitching in the background but it sounds as if her daughter is trying to calm her down.)
She-"My Mom said you had some tulle with you?"
Me-"Yes, she told me NOT to use it."
She-"Well, she wants you to come back & put the tulle under the cake."

W. T. F.?!!?

Me (trying very very very hard not to scream into the phone because the daughter is actually being nice & she seems to be caught in the middle)-"I am baking other wedding cakes right now. I am very busy. She told me NOT to put the tulle under the cake. Now, you want me to come back there with the tulle?!!?"

(Me thinking: FUCK! FUCK! FUCK! FUCK! FUCK! All this SHIT for One Hundred & Twenty FUCKING dollars?!!?!!?!!? I'm supposed to drive an additional 15 minutes EACH WAY to bring you a piece of FUCKING tulle that SHE told me not to put on the table?!!?)

All the while my brain is running through the above the girl on the phone is asking where I went to school because she thinks she knows me. She mentions that cupcakes are decorated beautifully. She is very relaxed & kind of chatty. I'm only half answering her questions because I'm trying to figure out what to do. Then I get a message from that little voice that lives in my head. It tells me to go back with the tulle. I ALWAYS listen to that voice because it's always right. This particular time I had no fucking idea WHY, but I knew then that I had to go. (I know you're ALL groaning at me right now because you're thinking 'no way should I go back for that amount of $.)
Me-(Very short & annoyed) "Yes. We went to grade school together. I remember you. What time is the wedding?"
She-"5:00pm. What time do you think you could get here?"
Me (I look at my watch. It's just after 3:30 already.)"I'll come right away. You will make sure the tulle is returned WITH the stand?"
She-"Yes. Thank you SO much!"

I get off the phone & my Mom & D are staring at me like 'you're NOT going back, are you?!!?'

Do you want to know what I said?
Are you SURE you want to know what I said?
Well, suffice it to say that I said a few choice words in an incredibly raised vocal tone interspersed with 'I HAVE to go back.'

I am assaulted with a montage of why?'s.

As I run out the door with the tulle I am asking myself the same thing.

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

The girl who I spoke with on the phone opened the door for me. Everyone else was gone.

Me-"Are you SURE you want me to put the tulle there?"
She-"Yes, yes. It doesn't matter how you do it. Thank you SO MUCH for coming back! My Mom's gone. She went to pick up my sister (aka Wedding Girl). You have NO IDEA what you've done for our family!"
Me-"I DID discuss ALL of this with your Mother. She KNEW I couldn't get that stand. She also told me NO MORE embellishments were needed."
She-"Oh, don't worry about it. I believe you! (She waves her hand in the air as if to dismiss my need to even mention the facts.) My Mother's crazy & wouldn't remember ONE thing that you told her anyway. Really, thank you so much for coming back with the tulle. If you wouldn't have my Mother would have RUINED the entire WEDDING for my sister! The cupcakes ARE gorgeous & what you're doing with the tulle looks great."

I'm really kind of stunned. I expected the Mom to be there. I was even going to let her have it (reputation be damned!) if she said ANYTHING about the stand. Instead, I was faced with a really nice girl, totally relaxed & nonchalant, that I was friends with about 20 years ago, who acted as if she was VERY FAMILIAR with settling family arguments. I fluffed the tulle. Small talk was made. (Are you married, do you have kids, etc.) Just as I am walking out I catch a glance of the groom (gee, he looks familiar.....?) & I tell them both I hope the rest of their day is wonderful. She again thanks me profusely with one final, "You really have no idea what you've done for our family."

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

As I'm driving back down Menasha Avenue I am overflowing with mixed feelings. I reach over & pop in a U2 CD. I blast the song 'Beautiful Day' repeatedly. The main thought that was going through my head was from one of my regular commenters. (Isn't it funny how blogging begins to meld itself into your 'real life'?) East Village Idiot (whom I like to refer to as evi seeing as I have a strong feeling she's NO idiot! ;-) has commented in the past: 'Do those people in your town know how lucky they are!!!' (Yeah, yeah, I can quote comments like that because I'm sentimental & cheesy & save all my blog comments/emails. *blush*)

No. No, I don't think they do. I know why the voice in my head told me to go back; so Wedding Girl would have a peaceful wedding day. She seemed very sweet & innocent & as it turns out, I did happen to know the groom in passing (sort of? lol) & a member of his family was a friend of mine (I just never connected the dots until Saturday afternoon.....)
But, think about it.
Really, would anyone else have gone back? I don't mean you, personally. I mean anyone who makes wedding cakes here, or anywhere. For a $120 order that was already paid in full. No, I think NOT. I very seldom get tips. I very seldom get thank you cards. Yet I go out of my way, for no personal gain, on a regular basis. Does this make for good Karma or just a gullible taken-advantage-of jin? At this point, I didn't even know if I would get my equipment back.

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

Saturday afternoon came & I had just finished my other wedding orders. The deliveries were not until early evening so I ran upstairs to check my email. I never even heard anyone come in the shoppe so I totally missed it. The girl that thanked me yesterday brought ALL the equipment back herself. She raved how wonderful the cupcakes were. I guess she chatted with my Mom for about 10 minutes. The entire time she was in our shoppe her Mother was sitting in the car out front staring straight ahead. Maybe she was embarrassed for throwing a bitch-fit? I certainly hope so.

14 Responses to “Customers from Hell Volume VI
"You Want Me to WHAT?!!?"”

Real said...

First, thank you very much

Real said...

Ok, you are too nice, I think that is one reason all the blog people love you, because of how sweet you are (pun fully intended).

BTW I was right there with you until the U2 cd. I used to love them, but now I just don't connect with their music.

I for one would encourage you to keep going out of your way, at least within reason. Those little extras you do make the difference between good and outstanding service. I'm proud of you! And that you have the sense to listen to your own common sense when it speaks to you.

Anonymous said...

I was going through employee training (re-education) to work at a grocery store earlier in my life and I remember one of the videos said "Service work is the noblest of all occupations." It made me laugh.

Congrats on the patience required to deal with people on the day that is likely the furthest thing from the happiest one.

Katy said...

I do believe that it is important to be nice as Karma will get you if you don't. I always work hard in all my jobs no matter if I make a lot of money or none. I try to be fair and good to people. Of course the thanks is not always there. For example one of my au pairs is staying here as she got kicked out from her family and the new family can't take her until the 18. SO I go and spend all day yesterday after getting back from seattle to get her stuff, go get groceries that she eats ect. I ask her today hey we want to do chinese for dinner do you want something? SO when I leave work I call home and give grumpy my order, he meantions the girl is not there. I go call her on the cell she tells me what she wants I tell grumpy. Guess what it is 3 h later and she still has not shown up. I let her use my car we pay for her dinner and she is no where to be seen nor did she tell us where she was going and until when? No to me thats fucking common courtisy is it not?

Crap, no pictures.

On the bright side I am glad I don't have the slightest idea of what tulle is.

jin said...

real: :-D You're Welcome!
(Pssst! You said thank you already, tho! ;-)

All the blog people love me??? REALLY?!!? *HUGE GRIN*

Actually, (re:U2) I do not like the last one I bought...the bomb one...But, the song 'Beautiful Day' blasting so loud my xB vibrated TOTALLY hit the spot! (Oh...I just realized that sounded dirty...oops! HAHAHA! LMAO! I didn't even mean to say it like that!)

cp: COOL! You're proud of me?! *Another HUGE GRIN* Do you realize that you were one of my major blogging inspirations? Your blog was the very FIRST blog that I blogstalked! LOL! (I mean that in the nicest possible way! I read EVERY word in your archives.) If memory serves, you may have even been the first place I dared to comment! :-)

andy: "Service work is the noblest of all occupations."

It made me laugh, too!!! Gee, I wonder who thought that one up?!!? Some oil tycoon trying to pep up his servants, most likely! :-D

Sometimes my patience SCARES me!

katy: Oh, that SUCKS!!! I'd be so pissed! See, that's where the problem lies. It's great that we're nice & generous, but other people TAKE ADVANTAGE!!!

I think you & I in the next life will be gorgeous princesses that live peaceful, perfect lives.....

phos: HAHA! I thought about the tulle after I wrote most of the story & remembered my male readers ignorance.....OOPS!...I meant to say - male readers limited knowledge of fabric so that's when I went back & added the linky.

At the time of your comment you were only 17 minutes too early for the post with the pictures!

MeHereNow said...

Well Done You!

I would have gone back too but not dealt with it as well as you did.

Your customers,well most of them,do appriciate you because its YOU that adds that special something that makes a good event a great one.

Keep up the outstanding work and BIG rewards will come your way.

Katy said...

I like the princess Idea that or I'll come back as a cat. Why not a dog you ask because dog have masters but cats have STAFF.

Ace said...

You did a good thing.

That speaks volumes about you, screaming-private-obscenities or no.

My word vertification is "dotgov," which is the closest I've ever come to a real word. Just wanted to share.

jin said...

meherenow: Thanks for saying that! :-D

(If the Mom would have been there when I went back I don't think I would have dealt with it as well as I did! LOL!)

katy: LMAO!!! 'Staff'...I like that! True! :-)

ace: Thanks Munkee!!! :-D

I don't understand why word veri can't be 'real' words? Like 4 letter ones too...what's up with these 9 letter long gibberishy ones?!!?

flatlander said...

That was a great story! I'm glad it had a happy ending. I was half anticipating an escalation in hostilities involving the mother hurling painstakingly decorated cupcakes at you from behind an overturned desert table shouting. "I told you NO TULE!" at the top of her lungs.

Of course, with Jin on the scene it never even came close to that nightmare situation. If only we could get some of your baking parachuted into the middle east!

Lesley said...

I agree with Real (surprise, surprise) -- thank you very much.

I'm also sentimental and cheesy about my blog comments and I save them all in a separate folder in my email. When I have a bad day I go back and read them. :-)

jin said...

flatlander: Heeheehee!!! Hmmm...someone hurling cupcakes at little ole me?!!? *GASP* That would make for an AWESOME blog post, though wouldn't it?!!? (I can actually picture just what you described! LOL!)

Hey, if I thought my baked goods could bring on world peace I'd do it in a milisecond!!! (But I'd need a well trained FakieAgent to come with me, just in case!!!)

lesley: LOL...I think you already thanked me too, but thank you anyway...again?!!? LOL!

OH! I'm so glad to know you reread yours too. Sometimes if I'm having an off day I'll sneak up here & read something that makes me all smiley!