Wednesday, December 16, 2015

No Caking for Assholes: Lesson 2- Watch Out!

This post is part of the NC4A series for cakers. If you're not a caker, this post isn't for you. But you'll probably read it anyway. I mean, you've come this far, why stop now?

For more No Caking for Assholes goodness, check out my class at CakeFest 2016!

In the past couple of weeks, I've received three separate, unrelated unreasonable cake requests. You know the kind:

"I want this cake, 50 servings, my budget is $45."
All three people contacted me with caviar taste on a cat food budget. As I read each request, I heard the indignant cries of a thousand unruly bakers echoing in the back of my mind, screaming at the injustice of it all. "No caking for assholes!"

My first reaction was to get defensive. After all, these people were asking me to work for less than a dollar per hour. That's not ok! That's offensive!

But then I thought about it. I've been around the cake world enough that getting defensive is my knee-jerk response to requests like this. But what if these clients aren't assholes? What if...

Did you know that I used to be a teacher? Really. And one of my fundamental beliefs in teaching is that you can't expect a student to know something that you, yourself, have not told them. What if cake clients are the same way?

So, I tried something new. Rather than getting offended and defensive and invoking the "No caking for assholes" mentality, I decided to think like a teacher. I had no right expecting these new clients to know how custom cakes are priced because I've never tried to tell them. And if I expect them to know something I never told them... that makes me the asshole!

Well darn. I hate it when I'm the asshole.

I mean, it's not like I'm an expert on what plumbing repair or tax preparation should cost. I have no idea what different things in those professions would cost. I would hate to unintentionally offend someone by offering them 75 cents an hour to fix my sink. But I'm sure I've been that jerk sometime in my life.

This time, rather than being defensive and grumpy (and losing the client), I went for friendly and straightforward. I laid out my pricing structure and bakery minimums. I quoted a reasonable price for the cake design they'd actually requested (that decimal was not where they expected!) and gave some options closer to their budget.

As usual, my clients were super awesome. In two out of three of these cases, they were flexible on their deign and budget and ended up ordering cakes that earned positive reviews! The third client couldn't budge on design or budget (due to outside factors) and ended up ordering from somewhere else. That's fine, too! Cakeapotamus cakes aren't for everyone.

It turns out, if you go into a conversation with a client expecting them to be mean and clueless, that's what you'll find. But if you go in treating the client like a friend, everybody enjoys the experience more. Lesson learned. No caking for assholes means you can't be the asshole either.

No comments:

Post a Comment