When you are in the wedding cake business, you deal with a lot of different characters. Unfortunately, you randomly come across the people that dont understand how business works.
I received a few comments on a free review site about my business recently. Reading bad reviews about your business will always bring you down, however, you need to realize one thing. Majority of people who enjoy your business do not go and seek you out online to write a review. However, those who did not like it or had a bad experience WILL. I would say 90% of people are vindictive when they are upset. It's sad really. These are usually the people that do not realize how business is, how hard it is, and feel that slandering you (usually when they are in the wrong anyway) will get back at you and make them feel better. These people are just (usually) unhappy with themselves and want to bring anyone else down with them.
Example #1: Now about these bad comments. Funny thing is, one of them I knew who it was. I had this Mother of a Bride who had a cupcake stand of mine she rented from me. In my contract it CLEARLY STATES you must return the rented equipment the Tuesday FOLLOWING the reception to get your deposit back. I'm usually pretty laid back about this. Email me, call me, whatever and let me know if you are going to be late. Sometimes I dont need them right away. Well she would pick a date to return it, then change it last minute (literally...she'd call me an hour before she was supposed to show up and say she couldn't). This wedding was May 5th. So finally June 28th I told her I needed that stand by the 2nd of July for another wedding. She said she'd bring it that evening. Again, an hour before she was supposed to show up she called and cancelled. I couldn't reach her after that. I had to create a new stand for the wedding. Then July 7th she calls and said she wanted to return it. I told her I was sorry but I could not take the stand back. I had to replace it because I told her I needed it by a date for a wedding and that it had already been over two months of her not returning it. That exact same day I received a comment on that free site that her "wedding cupcakes" were dry and horrible and smashed together. I knew it was her because of the username (it was the exact same as her email...smart), but worse is the entire time she kept stating how "wonderful" and "appreciative" they were of their cupcakes via email (I saved those emails just in case). I even got two referrals from that wedding. Yeah...they must have really sucked. See? She's pissed I finally said no to the stand after all her crap, so she turns around and writes that. She knew she couldn't fight legally over the stand, she signed a CONTRACT that she violated and I was more than lenient with her. People like this are out there. You will deal with them A LOT in the wedding business. It's ridiculous.
Example #2: Another comment I got was from someone stating they were a "former co-worker and friend/'. Side note: If you are a friend of someones, why would you slander their business without perhaps saying something to them first? First they claimed they knew of someone who ordered bridal shower cupcakes from me that were not filled and that this person contacted me several times for a refund and never heard from me. I'm going to stop you right there...I have NEVER done bridal shower cupcakes. Ever. I honestly cannot remember the last time I have, unless it was over a year and a half ago. I have detailed order slips. Not a one is listed for a bridal shower. Birthdays, baby showers, movie night, just because...yup no BRIDAL SHOWER. Second, I would have recalled someone calling to complain. I do, call people back and especially in regards to complaints. Then this person went to state that they were at a wedding where people said to not eat the cake (yet then this person ate it anyway...which is interesting), but that it was "dry and flavorless" and that the cake was leaning completely to one side. Again, I'm going to stop you right there. I have been in this business A LONG TIME. One, if your cake is leaning, someone will call the cake decorator. Either right there or the day after...OR the photographer who emails me the photos would have mentioned it (because we are all in this business). I have NEVER had a cake leaning on me, ever. I call the day after my weddings and follow up with the clients about their order. No one ever said their cake was leaning or that it was "dry and flavorless". Furthermore, in my contract it states to contact me if there are ANY issues so that I can come out and see them. In the case of a leaning cake, I can fix that. Wedding cakes weigh up to 150LBS (sometimes more)...they may/can lean. It's an EASY ten minute fix. I kid you not. However, I knew this review was complete BS because no one ever called me about a leaning cake and I have not done any cakes for anyone I even personally know since February of 2010, before that was March of 2009 and this post was July 20th, 2010. So ummm yeah. Bottom line...a bride or someone would have told me their cake was that awful. Trust me on this. You dont pay $300.00 for something and then blow it off if its dry, leaning, whatever. Which further led me to believe this was probably either that same lady, a person who confused companies (attention, there is another decorator out there going by Kali Cakes in Utah...yeah...bummer for me), or just someone who wanted to be a complete jerk. If that person wanted to be serious they could call me about this issue. They dont. Which just tells me they really have nothing but the desire to bitch about something they really shouldn't be. Simple as that.
Bottom line, you'll get bad press. On these stupid online sites, you will get a lot more bad press than good. Ever looked up your favorite restaurant on Citysearch.com? Notice how many BAD reviews there are? How minimal good reviews there are? That's because people love to bitch and complain, but usually these are people that are bitching over something that could be easily fixed or they are just vindictive (insert cupcake stand lady). So dont let it get you down. If you see bad reviews on a restaurant or company, dont believe them. Honestly, word of mouth is the best, but remember that some people lie or say whatever they can to justify their own actions and usually they were in the wrong. I promise you the Cupcake Stand Lady (as she shall be referred) will slander my company, but never mention that she kept fooling around returning a rented item for TWO MONTHS.
These people can be very draining. Trust me, I know. You just have to push through and appreciate those people that call you personally to state they loved their cake. People who called just to say that while standing in the line they got nothing but comments about their cake and just had to tell me. Or people who call asking if you can do another cake for their other son/daughter getting married. Appreciate those, ignore those who are negative. Some people hate everything (Bridezillas especially, but that's for another blog). Some people dont realize that instead of bitching on some free site they should call the company and let them know. Usually they dont call because they know that they ARE FULL OF IT. Hence why you only hear about this "bad experience" on a website.
Stay strong if you are in the wedding business. It's ugly. People are never going to be 100% satisfied. Any company tells you that all customers are from them...they are lying. Not everyone has the same tastes, etc. That's just simple statistics.