I read a post by a friend the other day, who was upset to learn that her team had delivered a cake to the wrong wedding and she found out too late to fix it. If she didn’t believe my post about caketasrophes before, I am sure she does now! It got me thinking of other stories I had heard and a few of mine. By now you all know that I am far from perfect and that I try to admit when I make mistakes. Maybe one of you will learn a tip from these stories. Maybe you will just get a laugh and maybe you will just feel better the next time things aren’t perfect.
When I was first starting out, there were only 2 of us at my shop and we had 13 weddings one weekend. (No, I had not learned to say no yet). My husband and my assistant Andrea’s sister-in-law were drafted to deliver for us as we continued to decorate the rest of the cakes. I told my husband to take one cake to the Hilton by the Borders bookstore. They did, and returned to help. They asked where the next one went and I said it went to the Marriott by the Borders. Rob said “We were just there….we have another one there?” Oh, the panic that welled in my heart and throat! No, I said, you were supposed to go to the Hilton. One is to the right of the bookstore and the other to the left. He just assumed I meant the Marriott, even though I said the Hilton.
After I caught my breath, I told him he had to go get that cake and take it to the right place. He took off in a rush. When he got to the Marriott, the bride at that wedding and her family were taking the pre wedding pictures with the WRONG cake in the background. Oh dear Lord. They scooped up the cake and got it to the right place in time. I delivered the correct cake to the bride at the Marriott. All was well, but that was probably the first coronary I had as a decorator.
One time, Rob, my friend Debbie and I were doing our delivery runs together. The last one went to a steak restaurant. We showed up and asked the employees where the reception was. They told me the party was upstairs. We carry the cake up only to find the ugliest room I had been in. The stairs were rickety, the carpet was threadbare, there were no table cloths and pop was lined up along the bar. We asked three different employees if this was right and they kept saying that this was where the party was. So we set the cake and did our best to make things look nice. As we left the restaurant, I noticed their sign that said they did off premise catering. I commented that I wish this girl had done that. For some reason, I pulled the bridal sheet and double checked the delivery location. It was that steak restaurant, but at their brand new facility in a nearby suburb! We had all assumed it was the original one because we did not even know there was a new one! We failed to read our own paperwork!
We took those stairs two at a time and rushed up to get the cake. The three of us passed no employees on our way in. We grabbed the cake and ran it out to the van, again never seeing anyone. We got to the correct, and so much prettier location just in time with the cake. We wonder to this day what the employees at the first place thought when they went back upstairs and the cake was gone!
My final story takes me back to my grocery store days. Andrea and I were the decorators and had to deliver in the large cargo van owned by the IGA. We were taking a cake to a neighborhood clubhouse. We followed the directions, which led us onto a cul-de-sac and a very steep driveway on the left side of the club house. It looked like we had arrived at the back side of the house, so we drove to the next street over to access the front. Nope, no road to the front side. So we decided that we needed to go up that steep drive, which appeared to curve around to the front of the house.
Up we went and as we got to the top and around the tree, we were suddenly, …wait for it…on a bike path in the middle of their neighborhood park!!! Oh yes, there we were in the giant awkward van, driving along this sidewalk, whacking every newly planted tree that overhung the sidewalk. The path did a huge oval, but we could not bear the thought of circling the entire park like that, nor were we skilled enough at that time to back the van all the way back and down the hill. So we did what anyone good at improvising would have done. We diverted from the bike path as we got close to the road and we jumped the van down off the curb. I kept picturing the neighborhood busy-body looking out the window to see a van driving on the path, her telling her hubby and him being sure she was going senile!
We went back to the cul-de-sac, walked the tiers up the hill and got the cake safely delivered. Oh! And no trees were injured in our expedition.
I have one friend who delivered to the wrong town…like across the state wrong town. Both towns had similar names. I had an employee taking a cake to the historical Hefner Mansion. She let her GPS take her and found herself outside the Hefner Mansion Assisted Living Center! I have shown up several times at a facility that can have up to 4 weddings going at a time, only to find someone else’s cake in my room instead of where it should be. Things happen. Life is messy and you cannot always have a perfect day. I do have to say that my real mistakes above came when I was newer to the field and when I was ridiculously tired and overworked. The more tired we are, the more mistakes we are prone to make.
Feel better about yourself now? Do any of you have a Mis-delivery story you would like to share?