The Icing on the Cake

By Andrea Freedman

Some things are just too ridiculous for words! Take, for example, my recent experience purchasing a cake for my husband’s birthday.

After canvassing several bakeries in our neighbourhood, I was finally set to order what I thought would be the perfect birthday cake,

The only problem was that there were three obtrusive flowers made out of icing in the way of where I wanted the happy birthday message to be, not to mention that they were a bit feminine looking for my husband. Furthermore, the flowers did not even appear that appetizing. When I was told that there would actually be a $10 fee for removing them, I could hardly believe my ears.

I became suspicious; had this cake – a cake that was not inexpensive – been pre-made or frozen? Because if not, I could not for the life of me understand why it was so hard to just NOT put something on – in this case the flowers. I wondered if the sugary decals had to be pried off with special equipment or muscle power; every job comes with its difficulties, but I am hard-pressed to believe that removing a baked-on flower made of icing is one of them.

On principal, I was about to walk right out of the store and I told them so and what my reason was. I don’t care how well-known or fancy this bakery is – I mean, I could understand if I was asking for something extra, but ironically, I was asking for something less, but being asked to pay more!

I stopped myself for a moment, lest I lose my cool and tell the guy to shove the entire cake; aside from the nearest grocery store, whose birthday cakes have less than a stellar reputation, other bakeries in our neighbourhood are, as luck would have it, closed on the day of the week that my husband’s birthday fell on this year.

It was one of the most ridiculous things I had ever heard and I was not shy about voicing my opinion on the matter to the polite, patient sales associate who was attempting to appease me. However, I simply could not accept what he was telling me, and cared very little for the dirty look I noticed I got from another of the staff members when I expressed my disgust.

I was incensed, and to make matters worse, I knew I wouldn’t even be able to come home and vent about it to my husband, as I was trying to make the cake a surprise.

I guess there are still some reasonable people left out there, because after I had pleaded my case, the gentleman I was dealing with at the bakery obviously realized that what I had to say made sense (coupled with the fact that I made it clear that if this nonsensical fee was not waived, I would not be purchasing the birthday cake, or anything else in the bakery for that matter) and went to great lengths to ensure that the issue was resolved. I in turn ordered the cake and left the shop a happy customer.

I am happy to report that when all was said and done, the cake turned out to be a hit, and my husband said it was great, which really means a lot coming from him.

Sometimes it pays to stand one’s ground. If you refuse to let yourself be ripped off for things that make absolutely no sense and if you aren’t afraid to say something about it, you really can have your cake and eat it too.•

Does anyone else see the absurdity of this? Would you have paid the extra fee to remove the flowers from the cake or taken your business elsewhere?

Copyright © by Andrea Freedman, 2015


About andfreed

I am a Toronto based writer of articles, columns, essays and novels.

Posted on August 11, 2015, in Weekly Thoughts and Observations and tagged . Bookmark the permalink. 4 Comments.

  1. Your indignation is not only appropriate but the number of times similar situations occur are a judgement on our culture as well as on the baker. Powerful piece Andrea


  2. I would have reported that company to the Better Business Bureau. They shouldn’t be in business if they are so petty to want to charge $10 extra just to remove the flowers from the icing on the cake, which you didn’t request in the first place. It’s a good thing that didn’t happen to me.


  3. Kachor, Michael



  4. I would of definitely walked out but not before questioning whether they were really in the business of selling baked goods and making customers happy or rather It seemed they were more in the business of decorative icing removal.
    Moreover I would of said why don’t you just make cakes. with heavily laden decorative icing so you can charge extra as people would be demanding some of it


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