Monday, May 30, 2011

A plea for help and understanding

If you've driven around downtown on a Saturday afternoon lately, you've noticed that it is definitely wedding season. We are lucky enough to be a part of these couples' special day and we appreciate the honor. That being said, we are a business and therefore we have certain rules or policies. We have never wanted to write our policies based on the few people who might take advantage of us. We've never liked it when a company treats us that way, so we didn't want to do it to our customers.

One of the policies that we have encountered trouble with lately is our stand rental policy. Many of our clients want to use a cake stand (or cake plateau) to enhance their wedding cake display. We have a variety of stands and are more than happy to allow our clients to use them. While we don't charge a rental fee (as many other places do), we do ask for a security deposit as an incentive to return the stand. We also ask for the stands to be returned by Tuesday after the wedding as many times those same stands are going to be used for the following weekend. When the stand is returned on time, the entire security deposit is returned. Imagine if a stand weren't returned on long do you think it would take to get a new one in time for a Saturday wedding?

While the vast majority of our clients are wonderful and return the stands on time (or call us to let us know if there are extenuating circumstances), what we have encountered over the past few weeks are folks who were entrusted with the responsibility of returning the stand for the lovely couple, who is undoubtedly on their honeymoon, who don't return the stand on time. When a stand is not returned on time, the deposit is forfeit. These folks have told us, sometimes quite angrily, that they think the deposit should be returned, despite these terms being clearly explained both verbally and in the written contract.

When a stand doesn't make it back on time, we have to spend time researching who was supposed to return the stand, whether or not that stand is needed for the following weekend, and take the time to contact the responsible party to try to locate our stand. Many times, we have to also research our options for replacement as we wait for a return phone call. Additionally, some of our stands are discontinued and are no longer available. All of this work costs more than the amount of the deposit.

All we are asking for is a little understanding from the folks who are entrusted by the bride and groom to return the cake stands to us. If, for some reason, you aren't able to make it to our shop on Tuesday, just give us a call (the number is listed on the bottom of the stand)and keep us updated. We understand that it can be difficult to get all of the post-wedding items taken care of. We simply want to know that our stand is coming back to us. If, for some reason, you don't get us the stand back on time and don't take the time to contact us, please understand that the deposit is forfeit. If the stand never makes it back to us, we do have to charge the bridal couple the full replacement cost of the stand and we'd hate to have to do that.

We definitely don't want to have to change what we consider to be a generous policy, given that the industry standard is to charge a rental fee (which is not returned) as well as a security deposit that might be returned. Please help us keep a policy that has worked well for so many by adhering to the timeframes we've provided. Thank you.


  1. Very well said. It explains very well that our deposit is not just a 'money maker' or merely an incentive to get the stand back "someday". It is in place to cover real and legitimate expenses.

    I had a situation where the family was from out of state, so the father of the bride gave my stand to the best man to return. Best man carried the stand around in his trunk for over a week. Deposit was forfeited. Father was upset because he considered it returned on time because he gave it to the best man "in time". I politely suggested that the best man owed the father the deposit since it was the best man's lack of responsibility that was the cause of the forfeited deposit. Like you, I needed that stand for my next wedding and was literally minutes away having to incur the expense ordering a new one with overnight delivery.

  2. Well said!

    I live in a country where cake stands, pillars, dowels, gel colors, fondant, cutters, tools etc etc are not available at all and i have to travel 2-3 times a year to different countries (US, UK and Dubai) to purchase various items. I've just had an experience with a client that i requested a deposit that covers the actual price of the crystal like pillars and cake stand which will be fully refunded on return, and the client refused to pay the deposit since she did not want to have the burden of making sure the items were kept safely while the cake was being cut and nor was willing to buy the pillars and stand (i couldn't add it to the cost of the cake since i had already quoted the price) which meant i had to turn down a 34 pound cake order!