Tuesday, March 15, 2011

What We Have Here is a Failure to Communicate

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

I'm always fascinated by the breakdown in communication that can occur when you order a cake. I love figuring out what went wrong just by looking at the cake; it beats any crossword puzzle or word jumble.

Sometimes the explanation is pretty straight forward:

As you can see, there is in fact a "Coca Cola can/bottle" on this cake.


Other times there's a severe misunderstanding from the get-go:

I like to think that if they'd spelled "capital" correctly they might have figured it out.


Sometimes you specifically ask for little plastic "Happy Birthday sticks" stuck in your order of cupcakes:



Other times you're just not specific enough:



And sometimes, on wonderful, rare occasions, you get an amazingly talented baker. A baker with mad piping skills, a steady hand, and perfect spelling. A baker who, incidentally, is also a little hard of hearing. So, when you get this baker, and you want to order a giant Gerber daisy on your cake, just be sure you enunciate really, really well.

Because otherwise...

You might get the Gerber Baby.

(Yes, really. Scout's honor.)


A big "thanks" in all caps to Heather F., Brianne H., Jessie B., Kristina R., & Kelly Y., who had some 'splaining to do on her last birthday.
Ellen said...

The cupcakes were for a drummer -- what's your problem?

;-)

Thanks, as always, for my morning laugh!

wv - enessigh

Enessigh escapes from my lips, as I reluctantly leave Cake Wrecks . . .

Ellen said...

Forgot to say -- you wouldn't want "Sticks" Mandalay to get bupkes for his birthday, would you?

Because it would be an impossible mission to make that up to him!

;-)

DJ Twisted Sister said...

Mistakes like these "whatever" cakes make them good for any occasion so there might be a method to the madness after all...

Amanda said...

I love the Gerber Baby, (still have my Gerber baby doll from the 70's!) but they meant "Gerbera Daisy". Should have asked for a Montauk Daisy, would have saved a lot of grief. (:
wv; corma... "Happy Birthday corma Love corma Mom."

SilverRain said...

That Gerber baby is actually cute.

Cuter than a giant Gerber daisy, perhaps.

Anonymous said...

The Gerber cake is a crying shame, actually -- obviously a very talented decorator...who has an unfortunately hard-of-hearing order taker.

I think this is the only Wreck I've seen that I'd consider hiring the decorator....but not until I had a written order with visual aids to show them what I really wanted!

LOL at the WV: crasho
The sound a customer's jaw makes upon impact with the floor when they see the Wreck they just showed up to pick up.

SimplySweeter said...

Hysterical. Really.

simplysweeter.blogspot.com

Nancy McGill said...

As a hard-of-hearing individual, I am extremely offended that you might possibly poke a bit of well-intentioned fun in my direction!!!

(Just kidding! :) Love the wrecks today.)

WV: mingu; You mingu AREN'T supposed to spell it "captial"? Darn.

Loo-E Loo-I said...

Cake 1, nice try at the logo though...*sigh*

Cake 2, ROTFLOL - those are my initials! Funny how they put a period after the "L", but not the "V" - L.V

Cake 3, reminds me of Willow and one of my favorite lines: "Her name is not Sticks! She's Elora Dannen, the future empress of Tir Asleen and the last thing she's gonna want is a hairy chest!"

Cake 4, LOL at least they wrote something nice! Thank goodness they didn't ask for something nicely written!

Cake 5, WOW, that is some mad pipin' skillz! Shame.

Loo-E Loo-I said...

Amanda said "Should have asked for a Montauk Daisy, would have saved a lot of grief."

Then they might have got the Monatauk monster instead! {{shudder}}

:-D

~Elizabeth aka Lacquered Lizard said...

The last picture is fantastic. Best post ever.

Shannon said...

These literal LOL's are always my FAVORITE cakes. Like the "Nothing" beauty on the front of the CW calendar. :)

Anonymous said...

ahehehehe I think those are the perfect explanations

Kimberly Chapman said...

I could have totally made the Gerber mistake (although not the cake since I do not have such mad piping skills, not even close!).

If I ever start a business (and I have no plans to), I think I'll make clients submit stuff in writing and then make it part of the protocol that I or one of my wonks calls them to confirm for sure that everybody is on the same page. It's tragic that such a lovely job wasn't what was wanted!


WV: catue:
1) a very still feline.
2) Gesundheit.

DangGina said...

Maybe Sticks is the birthday boy's nickname?

Samantha said...

I just have to say that I love this blog. I don't read many blogs regularly... just yours in fact(Cake Wrecks and E-bot), and they never fails to bring a smile to my face. So thank you for a daily smile. :)

Valerya Baker said...

If people could understand that they're actually gerbera daisies, with an A, this kind of confusion might not happen.

Anonymous said...

Maybe it would have help to say Gerbera. If you google Gerbera Babies you get a real nice picture of flowers. http://www.dailypainters.com/paintings/42374/Gerbera-Babies/

KittyKat said...

Wow. That last cake is fantastically well done, and the decorator is extremely talented. I don't even want to think about how long it must have taken them to perfectly execute the WRONG picture on that cake. And the amount of stiff drinks it would take to regain composure after hearing all the customer wanted was a daisy.

Pandora said...

What is wv? I can see that maybe it's a variation on words but would like the "official" definition of what's going on here so I can get in on the fun.

Poor Gerber baby. Such an awesome picture. Such a huge wreck. lol

BADKarma! said...

ROFLMAO... Maybe the baby's name is "Daisy"? (blinkblink)

WV - sedin: Always remember... What's sedin the phone is not necessarily what you'll getin your cake.

Pandora said...

lol @ KittyKat- no kidding! I can see the tears and freaking out of just trying to get it perfect and then they were like "oh no hon, I just wanted a flower" For some reason I just wrote that with the voice of that guy from the family guy. If you're cool you know who I mean.

I can't believe all the people that think everyone should know the correct names of flowers are. They just went to order a cake guys. Especially if it was a manly man, he's just going to be like put a freakin flower on it and call it a day.

snarkygurl said...

Hey Kimberly! I worked at the HEB bakery for a short while and they have a form that has to be filled out with exactly what you want the cake to say and where (there's even a little diagram for placement). That hasn't stopped some wrecks from getting through... even when the customer signs the paper stating it's correct only to find out later that they didn't bother to spellcheck what they wrote themselves. So while usually the decorator--sometimes it's the customer.

Ruby said...

Didn't like the last cake

http://a-lookbook.blogspot.com/

Caroline B said...

The 'Captial' cake was a lost cause before they started writing on it....

Brooke said...

*Puts on her "gerbera daisy" Epcot helmet* *jumps into trench* *covers head* *kisses butt goodbye*

Anne-with-an-e said...

Just wanted to say that this title is one of our family's favorite lines, and these cakes couldn't exemplify it better!

Anonymous said...

well despite being deaf the gerber baby was quite cute...

Daisy said...

Been reading Cake Wrecks for a while and felt I was getting immune to the hilarity...until I got to the Gerber baby cake and had to suppress an uncontrollable snort. Wish I had mad piping skills like that, because, as someone named Daisy with decent hearing, I happen to know the difference between a gerbera daisy and a Gerber baby!

Melanie said...

As a former cake decorator, the Gerber baby story and cake made me groan...can't imagine doing all that work for naught.

wv-rebod: What I'm going to be trying to do at the gym this year.

Donna said...

At least the Gerber Baby didn't totally turn the meaning into something totally wrong and sinister...Wait! That could have been funny! :)

TheLandlubberWife said...

@ Pandora

The WV is the word verification you type in in order to comment.

Mine is 'puzli'

wv: Puzli

These cakes are puzli to me...

The Lunar Fox said...

That last cake absolutely made me laugh out loud! It's actually a really cute cake aside from the misunderstanding. Oops!

Becky said...

Not sure if this is an "epcot" moment or not...but it's actually a Gerbera daisy...could explain /some/ but not all of the mistake.

WV: The baker Suriz not a horticulturalist

mel said...

With all the wrecks out there, it's always pleasant to see "something nice" on a cake...LOL Gotta love this site!Thanks so much for writing it!

to Pandora: wv (word verification) is the set of letters you have to enter to post a comment. People just have fun with them. My word verification for this comment is below.

wv: entskude - What kind of insect could ruin a picnic? entskude

min said...

These are far and away my favorite type of cake wrecks. Thanks for making my day oh so much better!

KatiMomKat said...

I love the Gerber Baby cake. At least it's a birthday cake, which is in celebration of someone's birth, which means that they were a cute little baby once...right?

@KittyKat, 11:29am
I'm laughing so hard imagining the baker's realization that she/he just worked 3 more hours than he/she needed to. But I'm also feeling sorry for the baker for how embarrassed she/he must have felt when they learned what the customer had actually asked for.

Thanks for the laughs, Jen. You always start my day out right! (can you tell I'm a late sleeper?)

KatiMomKat said...

I love the Gerber Baby cake. At least it's a birthday cake, which is in celebration of someone's birth, which means that they were a cute little baby once...right?

@KittyKat, 11:29am
I'm laughing so hard imagining the baker's realization that she/he just worked 3 more hours than he/she needed to. But I'm also feeling sorry for the baker for how embarrassed she/he must have felt when they learned what the customer had actually asked for.

Thanks for the laughs, Jen. You always start my day out right! (can you tell I'm a late sleeper?)

Michelle said...

My mom actually wrote on a cake order form that she wanted it in "manly colors" and they ended up getting it right (blue and green, and everything spelled correctly). That baker makes up for these poor dears.

BadCookie said...

What is up with the shiny icing on a lot of cakes? Like on the LV wreck...it looks gross, as if it's sweating and going to slide off. Do people find this appetizing?

Theresa said...

Well, if they'd asked for a "Gerbera" daisy, they might have gotten what they wanted. Gerber is not a daisy, it's a baby food!

Annie said...

I had to read the last one twice to figure out what the problem was.
It was suprisingly not as ugly as most people/babies on cakes usually are.

Anonymous said...

I guess the first one is a creative way to get around trademark and copyright issues, eh? LOL

TheOneOnTheRight said...

I'd like to give kudos to the 'sticks' wreckerator for at least:
a) spelling birthday correctly, and
b) knowing how to seperate the two syllables, and
c) knowing where to put the hyphen!

The second two points seem to be a lost art these days, even in publishing.

JoeKnee said...

That baby is adorable! Better than some stinky ol' daisy any day! :)

Anonymous said...

It never ceases to amaze me that the decorator didn't stop to question the order taker. It boggles the mind.

Chantelle said...

*Cautiously edging towards the Epcot bunker in anticipation of a possible impending "Gerbera" disaster*

Sorry, but after the Marti Gras fiasco I am on edge around the comment section :)

john (the hubby of JEN) said...

For those of you pointing out that it's a Gerbera Daisy:

Unless I'm wrong, the Gerber Daisy is of the genus Gerbera in the same way the Rose is of the genus Rosa. And I know about Daisies.

Here's just one of many sites on which I found this info. (not Wikipedia)

http://www.denverplants.com/flower/html/gerber.htm

Peace out, yo.

john

Leigh Ann said...

I would like to point out that the Gerber baby is bald. Other than that, it's actually a really well-done design. If only that was what they wanted.

Anonymous said...

At least the Gerber Baby came out well!

Craig said...

Perhaps the way to avoid situations like these is to have customers submit their orders to CW comments for spellcheck and factual verification before forwarding to the bakery... (JK)

#1 We know what would have happened if the customer had brought a Coke bottle or can and said, "put this on the cake," right?

#2 Someone's 55th birthday? Some child whose name starts with 'L' just turned 5? Viva Las Vegas? Oh, by the way... why is it shiny?

#3 Obviously, the problem here is that instead of saying, "I'd like 'happy birthday' sticks on these cupcakes," the customer should have asked for 'happy birthday' sticks on *all of* these cupcakes. Which would either have meant fewer cupcakes or a lot more writing...

#4 Simple. Elegant. In the best tradition of 'Under Neat That'.

#5 Theory I: Kelly's baby picture bears a striking resemblance to the Gerber baby. Theory II: Maybe the wreckerator just wanted to avoid controversy: "Is that a daisy, or a dogwood blossom, or a lotus flower, or..."

@Kimberly Chapman: Sound theory, but impractical; if wreckerators verified orders, at the end of the month there would be an $18 Zillion phone bill and no cakes made.

What these bakeries ought to do is contract order-taking out to a call center somewhere. Then bakery employees could follow a simple sequence: read the order, make the cake, process the refund, send a picture to Cake Wrecks, eat the evidence. Much more efficient that way.

@Pandora (2): My sentiments exactly. Florists get paid to know about flowers, bakers know about wrecks. If I needed a specific flower on a cake, I would go to the florist, say "I'd like that one, please," then go to the baker and say, "I would like a cake that has this on it, please." After that, I would just have to hope the flower was food-safe. Or not worry about it, depending on whether I like the intended recipient of the cake. (JK)

wv: adnes. A mountain range in Preu.

Anonymous said...

Hmm. It could just be that "daisy" came across as "desi" (i.e. subcontinental), the baby also looks like that with its big black eyes and curly black hair. I am not sure what the baker was thinking, though, since the two words are IMHO pronounced quite differently, and why would Kelly want a giant desi baby on her cake? Apart from that, "Gerber" seems not to have been understood at all, but if English is not your mother tongue it is pretty likely that you don't know all the flower names, I would probably not have understood it either. Just my two cents.

rachel said...

sometimes (as a former cake decorator myself) its the consumer who ruins it.
last year a man came in and requested a Buzz Lightyear cake for his 21 year old son. i was a little confused, and asked if he was sure his son would appreciate this, he replied "of course, hes not under age or anything".

hmmmm, ok its YOUR cake man, i thought, and made a fun blue cake with space ships and buzz firing his wrist gun. it turned out pretty good, and i was happy.
the next day, i was written up for giving my owners grandson (oh yes, turns out that was their kid) the wrong cake. it was supposed to be a BUD LIGHT cake. ouch. my first fail. i found out later that the man who ordered the cake is legally deaf, and didnt hear me when i repeated the order. after that he got to fill out his own cake orders :)

Anonymous said...

I wonder if the LV cake was supposed to be a Louis Vuitton logo cake...


wv: iritrypo: an especially irritating attempt at typing something correctly and failing.

Therapist San Francisco said...

I love when cakes are misspelled. Last year for my friend's 35th birthday our other friend got him a cake. All it said was "Big Guy, 35, Farve," because our friend was a Green Bay fan. There was no Happy Birthday. And "Farve" is actually spelled "Favre." You would think people would write this out and spell check before they make these mistakes?

Anonymous said...

should be "is a failure to communi-cake"....

Anonymous said...

Hah! One of the most misquoted movie lines of all. It is "What we've got here is (pause) failure to communicate" (not a failure to communicate).

Lefty van Gogh said...

The "something nice" cake literally made me laugh out loud.

Amielyn said...

The people that ordered the Gerber baby cake totally deserved to get that cake! One of my biggest pet peeves is people who say "gerber" daisies!

I would have loved to see a "gerbera" daisy cake, cause that baby was awesome!

southlundon said...

Perhaps it's because I'm from the UK but I have no idea what a Gerber baby is! Wikipedia helped me out ;)

Anonymous said...

Do the bakers get chain-gang labor, repeated beatings, and time in the Box? 'Cause that seems a little severe for getting a cake order wrong.

--Dr. Vic

Anonymous said...

These are my favorite kinds of wrecks! Although I enjoy Cake Wrecks every day, I rarely actually laugh out loud...and I did so today, more than once!

And held my breath hoping there would not be a huge Epcot thing blow up about Gerber/Gerbera...looks like it came close a couple of times.

Tammy said...

Loved this! A laugh AND a lesson. I'm taking notes! Great post! - Tammy at:
http://singlepast50.com/blog/

KittyKat said...

I don't understand why so many people are doing the Epcot over Gerber Daisies.

Every garden center around here calls them "Gerber Daisies."

The Florist shops sell "Gerber Daisies" too.

I've NEVER been told by anyone, horticulturist, florist, or other that "Gerber Daisy" is somehow a completely invalid method of referring to the particular plant, and only the "GerberA" form is legitimate.

Besides, if the fabulously talented decorator who created the baby cake hadn't misheard the order, we wouldn't have anything over which to hide out in the Epcot bunker and eat cake, now would we?

wv: unbubbl
I have no idea what it means but it made me giggle. Maybe it's a name for what you play with at an UN-birthday party. It's your Un-birthday. Here blow an unbubbl.

Anonymous said...

SO sad about the gerber baby/daisy mix up because that is one talented cake decorator. It's just a shame that he/she gets on cakewrecks after actually doing a superb piping job.

CakeyGoodness said...

Thanks for the much-needed chuckles today.

I usually drop in, read, laugh (wee a little), and leave assuming there are already 200 "lol, you guys are awesome" comments and one more would just get lost in the fray. In light of Marti-gate, I thought I would stop and try to express to Team Cakewrecks how wonderful you guys are and how much I appreciate you posting throughout the insanity, and how the laughs you provide help get many of us through our own dark days.

ag. said...

These are too much! I think I would be slightly happier to recieve one of these than an actual "Happy Birthday"...I know I'd get a good laugh out of it!

Lisa said...

The cheap phone system in our bakery actually saved me from making a wreck. We can barely hear customers sometimes and end up repeating the spelling and sometimes shouting to be heard. The company refuses to do anything about the phones. Usually when customers call and we are not sure about the message we write what we think they said and annotate "wait to write message until the customer arrives." Usually this saves from scraping the cake. Anyway a customer called and asked if we could do a "Gerber Baby." We talked about the cake and I repeated it back to her many times. I didn't have a picture on hand to work with so I asked her to bring one in. Of course she brought in a picture of a Gerber daisy. If I had gone out of my way to find a picture for the customer as I usually do, I would have made that wreck.

Craig said...

@Dr. Vic asked: "Do the bakers get chain-gang labor, repeated beatings, and time in the Box?"

Of course not. Those things are reserved for people who dare to assert that anything has ever been deep-fried and try to cite Wikipedia as proof.

Bakers just receive their 15 minutes of 'fame' here, then they are free to leave -- if we're in a good mood. Which we usually are. Except, that is, when we go to EPCON 1* and things start getting...interesting. Mwahahaha.

*EPCON 1 = Maximum Alert: 'Launch on the slightest provocation, real or otherwise'

Megan said...

Reading this blog @ midnight during our vacation in the UK, I showed my husband the Gerber/Gerbera Daisy/Baby cake and I had to keep shh-ing him as to not wake up the other occupants of the B&B with his laughing! Keep it coming guys, I love your blogs and read them daily :o)

Tammy said...

Amanda, Love your site and your Blog! Especially fond of Cake Wrecks. Laughs and lessons all in one! Very nicely done. -Tammy
http://singlepast50.com/blog/

Yulanda said...

I would have to say that I would have a hard time not buying the last cake even though it was wrong.

Anonymous said...

Cool Hand Luke reference- classic! A line that all wreckators should be familiar with!

Bree said...

If that Gerber cake wasn't a mistake that would have made a great baby shower cake. I'd rather see that than edible baby butts and fondant hoo-hahs anyday.

KWillow said...

The "Gerber Baby" reminds me of the Mexican lady who asked for a figure of a boy in a football uniform, holding a football under his arm .. with a brown face (because he was Mexican).

When she came to pick up the cake... there it was, a football player with uniform, helmet and football.... and a CLOWN face. Mother was not happy.

Anonymous said...

the Gerber baby- bwahahahahahahahaha


"What these bakeries ought to do is contract order-taking out to a call center somewhere."
I work in the Quality dept of a large call center. Some of the more harmless spelling errors I've seen include spelling out "underscore" & "at symbol" in emails. Yes, even though every one of them has to be proficient with email! (i.e. cakeunderscorewrecksatsymbolefacepalmdotcom). Did I forget to mention the "dot?"

Then there's the ones that get rude. Did you know furnaces "sh_t" down? Nope, not the letter above the "j" but the one to the right of it. :D Spell Check was eventually installed- now, maybe they'll use it one day.

There've been a few lewd ones, too, but I can't mention those here (compact DISCS can be mispelled very, very hysterically but men don't find it as funny as women do).

-Barbara Anne

Arlene said...

I think that Gerber baby is kinda cute lol. As for the capitalize it cake ewwwwwwwwww. It looks all sweaty and rather gross. Scary how they misunderstand an order..

nolly said...

The Gerber cake is now my favoritest CW evar. I laugh aloud every time I look at it.

karina said...

I'm glad I read the comments today because someone asked what the WV is all about. I always thought it was funny, but never understood where the words came from! I would never have asked myself.

@Brooke I only read the comments today is see if the *Gerbera Daisy - Epcot helmets* were needed! LOL!

WV- censable: Mink is not the most censable coat at a protest rally. ;)

Tara said...

Maybe it's Stick's birthday???

And that is a stinkin' awesome baby!

WV: Deless, adj; "This cake is deless, too bad it's a wreck!"

Bhakti said...

I love Gerbera Daisies, but I would be happy with that cake, just for the effort put into it--the likeness of the Gerber Baby is spot on!

"Happy Birthday Sticks" is classic! LOL I'm imagining your next book cover right now...

Thanks a million for the much needed laughs!

Grandma Nancy said...

About the cake with the Gerber baby...the daisy is a "gerbera" daisy I believe.

Just sayin'...

Grandma Nancy

Ellen said...

Anonymous said:

>>Cool Hand Luke reference- classic! A line that all wreckators should be familiar with!<<

Makes you wonder how many eggs are in the cake recipe, doesn't it?

:-)

wv -- stery

It's a my-stery how some of these Wrecks happen!

BigMomma said...

I am in LOVE with the something nice cake! I can't stop laughing about it!

amanda said...

@KittyKat- while I laughed out loud at 'something nice' and facepalmed at the gerber baby, I laughed the hardest at your 'do the epcot'. It should be a dance craze!

wv gyribl- a terrible gerbil.

Anonymous said...

@ southlundon Gerber is the name of a major baby food company in the U.S. The Gerber Baby is the company's iconic logo, reproduced not only on jars and boxes of baby food, but as dolls.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gerber_Baby

Anonymous said...

I'm sure many have pointed this out, but that's a pretty good baby on the Gerber cake.

Ramona said...

if you were to write down that you needed a Gerbera Daisy cake, then you shouldn't need visual aids.

I admit I laughed, but as an extremely hard of hearing individual, i found the after effects of being made fun of, ringing a little to long. A touchier subject than you might think.

jamoche said...

I'm pretty sure I've seen an old Coke sign with exactly that layout of "bottle" and "can"

Jitka said...

What is "Gerber baby" supposed to mean? English is not my mother tongue and I didn't manage to google anything relevant.

jamoche said...

@Jitka: It's this Gerber baby

Anonymous said...

Maybe the first cake was for someone who is a fan Coke AND Star Wars. Picture Yoda saying, "Bottle Coca-Cola can."

-Michelle