Sweet My Ass (Or It's Just Cake, Or Why You Should Never, Under Any Circumstances, Spend Your Money at Sweet Lady Jane)
Our wedding is three months away. Yes, we should have figured out the cake bit sooner, but we’re having our wedding on a warehouse rooftop downtown, so we’re not exactly doing the traditional do. Our wedding is so offbeat that we recently decided we should probably do something that will give the family a sense of structure, of formality, of “weddingness” just so they don’t lose their way among the techno jazz, shredded chiffon dress (mine) and crazy striped suit (his). In short, give them cake so they feel like it is a wedding after all. And who doesn’t love cake?
In this town, if you’re going to do a proper wedding cake, the rule of thumb – the name on everyone’s tongue – is Sweet Lady Jane. I’ve been there for tea. I’ve nibbled a few scones. I’ve even tasted a tart or two. All quite good, all delivered with proper service. I expected the wedding cake experience to be just as good. I could not have been more wrong.
I called the wedding cake person at Sweet Lady Jane weeks in advance to setup the appointment. I then re-confirmed the appointment with her the day before. In each conversation, she told me to bring pictures of cakes I liked and reminded me that everything is custom – so they could create whatever I wanted. Fine. I already knew we weren’t interested in flowers and foofiness…more modern stripes and clean lines. We still weren't sure we even wanted to have a wedidng cake - so traditional and part of the crazy wedding industry we'd sworn we would avoid. I assembled my preferred cake pictures accordingly.
We arrived at 10:30am for our cake appointment. The handsome guy at the front said: “Great, take a seat, I’ll get the book!” Seconds later, he came out with the big white wedding cake book. My fiancé ordered some tea and we started flipping through the book. Lots of sugary flowers and girly girl cakes – nothing for us. But it didn’t matter right? Because I had my trusty “modern cake” pictures with me and the wedding cake lady said they could do “anything.”
We waited. We drank our tea. We waited. We ordered scones. We ate them. We waited some more.
At 11:10am, I went back up to the counter and said we had an appointment with the wedding cake lady. The woman said “That's me, are you here about a cake?” Um, yes, we are. She had us switch tables and then came over to meet with us.
She asked me to introduce myself. I did. No name recognition. No memory of having talked to me less than 24 hours before. She then looked at my finacé and said: “You could tell me your name, but I’m not going to remember it, so what's the point?” Hmmm. Not how you treat a customer. Ever. Especially when your cake prices start at $6.95/slice. But that is the tippy tip of the iceberg. It gets a hell of a lot worse…