My birthday has always been a difficult day, and I have taken to trying to make it a good one. This year? This year I decided I was getting a cake I love for my birthday.
I love cherries and I love a black forest cake. Icing not too sweet, Cherries in every layer, moist delicious chocolate cake – who wouldn’t love it. I was going to splurge and introduce my daughters to the wonder of Black Forest Cake.
I called ahead to all the local bakeries. No one in Albany made one – I was amazed. I found a place in Clifton Park who said they could make it – a 6 inch cake was 24.00 and I had to prepay it. $24 is steep to me right now, but I decided to set a precedence and just go for it. I did. It would be ready in three days.. I was so excited.
My mother and I share a birthday, something she still says she blames god for. For some reason, I still want to have a connection with her on that day, and so I went up to bring her a birthday present. Nothing big unfortunately, but heartfelt. I spent a few hours with her, and started on the way back (an 88 mile trip each way). I would be stopping on the way to pick up my cake. My youngest daughter had come with me, and so we stopped for slim jims and starbucks frappacinos – listening to good music – talking about life and having a generally good time. I happily stopped on the northway for my cake which i had been looking forward to.
Enter Dolce and Biscotti. Wow, It was like walking into a shop of zombies. Their kitchen/prep space is open for all to see. Which is nice, if things are nice and neat. They were not. More importantly, the women who where working were not really doing much, standing around, looking bored. I thought it would mean I was going to get served quickly. It did not. I stood there for five minutes saying excuse me and asking for help. No one really moved. Finally someone came from the back, when the owner finally got up from a table behind me and yelled for someone. YAY!!! thought I.
They had trouble finding the cake, and when I saw it, I knew I was in for trouble. They had wrapped it to get it home in one piece, but it was already so off center, I knew it would not cut well.
“Is that going to be cutable,” I asked the girl.
“Of course,” she responded clearly offended.
“It looks like it is going to fall over already, how do I cut it so it stays in one piece,” I asked.
“I just put it in the box,” she said. She passed me the box and I knew I was supposed to leave.
“What happens if it falls apart?” I asked. I got no response.
I knew I was in trouble. This was kind of our dinner – because of calories.. and right in the moment I knew it was a problem.
I got it home, I tried to cut it and it had slid apart just from taking the plexi wrap off of it. My daughters tried to hold it together as I tried to cut it. We got it on plates, let the rest slide and tried to eat it. The cake itself was stale, and not just a little. No soft moist cake for me this year. The cherry filling, which should be spiced appeared to be nothing better than cheap canned pie filling. It was kind of disgusting actually (once we found the hair – there was no going back) and we ended up throwing most of it out,
I wrote to Dolce & Biscotti asking about the cost considering it was not really servable or tasty. I got a reply that the email addressee had no idea what I was talking about implying I had the wrong email address. I looked it up online and it was correct, the owner simply did not care. I wrote back saying that it was no wonder I had received what I had from her kitchen when she took no responsibility for her shop’s mistakes. I assume it was a mistake to not balance the cake, to make it unservable, to not have any customer skills at the register. I assumed it was a mistake, and that was my mistake. What I found was that the bakery did not care. The owner did not care, and therefore her employees did not care. I understood why I had received such a horrible version of an edible delite.
I have come across many people and businesses lately that simply do not care. They get your money and if you are unhappy oh well. They do not have to comply, respond, or make you happy. I encountered an artist this week who referred to it as “chewing the chewed”. The art of finding people who have already been chewed up and spit out and chew on them a little more. I am sad to say I encounter it far more than I should. And it feels quite apt to apply it to this local bakery. Dolce and Biscotti. Touted as a wonderful small local bakery who cares. Laughable given the service. If she had simply said, I am sorry, I would have been okay with it. It was after all just a cake.
But in a world where people want something for nothing, the owner of Dolce and Biscotti make it clear she cared nothing about her customer’s experience. She cared little that it had a negative impact on my birthday. She cared only about getting paid up front for a cake that did not make it to the plates in one piece. It would have been a good giggle, if she had – a story to remember – oh man mom, remember that time you got that black forest cake?
Nope – this one sticks in the craw a little. Like a lot of experiences lately. Remember civility? Yeah, it is in short supply these days, but if we look, it is still there. I personally try to spread it everywhere – even to the owner of Dolce and Biscotti as she blew me off. Because I can either spread what I want the world to be, or I am just one more ass treating people like crap just because I can.
Pray people.. pray. It does make a difference.