Day 10: Kicking around Santa Fe

Everyone spent the day preparing for my parent’s anniversary party that evening. You can skip the rest of this post if you aren’t interested in rants about bad customer service. You should skip it! This is old news to all of us…the familiar problem of trying desperately to give a company money and they just won’t take it!

I’ve been trying for over two weeks to get a cake ordered from “the best bakery” in Santa Fe, according to Yelp. I went to the bakery website, found a cake I liked, and called the bakery.

“I’d like to order a cake.”

“Oh, lemme transfer you.”

I am put on hold for a long time. Minutes.

“Hello?”

“Hi. I’d like to order a cake.”

“Do you know what kind you want?”

I do, and I rattle off all the specs from the online menu they have…but this is where I ruin everything…”I’d like custom decoration. I’m looking at your website and I’d like it to look just like the one on your gallery page, second row, last cake.”

“Can you describe it?”

“Well, I’d rather have you look at it. Do you have a computer?”

No, the person on the phone did not have a computer and I’d have to call back and talk to the cake decorating lady who was not in right now. I ask if I can send an email with a picture of what I want. They say yes and I ask if the email address on the webpage I am looking at is correct. No – instead of emailing the bakery I have to email a gmail address.

Needless to say no one emails me back. I call a few days later to check in and the cake decorating lady is not in. A day or so later I get a voicemail message from her acknowledging my order and asking me to call to confirm and give my credit card number. I call back, she is not in.

Now we are on the road and it is hard for me to make calls during business hours. Cell service is really spotty. When I do manage to call, she is not in.

Screw it! When we arrive in Santa Fe I go to a nearby Whole Foods. The people at the bakery are super nice. The woman who does cake decorating is there and she comes out from behind the counter and looks at my computer and does a sketch based on my photo. She doesn’t want a down payment, and the price of the cake is (bizarrely) about half what the other bakery was going to charge me.

Today we pick up the cake and it is absolutely perfect. Just like the photo. (Sorry about the crummy photo *I* took. The restaurant was dark and a flash ruins everything.)

I want to patronize small businesses and time after time I hit a brick wall when I try to do so. Anyone at “the best bakery” could have helped me if they were willing to go beyond their job description but no one was.

Ironically, when I try to send a thank you letter to the manager of the Santa Fe Whole Foods, I discover the store has no email address online. : )

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