In April 2023, the owner of a cake shop revealed that she had received her worst customer experience since opening the shop. This customer ordered a rainbow cake with six colors. The owner even showed in a video how she made this cake. The cake was quite labor-intensive, dyed layer by layer, covered with cream layer by layer, and decorated with multi-colored sprinkles. This 8-inch cake was sold for $76. Then the owner exposed herself that the customer was very dissatisfied after receiving it and even complained on Facebook that they didn’t like the sprinkles. The customer felt the cake was not worth the price. The owner’s post about this difficult customer initially attracted quite a lot of positive response.
A few days later, however, the customer posted her version of the incident. She showed the photo of the cake she received, and the internet went crazy because this cake was completely different from the demo cake by the owner. The real cake was very small. The owner claimed it could feed 17 people, which was too obviously impossible. Then the words “Happy Birthday Trilby” were written in black sauce on top. Trilby is the name of the customer’s mother.
People started to blame the owner. The fury made both the owner and the customer’s videos go viral. The funniest thing was that it attracted many cake makers to post their attempts to make a better cake. They made similar rainbow cakes, got them well sprinkled, and wrote the same “Happy Birthday Trilby” on top. Trilby was really lucky, as she attracted so many bakers to make birthday cakes for her.
The cake shop owner seemed like a combative person on the internet. As a result, her posts attracted backlash. Most articles analyzed the so-called “Cake Gate” and considered this owner a failure and even thought her cake shop might not survive. One critic said, “In business, you should always take the high road,” meaning business people should be cautious and speak elegantly.
However, after several months, it seems that the smarter one was the cake shop owner. She took the initiative fearing that the customer would complain about her first. So she complained about the customer first and confessed first. The result was successful: Her video’s views were more than 10 times that of her customer’s. The customer’s video was watched by 1.2 million people, while the owner’s video had been watched by more than 10 million people. The articles and magazines referring to the Cake Gate mostly referred only to the original video (the owner’s video), not the follow-up video (the customer’s). Most importantly, after the incident, the view count was generally two to three times higher than before, meaning people would continue to watch the owner. And cake is something everyone has a chance to buy one or two of, so it seems this owner’s business should be getting better.