Real-life MMD: Am I baking up the wrong tree?



  • JSS
    JSS Forumite Posts: 15 Forumite
    I bake cakes for my colleagues too - but I do it just for MY birthday, which keeps it affordable. Other people bring in shop-bought cakes for their birthdays, which is fine too - not everyone can bake a cake, but at least they are contributing, and we all enjoy eating the cakes. Try suggesting that to your colleagues.
  • AnneMary
    AnneMary Forumite Posts: 67
    Part of the Furniture 10 Posts
    In most work places it is the Birthday Girl/Boy who buys the cakes. If you stopped baking they would need to start buying - how about giving people the option of you baking if they pay for ingredients?

    I would choose when to stop carefully or the first birthday will be awkward - it needs to be the right person. Do you have a special friend on the team you could discuss this with and tackle it together - or they could have a quiet word with others.
  • lizchris101
    lizchris101 Forumite Posts: 10 Forumite
    I make cakes too but only when asked - if I started offering to bring one in for free then people just expect that to be the case forever. I have printed out a couple of recipe shopping lists for the most asked for cakes and when someone asks for a cake I hand them the list and tell them that I'll donate my time, expertise and gas cooker for free!

    I've never had anyone complain and only once did someone looked startled and hand the list back saying that they wouldn't have time to do the shopping and could I do it and give them the receipt so that they could pay me back (which they did).

    I think that most people deep down are quite nice, understanding and generous and we just need to ask them to see this side of them. :)
  • onesixfive
    onesixfive Forumite Posts: 470
    Part of the Furniture 100 Posts Combo Breaker
    If you enjoy the baking why stop - You could bake a few buns/cupcakes just once a month & add a candle/simple message for those who have had birthdays in that past/coming month.
  • DustD
    DustD Forumite Posts: 20 Forumite
    Hmmm, lots of dilly dally sit on the fence answers here like 'baking when you can afford to' - thats only going to make things worse (some people get cakes, others do not).

    The OP has ended up in an unfortunate situation here as a result of their generosity and it appears to me that they are being taken advantage of. It irritates me greatly that some of these people waltz around and expect you to produce a cake a no charge.

    Its an odd practice anyway, you baking for everybody's birthday - as somebody already pointed out its usually the person who's birthday it is buys cakes for the office.

    But you are where you are. Its awkward, but the only option you have is to stop doing it altogether or ask for a contribution for the ingrediants (depending on the size of the office).

    I would find out when the next birthday is, send an email to all (except the birthday person of course), asking for 20p/50p/£1 each (like I said, depending on the size of the office) to bake the cake. Alternatively you could have a 'birthday club' money tin where people put some money in each month?

    If anybody asks why you have started charging (if they do, they are not in the real world), just simply say its expensive to buy cake ingredients throughout the year for a whole office.

    They should be grateful enough that you are taking to time to bake, let alone letting you shoulder the expense too!
  • Sambucus_Nigra
    Sambucus_Nigra Forumite Posts: 8,669 Forumite
    MSE_Debs wrote: »
    I like to bake cakes for my colleagues' birthdays, however, it now seems an expectation. No one offers to contribute towards the ingredients' costs, and though I enjoy it, it's becoming expensive. Should I only do it for those I'm close to and risk offending the others, or keep baking for everyone to my purse's detriment?

    Neither? Stop it altogether if it's costing you too much.
    If you haven't got it - please don't flaunt it. TIA.
  • suzana22
    suzana22 Forumite Posts: 6 Forumite
    Sometimes people just don't realise that things also depends on how/what you've said in the past. We have a lady in our office who always brings cakes in (startling variety that she just made for something to do at the weekend!) but when she first started we all offered to put something in the kitty and she said after the first couple of times of asking she kept saying no so no-one offers anymore! It's the same at xmas, she always insists on getting biscuits and chocolate for other depts that help us out a lot but rarely asks for money....i always offer but am normally turned down...... (the rest of us feel she does it to make herself look good as we then hear about how long it took to bake/buy etc!!)
    but going back to your dilema, just don't bake a cake for the next birthday and say sorry, didn't have time!
  • iclayt
    iclayt Forumite Posts: 453
    Part of the Furniture 100 Posts Combo Breaker
    edited 22 August 2012 at 8:43AM
    If I couldn't afford to do it I would just stop. I wouldn't say anything.

    If anyone asked where's so-and-so's birthday cake I would probably (nicely) point out that I'm not the only person with an oven and a whisk so perhaps someone else could take a turn. Maybe suggest a baking rota?

    I just know I couldn't enjoy baking cakes for people if it was leaving me unreasonably out of pocket.
  • Sulevia
    Sulevia Forumite Posts: 57 Forumite
    JSS wrote: »
    I bake cakes for my colleagues too - but I do it just for MY birthday, which keeps it affordable. Other people bring in shop-bought cakes for their birthdays, which is fine too - not everyone can bake a cake, but at least they are contributing, and we all enjoy eating the cakes. Try suggesting that to your colleagues.

    This is pretty much what happens where I work ... with the added twist that not everyone bothers, but then they don't eat other people's cakes. Sometimes people bring fruit instead, nice bowl of strawberries can be more appealing than cakes and kinder to the waistline.
  • jazzali_2
    jazzali_2 Forumite Posts: 18 Forumite
    Particularly if it's a large office, it's ludicrous that you should be expected to pay for everyone's birthday treats.

    I do think it's likely however that many people won't realise the cost of baking a cake.

    I would send a (light hearted) email round saying that while you enjoy baking and are happy to keep doing so, it's become expensive, working out at around £8 a cake, so in an office of 40 people that's £320 a year on ingredients, so you'd like to propose a few options for people to vote on:

    1. You keep baking, but everyone contributes a quid or two to the birthday kitty on a monthly basis (and you provide receipts/give people a month off from payments if you've money left over for the sake of transparency)
    2. Everyone buys/bakes their own birthday cake
    3. Secret Santa style, everyone picks a name out a hat and is responsible for that person's cake

    Most people would rather pay a quid or two than take on added responsibility, and I'm certain once they realise the expense, they will not grudge you it.
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