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

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  • rubix_76
    rubix_76 Forumite Posts: 216 Forumite
    These days it's usually the custom for whoever has a birthday that they buy doughnuts / bring in cake etc as then its fair for all.

    If this were to be done, the person whoevers Birthday it was should pay for your ingredients (at least) and as you are doing it your time maybe a contribution towards that too.

    My DW likes decorating cakes and most people don't realise how much all of the icing, colours etc cost and if the cake decorating is complex, it takes a long time too !!!
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  • 41_and_i_know_it
    41_and_i_know_it Forumite Posts: 512 Forumite
    I used to do the same, it made me feel good but after a while you feel a bit fed up as people expect you to work hard and pay for it all yourself but don't realise that it might be their turn too. There is no answer to this really but here are your options:
    1. Carry on baking, paying and cursing the day you started doing it.
    2. Say that you will only do a certain number or certain occasions.
    3. Ask everyone to make a donation to charity or yourself per slice.
    4. Be upfront and say it is getting too much for you.
    5. Say you can't afford it any more.
    6. Make smaller or simpler cakes.
    7. Make a not so tasty cake so they don't want you to make any more.
    8. Just stop doing it and when asked why either tell the truth or say that it is someone else's turn.

    I can empathise this is a very delicate situation and I have been it it many times. Even if you change this situation look out for others as I have stopped one to start another. It is learning how to recognise when enough is enough and when you stop enjoying doing something and start doing it when you don't really want to. Good luck and to give you an incentive put a pot somewhere and put the money you would have spend on ingredients/decorations etc for a special treat for yourself. Remember only nice people end up in these situations because they want to be liked but end up being out of pocket and knackered.

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  • gayleygoo
    gayleygoo Forumite Posts: 816 Forumite
    I love making cakes or nice dessert pies for friends' birthday's, which is fine because they're my friends, but if they were just my workmates then I'm not so sure I'd go to the same effort - not only is it costing you money but at least a few hours of your time. Obviously your workmates have got used to you "doing the baking" and they probably don't realise how much cakes cost to make, or the time they take.

    I always thought it was the birthday person who was supposed to bring in cake (if at all), usually leftover from their party! You could do simple cakes or buns etc, but these still take time and money and people will still "expect" them.

    Someone mentioned setting up a little business making cakes, and I think this is a great idea, as long as you're not too busy with your current job or lifestyle, and you really like making cakes! You could end up with a reliable customer base and they will recommend you to others, and you could perhaps even cater for office parties etc. (You'll probably need Food Handler Registration etc)

    If you are going to stop entirely, then the end of the year would be a good time to do it - as others have said, people will not feel left out then. If you bake because you love it so much then share your goodies with friends and family, or only bring into work occasionally. Good luck!

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  • rojanich
    rojanich Forumite Posts: 31
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    I'd send out an e-mail stating that you can no longer afford to bake for everyones birthday. You could tell them that you like baking so you will continue to bring them in occasionally as a treat or, if they would like, they can donate the money for you to make them on their birthday. Offer a list of cakes and the cost to make them.

    Who knows, they could be paying you to make cakes for them to take home and eat or for family birthdays :)


    This is obviously the most sensible thing to do, well done crimson.addict.
    1 Communicate - tell people the truth, that you love baking but it's getting too expensive. :(
    2 Give them the option of continuing to enjoy your cakes or if they too are feeling the pinch the rather dubious tradition of buying cakes for co-workers can die out. ;)
    3 This still gives you the option of baking for them when the mood and budget takes you. :T

    Hmmmmm, or you could start up a Friendship Cake (Google it) and get them all at it ! :rotfl:

    Happy baking
  • mthone
    mthone Forumite Posts: 7 Forumite
    I had the same problem but it was solved for me when a new team member wanted to outdo me by baking cakes himself. He now does it instead of me so problem solved! His cakes are horrible by the way!
  • kesirra
    kesirra Forumite Posts: 14 Forumite
    I would bake one last cake and take it into work. I would then email everyone and say:

    this is a cake to say thank you. I've enjoyed baking for everyone, but this will be the last one as I can no longer afford to do so.
  • Womanly_Panther_2
    Womanly_Panther_2 Forumite Posts: 7 Forumite
    I used to be the head baker in my office too, and I agree that at first it was enjoyable reaping in the compliments, but after a couple of years, I realised I'd made a rod for my own back.
    If no-one has offered to contribute to ingredients, I have to ask if you have asked them to?
    If you want to carry on, then you need to be bold & ask for some money!
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  • Decluttering
    Decluttering Forumite Posts: 691
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    I think if it were me, I would not bake a cake for the next birthday and then if anyone comments, just mention casually that it can be quite an expense when done continually. I'd probably have a word with the person whose birthday is due next as well just so they know it's nothing personal.
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  • lynseyr1
    lynseyr1 Forumite Posts: 27 Forumite
    Our office has a slightly different system.

    We used to do the birthday girl/boy buys the cakes thing, but some people never bought any, some bought one little tub of bite size treats, and others made/bought enough for the whole office - which caused some resentment from those who did put the effort in.

    Now we have an amount of £10 per birthday set aside in the company's entertainment budget ( the one the Christmas party and team bonding after work drinks come from), and one person has the responsibility of taking the company credit card and going out to buy the cakes on the birthday. Much fairer, and no one is out of pocket.
  • stationaryace
    stationaryace Forumite Posts: 701 Forumite
    I must be in a really strange office. There are 6 of us and each takes it in turn to organise the present and cake buying/baking for the birthday girl - it's always a "surprise" for the birthday girl, in that they kinda know after a few years that something will happen but never know what. I am the cake baker in the office and it's not restricted to birthdays, and yes I absorb the costs but I don't mind because most of us take something in every so often. A few weeks ago in the warm weather one colleague took back Magnums for everyone after lunch.

    If you are unhappy with your current situation then talk to them. If you are feeling the strain now waiting until the end of the year before stopping might be too long - it's only August and there could be quite a few birthdays in that time. Do you want to bake resentful cakes? - Mary Berry on GBB says they taste awful :p
    when the first cup of coffee tastes like washing up she knows she's losing it :o
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