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  • FIRST POST
    Former MSE Debs
    Real-life MMD: Am I baking up the wrong tree?
    • #1
    • 20th Aug 12, 1:54 PM
    Real-life MMD: Am I baking up the wrong tree? 20th Aug 12 at 1:54 PM
    Money Moral Dilemma: Am I baking up the wrong tree?


    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?

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    Last edited by Former MSE Debs; 21-08-2012 at 4:38 PM.
Page 1
  • mayling03
    • #2
    • 21st Aug 12, 9:16 PM
    • #2
    • 21st Aug 12, 9:16 PM
    To be honest, do it as and when you feel/can afford it. Doesn't have to be for special occasion. When it's someone's bday and they ask you 'What you baking' or 'Thought you were bringing cakes in', then you can say, money's a bit tight. Another suggestion is, you can each put a few quid in each month purely for you to buy ingredients to make the cakes with. People can't expect you to do it, and they will prob expect you to cotton on.
    • Arthurian
    • By Arthurian 21st Aug 12, 9:24 PM
    • 658 Posts
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    Arthurian
    • #3
    • 21st Aug 12, 9:24 PM
    • #3
    • 21st Aug 12, 9:24 PM
    If there's a birthday looming soon, bake for that, then announce to all that you are not going to bake any more office/work birthday cakes because times are hard. (Maybe you'll get a pay rise .) If you enjoy baking that much, take cakes around to friends out of office hours.
    • McKneff
    • By McKneff 21st Aug 12, 9:27 PM
    • 36,244 Posts
    • 46,698 Thanks
    McKneff
    • #4
    • 21st Aug 12, 9:27 PM
    • #4
    • 21st Aug 12, 9:27 PM
    If anyone asks or hints at you baking a cake, just say well you buy the ingredients and I'll bake it for you, simple as that really.
    make the most of it, we are only here for the weekend.
    and we will never, ever return.
    • luxor4t
    • By luxor4t 21st Aug 12, 11:08 PM
    • 10,324 Posts
    • 37,222 Thanks
    luxor4t
    • #5
    • 21st Aug 12, 11:08 PM
    • #5
    • 21st Aug 12, 11:08 PM
    You could scale it back a bit eg cupcakes not a full cake, then fewer cupcakes - if anybody complains you have the perfect opportunity to suggest the others chip in.
    I can cook and sew, make flowers grow.
    • lushberry
    • By lushberry 22nd Aug 12, 12:03 AM
    • 3 Posts
    • 6 Thanks
    lushberry
    • #6
    • 22nd Aug 12, 12:03 AM
    • #6
    • 22nd Aug 12, 12:03 AM
    It seems clear to me that everyone knows that you're being incredibly generous and to expect it as a given is incredibly 'cheeky' to put it mildly; they know this and you clearly know it. When the next birthday is approaching, simply send an email to your colleagues asking them to contribute towards the cost of a cake and a card, or as similar to mayling03's suggestion, set up or canvas views on whether anyone wants to contribute to a coffee/tea club outlining that with the monthly contributions of a couple of quid each, tea, coffee can be bought and contribute to the cost of a cakes once a month or as per the cash kitty allows. Either way, it shouldn't fall on your pocket solely to mark the birthday of a colleague while the rest of your colleagues eat the fruits of your labour, reign it in. Don't continue baking cakes for birthdays unless the team contribute, it's too personal and invites the expectation that all birthdays should be honoured similarly. I have to say that I am very surprised that no one has had the common courtesy to pitch in.
    Last edited by lushberry; 22-08-2012 at 12:06 AM.
    • darkwarrior
    • By darkwarrior 22nd Aug 12, 1:27 AM
    • 183 Posts
    • 80 Thanks
    darkwarrior
    • #7
    • 22nd Aug 12, 1:27 AM
    • #7
    • 22nd Aug 12, 1:27 AM
    Stop altogether and say you can't afford it. They'll either chip in or at least you won't be offending anyone.
    • newkitchenfund
    • By newkitchenfund 22nd Aug 12, 6:29 AM
    • 29 Posts
    • 75 Thanks
    newkitchenfund
    • #8
    • 22nd Aug 12, 6:29 AM
    they may not have realised...
    • #8
    • 22nd Aug 12, 6:29 AM
    People who don't bake may not realise that it can be pretty expensive to make a cake. Even though many of the ingredients come out of our your storecupboard, you had to buy them in the first place. And once you start adding up the cost of eggs, chocolate, fancy icing, and other more costly ingredients such as nuts or cream, it can be more expensive to make than to buy shop-bought - not to mention the cost of heating the oven!
    You say you enjoy baking and don't mind the time it takes you, but it seems that your enjoyment is being spoilt by the feeling that people do not appreciate the monetary cost as well as the effort you have put in. Perhaps it's best to bring this up with the team next time there's a birthday looming - you don't need to stop baking, just say you're trying to watch the pennies and therefore would appreciate a small donation from each person towards a 'cake kitty' to help defray your expenses. If you really can't face asking for this, why not set yourself a challenge of making budget cakes?
    • Androcles
    • By Androcles 22nd Aug 12, 6:43 AM
    • 76 Posts
    • 84 Thanks
    Androcles
    • #9
    • 22nd Aug 12, 6:43 AM
    • #9
    • 22nd Aug 12, 6:43 AM
    I would be tempted to miss the odd birthday and see if anybody says anything.....just concentrate on baking for those close to you. I suspect that if you don't bake one for somebody not close, most people will not dare to say anything as they all realise underneath that you do it out of the goodness of your heart and at your own expense. Break the culture of expectation and get it back to being a spontaneous gesture which surprises, rather than an expectation.
    • tallgirld
    • By tallgirld 22nd Aug 12, 7:17 AM
    • 476 Posts
    • 318 Thanks
    tallgirld
    Stop altogether at least that way you will not be accused of having favourites.

    No point continuing if it is putting pressure on your purse.
    • bouncydog1
    • By bouncydog1 22nd Aug 12, 7:45 AM
    • 2,603 Posts
    • 2,058 Thanks
    bouncydog1
    Email them all saying you are very happy to bake when asked - but going forwards you have to charge for ingredients - perfectly fair. Just have in mind an idea of what the cost will be and make sure you factor in electric e.g. a large victoria sandwich 4 etc. Make sure you tell them you are not charging for your time but can't keep paying for everything.

    Alternatively suggest that in these days of rising prices people just bring in cakes for birthdays etc if they want to and you may find you get asked with an offer to pay the cost.
    • JSS
    • By JSS 22nd Aug 12, 8:34 AM
    • 15 Posts
    • 45 Thanks
    JSS
    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
    • By AnneMary 22nd Aug 12, 8:58 AM
    • 55 Posts
    • 125 Thanks
    AnneMary
    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
    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
    • By onesixfive 22nd Aug 12, 9:14 AM
    • 325 Posts
    • 224 Thanks
    onesixfive
    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
    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
    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?
    Originally posted by MSE Debs
    Neither? Stop it altogether if it's costing you too much.
    If you haven't got it - please don't flaunt it. TIA.
  • suzana22
    Sometimes people just don't realise that things cost....it 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 no...so 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!
    x
    • iclayt
    • By iclayt 22nd Aug 12, 9:41 AM
    • 420 Posts
    • 823 Thanks
    iclayt
    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.
    Last edited by iclayt; 22-08-2012 at 9:43 AM.
  • Sulevia
    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.
    Originally posted by JSS
    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.

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