Saturday, April 21, 2018

My Love-Hate Relationship With Lady M Cake Boutique

At $90 a pop, this is probably the most expensive 9-inch birthday cake I’ve ever bought. And it’s not the first time I’ve bought it. It’s from Lady M, which, to my knowledge, is the only bakery in these parts that offers such an item--a cake made up of at least twenty individual crepes layered on top of each other, one-by-one, whipped cream in between.

It’s a good cake, a unique cake, something I’ve written and raved about on this very blog; but every time I purchase one, I am reminded of how high and mighty Lady M is.

As you may remember from my previous post, they call themselves not a cake bakery, but a “cake boutique”. Also they post a uniformed guard outside the door as though what they're selling was made of diamonds and gold instead of flour and sugar.

But today, I found out that when you call the phone number, you’re not connected to the local store you think you’re calling but rather, a centralized call center.

It was from speaking to the unusually formal-sounding phone representative--who I imagine is sequestered in an all-white room located in an all-white tower in Midtown Manhattan--that I found out they won’t write "Happy Birthday" on the cake for you unless you pre-order and pay at least two days in advance.

"How much time do you need to scribble 'Happy Birthday' in colored frosting?" I thought to myself.

Soon, I was transferred to the local branch to reserve the cake. And for the next few minutes, I spoke to an even more robotic woman whose factory setting seemed to be stuck on “insolent”.

She told me that to reserve a cake (which I was going to pick up that same afternoon), I'd have to pay for it now, over the phone. She asked for my credit card, which was immediately charged the $90. When I got the receipt via text, it said that all sales are final.

I point this out not because I am opposed to paying up front nor the fact that this is the only bakery I know of that insists on full payment for reservations; I point this out because it made me uneasy that they've now got all my credit card information scribbled on a random piece of paper. I was also told (not asked) to bring a photo ID when it came time to pick up the cake.

When I went to the store to pick up the cake, I saw, for the first time, that the uniformed guard wasn't at the door. I walked up to the cashier, showed her my ID, and saw her pull out a three-ring binder in which my credit card information was written in pen.

For a business that does not seem to trust its customers, Lady M seems to ask for a lot trust that that binder won't get into the wrong hands. Where's that guard when you need him?

Lady M Cake Boutique
2967 Michelson Dr B
Irvine, CA 92612
323) 825-8888

Bawarchi Biryanis - Lake Forest


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