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Apr 2, 2007 10:11 AM

When should a bakery pull its goods?

I just bought a slice of opera cake from a very good local bakery, and it was so dry that even my hubby wouldn't eat it. I know that bakeries have to watch their costs/wasteage, but when I'm paying $5 for a stale pastry (the same as a person who got a fresh slice 1 or 2 days earlier) isn't that just wrong? It makes me not want to patronize them anymore. What do you think?

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  1. Did you go back and return it?

    1. I have always marked anything left over more than 24 hours as "1 Day Old" and it is commonly discounted by 25%. Many items pulled from the shelves or discounted by 50% on the second day.

      Do you know for a fact that it was old, or is it possible that Opera cake is supposed to taste this way? If this was the first time that you have bought this particular item, this might be just the way this bakery makes it.

      If you have purchased it in the past and the texture was different before, you should bring this to their attention. It is very possible that a mistake was made, and they may give you a refund if they are serious about your retaining your patronage.

      1. Are you talking about a multilayer cake, using an almond sponge, coffee syrup and lots of frosting or glazing?

        1 Reply
        1. re: paulj

          Answers to all: It was the traditional opera cake: almond sponge, coffee buttercream, ganache glaze (but no discernible coffee syrup). I did not return it, since it meant another 8-mile drive. The taste was fine, but the texture was dried out: stiff cake, hard buttercream. The ganache was okay, but a waste of $5, since I make my own truffles. I guess I'm just whining because of the accumulated disappointments of so many bad pastry purchases, and I apologize.

        2. I think you should call, and they should tell you they'll do something about it on your next visit, whenever you happen to be in that area, then they should thank you for bringing it to their attention. If not, never go back. If so, when you return, ask them how you ended up with day-old or older pastry not marked as such.

          And don't apologize for venting. That's a $5 bill you might as well have set on fire, which is frustrating enough, but to be anticipating a delicious pastry for 8 miles, and then get a mouthful of dry crumbs, that's an emotional rollercoaster you can't put a price on, especially if it's been a bad day.

          Yes, I know I sound like a crank.

          3 Replies
          1. re: optimal forager

            When I discovered that 5 out of the 6 cupcakes I purchased were stale, I called and explained the situation, and was offered a full refund. Then I brough tthe cakes back and without any further discussion, and insisting on paying for the 1 fresh cupcake, I was reimbursed for the 5. It's likely that I won't return to this bakery, but at least the reaction was professional.

            1. re: naturelle

              Unless you didn't enjoy the one good cupcake, you should go back. Weird things happen sometimes, and it's a good idea to give the place another try. If they consistently screw up, then it's time to stop going there.

              1. re: JK Grence the Cosmic Jester

                Thanks, everyone - these are all good suggestions.