“‘This is not what I expected,’ says the customer.
“‘Oh, well, what were you expecting?’
“Customer gets out her phone and says, ‘This.’
“She shows me a picture of the Thomas the Tank Engine cake from Cold Stone Creamery.
“‘Ma'am, did you show anyone this photo when you ordered your cake?’ (I wanted to see if someone had left this info off the order, which COULD have happened.)
“Lady: ‘No, I thought you would know.’
“Me: ‘How would we know that?’
“Lady: ‘Well it is THE Thomas cake.’
“Me: (calming breath) ‘There are lots of Thomas cakes. This seems to be THE Thomas cake at Cold Stone Creamery, and we are not Cold Stone Creamery. We don't even have the figurines that would go on top. Customers typically provide them, so if you had ordered a cake like this, we would have asked you for those.’
“Lady: ‘Well, what can we do?’
“Me: (blank stare) ‘... if you give me an hour, I can have the designer scrape the top of the cake and put down a frosting ‘track.’ I assume you have some Thomas engines at home that you can put on the track? It will look pretty close.’