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Need to vent re: Wilton Classes offered at Michaels!

post #1 of 53
Thread Starter 
Hey everyone...

I thought I could vent to you guys, since maybe even some of you have gone through things like this at your local craft store with regards to Wilton Classes...

Here's what's happened thus far to really get me mad....

A little history....

In Aug. 2004, about 7 of us are waiting for our Course 2, Lesson 1 class to begin, when after 20 minutes of waiting, we find out our instructor is a no show. The Michaels employees are frantically trying to reach her, only to find out that she is a no show because she didn't get the "respect" that she "deserves" from the Michaels staff. Funny, she sure didn't show us any respect while we waited for her. All was well when 10 minutes later, in walks our Course 1 instructor, who will not only teach us, but us this as a refresher course for herself since she doesn't normally teach it. No biggie. We finish the class and have a ball with her. Great instructor!

Sept. 2004. I purchase the Course 3 kit (promo was buy kit, get class for free). After purchasing the kit from one cashier, I'm shuffled back and forth to sign up. Second cashier scolds first one, only she is in charge of sign ups for Wilton classes. I'm informed to come back in a week. I come back, class is cancelled. No instructor. I've already opened the kit and used it, and besides, my twin's first b-day is less than a month. I wanted to make some nice cakes for them (the whole point of taking the class).

Well, I didn't really have the opportunity until this week to take Course 3 again. My baking blitz while on vacation visiting family has renewed my cake addict nature, so naturally I wanted to complete the three course offered by Wilton. Who knows? Maybe I might one day be interested in becoming an instructor.

So, on July 4th, I call the store to find out what day the classes begin. I'm told July 7th at 6:30 pm, even though the website says these classes begin the week of July 10th. No biggie. On July 5th, I go and purchase the class (at full price) and get the kit for 1 penny. I come home, open the kit to prepare (yes, I have two kits, but you all know you can never have enough supplies! icon_smile.gif. On July 7th, the day of the class, I call the store because I was curious if I needed to bring anything since no one told me otherwise or gave me a supply list for the first class. I'm told I do not need to bring anything.

Last night I show up at 6:30 pm and see there is no one in the classroom. I put my stuff on the table, look for someone to talk to and find out there is no class tonight. What's worse.... she tells me that I "missed" the class, that they were "waiting on me" last night. Well, I look around, I see the date clearly marked July 7th in their Wilton sign up book, on the flyers they hand out and the dry-erase calendar they keep by the classroom entrance. She obviously doesn't know what to say. I told her about my week thus far, and how I just purchased the class. I demanded to know when this schedule changed and why I wasn't informed. Of course, they try to tell you that I should really talk with the instructor, but then I'm mad because if no one but the instructor should "talk" to the students, why am I constantly given false information? Why are all the employees misinformed? And most importantly, why am I not the one being contacted directly by the instructor? Isn't all this the instructor's responsibility to begin with? We are her students, right?

So, now they, and I, don't know what to do. The manager on duty wants to "figure this out". All I know is that I'm getting my refund back, since I have no interest in wasting my time with an instructor that wastes my time. I'm not sure what I should do. I'm pretty angry, mostly because I feel like I'm being treated as the irresponsible one by not showing up on time to the "unknown to me" class. I want to contact Michaels; I want to contact Wilton; especially since these instructors are more or less representing their company.

I love Wilton and Michaels... but not together anymore. I'm really mad!

Anyone else have this type of stuff happen to them?

What do you think I should do? Clearly, some instructors are not meant to be teachers!

Thanks for your time and patience... I know this is long... but it'll help me feel better to hear other stories too!

Oh, I should probably mention that I'm waiting for the instructor to call me today to see if I can just come to the second class and do the first class lesson at home. I'm wondering if she will even bother to call. Even though I've pretty much decided that I will not finish this through Michaels!

Mirjana
"Baking may be regarded as a science, but it's the chemistry between the ingredients and the cook that gives desserts life. Baking is done out of love, to share with family and friends, to see them smile" ~Anna Olson
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"Baking may be regarded as a science, but it's the chemistry between the ingredients and the cook that gives desserts life. Baking is done out of love, to share with family and friends, to see them smile" ~Anna Olson
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post #2 of 53
Mirjana,
I didn't have the same problem as you but I had a less then stellar dealing with ACMoore and my Wilton instructor.
Whenever we had to purchase items we felt like we were bothering the cashiers. They were obviously busy and I hate to interupt people when they are talking...especially about boyfriends and husbands and how lazy they are!!!
Then my instructor seems annoyed that she had to teach the class. The first night she brings in an Entemanns crumb cake. She stated that she bakes cakes all week long and the thought of her house smelling like cake this particular day made her nausious!! So she proceeds to take the "crumb" cake out of the box and smother it in icing to show us how to correctly ice a cake...needless to say her "crumb" cake had a lot of crumbs mixed into the icing. She said that we didn't have to bake a cake for every class we could just bring in a premade cake like her. But let me tell you....week after week she told us exactly what we had to bring in for the following week. When someone brought in a different shaped cake she had the nerve to make a comment that she specifically said to bring in a 10in square!!! Ugh, it's not like I haven't purchased a ton of stuff since the class but it got pretty pricey having to buy a new pan for a new cake every week!!!
During the flower course my friend was a little slower than everyone else and you can see that the instructor was getting really annoyed that she wasn't keeping up. In my friends defense...she wasn't explaining it well enough that we would get it on the first try.
During the 3rd course I asked her what the gumtex in the kit was for and her response was "oh, you don't need that". She couldn't even explain to me what it was and what it was used for.
During the last class we were talking about people selling cakes and one girl said she made an Elmo character pan for her nephew and charged her sister $30 for it. The instructor then jumped in and said "I would never sell a character cake for less than $100" Wha?!?! That seems like a lot to charge for a cake that only serves 12ish people. She was so snotty!!!
Argh, it's been almost a year since I took those classes and I have to stop ranting otherwise I'm going to be as annoyed as I was when I took the class.
Jenn
post #3 of 53
icon_smile.gif Hi ,
I'm sorry for the awful experience... is there another school or place you can take cake decorating from where you live ? Michael's is not the best place. It's a store not a school..If you can go to a Culinary school, then go ahead. It's worth the time and money... Since you will be dealing with Professional people.. I went to CCA, California Culinary Academy in San Francisco, I had a ball the whole time I was there. It was expensive, but it was surely worth it. They teach you everything you need to know.

Good luck with your next move on cake decorating.
Have a nice day
post #4 of 53
Mirjana,
Hi! I'm sorry you had such a bad experience! I used to work at a Michael's store. I can tell you that the problem sounds like the instructor. The cashiers up front have no way of knowing the class schedule beyond what is written in the books up front. The instructor is responsible for a-making sure a list of materials needed for class is available for the cashier to give you when you pay for your class, b-contacting you about any schedule changes, and most importantly, c-showing up as scheduled. The instructors all set their own class times for the most part, so it's not like she was assigned a time that she couldn't do. Most class instructors really enjoy what they're doing, so it's not an issue. Sounds like you got a bad apple- twice! By all means, if you are unhappy, you should contact both companies. Not sure about Wilton, but Michael's customer service hot line is 1-800-MICHAELS. I'm sure Wilton has a contact number on their website.
Time that you enjoyed wasting wasn't wasted.
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Time that you enjoyed wasting wasn't wasted.
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post #5 of 53
OMG that's horrible! I'd be fumming too!

I had a problem with my course 3 instructor too. She showed up just fine, but she would yank things right out of my hands. She'd clear the tip with her fingers and then lick them. She ate chips during class, licking her fingers and then touching the students cakes. The final straw came when she spilled her soda on my cake. I packed up and left.

I've read others' posts about neat things they got to do in level 3 classes that I missed, but was able to self teach.

It would be nice if they had a way to screen thier instructors.
post #6 of 53
Just to let you know, you can contact Wilton and complain about the instructor and you will get your refund back and I will also tell them about course 2 and how unhappy you were they may refund that too. Wilton does have a policy that if you are not happy with the class they will refund your money. I was told this by a wilton insturctor and let me tell you she s***. I was teaching the class. Course 3 was just a refresher and I just wanted to get out of the house. I really did not need it but she awful not helpful and verrrrrrrrry boring.
Jennifer Dontz Sugarpaste flower class - Hollister, CA 10/12 & 10/13/13 contact me or sugardelites.com
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Jennifer Dontz Sugarpaste flower class - Hollister, CA 10/12 & 10/13/13 contact me or sugardelites.com
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post #7 of 53
Hi everyone. This is my first post, but it really struck home. I have the exact same problem with Michaels as well. I took a gum paste flower class last month, and it was a nightmare. First off, they changed the time without letting me know. I had signed up for the class and 2 days later the instructor penciled in the change on the flyers. Grrr.... This was the first time the instructor had taught that particular class, and I'm pretty sure this was the first time she had ever even worked with gumpaste. Halfway through the 2nd night, she was watching me and said "how are you doing that?" WHAT!! So for the remainder of the classes, everyone was watching me instead of the instructor. We only made a total of 5 flowers in 4 classes. I think I should have gotten 1/2 of her paycheck! It's a good thing the class was half price. Against my better judgement, I signed up for course 3 this month. It's going just as well as the gumpaste class!
post #8 of 53
well, i just wanted to add that wilton recuits thier instructors right out of class many times. And many times you just end up with a teacher that really has no more experience then the student. The other thing is just because a person can decorate doesn't mean they can teach.

I was a wilton instructor for a couple of years and it was at a michaels, i happened to like doing what i was doing but when it got to be too much for me i quit. What i did learn when teaching and attending the seminars held for the instructors was that some of the other teachers out there couldn't even do the basic course one things. We had teachers that couldn't even make a rose. Now let me tell you i would have been very upset if i had a teacher that couldn't decorate herself.

Yes, i agree that wilton should be able to screen there teachers better, maybe they should have to go to a seminar before starting teaching to see if they can even decorate first, then if they aren't able to do the work then they shouldn't be assigned an account. But i'm not the one making the decissions at wilton.
post #9 of 53
Wow that really blows! I am sorry you had an experience like that! I am planning on taking some classes but not Wilton ones...just from an independent baker here...( Well in BAMA, I am in Los Angeles today) yup I am working on the BIG cake thats been driving me crazy!
To do what you truly love is to never work!
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To do what you truly love is to never work!
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post #10 of 53
icon_eek.gificon_eek.gificon_eek.gif You guys have definately gotten the short end of the stick when it comes to instructors! I can't imagine having to put up with that! Such arrogant attitudes! Dang! That makes me sad, because then people don't want to keep taking classes and learn new things that they may not know. And if they don't know where to go to ask questions (like here), then they may just say, "forget it, it's not worth it" and give up altogether.
post #11 of 53
That is awful!!!! and I can totally see it happening. I am having an okay experience as far as instructor showing up,etc. But the Michaels staff needs more knowledge as well... they never know how to ring up the discount, or sign me up for classes or how to use the coupons from Wilton, etc. It is always a long wait for a manager. They have had to call managers at home before because they couldn't remember how much of a discount to give me, etc. even though I was telling them what to do. It has never gone smoothly when purchasing anything or signing up for a class. The store says the instructor should know everything.. the instructor says the cashier should. In the meantime, the customer is getting their time wasted and stress level risen!!!

My instructor is more interested in talking about her grandchildren than teaching.. I have to interupt her a lot to get her back to business. and her decorating is mediocore to be kind.

Unfortunately we don't all have the funds like eve to take courses elsewhere. and for a Mom like me it is definitely nice to get out of the house a few hours a week.

I would definitely call Wilton and Michaels headquarters. When it happens once you can understand to a point... when it happens over and over... that is unacceptable!!

Wilton definitely needs to find the time to get the caliber of instructors up.. but I don't ever see that happening. I don't know what they get paid.. but I am sure not enough to attract really talented decorators and/or teachers. Especially when for some reason people like us keep taking the classes... maybe if no one took the classes or bought the products then they would have to act. But again, isn't going to happen... they have way too much of the market on this.

Of course I am sure there are many wonderful instructors out there too... lucky for those students!!! icon_smile.gif I thought about waiting until another store was going to have classes... but I don't want to wait only to find the same kind of instructor or worse. So I'll stick with her and see what I can get out of it. At leasst she shows up!

Looks like this is all very common unfortunately!
TAMMY
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TAMMY
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post #12 of 53
I am taking Wilton's Course 2 at Michaels and I showed up to the first class and Michaels had not ordered the books! Great, huh? Store manager told the instructor that "he could not manufacture books so he did not know what to tell her." Unbelievable, huh? Well, I had already bought the Course 2 book from Hobby Lobby because I needed to learn Color Flow so now the other student (only 2 in the class) asked me to pick a book up for her so that we could continue with the class next week. I am going to go to the Michael's manager and ask for another discount since they will not reimburse me for the books.

I have to say that my instructor is AWESOME and came highly recommended. She and her daughter have been doing cakes for a long time and she is so nice and shares her recipes and ideas with us. I have really enjoyed taking her class.......... it is in Mandeville, LA by the way.

I have learned from other friends though that before you sign up for the class you need to find out who the instructor is and if they have any references or if anyone you know has used them.

If I had a problem I would contact Wilton's.

bj icon_wink.gif
Kind words are like honey, sweet to the taste and good for your health. Pr 16:24
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Kind words are like honey, sweet to the taste and good for your health. Pr 16:24
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post #13 of 53
Wow, I feel so lucky that I had a good experience with my classes now! I had a good instructor who knew how to do all of the techniques, was always on time and shared lots of her own tips. The Michael's staff wasn't very knowledgable like somebody else said but our instructor would walk us to the cashier and tell them what to do!!

I would definitely complain to Wilton and Michaels about the classes and get a refund for the mess you had.
post #14 of 53
Well at least you can get into the Michael's classes! I have gone to Michael's three times now in an attempt to get information on the Course I class. They have the information posted on the wall by the registers. However, there is no price listed, nor is there any contact information listed. The first time I asked, all I got from the cashiers and the manager was "You'll just have to read the information posted." I got frustrated and left. On my second attempt, I ogt the same response only this time I wasn't going to take their pitiful excuse. I threw a fit and the manager loked through his paperwork and found a contact number, called the "instructor" and she said that the dates were still to be determined. They still couldn't tell me a price. When I asked again two weeks later, the classes had already started. Finally on my third attempt, I was able to get the info I needed (at least I thought I did). When I showed up for the first class on July 5th, they said that the classes had been canceled because no one alse had signed up. There is nowhere else in my rural little podunk Texas town to take these classes. I guess I'll just have to teach myself.......sorry just venting too!
post #15 of 53
Wow, I am so Sorry to hear about all the problems you have had. I had a Wilton certified instructor but she taught classes after the bakery closed and it was really nice we could just go into the store and get what we needed and pay for it then or after the class. & after class we all would come out and shop! She was much fun. there were a few flowers we didnt get to spend much time on but it was a fun time. a nice get away from the house thing, but if I would have gone through all of this that you all have I would have emailed Michaels.. Trust me, Emails work wonders with big chains.. I got all new shopping carts with belts for the babies at our wal mart because all of the belts were broken or you couldnt find one with a belt, the manager said well I am sorry its been a long time since the repair guy has been here. we can only do what "they let us" i said Okies. I emailed them and in 3 days there were 350 new buggys there they called me on a Sunday and said you sent an email,. I was like Omg, they have my Home number and are gonna be mad but they are like Thank you. We try but not always get what we would like until the public steps in. I am only 1 person but I helped buckle up a bunch of babies at our local wal mart. So Email them.. That might help not only you but others. & yes the instructor should have called to cancell the class, after all that is why you have to give your number right? How RUDE of her~ I wish you all the best with your courses I hope you can find a bakery that gives the classes.
~Sweet~ =0)~
I'm Tellin Ya What I Know! =0)
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I'm Tellin Ya What I Know! =0)
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