Back on July 3, I was contacted on line by a potential customer asking about pricing on my cakes. I got back with her and we discussed design options and pricing. She told me it all sounded great and she would get back to me. I pencil people into my calendar and give them 2 weeks from the date I do a quote to get me a firm answer/deposit and then take them off the calendar if they haven't paid a deposit.
Two weeks later, I had heard nothing so I emailed her and asked if she wanted to place an order. She told me she decided against it because the family was spending their $$ on a vacation. That was fine. Done deal.
About 6 weeks later, at the end of August, she contacted me again with a new party date and theme and asked for a quote. I got it to her, she said she wanted it, I did an invoice/contract and emailed it to her. I told her she needed to sign the contract, and send it back with the deposit. I heard nothing for two weeks.
I contacted her again and asked her if she wanted the order. She said she did, but couldn't print the invoice and asked me to mail one to her. I did. She wrote back that she couldn't write me a check right now (not sure why) and could I accept cash. I said I would but of course, cautioned her against mailing cash. She asked if we could meet up at a location between us (we live about 20 miles apart, so I drove the 10 miles to meet her at the time, place, date she specified). She never showed up.
When I got home I contacted her and she was all apologies but no reasons why. She said she'd mail the payment right away.
I sent her another reminder at the end of September, and she said she still wanted it and would mail it.
As of yesterday 10/23, nothing has been received. She wants the cake on 11/23. My policy is payment in full one month before the cake delivery, so I emailed her this:
I just wanted to let you know I'm going to have to cancel your order due to non-payment. My invoice clearly states that payment in full is due one month prior to the cake delivery, and since I've received no deposits/payments, I am not going to be able to fulfill your order.
Now I'm feeling mean. Was I too harsh? I just don't want this lady as a customer anymore, honestly. I have a busy cottage food business and really don't need her order to make ends meet next month, and I feel like I've gone out of my way. What would you have done?