Sunday, June 14, 2009

Cakes N Things Of Gridley, Illinois Doesn't Want Alaska Business - And Takes Steps To Make Sure They Don't Get It; Company Also Rated "F" By The BBB

Most businesses actively solicit your custom and many will inundate you with saccharine, syrupy ads rhapsodizing about how their products are colossal, stupendous, enable you to leap over tall buildings in a single bound, etc., etc., ad nauseum. But here's a company that has the opposite problem - they load up their advertising with "can't". They actually expend as much bandwidth telling you what they can't do rather than what they can do.

An Illinois-based business called Cakes N Things distinctly falls into the latter category. On June 14th, 2009, the Anchorage Daily News' Alaska Ear column (scroll down to the paragraph labeled "Worst Ever") informs us of the experience of an Alaskan resident who is also a military spouse. She wanted to get hold of some military-emblem candy molds. So she discovered the Cakes N Things website, and, logically presuming by virtue of their presence on the Web that they might actually want her business, compiled an order of about 30 items. But Cakes N Things apparently did not provide sufficient instructions for her to place her order successfully. So she e-mailed the company, and in return was told she couldn't place an order because "Alaskans were too much trouble to ship to". So she fired back what was reportedly a polite suggestion that they save everyone involved some time by stating up front that they don't ship to Alaska. Here's the response she received in return:

"From: Clarke Smith

"Sent: Thursday, June 11, 2009 10:11 AM

"To: (Pamela V)

"Subject: RE: shipping question

"And you just proved our point.

"Everyone from Alaska thinks we should be doing something special to accommodate them. They feel they are different from everyone else and deserving special consideration or something special should be done for them. BTW. ... copying images from our website and putting them in emails is a copyright violation. Please refrain from such usage in the future.

"Please don't bother us anymore either. Alaskans way (sic) have too much frozen space between their ears. Please be sure when you start bitching to people about this email, and I'm sure you will since you are from Alaska, that you spell our name right.

"Good day!"

Gee, Mr. Smith, why don't you tell us what you REALLY think, huh? Obviously, from the tone and syntax of the response, the issue isn't merely Alaska. I've seen the same tone taken and syntax used by Palin-bashers in the Lower 48. So this person is obviously using this as an opportunity to vent his spleen about Sarah Palin, albeit without mentioning her by name.

And Mr. Smith apparently hasn't grasped the concept of intellectual property rights. Copying images from their website and putting them in an individual email is NOT a copyright violation. Publishing the images on a blog or website without permission would be a copyright violation. Of course, if his company doesn't want to ship to Alaska, that's their business. Just bear in mind that they are deliberately freezing themselves out of a market with over 600,000 people. Alaska Ear notes that the site now carries the warning that the company does not ship to Alaska.

A check of the Better Business Bureau website indicates that not only is Cakes N Things NOT a BBB-accredited business, but that the BBB has given them a letter grade of "F". The reasons: Eight complaints filed against the business, BBB does not have sufficient background information on this business, and failure to respond to one complaint filed against business. In addition, the company indicates that it will only work with its customers after receiving a complaint and declines to work with the BBB to resolve issues. Ripoff Report describes another instance of customer abuse by this company. And here's another Ripoff Report from November 2007.

For those of you in the lower 48, think about this: If Cakes N Things responds to an Alaskan in such a snarky, disrespectful way, they could respond to you in the same fashion. Their BBB rating should also be a deterrent.


  1. I just checked out Cakes n Things website, and there is nothing that I can find that tells Alaskans right off that they don't ship to Alaska. From what I can tell, you wouldn't know that til you'd searched through their site, picked out your items, and went to enter your address, and found there is NO option to put Alaska for the state.

    But then I am an Alaskan, so probably I'm just too dumb to see it? Per the ADN article - "The site now carries the warning: We don't ship to Alaska"

    I've got their phone number, and I think I'll just call ol Clarke Smith a few times and wish him a nice day. I'm sure he'll appreciate that, you betcha!

  2. I couldn't find the disclaimer either. But it looks like the ADN's Sheila Toomey opened up a hornet's nest when she blew the whistle on this company - their business tactics absolutely stink! And a BBB rating of "F" to boot.

  3. FYI - the disclaimer regarding no shipping to Alaska is found on the page for "calculate shipping". Scroll down to the map that tells you how many days it takes to ship - previously the map showed Alaska as 4 days for delivery. Now the picture of Alaska has been deleted and it says "We do not ship to Alaska". It's not obvious unless you search for it.

  4. Five comments at Ripoffreport at the below url...One is pretty graphic as to what Prez Clarke Smith called her..!

  5. Just sent them an e-mail myself. If we work at this a little, bet we could get it onto

  6. So in all you have been saying, there IS information that they dont ship to Alaska! If you order on line it is your business to know what the terms of agreement and the website are! If you dont do your dont pass. They have a right to ship or not ship anywhere they enterprise... Suffer!

  7. Hey - read the whole thing.

    The disclaimer didn't show up until AFTER the company started to get complaints. Previously there was a map showing 4 days delivery time for packages to reach Alaska. People who live in Alaska know to check for shipping exclusions FIRST.

    Clarke Smith doesn't want to do business with Alaskans who think he "should be doing something special to accommodate them" (is stating a policy really something special?). Whatever. That's just an ignorant person who isn't trying to expand his business to a viable market (just about everyone else has figured out how to ship to Alaska).

    But, Clarke Smith treats people like dirt. Check the Ripoff reports linked above for additional examples. Check to see the number of complaints and unresolved issues from the company. Check out this site:

    There is no excuse for the insults to so many people. There is no excuse for poor customer service. The "F" rating of the BBB and crazy stories on other online complaint webistes should let buyers beware.

    Free enterprise? Absolutely! And, people are free to take their business elsewhere. No one should have to "suffer".

  8. I just found this webpage. I was one of the people who posted online complaints about Clarke Smith at Cakes n Things aka Candy Mold Central. (Why does one company need two names?) He cussed me out and treated me like dirt. What I can't believe in this whole situation is that Wilton continues to allow this kind of person to be an authorized distributor for their products. I don't buy wilton products anymore because they are enabling a company like this to abuse people. By the way, now there are 9 complaints about him at BBB because I just added one. By the way, maybe that is why he uses two company names. The company name Candy Mold Central is not on the BBB radar. They only know his company under the name Cakes n Things. Hopefully they will correct that so consumers can be protected from having to "suffer".

  9. I'm sorry you had a bad experience there. I have bought many things from them, true on site, but they were great there. They spent extra time with me, helped occupy my kids with fun stuff and were so so nice. And while never excusable, I can only hope they were having a very bad day when that happened. I hope that you were able to find your items somewhere else.

  10. Wow, so I actually made an order for some special cake pans for my Mother in Law's birthday 2 weeks ago and then I received notice, that my express shipping, which I paid $39 for these 2 ALUMINUM cake pans, had turned from one day to 2 week ground shipping, so I canceled the order. Clark Smith told me to fuck off and that I should use my brain before I make a purchase. So of course I told him he was insolent and incompetent and he tried to take MORE money from my debit card and shut down my email address at Gmail. I finally got my refund today after 2 weeks of emailing that rat bastard back and forth.

  11. well I just went in there today and they slammed the door in my face and told me to stay out and never come back. I have done a lot of business there and heard alot of bad things about them. I gave them my business anyway because they were always nice to me. I have never said a bad word about them. TODAY WAS THE LAST BIT OF ICING THEY WILL EVER PUT ON A CAKE. They messed with the wrong person this time..

  12. Please don't think that all Illinois persons are like this company...we in our small town of Gridley have had stomachs turned by this company...they won't allow anyone in to browse the's by website only. Gridley has a population of less than 1500. We tolerate the owners because we are basically a Christian community...unfortunately, we all must deal with those who are not and are not tolerant of others in any way shape or form. It's a shame that servers can't tag websites with warnings.

  13. Gridley Meats, Inc.1/11/2010 6:02 PM

    You all have been mistreated and that is unfortunate, but we're the business next door to Cakes N Things in Gridley, IL and live with this 24/7. They are constantly harrassing us and our customers. They have stopped selling to the citizens of Gridley as well, as they have closed their showroom to the public as of October 1, 2009. They have even kicked customers out of their store for being from Gridley. So it lookes like we'll all have to suffer together.

    Just thank God you live in Alaska. :-)

  14. I have filed complaint #10 with the BBB.
    I recently made an order for 3 items, receiving only 2. When I called to inquire, they called me a lying, scamming bitch. Really? Over $1.99 candy mold? You think I am making it up? After I was hung up on, I called back to ask for the manager and got Satan himself, Clarke Smith. He called me the same things and then to F*CK OFF.

    I have posted this story on my blog and all cake sites I am a member of. He has since blocked my entire range of IP addresses at work. What a freak show. Blocking people, not allowing people in your store. WTF is he in business for, other than to harrass people and steal their money?

    Kim in TX

  15. part of an email I sent chopped for length

    So tip by tip for a total of 80 or so I take a canceled shopping cart and make a new cart with just the tips determining for myself which tips are no longer available. I check the shipping and it's pretty high. UPS is cheaper so I change my shipping address in my account to accommodate UPS because with the $4-$5 in excessive shipping the UPS value is still good.

    When we get to shipping, I notice the price for shipping UPS has climbed from $11 to $17. USPS priority is now $32.18. If it fits in a $5 box, it ships no matter the weight????

    80 tips that weigh just under 6 grams a piece have a shipping weight of 11.62 pounds? I simply questioned why the $11 estimated weight with my zip code changed to $17.

    I stopped check out and I gave you the opportunity to provide me a reasonable actual shipping weight. I gave you the opportunity to satisfy a paying customer.

    Your response?

    Yes, the weight is correct. And if I don't like what the live rate servers at UPS and USPS have to say to take my business someplace else.

    My response?

    You need another customer appreciation lesson. I've contacted you now 2 times. I have been polite and understanding. You have basically told me twice to f ck off and die. In the first contact, I wasn't worth your time and in the second you told me that if I didn't like your lying shipping weights while blaming them on UPS and USPS to take my business elsewhere.

    Per your site you claim to not accept PayPal because they fraud you. You are a seller. That means the only problem you could possibly have had with PayPal are customer disputes and charge backs. I've dealt with PayPal as a seller and buyer since the day they started business. Disputes that cannot be resolved by the parties require a refund.

    Your site says per your open letter to customers, that you are discontinuing all merchandise that is not made in America to help the American economy, thus your clearance sales.

    Your PayPal excuse is full of sh t. Your American patriotic attitude is full of sh t.

    Mr. Smith. It's American attitudes like yours that have tanked this economy, not the Chinese or other international attitudes. Your clearance discount clearly states that at minimum 60% of the money that you collected for an item made in another country helped fuel the American economy.

    You are not going to give USPS $32 to ship a 2lb box. You are not going to give UPS $17 to ship this same box. I am not going to give you that much to ship a 2lb box. I'll give you actual shipping weight plus a reasonable handling charge. $11 was pushing it.

    You just lost a $600 spending budget. The American economy has not lost it. You have. This is in addition to the $2k annual budget you lost as reported on the NET by somebody that you gave the same attitude to. This is in addition to what has to be hundreds if not thousands of other American budgets that simply have not taken the time to waste on you like I have and some others. Your loss of my business and many others has not hurt the economy in America nor the 40% international take of your gross sales. With the loss of my business and others, you only have f cked yourself and maybe your family if such a thing could exist for very long in your personal world.

    You call yourself a president of a company. Per Wiki:

    President is a title held by many leaders of organizations, companies.... Etymologically, a "president" is one who presides, who sits in leadership (from Latin pre- "before" + sedere "to sit"; giving the term praeses). ...[The term] is also often adopted by dictators.

    You are a ding dong dictator of an American company. I find nothing American about what you, a leader of people, perhaps a family and a business preaches other then perhaps your citizenship.

    Clarke A Smith
    Cakes N Things Inc.

    Have I made that clear as a bell to you?

  16. go to - they have the same molds and prices and never had a problem. cant find any complaints anywhere either.

  17. Hey Everyone,

    I wish I had found this string before buying 6 small chocolate molds from our beloved Cakes N Things. My experience with them has been similarly horrific.

    I just moved into a new apartment, and my tragic mistake when ordering from Cakes N Things was hitting the wrong number on the number pad when typing in my address. I received a call from Clarke Smith, informing me that he would be charging my credit card an additional $10, because UPS has to change the shipping location. Fine. I get it, my mistake. But I called UPS first to see what my options were. They told me that if you go and pick up the package yourself, no harm done, because there is no change of address needed. This was perfect, because I don't live too far from the UPS dropoff point, and I certainly didn't want to pay an extra $10 (shipping was about the same cost as the product itself!).

    So I let Clarke Smith know that there was no longer an issue with the address change, because I'd be picking up the package myself - to which he replied that he will most definitely be charging the fee to my card (without my authorization) - and to add insult to injury, he threatened that he would also contact UPS to intercept the package and get it shipped back to him, where he would charge me an additional 50% restocking fee. What a racket!

    I tried my best to reason with the guy, and even offered to pay the $10 UPS fee if he would please send me a receipt for the fee. Yeah right - Clarke simply hung up on me after telling me that I was wasting his time and money, and that he doesn't have to give me proof of purchase for anything. I called back a second time to try and reason with him, but no luck, as he hung up on me as soon as he heard my voice.

    Needless to say, I will not be donating $30 or so dollars to the Clarke Smith Cakes N Things fund, and will be attempting to pick up my package before Prince Charming tries to intercept it from UPS. Should I be concerned that an irrational businessman has my credit information?

    Thanks for your help everyone, and I would be happy to assist in getting this onto MSN. I'd hate for others to feel so cheated as a result of dealing with Clarke Smith.

  18. These people also do business as...
    CANDYMOLDCENTRAL. My guess is they needed to change the name because of their crapy service. They screwed me too. I will never give them my business again. No matter what name they are use.

  19. This is certainly not the way to run a business; with this history it's only a matter of time until it no longer exists. We live in IL & my husband is from Gridley, the operative word being FROM! Please believe me, all IL businesses do not treat people like this!

    BTW, with a brother in AK over 40 years, I have a special place in my heart for Alaskans. You all are worth the extra shipping costs! :)

  20. I just ordered something ebay from this seller and I realized immediately after I ordered it that I had forgot to update my address. I emailed the seller twice right away telling him that I updated my address and it had changed, and to please ship it to my new address. In several emails we had back and forth before he shipped it, he was very rude and said he would only ship it to the wrong address. I even offered to have him refund it and me re-purchase it, so that it would say my new address. He said no and shipped it anyways to the wrong address. Now I am out the money and will never recieve the product which I needed for my upcomming wedding. He acted like I was trying to "steal' this product by having it shipped to a different address. It was only like $5 worth of molds and $3 shipping. The whole thing was just completely rediculous. I think he likes to piss people off, and that is why he shipped my products to the wrong address and why he is so awful to everyone else. I checked out his BBB rating, which is an F, by the way. He has had 8 complaints in the past 36 months. That is insane. I do not understand why he is still in business!

  21. I so wish this post had existed before I had similar problems. I too am from Illinois, but was living out of state and needed molds of a specific size/dimensions. I found what I thought was perfect online, ordered, received it...and they were shorter than advertised! I went back and checked their site and found the wrong information again posted. I copied a screen-cap in an email asking to return the items only to be told I was crazy and must have misread it. They of course changed the site in the meantime and refused to accept the molds back. I had spent a significant amount of money there at that time and in the past, so was shocked at this treatment. Thankfully it looks like their website is gone and phone disconnected...can't say it wouldn't serve them right to go out of business...I just hope they didn't change their name again.

  22. Lynne in Australia1/19/2012 10:36 PM

    I ordered moulds from Candy Mold Central two years ago. Because I am in Australia, I chose the cheapest shipping from the drop-down menu. My order was cancelled because the moulds were oversized and they wouldn't fit in the USPS carton. I tried again, picking the next cheapest rate, and again the order was cancelled for the same reason, and was told in no uncertain terms not to do it again. I commented that the website didn't give specific instructions about oversized moulds and said that I would be given the option to pay a higher rate. This is the reply I got:

    'Do not tell US how to run our business. We have been doing this for nine years and are well aware of how the Post Office works.

    Your critizism is unfounded and unwarranted.

    I will have your IP address blocked since you do not wish to follow our Terms of Use on the website and think YOU can tell us how to run our business.

    Goodd day to your cheap ass.!'

    I'm glad to see that the website no longer exists, and I'm also glad to see that it wasn't just me.