Sam’s Club Sells Styrofoam Birthday Cake

It was only after cutting that Kavalaris realized Sam’s Club sold his mom a Styrofoam birthday cake decorated with icing. Lansing State Journal reports:

    “Once Jim Kavalaris managed to chisel out the first serving of an unusually hard-to-cut birthday cake, he called out to his mother:

    “THIS IS NOT A REAL CAKE.”

    Kavalaris’ mother, assuming he was just being a brat, conceded that she probably should have gone to a real bakery for a high-quality cake, but she ran out of time, etc., and he should quit complaining …

    “No – look for yourself,” said Kavalaris, motioning for his mother to come closer and see what he meant. “It’s not REAL.”

After a reporter contacted Sam’s Club, the manager gave Kavalaris a refund, a new cake, a letter of apology, and a $100 store gift card.

Lansing family can’t have cake and eat it, too [Lansing State Journal] (Thanks to Jennifer!)

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  1. Fuzzy_duffel_bag says:

    I bought astronaut ice cream that I think was styrofoam too.

  2. acambras says:

    That is funny. It’s hard to believe that nobody would notice how light the styrofoam was (compared to an actual cake).

    Glad they did right by the family, though.

  3. rekoil says:

    Funny story, but the subtext here is that everyone makes mistakes; it’s how a business handles the error that shows its worth. As we’ve seen here, there are businesses that would have responded to the complaint by accusing Mr. Kavalaris of faking the styrofoam cake for extortion or publicity; the Costco manager not only accepted responsibility, but threw in a $100 gift card for Mr. Kavalaris’ trouble. Kudos.

  4. rekoil says:

    Oops…

    s/Costco/Sam’s Club/g

  5. kimdog says:

    And that’s what we call good customer service, boys and girls. But I am a little confused. Did this family call a reporter before they called Sam’s? If so, that’s a little bit over the top.

  6. Citron says:

    I’ve decorated the styrofoam blocks Sams/Wal-Mart uses for cakes (I was a cake decorator at a large Wal-Mart during high school) — and they’re nowhere near the same weight as a normal cake. (They’re also a little too long for the plastic domes we use, oddly enough) And not to mention, absurdly top-heavy. I’ve had them flop right off the cake board while carrying them a few feet.

    I don’t think any experienced cake decorator would make that kind of mistake, but its nowhere near uncommon for people from other departments to occasionally be called in when the decorator is on break or whatever.

    But at least they didn’t absentmindedly pack up a wedding cake, because those models are foam as well.

  7. AcilletaM says:

    Hmmm, this quick to call a reporter, I’m surprised they didn’t call a lawyer right away too.

  8. Chairman-Meow says:

    You know, some people might actually like Styrofoam Cake. I’m outraged!!!

  9. TedSez says:

    On his blog, the newspaper columnist points out that the family never threatened legal action and donated the gift card to a homeless shelter:
    http://noise.typepad.com/john_schneider/2006/12/icing_on_t

    Of course, the guy is clearly a softie — in an item about being pushed to purchase ridiculous add-ons at Best Buy, his sympathy is with the cashier:
    http://noise.typepad.com/john_schneider/2006/12/hardworkin

    Gotta love those big-hearted small-city newspaper writers!

  10. Tom says:

    After a reporter contacted Sam’s Club, the manager gave Kavalaris a refund, a new cake, a letter of apology, and a $100 store gift card.

    Jeebus, I gotta get me one of those cakes! It probably tastes better than the “real” one, anyway.

  11. Michael says:

    “Hmmm, this quick to call a reporter, I’m surprised they didn’t call a lawyer right away too.”

    Some newspapers or local news programs invite people to write in with funny stories about their holidays, either as a lead-up or follow-up to the holidays themselves. Or, who knows, maybe the reporter was a personal friend of the family who heard the story when he called to wish them Merry Christmas?

    If I had something like this happen to me, I’d be telling everyone about it – not to shame the store, but to invite others to laugh at the humor of the experience with me.

  12. Grrrrrrr, now with two buns made of bacon. says:

    Mmmm…Styrocake! *drools like Homer Simpson*

    A letter of apology and a $100 gift card…wow…not bad.

    Way to go, Sam’s Club!

  13. madderhatter says:

    I think someone in the cake decorating area of Sam’s has a sense of humor. That’s hilarious ! To quote Nelson – “HA ha.”

  14. ckilgore says:

    I was at the bakery of my local Wal-Mart getting some horrible, character-themed cupcakes and one of the ladies there told me the same thing happened to them. Apparently a kid picked it out as his birthday cake and took it to the checkout himself. When they brought the cake back the guy was sort of embarrassed, but they all had a good laugh about it. One thing the bakery lady mentioned is that she wasn’t even sure how the cashier rang it up because it didn’t have a bar code on it.

  15. raindog says:

    I was at Wal-Mart yesterday morning (OK, full disclosure: it was actually 5am yesterday morning, and Wal-Mart was the only place open) and the cashier rang up a loaf of bread from the bakery whose bar code had come off by just entering some “misc item” code and kept on going. Probably cakes are “special” enough when they come through there that the price just stuck in the cashier’s head and she did the same thing.