Planning a child’s birthday party takes a lot planning and effort. Sometimes, outsourcing some of the bigger tasks, like the baking and decorating of the birthday cake, can help parents ease the stress. That is literally one of the reasons why bakeries at grocery stores exist.
Most chain grocery stores bakeries will write a little message on a blank sheet cake along with some designs of your choosing, or they provide a book customers can look through of what the cake decorators offer in terms of design.
One mom on TikTok looked to the Costco bakery to decorate her two-year-old’s birthday cake. However, she was greatly disappointed when she saw what was waiting for her as she went to pick it up.
TikToker Katelynn Ross— @katelanterman — vented on TikTok about Costco’s lack of communication skills when it came to her son’s birthday cake fail.
In the clip, Ross shows the blank sheet cake, explaining that she went to the Costco bakery to pick up her son’s cake, no one left at the bakery knew why the cake was blank since the decorators had gone home for the night.
“The best I can assume was because it’s a Sesame Street theme birthday party, and I know they can’t do licensed things so all I asked for was a little street sign,” she said.
Ross shows a recreated note of what she had given to the cake decorators when ordering the dessert, including a green street sign similar to that of the one on Sesame Street. She thinks that they wouldn’t bother decorating the cake at all since the request was too close to the kid’s TV show.
Costco tried to help settle the issue. “The person there gave me a couple colors to take home, and the manager offered $5 off for this inconvenience,” she says with a scoff. “which I didn’t even bother finding him when we checked out.”
Ross did end up decorating her son’s cake at home (at 9 PM the night before) and the cake decor for actually turned out pretty great though she notes she has some experience with cake decorating. Still, she was left befuddled as to why Costco just left her high and dry.
“What confuses me the most is why they wouldn’t do the bare minimum of at least, ‘happy birthday, teddy’ in the border colors, like they just left it blank white instead,” she concludes.
Ross used the caption on her now viral clip to go in on the bulk item warehouse, expressing her disappointment in a store she usually loves. “Without explanation, Costco didnt decorate my son’s birthday cake … BUT SERIOUSLY, you thought leaving it blank was a good idea??? Do the best you can offer and thats my problem after, but them leaving it blank was a horribly petty plan,” she wrote.
“I normally LOVE Costco, we still spent bought all of our party food there tonight because that was my plan and I didn’t need the added stress of changing plans over this. I’ll still shop there, but i will NEVER order a custom cake again #cakefail And i hate my writing on it but at least its something.”
Ross’ video — which gained nearly 1 million views — was flooded with comments from other TikTok users and Costco savants who had some explanations for the dilemma, such as they just plain forgot to decorate the cake. However, there was one explanation given the most — Costco doesn’t even do custom cakes.
One user commented, “I work at Costco , the reason why is because they don’t do custom cakes, you must pick from already approved designs.”
Another said, “They don’t do custom orders. You can only pick from what they have and they will write Happy Birthday to [blank] on it.”
Ross explained that she didn’t think the order form with the list of pre-approved designs was a “hard stop.”
“I’ve worked in bakeries for over 10 years so when I see options on an order form, that’s not a hard stop to me…We always had those kind of options in other places as ideas/starting points because people don’t know what they want.”
So, what is Costco’s cake decorating policy? Does Costco do custom cake orders?
Costco will decorate your blank sheet cake. However, they do provide a form that customers need to fill out prior to their order and there are only certain designs/themes you can choose from “which may be chosen from a list of available options.”
Despite the oversight on Ross’ part, other TikTok users were baffled that Costco just left her to fend for herself. “The fact they didn’t contact you is wild,” one user wrote.
“Turns out they called while I was working and did not leave a voicemail. I had no idea it was them. To me the crazy thing is that it was blank though,” Ross replied.
Despite the mix-up, Ross’ decorating job impressed several users who noted that she shouldn’t have bothered giving Costco her money anyway.
“Girl they should give you a job that’s a damn good looking cake,” one user joked.