The classic case of expectations versus reality, for the most part, ends badly – and birthday cakes are no exception. Rose-tinted glasses are probably what you need to see the cake before you and the one on your Instagram feed in the same light.
Shiberty Bakes is a Singapore homegrown bakery brand that has made a name for itself but in an unwanted sense recently. A particularly bitter disgruntled customer of theirs is on a personal vendetta to shame them, compiling an album full of “ugly cakes” by Shiberty Bakes which failed customers expectation.
Disputes aside, could this just be a case of the inability to translate the picture perfect world of Instagram into reality? Cakes on Instagram and cakes in real life can be very different. For one, photography, lighting, camera angle and the picture composite all play a big role into constructing a false Instagram reality.
If you just rely on Shiberty Bakes’ Instagram photos, the cake images featured there are truly stunning, just like this one here:
However, if you visit the Facebook post of a disgruntled customer, Nicholas Luo, the compilation of “ugly cakes” there painted a very sad reality:
In his post, Nicholas Luo exhorted customers who had encountered bad experiences with Shiberty Bakes to come forward and air their grievances on Facebook.
“I’m sharing a small handful of past clients who placed their orders with Shiberty Bakes and faced the same situation as what happened to my family and myself. I am compelled to bring justice to consumers like us and urge the owners to give the public an apology for what they have caused us. Some of these cases were not recent, it dated way back to 2015… Some of these clients contemplated and chose to remain anonymous as they are afraid the owners will text them and threaten them!?”
Luo had made various allegations about the said threatening behaviour of the two owners of Shiberty Bakes, Jessica Loh (Shiberty) and Nicholas Zayden Tan. The two are said to be famous online influencers in Singapore with many sponsors and brands lining to work with them.
What are some examples of “ugly cakes” which did not meet customers’ expectation? We selected a few from Luo’s Facebook post to showcase:
“Leaning Tower of Pisa right in our backyard”
Okay it is really slanted as viewed from this angle. However, maybe if the photographer was to try another angle, the cake might just look straight? Maybe a closer shot will do the cake justice:
Okay that totally didn’t help at all. Then again, check out the reference image which was used to construct the cake below:
How close would you say the end product is versus the reference material? A 2D drawing can’t be the exact replicate when presented as a real life 3D cake. Maybe it is about managing expectations on both ends.
Then again, there are also complains about visible straws being used to connect the cake; plus no candle holder for candles in the case of another customer:
Here, Minions are so playful they can’t resist stepping out for a little dirt and fun.
Square peg in a round hole?
A square cake board for a round cake? The following exchange between the customer and Shiberty Bakes reveals more.
Customers receiving threats?
These conversations pretty much speak for themselves. Enough said.
It’s the photographer’s skill that make the same cake looks different?
Here’s a picture of the cake taken by the staff at Shiberty Bakes to show a customer before the collection day. Quite pretty isn’t it?
Here are photos taken by the disgruntled customer, Nicholas Luo on collection day, presenting a very different look:
Maybe the photographer’s skills are more important than the actual look of the cake itself.
Do you mean whipped cream white or buttercream white?
There is a whole debate on the “whipped cream” hue of shade and “buttercream” hue of white, but the customer had no inkling of that beforehand. The disgruntled customer was disappointed with how the actual cake did not come close to even 70% of what was agreed upon. Again, on Instagram, the cake images can be adjusted for white balance to make yellowish hue looks ultra white. Was this how all the misunderstanding came about?
What’s your call? Can we still trust that cakes on Instagram look like those in real life? Is it fair to expect your local baker to deliver Instagram perfect cakes that look just like what you see on Instagram?