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What's a Wreck?

A Cake Wreck is any cake that is unintentionally sad, silly, creepy, inappropriate - you name it. A Wreck is not necessarily a poorly-made cake; it's simply one I find funny, for any of a number of reasons. Anyone who has ever smeared frosting on a baked good has made a Wreck at one time or another, so I'm not here to vilify decorators: Cake Wrecks is just about finding the funny in unexpected, sugar-filled places.

Now, don't you have a photo you want to send me? ;)

- Jen
Friday
Nov092012

Ways To Play It Safe

Today's post requires a special intro, so here's Dara G. to explain:

"My local [CENSORED*] bakery has this new policy - not strictly enforced, but kinda enforced - NO PHOTOS in the bakery department. None, nada. Per an ex-employee there, upper management is afraid that one of that store's specific cakes will be posted on 'that bad cake site.' Per what they tell you in the store, their cakes are 'all copyright protected.'"

(*Store name omitted. Because I care.)

She goes on to say:

"Apparently this new 'no photos' thing came about after y'all had posted their 'Popcorn' cakes on the site."

 

Oh, you mean these ones?

Now, I honestly didn't know all these popcorn cakes were even from this particular store-which-shall-remain-nameless, but it's nice to know folks over there are reading the site and recognizing their handiwork!

Anyway, Dara goes on to say that she was actually accosted by an employee citing "copyright protection" after Dara snapped a picture of this:

BEHOLD THE VISAGE OF A 'COPYRIGHT PROTECTED' PASTRY DESIGN.

 

The employee of this bakery-which-shall-not-be named even made Dara delete the photo off her phone, not knowing that Dara had actually taken TWO photos. (Sneaky girl...) 

Now, I have always been of the opinion that if you don't want your bakery's wrecks on Cake Wrecks, STOP MAKING WRECKS. But, hey, banning pictures is one way to go about it, too.

After all, if you ban photos in your bakery, then no one will ever know that your bakers made something like this:

Yes, that IS a plastic bunny tail where the mouth should be. A copyrighted bunny tail.

 

Or this:

As a joke, Katelyn's friends asked for her cake to read, "Katelyn's Failure Cake." Little did they know they'd get EXACTLY what they asked for.

 

Or even this:

If ONLY we had SOME way of knowing who is responsible for this glorious copyrighted cake design!

 

Of course, even if you do successfully bar people from photographing your wrecks in-store, there are still all those who'll just snap pics at home and then gleefully send them to me, with captions like, "Yummy piles of candy vomit!!"

In fact, here are two more sitting in the inbox right now, both from the same bakery I'm still not going to name, no matter HOW much you beg:

Jennifer J. writes, "Found this today, post-Halloween, at a [CENSORED] in Seattle, WA."

I've pointed out the unfortunate "I" placement on this design before, but this one is doubly unfortunate:

The fact that there's no period after the "P" might, shall we say, arouse suspicion as to the baker's true motives, don't you think?

 

And here's one that came in yesterday, where an election consolation cake got "owned:"

We have a winner! 

 

Of course this bakery isn't the only chain to ban photos; fact is, most stores now have similar rules. I hear from readers every week who are harassed, shooed away, and even outright kicked out of stores for whipping out their cellphones in the bakery.

Now, far be it from me to criticize rules (even ones I find really, REALLY stupid) but I don't see how harassing your own customers  - and ones who often buy your wrecks because Cake Wrecks has made them a world-wide inside joke - is good for business.

Then again, I also thought it would make more sense to train your bakers not to make wrecks instead of trying to prevent people from seeing them, so what do I know?

Oh, and while we're at it, I hear the bakery-which-shall-not-be-named doesn't make those popcorn cakes anymore, so kudos there, guys!

Now, about your spaghetti cakes...

 

Thanks to Dara, Gabriele, Lisa S., Chelsea M., Jennifer J., Bill, & Jessica A. for the picture perfect moments.

 

UPDATE: Dara G., our wreckporter on the scene, has recently contacted me to amend a few details in her story. She tells me the bakery employee was very polite in advising her of the photography ban, and while Dara did feel pressured to delete her photo, she was never actually ordered to. She also tells me the ex-employee who credits/blames CW for the photo ban doesn't know that for sure; it was just his/her personal theory. (Drat. Now I have to return that merit badge I just ordered for myself!)

Anyway, just wanted to include those corrections to be as accurate as possible!

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Reader Comments (169)

Now I really want to run to my local (censored) grocery store and see if I can take pictures. Just to see if I can.

November 9, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterDD

Face, meet palm. Palm, meet face. Repeat 8 times just to make sure the point get across.

Unfortunately (who would ever think it's a bad thing, right?) when I visit my local grocery store's bakery I'm astounded by the level of skill their bakers possess. I've yet to find an actual wreck aside from the obligatory CCCs, which are just wrecks on principle.

November 9, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterAmanda H.

Pinky the bunny
catches baseball in her mouth:
Back-splitting impact.

November 9, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterHaiku Joy

Cakes 3 through 8 do an amazing job of making cake number 2 look just fine. This is why, when you don't have time to spruce yourself up, you should surround yourself with hideously unkempt people.

I didn't know bunnies ate their own, even the most foul, cruel, and bad-tempered rodents you ever set eyes on.

The "spaghetti" cake looks like a chamber pot.

As for the skeleton - Even if he kept his pants on, his face says it all.

I wish we had a Fairway. Our local supermarket bakery departments are all so damn adequate...

November 9, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterSuBee

Interesting and amusing question from a legal standpoint. First, there is no copyright law against snapping pictures. There is no commercial use of the image (yet, anyway). Second, the store/baker qualifies as a public or semi-public place, where it is difficult to ban things people do in public. While I have wanted to comment about these things when I find the "EPCOT" photo appear, my first reaction is this is classic case of fair use. This is all about commentary and criticism of the work. In short, I think all these stores and full of it, and some reactions would make a copyright lawyer laugh (or get out his "lawsuit" pen in the case of being forced to delete a photo).

As I imply, I have been reading this daily for a while (5 years now or so?), and have seen a few EPCOT situations. I know the silliness of the take down requests are met amicably with more silliness. However, if you ever want to fight this Jen I think you have a good case. I would contact a lawyer at least for some form response pointing out your rights under fair use, and see if they shut-up or press it further.

November 9, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterDram_Man

Isn't there a SAFEr WAY to tell us what store these wonderful cakes came from? ;)

November 9, 2012 | Unregistered Commenterangie

Those aren't popcorn cakes.

This is what successful popcorn decoration looks like. Granted, they are cupcakes, but the idea is the same.

https://lh6.googleusercontent.com/-1Fypg3WJeeE/T0pb0qcJfSI/AAAAAAAADJU/-BtfLhnEhfY/s921/955ED2B3-96F9-4372-ADE6-936D6FBCCEAD.JPG

November 9, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterMarcel Beaudoin

The 5th one (with the cupcakes mashed in it) makes me want to vomit!

November 9, 2012 | Unregistered Commenterliz

Sung to “Somebody that I Used to Know” by Gotye
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8UVNT4wvIGY

Now and then I think of when I shopped your bakery
Looking happily for wrecks that I could buy
I always thought that you’d do right by me
And felt so loyal to your company
But now I’m just not even sad to say that’s over

Seems you’ve been afflicted with a certain kind of madness
And censorship’s become the means to meet your end
You said all pictures of your cakes were banned
I guess your Wrecks were getting out of hand
Now my loyalty to you is just over

No, you didn’t need to cut me off
Try to take away my cellphone and delete my pictures
Well, I don’t really need your stuff
‘Cause you treat me like a vandal and that feels too rough
And, to me, it seems you’ve stooped too low
Using censorship instead of training all your bakers
You’ve lost your sense of humor, so
Now you’re just a grocery where I used to go

Now you’re just a grocery where I used to go

November 9, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterSharyn

Hilarious! Passive-aggression (when not directed at me or mine) is always funny.

November 9, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterTrista

Jen,

I think you are SAFE. There is no WAY the store can accuse you of copyright infringement. You didn't even use the name of the store once!

Wait a minute - doesn't copyright mean that you have to give them credit? (even if they don't want it? he he.) You might not be SAFE. WAY down the road they might sue.

Totally worth it.

November 9, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterTricia

Hmm I'll have to go digging I used to carry a copy of the applicable laws that basically said that unless you are allowed to take pictures anywhere you are allowed to be with exceptions for legitimate cases of intellectual property (like libraries or museums). Heh class action law suit to allow us to take pictures of wrecks!

November 9, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterFlatlander in VT

Legally, omitting the name is a very safe way to write about it.

November 9, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterSnidley

(Note, not a lawyer)
Copyright laws allow for use in parodies or derivative works
I think that it is safe to say that this website falls under those principles.

November 9, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterMarcel Beaudoin

Ohhhh, MERCY! *wiping away tears of mirth" This whole copyright nonsense is a polite euphemism for "We're embarrassed that you're all laughing at our hideous cakes which, let's face it, are a disgrace to the entire baking industry." AS IF anyone would want to infringe on your stunning designs. Here's a hint, stores-that-shall-remain-nameless: Take your corporate logo off your price labels!

November 9, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterMarebabe

Someone needs to tell the baker that made that bunny that "crack is whack."

November 9, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterDana the Biped

If only there were a SAFE WAY to tell what store was creating these awful wrecks! Then, we'd all feel SAFE ordering a cake to take aWAY to a party, or other occasion. With today's prices, after all, you need to crack a SAFE, WAY in advance of the pickup, to afford such a festive dessert. Perhaps someone in their upper management will vouchSAFE WAYs for us to feel more at ease with respect to their products.

November 9, 2012 | Unregistered Commenterkhereva

no comments?? I can't believe it. I'm thinking I want one of each of these cakes.....NOT. I work for a bakery...whose product is amazing....and never a wreck. I got an oversize post card from a local grocery store bakery a couple of weeks ago that had a cake with the chocolate poo piles all over it. I took it to work and all I had to do was show it...we were all laughing and thinking of our friends at CW.
You MAKE our day....almost every day. xoxo GrandmaJer

November 9, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterGrandmaJer

We should train safew... erm, unnamed-bakery.... employees to take pictures of all the wrecks. They should be proud. They must be, by far, the most represented bakery on this site!

November 9, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterKaren

I usually look at this site in the few precious minutes before I get my daughters up for school in the morning. This morning, Olivia got up early all by herself and came over to see what I was looking at. When she saw the pink bunny "cake", she exclaimed, "Oh my GOD! That cake is WRECKED! (Not even knowing the name of the site, mind you) It looks like Wreck-It Ralph stomped on it! I could totally do better!"

She's 9. The sad thing is I think she's right.

November 9, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterSaraCVT

Spot on, Jen!

I agree with another commenter though - shouldn't copyright mean you HAVE to name them? ;-)

I also always wonder why you sometimes take down photos (by request of the baker); if they aren't named, why should they get to avoid being shamed?

I'm glad people still make wrecks for us to enjoy! I was worried that after a while decorators would wise up and actually put out quality goods, but there seems little danger of that happening :-)

November 9, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterSusanD

Jen, this post is a thing of beauty! Well, except for the cakes. I think you did an excellent job of not naming the bakery! Now I feel like going to every store in town, unnamed bakery or not, and trying to take pictures at them all just to see if I can. Maybe if I say something like "My child has chicken pox and a birthday next week so I thought I would take pictures and have her choose instead of infecting the whole store." I could get away with it. (Yeah, that story is a total fabrication!) Think it will work?

November 9, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterRikki

You'd think they'd have been glad of the publicly.

November 9, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterBea

I expect my [censored] doesn't have a picture ban because I've never seen a wreck there. Believe me, I've looked. The same cannot be said for the Giant near my house, though. I'd think they'd be happy if I went there to photograph wrecks because then maybe I'd do my grocery shopping there, too.

And I didn't know it was possible to restrain skeletons with telephone cords. Next time I see a skeleton, I'll remember that.

November 9, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterAndrea

I read this out loud and showed the pictures to my best friend who is down visiting for the weekend. She has been introduced to Cake Wrecks with quite possibly one of the best posts I could have introduced her with. Your Great High Snarkiness does it again!

November 9, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterKristin E.

Well done, Jen, for mocking them for their ridiculous new policy. I can see why that "nameless" grocery store is embarrassed by their cakes. But, instead of banning photos, they'd be wiser to take their logo off the price label! (Yes, of course, hiring better decorators would be the best approach, but (a) that would be no fun for us, as it would deprive us of wrecks to mock, and (b) it would cost them more).

As for their "intellectual property" claim-- that implies that other bakeries would be inclined to steal their designs. The only way that would happen would be for Hallowe'en. Note that Sunday Sweets-worthy bakeries never object to their designs being featured here, even though other bakers could be "inspired" by their gorgeous designs.

PS I'm with the others who are disappointed by the quality of our grocery stores' bakery decorations. Apparently, Loblaws, Metro, and Canadian Costcos hire literate, competent people.

November 9, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterAliza

This was great!

Technically, I think a privately-owned company can establish rules in their store of what's expected/acceptable. Long before Cake Wrecks or cell phone cameras some friends and I were asked not to take photos in a WalMart (no idea why to this day). The people who own the store can kick out people that don't follow their rules (within reason), I guess.

But I agree with you. How can that be good for business? I wouldn't even go to my grocer's bakery usually. But when I'm looking for cake wrecks, I go there all the time...and usually end up with donuts in my cart.

Maybe if S*few*y sees a drop in their donut sales they'll reconsider.

November 9, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterM. Dale

I love you. Truly, I do.

November 9, 2012 | Unregistered Commentertiffanized

No WONDER I don't see any cakewrecks when I'm out and about! There isn't an unnamed store near my house. Sadness.

I was wondering why my grocery store was so adequate. They must hire people from the better school districts in the area (the ones who teach spelling).

November 9, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterMuria

Dang it! We don't have (CENSORED) stores here in Huntsville. I would so buy the wreckiest cakes they had.

November 9, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterRenee

Aw, man! We don't have any [CENSORED]s around here!

November 9, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterCrankyAmy

Does anybody want to get together with me and form a band? We can record Sharyn's songs and we'll become rich and famous, and we can get an entourage and fans and roadies, and we can go out and wreck hotel rooms and bakeries!! I'm so psyched! I call cowbell. Everything else is up for grabs.I'm going to go in the bathroom now and rehearse "Now You're Just a Grocery Where I Used To Go" in front of the mirror (just the cowbell part, mind you,) as it is now my very favorite song.

November 9, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterSuBee

Sigh....why is it everytime I go into my local grocery-store-chain-that-must-not-be-named, they always have such nice looking cakes? My hopes of finding a wreck of my own are dashed on a weekly basis. :(

November 9, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterSneakyAmanda

The bunny gives a whole new meaning to "crack head".

This entire mess reminds me that, in general, our society has become one of "lowest common denominator". Rather than holding people accountable for high standards and making them either do better or lose their job, everyone lowers their standards. CW happens to do it in an amazingly funny way, but it's a sad commentary on life in general.

November 9, 2012 | Unregistered Commenterbmbagain803

That skeleton mess made me laugh out loud!!!!! Also that whole line about "copyright protection". Yeah right....because God forbid someone else might actually want to take credit for such garbage!

November 9, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterSuzanne Dargie

Oh, Jen, don't tempt me like this. I work directly next door to a *CENSORED* and now all I want to do is take an extended break to go take pictures of everything in their display cake - wreck or otherwise! You made my day.

Glad to see that I'm not he only one who's considered going in with a made-up "my kid is sick and I want her to pick out a cake without bringing her into the store" story. Great minds, Rikki. Great minds.

November 9, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterJaina

um, about the skeleton's ".I." placement--does that count as a "boner"?

November 9, 2012 | Unregistered Commenteranonymous

I think it's SAFE to assume they are WAY too busy making edible art to worry about your little blog. They're probably doing the SAFEty Dance to celebrate the WAY they've been honored for their high quality decorating skills. I'm just sad that I am SAFEly aWAY from a region that has such stores. Sigh.

I have to say, the comments today are spot on. Y'all make me laugh. :)

November 9, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterMelonie

@Renee, I'm straight up 231 from Huntsville. Looks like our nearest one is in Virginia. Quite disappointing. Road trip time! haha

November 9, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterLeah

Well, look at it this way: If they want to take the SAFE WAY out and copyright their cakes, then at least they're protecting the rest of the world from ever having to see these atrocities again. Especially the second thing with the yellow squiggles.

BTW, I know florists who are equally paranoid about posting photos of their work because they're afraid someone will copy their designs. However, those people are producing unique, creative, beautiful arrangements that anyone would be PROUD to display!

November 9, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterTLC

Sharyn!! <3

Loving your musical tribute today, of course now it's stuck in my head.

November 9, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterAmanda H.

@SuBee: In your honor, I have DOUBLED the amount of cowbell in today's song, now that I know it will be so well played.

November 9, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterSharyn

Interestingly, I have a friend who is a manager at one of the local [CENSORED] stores. He's been posting pictures of their fine cakes on Facebook for about the past week.

November 9, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterRob

Sadly, I can tell you from experience that the cakes from the Bakery-that-Shall-Not-Be-Named taste every bit as good as they look.

November 9, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterSeattleMom

The pink "bunny" made me burst out laughing at work. Oops, busted.

November 9, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterTed C

Cakes from SAFE.....go aWAY!!!!

November 9, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterThe Former CB

O_o My face after looking at these cakes. XD XD XD is how I looked after Sharyn and Haiku Joy.

November 9, 2012 | Unregistered Commentermindy1

I think if you look at the copyright law very carefully, and squint slightly at Chapter 9, Section 11a, paragpraph iii, subsection q.3 (unless previously or subsequently modified), you'll find that such cakes are covered in the "Crappyright" section, whereby such items are allowed to be reproduced for the amusement and edification of all....

Also, the rabbit with the tail in its mouth -- the result of a genetic experiment crossing a snake with a bunny: the cotton mouth rabbit.

And, to make a spaghetti cake like that...it shows they've got balls....

November 9, 2012 | Unregistered Commentermel

So I would just like to note that I've worked at this place that shall not be named for 5 years now and I would have to say its not all the "decorators" fault. We get packets of horrible pictures of what to put in our cases and we are required to replicate them, for example the popcorn and skeleton cakes are in our packets and the popcorn one may come back, the cake designs rotate monthly.I generally do my own thing because I know better but there are those out there who try oh so hard to make these horrible cakes and end up making them worse, even if that didn't seem possible in the first place. Also, the decorators are not professionally trained, we just kinda get thrown into it and if it turns out you're creative then that gives you an advantage on the others. And that's all from me. :)

November 9, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterJade B

That bunny cake looks strangely Muppet-y. I actually kinda love it.

November 9, 2012 | Unregistered Commenterzardeenah

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