Every week, Dear Prudence answers additional questions from readers, just for Slate Plus members.
Q. Bad cake: I reconnected with an old acquaintance of 20 years. She has a bakery now and, wanting to support her business, I went to visit her shop and ordered a cake for my husband’s 50th birthday. Her cakes were tasty in-store and looked amazing online. However, the cake I requested looked horrible and cheap. We don’t speak unless I contact her, and I didn’t ask for a discount. Additionally her delivery person, who is her daughter, was rude upon delivery of the cake. Do I tell her as I would another business, or should I zip it and move on?
A: It’s not as if she were an old dear friend whose company you’d like to keep—you didn’t know her well then and you probably won’t see her a lot in the future. If she asks “How was the cake?” you can politely let her know it didn’t look like what you saw in-store, but don’t go out of your way. Just move on and get your cakes somewhere else! That said, I’m unlikely to complain about a service rendered unless the cake actually poisoned me, so I’m not really one to give feedback to local businesses. You are certainly free to give your feedback as a public citizen with relevant experience to share—as long as you offer that feedback with a sense of politeness and proportion.