To whoever it was that decorated this cake: I love it. Thank you for making me smile. (Sarah Simpson/Citizen)

Sarah Simpson Column: To err is human, no H is an easy mistake

You can file this one in the “Should I or Shouldn’t I?” category. I’m feeling a little rebellious today so I’ve decided to throw caution to the wind and go for it. I’m sure you’ll all have opinions about this story, but that’s OK. I’ll brace myself for the comments. It’s supposed to be a lighthearted take on humanity… I’m not out for blood here so read it with that in mind. Here we go:

Being the efficient person I am, I opted to go online to order a cake for my daughter’s third birthday so that I could just swing by and grab it on the way home from work one day without having to haul the kids in and out of their car seats.

I submitted my order well in advance and it was ready upon my arrival at the scheduled time. The cashier was super friendly so I left the store feeling pretty darn good.

I looked down at the cake as I walked back to the car and was pleasantly surprised to see the decorators had really put some effort into it. I had let them know my daughter’s favourite colours were blue and green and they’d done a fantastic job on incorporating both colours. The piping on the top was green and on the bottom it was blue and there was a lovely little puppy drawn in the middle, as per my tiny dictator’s request.

When I got home and out of the car I glanced at the cake again and was impressed with the effort made to alternate between green and blue icing for all the letters written on the top. It said:

“H-A-P-P-Y B-I-R-T-D-A-Y”

Aww, I thought to myself. My baby is growing up. Wait, what? I looked again. Yep. It totally said “Happy Birtday!”

No H.

I laughed and thought phewph, good thing she can’t read!

I was ready to ignore the mistake and so was my husband. We are writers. We get it.

“It’s not like they left out a chunk of the cake,” he noted.

But as I started talking to people I learned that opinions were pretty one-sided on whether or not that was the right thing to do. Sure, my daughter wouldn’t notice but this wasn’t a cheap grocery story cake. I paid a pretty penny for it and, intentional or not, they got it wrong.

Should I seek a discount? A replacement? An apology? We make mistakes at the paper all the time and let me tell you, we hear about it.

I began to question if I had made a typo when I ordered it online. Maybe they were right after all and simply following my instructions? Surely that’s not possible, I’m a professional writer for goodness sake. However true that is, it’s totally plausible. I’m human. I misspell words all the time.

I checked my email receipt and it turned out my order was correct and they had indeed made the error.

A friend of mine agreed with my sister and pretty much everyone else I talked to. They were all of the opinion that it at least warranted a phone call. My friend was in the right mood to make the call on my behalf. So she did. To their credit, the store immediately offered to make it right, which my friend said made her panic a little because she figured she’d be in for at least a bit of an argument.

To be honest, it’s the second time that particular business has made an error but you know what? I’ll go back again because both times they’ve made it right. We’re all human and just trying to do our best. And sometimes that means doing a fantastic job, despite forgetting the H.

(My daughter loved her cake, by the way.)

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