TOKYO — In prim and proper Japan, all it took to prompt a prestigious department store chain into an earnest, public apology in the aftermath of Christmas were complaints over mangled $40 cakes.
“Cake collapse” has dominated headlines for days in Japan after irate consumers took to social media over the weekend to post pictures of crumbled Christmas cakes delivered to their doorsteps.
Sold online by major chain Takashimaya, the strawberry-topped cakes – meant to be immaculately decorated – arrived to some customers miserably flattened and fragmented, images on social media showed.
Out of the nearly 3,000 frozen cakes sold, more than 800 were confirmed to have been marred as of Tuesday night, Takashimaya said in a statement on Wednesday.
“We would like to apologise deeply for the deformation in our frozen Christmas cakes that betrayed the expectations of many of our customers,” Takashimaya senior official Kazuhisa Yokoyama told a nationally televised news conference.
The firm said customers may be reimbursed for the cakes, priced at 5,400 yen a piece, depending on delivery conditions.
The debacle left Takashimaya officials organising an exhaustive probe into its production and delivery partners.
Takashimaya though “couldn’t identify a cause”, Yokoyama told reporters, claiming temperature management was not the issue.
Still, “we, as the seller, are responsible for delivering our products to the hands of our customers, including from production to distribution”, Takashimaya said in the statement.
“The entire responsibility rests on us.”
Many consumers expressed disappointment online over the destroyed cakes.
One user of social media platform X posted two days before Christmas about their dismay, alongside photos of a mushed confection.
“I ordered a Christmas cake online for the first time, but when it arrived, it was completely messed up. I thought I could trust Takashimaya, but is this something that often happens with a cake delivery? I don’t know,” they posted.
Another shared an image of a more intact cake, but voiced similar dissatisfaction.
“Takashimaya’s cake was delivered to me like this. I’m sad,” the X user wrote.
But others tried their best to keep their Christmas spirits up.
One X user described the creativity with which their friend had let a three-year-old son decorate the cake “as he likes” to cover up the mess.
With chocolate spread all over, “the result was funnier than when it had arrived… it’s now full of children’s dreams”, said the X post, which garnered more than 16 million views. — AFP