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I recently brought a pair of scissors, clippers, and shampoo to my hairdresser and asked her to cut my hair for free.  Since I provided all the relevant equipment, I insisted that she cut and style my hair at no cost to me.  This is perfectly reasonable.  A person’s time, labor, space, and skill are all worth nothing; all that is of value are concrete consumables like a cake that you bring to a restaurant.

Of course, the above story is complete fiction; I would never presume that a person engaged in business was not deserving of compensation for their efforts.

Therefore, I am astonished and appalled that you keep acting shocked and confused when I tell you there’s a cake cutting fee.  Of $2.50.  Per slice.  So usually less than $23 for you and all your 8 guests.  All of whom, I would add, are as annoying as you are.

Let me tell you about the cake cutting fee.  We’re charging you $2.50 per slice of your cake that we cut and plate because it’s super-freaking-annoying to have to handle and manage your stupid-ass cake.  It’s f*cking the worst thing in the world.  First, you come in eight hours before your party starts (and an hour before the restaurant opens) to have us store your cake.  The box never fits the cake properly; it’s all half-opened everywhere and held together with scotch tape.  Then there’s the whole question of leaving-it-out-to-the-elements or putting it in the refrigerator.  So you think all this doesn’t merit $25 or so?  It’s not our fault that you only spent $8.99 at Ralph’s for your grandma’s 120th birthday cake.  Next time, spring for Susie’s Cakes or Nothing Bundt Cake, the Bundt-cake only pastry chain that has perilously painted itself into a corner with their variety-constraining name.

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The actual effort of serving your cake is an even bigger pain.  You have to place forks in front of every guest; you have to find the pastry chef and explain to him how many slices you’d like; you have to wait half an hour for him to finish cutting the cake; you have to then distribute the cake to your guests, all of whom will eat two bites and then push it aside.  Oh, but before all this, you have to present the cake with candles and wait about eight hours for you to take all your stupid pictures.  I have to stand there and watch you fumble badly with your cameras, trying to take horribly fuzzy pictures of pastry.  Oh, fun.

All of this, however, is nothing compared to how annoying the people who bring in cake are.  That’s what the cake cutting fee really is.  It’s a tax on annoying people like you, you who bring sand to the beach and you who think you everything should be free.  The guest who brings in a cake is also the same guest who monopolizes a table for five hours.  She asks the hostesses to change tables three times before she finds one she likes.  She orders iced teas instead of bottles of 20-year-old wine.  She decorates the table with confetti and party favors and useless flowers.  Sometimes she even assigns seats to her guests with name cards.  She (or he….or he) is the same guest who splits plates, can’t decide what to order, and sends things back because they’re “too salty.”  She asks for more ice in her iced because because she let it sit there for three hours in the hot sun.

And then, do you know what’s the most annoying thing in the world?  It’s when you can’t find the old cake box for the leftover cake.  Some mofo colleague threw it away, even though he never throws away anything, ever, to the point where he’ll leave his empty packets of Splenda all over our server station.  And our server station has like three trash cans within six inches of his empty, discarded Splenda packets.  But no…..he’ll throw away your cake box in a bizarre fit of tidiness.  Perfect.

So $2.50 per guest for this?  Consider it a small tax on your annoying personality and a discounted fee for our labor.  Or you could just order desserts at the end of your meal and stick a candle in one, like the rest of the human population.  Or you could just do that.

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