How A Canceled Order By Tesla Impacted A California Bakery

Small food businesses have had a rough stretch of years grappling with the aftermath of pandemic closures and facing rising costs of goods and staffing shortages. With tight profit margins, large order cancelations can deal a serious blow to the bottom line. Voahangy Rasetarinera, owner of The Giving Pies bakery in San Jose, California, experienced a headline-making setback recently.

The small business posted about the situation on social media, alleging that after accepting a $16,000 special order for a Black History Month celebration at Tesla's corporate offices, it was abruptly canceled via text message. Rasetarinera estimated a loss of $2,000 due to special ingredients she purchased and the orders she turned down to work on the 4,000-pie order. For instance, the planned purchase allegedly included more than 400 vegan mini pies, which don't exactly sell like hot cakes at the bakery. After the about-face, The Giving Pies got stuck with vegan pie crusts that lots of customers might not take. Even worse, Tesla hadn't paid for the pies prior to canceling.

The issue might go well beyond the money for Rasetarinera. She started baking pies in her home kitchen in 2017 and eventually opened a storefront. The business' name reflects Rasetarinera's focus on community — she donates a portion of her profits to E-Sports, an inclusive sports program for kids with special needs.

Resilience and community support

On the bright side, The Giving Pies' Instagram post resulted in a flood of support. Individuals and local businesses wanted to lend a hand by offering to buy excess pies. After local news outlets picked up the story, the bakery received so many calls that their store voice message now warns, "We might have already sold out of all of our pies."

Rasetarinera was reportedly told that there had been a misunderstanding. Tesla has reportedly reached out to the bakery offering another order opportunity for later in March, and the CEO Elon Musk has responded to the situation with a tweet: "Will make things good with the bakery." It's hard to say how much that does to restore the trust she lost or soften the sense of betrayal she felt after the interaction. But no matter how the situation is resolved with Tesla, The Giving Pies said in its post, "Though the scars of this experience may linger, they serve as a testament to the strength and resilience of small businesses everywhere."