Not too long ago I got a call from a frantic woman who was hosting a small bridal show downtown. Apparently, the baker who was providing the cake could not be reached (bells and whistles start going off in my head). I got this call after 6pm, and she needed a cake, any cake, as a donation, for the next morning. She tried to entice me by saying over 20 brides would be tasting and see my cake. I am all for more folks tasting my cake and seeing my work, but I had just completed and delivered two labor intensive wedding cakes and had my own bridal show to attend and prep for the following day.
I had a customer who contacted me several times about a small party cake. In my mind, she was a bit obsessive about a small cake. She stopped by to drop something off for the cake, and we chatted for a bit. It was at this point I realized why she was checking in on me. She had ordered a cake in a previous year from someone who was opening her own cake business. She decided to help her out and placed an order, but never got a cake after paying and repeated phone calls. Another year she placed an order somewhere else, and while I don't remember the specific she was disappointed again and was without the ordered cake.
The moral of the stories? Pick out a baker who is reputable. They may be more expensive than that person on craigslist, but you won't be scrambling for a cake at the last minute.