11 Things That Secretly Annoy Every Bake Sale Shopper

Updated: May 05, 2024

Let's be honest, no one wants to see store-bought desserts at the bake sale table!

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Various desserts on display in bakery window; Shutterstock ID 13122730
Shutterstock / Elena Elisseeva

We all love the idea of a good bake sale. Homemade goodies on sale for just a few bucks? Sign us up! But sometimes shopping your local bake sale can leave us wanting more (after all, how many of us have walked away from the table empty handed?). So avoid basic bake sale mistakes and learn what’s pestering all your prospective customers.

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Homemade Banana Nut Muffins Ready to Eat; Shutterstock ID 246281428
Brent Hofacker/Shutterstock

No allergy-free treats

Many folks approach a bake sale table only to leave disappointed. That’s because allergy-free treats are rarely offered at bake sales, which means hopeful kids and parents need to miss out on donating to a good cause—and scoring a sweet bake sale treat.

Get around this problem with these tasty allergy-free treats.

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Colorful donuts in box; Shutterstock ID 422346634; Job (TFH, TOH, RD, BNB, CWM, CM): Taste of Home

Store-bought desserts

Yes, it can be time-consuming to make homemade treats. But isn’t buying a dozen cupcakes at the grocery store and selling them at a bake sale a little bit like cheating? If you’re asked to contribute to a bake sale but don’t have the time or talents, ask the organizer if you can volunteer by purchasing napkins or plates instead. Even ask if you can be of help on social media or with other publicity.

These bake sale recipes will earn big bucks.

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Baking tray with burnt gingerbread cookies; Shutterstock ID 238370437
Shutterstock / A. Aleksandravicius

Poorly baked goods

Don’t get us wrong—we’re not expecting professional-level treats at a bake sale, just some good, old-fashioned goodies. But just because you’re not a pro doesn’t mean you should settle for less than your best. If you ruin a cake, don’t put it up for sale! See if you can repurpose it in a trifle and opt for a simpler treat for your fundraiser.

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Young girl making funny faces showing her teeth; Shutterstock ID 343761566; Job (TFH, TOH, RD, BNB, CWM, CM): -
Shutterstock / txking

Poorly trained workers

Little kids are certainly not customer service pros, but before you start selling, give them a couple pointers. Teach them to put on a friendly face and be friendly with potential customers—heckling passersby is a big no-no in our book.

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Girl with brown wallet full of money; Shutterstock ID 394142461
Africa Studio/Shutterstock

Receiving the wrong change

Although it can be frustrating to receive a dollar bill when we should have gotten five more back, young kids can’t always figure out the correct change…and that’s perfectly understandable. Parents, on the other hand, are not off the hook. A supervisor should always be helping out with the money at every bake sale. Consider pricing items at single dollar amounts so that you don’t have to fuss with quarters and dimes.

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Taste of Home

No ingredient lists

Bake sales might not be comparable to a gourmet bakery, but taking the time to make note of the ingredient list for each bake sale item will mean so much to the customers. Sometimes we just want to know what we’re putting into our bodies or if that brownie has nuts inside (and we’d prefer it without).

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A bake sale is in full progress. All items for sale have been labeled with ingredients for the benefit of those with food allergies.; Shutterstock ID 250520818; Job (TFH, TOH, RD, BNB, CWM, CM): -A bake sale is in full progress. All items for sale have been labeled with ingredients for the benefit of those with food allergies.; Shutterstock ID 250520818; Job (TFH, TOH, RD, BNB, CWM, CM): -
Shutterstock / Erika J Mitchell

Cluttered setups

Browsing the goodies at a bake sale table should not look like a crowded stand at a garage sale. Fill your table up with trays and treats, but don’t overstuff it! Keep extra inventory stashed away and replenish as needed.

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many chocolate chip cookies stacked; Shutterstock ID 662212138
Shutterstock / tlindsayg

Overpriced items

If the price tags on bake sale items look extremely similar to a Starbucks menu, think again. Bake sale customers should never have to pay more than a couple of bucks for a simple homemade brownie.

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White paper napkin on wooden table, top view; Shutterstock ID 374417176; Job (TFH, TOH, RD, BNB, CWM, CM): Taste of Home

No napkins

It’s not likely that we’re waiting until we get home to dig into that warm, chocolate chip bake-sale cookie we just bought. We need napkins to clean up the aftermath of devouring it as we drive away in our cars.

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Tasty cupcakes on a white wooden table; Shutterstock ID 556435444; Job (TFH, TOH, RD, BNB, CWM, CM): Taste of Home
5 second Studio/Shutterstock

Not enough variety

Muffins are delicious, but that’s not all we want to eat. A lot of bake sales make the mistake of offering one or two kinds of treats with no other options in sight. A little variety to spice things up—like a miniature pie or a nice truffle cake pop—would be nice to see, too.

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Sale of baked goods from the counter at the fair. Opole Poland; Shutterstock ID 1124026685; Job (TFH, TOH, RD, BNB, CWM, CM): Taste of Home
Shutterstock / Luminous Alex

No information about the fundraiser

We’ll be more likely to buy the yummy dessert items at a bake sale if we know the good cause it is going to. Pass out fliers with information about the organization or display a sign that shows what cause the money is going toward. You might even gain some extra volunteers or donations for next time!