Advice from the Flower Shop (M-2)

 

Yet again I find myself working at my friend Silence’s mom’s flower shop in Northeastern Illinois. Mother’s Day is fast approaching, and unlike last year, most people are only giving lip service to COVID-19 regulations. It is crazy busy, and I am absolutely tired, so I will not have the full series of narrative posts this year. However, I can give you some pointers on flower ordering.

  1. Do not use wire services like FTD or 800flowers. They are likely to lose your order, promise something the florist cannot make, or even just take your money.  Use DuckDuckGo or your favorite search engine to help find a florist in the area, and call them directly.  You have much better accountability, a better idea of what you will actually get, and generally more helpful staff.  Besides, these are the small business owners we like to talk about supporting.
  2. Give the florist the recipient’s phone number.  I know you want to surprise Mom or your honeybunny with flowers, but we need a person to contact prior to sending out a delivery vehicle.  Someone has to be home to receive the flowers.  We can’t just leave flowers on the doorstep – too much risk of damage or theft.  We may need to call when we arrive or call to confirm the address.  Trust me, I’ve never seen a person bored or uninterested in receiving flowers.
  3. If you are clueless about flowers, give the florist a few ideas and a price range.  Florists deal with this all the time.  Mentioning a favorite flower or color will help personalize it, but these ladies are professionals.  I once used a florist after I forgot my mom’s birthday.  I mentioned she liked the Packers and fall colors, and gave a generous price ceiling.  Gorgeous arrangement with Packer balloon delivered, relationship restored, disownment canceled.
  4. Delivery orders need much more lead time than pick-up.  If this is a last-minute order, try for a pickup.   Delivery orders need to be planned and generally fill up much faster than pick-up orders, especially on holidays.  Most florists will have some items in the case ready to be sold, unless it is already insanely busy.  We can help you pack it safely
  5. Request a full-size card if you have a long message.  Flower cards are business card sized.  We had some USO cards for mothers of fallen soldiers that required microprinting to fit the message.  With a larger card, we can put on as long of a message as you want.  Alternatively, brevity is the soul of wit – keep it to the point.
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  1. The Reticulator Member
    The Reticulator
    @TheReticulator

    I can’t wait to hear about the people you’re working with this time. Get your rest first, though.

    • #1
  2. Charlotte Member
    Charlotte
    @Charlotte

    OmegaPaladin: Do not use wire services like FTD or 800flowers.

    I had always assumed that these companies just contracted with local florists (the local places always have an FTD sticker in the window). Is that not how it works?

    • #2
  3. Gary McVey Contributor
    Gary McVey
    @GaryMcVey

    I always appreciate blunt, practical advice about things I know next to nothing about, and flowers are on that list. Thanks, OP!

    • #3
  4. Boss Mongo Member
    Boss Mongo
    @BossMongo

    It’s hard for me to spend on flowers, after having walked the Bogota flower markets.  Yeah, yeah, transportation blah blah florists’ overhead blah.

    I was told that that doesn’t matter; buy the damn flowers.

    However, the conundrum this year is that the wife’s hospital has transitioned to keeping as many managers and administrators distance working as is practicable in the hospital setting.  They want to make it the norm, so that another pandemic or lockdown won’t be disruptive.

    That’s fine (probably good business) except for I get no credit for flowers if they don’t go to work, so that the other girls see how much the Lovely and Talented Mrs. Mongo is loved. Mother’s Day is usually an easy win.  Now I have to think, and stuff.

    • #4
  5. MarciN Member
    MarciN
    @MarciN

    Boss Mongo (View Comment):

    It’s hard for me to spend on flowers, after having walked the Bogota flower markets. Yeah, yeah, transportation blah blah florists’ overhead blah.

    I was told that that doesn’t matter; buy the damn flowers.

    However, the conundrum this year is that the wife’s hospital has transitioned to keeping as many managers and administrators distance working as is practicable in the hospital setting. They want to make it the norm, so that another pandemic or lockdown won’t be disruptive.

    That’s fine (probably good business) except for I get no credit for flowers if they don’t go to work, so that the other girls see how much the Lovely and Talented Mrs. Mongo is loved. Mother’s Day is usually an easy win. Now I have to think, and stuff.

    There’s always wine and chocolate. :-) 

    • #5
  6. E. Kent Golding Member
    E. Kent Golding
    @EKentGolding

    Get your female relations  flowers a few times a year, but not mother’s day or valentine’s day.   The way they have to stockpile flowers for major holidays really reduces the quality.   You will get them better, longer lasting flowers at other times of the year. 

    • #6
  7. JoelB Member
    JoelB
    @JoelB

    I have never met a man who seemed to enjoy his work so much as the florist who put together the arrangements for my mother’s funeral (some years ago). He was an inspiration. As he helped my sisters choose the flowers, ( I was pretty much along for the ride for this kind of thing) he told us how he had gotten into the business speaking of family, friends, and personal experiences. This was the kind of service one could never get ordering on-line.

    • #7
  8. Skyler Coolidge
    Skyler
    @Skyler

    Here’s some better advice.  Don’t use a florist directly.  When I was on my way to Iraq, on two different occasions I called a florist to have flowers delivered.  Both times my card was hijacked.  I only go through FTD or through USAA to deliver flowers anymore.  

    Getting an order wrong is one thing.  Trying to get a new credit card while I’m mobilizing is a whole ‘nother ball of wax.  I’ll never do it again.  At least if I go through FTD or USAA then I’m dealing with a larger company that is more likely to protect my credit card number from workers who might be thieves.

    • #8
  9. OmegaPaladin Moderator
    OmegaPaladin
    @OmegaPaladin

    Skyler (View Comment):

    Here’s some better advice. Don’t use a florist directly. When I was on my way to Iraq, on two different occasions I called a florist to have flowers delivered. Both times my card was hijacked. I only go through FTD or through USAA to deliver flowers anymore.

    Getting an order wrong is one thing. Trying to get a new credit card while I’m mobilizing is a whole ‘nother ball of wax. I’ll never do it again. At least if I go through FTD or USAA then I’m dealing with a larger company that is more likely to protect my credit card number from workers who might be thieves.

    Check the Better Business Bureau for Teleflora / FTD / etc.  Tons of reports, including outright taking the money without delivering the order.  Also, do your due diligence – reputable florist shops will have negative reviews, but not references to stuff like credit card theft.  USAA makes sense, since they actually back their orders and investigate (few private groups can investigate like an insurance company)

    • #9
  10. davenr321 Coolidge
    davenr321
    @davenr321

    I gave up on the florists, web-based or otherwise a couple of years ago. Lost orders, stupid expensive, DOA flowers, etc. 

    Walmart: combine three bouquets together, they look great, less than $20, a couple of nice cards (talk about stupid expensive…), add to the jewelry or whatever, and I’m set. The flowers last a week and both parties are satisfied. 

    Advantage to the husband with near-total control over birthing-person day flowers!

     

    • #10
  11. Charlotte Member
    Charlotte
    @Charlotte

    davenr321 (View Comment):
    a couple of nice cards (talk about stupid expensive…)

    You’re right about greeting cards. I send a lot of cards and it never fails to take my breath away that a little colorful cardboard rectangle costs five or six bucks. If I weren’t so lazy I’d start making my own.

    • #11
  12. Boss Mongo Member
    Boss Mongo
    @BossMongo

    davenr321 (View Comment):
    ver birthing-person day

    Grrrrr.

    • #12
  13. Basil Fawlty Member
    Basil Fawlty
    @BasilFawlty

    OmegaPaladin: If you are clueless about flowers, give the florist a few ideas and a price range.  Florists deal with this all the time.  Mentioning a favorite flower or color will help personalize it, but these ladies are professionals.

    And laddies.

    • #13