It’s nice to send flowers for the holidays. It’s pretty much expected we’ll receive flowers from a lover on Valentine’s Day. But hiding behind beautiful bouquets is an industry that threatens local florists and the quality of your flowers. Online flower companies.
According to St. Valentine’s Day Trivia 110 million roses, the majority red, will be sold and delivered within a three day period. The International Cut Flowers Association recommends in order to purchase the best quality of rose you buy local. This seems easy, but in the internet age it isn’t quite that easy.
If you search for flowers or florist in any search engine you’ll get a list of results. A lot of these results are obviously national flower companies. These companies often have unbeatable prices. The problem is you may spend less money, but you are also receiving a lesser quality arrangement. Some of these companies fed ex their product, you receive flowers in a box.
The horrors of "flowers in the box"
Valentine's Day Gift Ideas
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The other national flower companies essentially call the local florist in the area and place your order for you.
Where’s The Harm?
Everybody wants to save money. They also want to receive the highest quality for the lowest dollar. Buying online seems convenient and the price is usually lower then what you found locally. So where is the harm?
- The local florist- You purchase the flowers for a certain amount and are charged a service fee. The online flower company places your order, but they don’t give the full amount to the florist. The florist is put in a tough spot. All their business is going to online companies. The online companies are lowering their profit. The online flower company thinks it is okay because it is just the local florist’s mark up. But that mark up is what is paying for the florists’ time, products, employees, and building.
- The lucky receiver of the flowers- Since the florist isn’t receiving the amount they need for the full arrangement they are told when the order is placed “As close as possible.” This could mean that a dozen roses could end up being a half dozen roses supplemented with carnations. It could mean that the roses used are not high quality. It most definitely will mean that the vase pictured is substituted with a different vase. The bouquet that is delivered may look a lot different from what was ordered.
- The purchaser- A lot of men don’t notice that the bouquet received is different. They’ve ordered flowers and they are off the hook. Still there are other men who notice right away. They call up angry because the arrangement isn’t what they ordered. Then what happens?
- The local florist- A lot of time the company will call up the florist and say the quality is not great, and the customer is not happy. (Keep in mind of course this is the “watered down” version of the arrangement since they aren’t receiving the full price to make the original bouquet.) The florist doesn’t want their name on something that is thought of as low-quality work so they make it right. They replace the order and usually add something more expensive to the mix. The local florist just spent any profit they had coming to make the order right.
It really is a vicious circle. The online flower companies have a hold of the local florists by the stem. If they refuse the orders they may not receive enough orders to survive. If the place the orders they may not receive enough to survive. If you’ve ran through the yellow pages for local florists it’s easy to see that a lot of them are no longer in business.
What else can go wrong?
If the prospect of receiving a lesser quality bouquet is not enough to stop you from clicking the buy button online, keep in mind there are other ways the order can go wrong.
- Middle Man- There’s a middle man between you and the florist. You may have given all the correct information, but there could be a communication error between the online flower company and the florist. This could be a typo, with your name misspelled, or your message messed up.
- Order Mishap- What if two orders are called in at the same time. Your order for Valentine’s Day and someone else’s order for a funeral. Because the online company is giving all the information for these two unrelated orders at the same time, they get crossed. Your date receives a funeral arrangement and your lovely Valentine’s Bouquet is delivered to a weeping widow. Not cool, but a possibility.
There is just more room for error when an online flower company is involved. Valentine’s Day is a special day full of promise, possibility, and love. There is no room for error when it comes to creating the perfect day for your lover. If you go directly to your local florist then you will be giving them the information direct. There will be no other orders involved. There will be more clarity.
Sending flowers across the Country
Some may argue that they need to use a nationwide flower company online because they aren’t sending the flowers in their own city.
Here are a couple search tips for finding a local florist:
- Using Google search for “flower shop city name, state”. Put it in quotes. It should come up with a listing of flower shops and will have a map saying Local business results for flower shop near city and state. If you click on that it will bring up more information on each flower shop. Look for addresses and local phone numbers.
- MapQuest has a “Find a Business” box. You enter in “Flower shop” and then enter in the city and state. It will bring up local florists and a map of the area.
Those should put you in touch with a local florist. Be on the lookout for places that don’t have a local physical address. There are some online flower companies that go under a name of a city to get that local market to. If you call a 1-800 number and ask a question about a specific location and they don’t have an answer for you or mention “design center” that should be a red flag that it is a national flower company using a local name.
If you wait until the last minute to order, don’t think ordering online will magically produce flowers on Valentine’s Day. If you are ordering on Valentine’s Day the chances of getting flowers are slim. The national flower company may confirm an order online, but the florists are running around like crazy during holidays. Some of them will shut their phones off completely. Ordering online is not going to help. The online service will call every florist around, find out that it can’t be delivered and call you with the disappointing news.
Flowers are beautiful and fun to get on any holiday. These tips should help you get the best bouquet for your buck, and keep you out of the doghouse.