Don’t Get Screwed On Valentine’s Day: Flowers

Valentines Day price gouging makes us frown, so we’re putting together some tips to help you save money… while not seeming cheap. Ok, you might seem a little cheap, but savvy consumerism can be sexy. Ready? First up: Flowers.

Buying flowers from a florist can be pricey, especially on Valentines Day. You can save money (about 40%, according to the big online flower shops) on expensive floral arrangements by ordering early (now).

Don’t buy roses. Roses are boring and expensive. Save money by buying more interesting flowers. (This is somewhat risky, does she/he like tulips? Find out what your Valentine’s favorite flower is.)

Buy a flowering plant. Plants don’t die unless you kill them, so if your Valentine has a green thumb, why not get him/her a plant?

Buy flowers from a local flower shop and hand deliver them. This is the cheapest option, and we think the nicest one too.

Good luck, and remember not to steal flowers from this woman’s yard. Enough is enough. —MEGHANN MARCO

Comments

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  1. acambras says:

    I love it when my boyfriend comes home with a bouquet of tulips from Stop & Shop. I’m happy because he knows tulips are my favorites, because he’s the one presenting them to me, and because since he passed on expensive floral delivery, he’s still got money to take me out to dinner. ;-)

  2. WindowSeat says:

    Consider buying organic flowers, the floral industry is a major polluter.

  3. bluegus32 says:

    WindowSeat: “Consider buying organic flowers, the floral industry is a major polluter.”

    Is it really? How so?

  4. TedSez says:

    This article from Slate.com about buying flowers online is extremely helpful. (It’s from a few years ago, so some of the info may be out of date.)
    http://www.slate.com/id/2078337/

  5. MoogleLally says:

    “• Buy flowers from a local flower shop and hand deliver them. This is the cheapest option, and we think the nicest one too.”

    YES! Do this! As a former florist employee, this is the best way to woo your sweetheart on Valentine’s with the least chance of a screw up. Don’t be lazy! Doooo it.

  6. WindowSeat says:

    bluegus32

    Perfect flowers take a lot of pesticides and fertilizer.

  7. Youthier says:

    Definately get on the phone and order now even with your local grocery florist. My parents typically send me yellow roses for my birthday, which is a week prior to Valentine’s Day and my mom always orders them in late January and saves about $40.

    And order early no matter what kind of flower you want. It’s the only time of year they can unload crappy fifty cent carnation for $3 a pop.

  8. arkisman says:

    I work in a floral shop, and Valentine’s Day is obviously one of the busiest days of the year.

    In terms of service, reliability, and overall value, I think the local shops are they way to go. But that doesn’t mean you can’t save money when you order from the local florist.

    1.) Pick up the arrangement instead of delivery – that can easily save up to $10

    2.) Another cost reduction (if the floral shop lets you – ours does) is bring in your own vase for the florist to use for the arrangement. You can either apply the discount to more flowers, or a price reduction. Markup on vases can be extensive.

    3.) Many online sites (1800flowers, FTD, etc) will charge hidden service fees. And many times, those websites will transfer the order to a local flower shop anyway – after pocketing the hidden service fees.

    Support your neighborhood florist!

  9. Kornkob says:

    Or even better: realize that Valentine’s Day is a manufactured holiday and be in a relationship that doesn’t depend on a marketing gimick as a prop for a nice night out, some flowers and an expression of your feelings.

    Good quality roses, for instance, can be had around here for about a buck and a half a piece, vased and delivered outside of Febuary. And reservations at a nice B&B is about a third the cost any other week.

    And surpising someone with that sort of thing some other time of the year has a much bigger impact than doing it when it’s ‘expected’.

  10. Sudonum says:

    I used 1800Flowers.com for a couple of years. But then one year they sent my wife 11 instead of 12 roses. I called and complained and they sent me $20 gift certificate which I used the following year. That year I noticed that the flowers came from my local florist, who I used in prior years. So the following year(s) I just went directly to them. One thing to point out is that like the writer in the Slate article, none of these roses evere opened properly or lasted anywhere near as long as they should have.

  11. Gari N. Corp says:

    But fresh cut flowers are a major contributor to the economy of impoverished Ecuador.

    And be careful with your non-Rose flowers, esp. if your beloved is a princess. I have heard of one chap whose lady threw quite the fit at carnations on the 14th.

  12. acambras says:

    Kornkob has a good point about the big markups on Valentine’s Day. The same seems to be true for restaurants — if you take your honey to dinner on 2/14, you’re likely to pay more, be rushed through your meal, have a frazzled server, and maybe have food that’s not as good as it would be on a night with less traffic. Last year my boyfriend and I decided to stay home for 2/14 and go out to dinner on a different night — we’ve both worked in restaurants and know what a ripoff Valentine’s Day can be.

  13. I take issue with your title. I do want screwed on Valentine’s Day. Forget the flowers.

  14. Kornkob says:

    And be careful with your non-Rose flowers, esp. if your beloved is a princess. I have heard of one chap whose lady threw quite the fit at carnations on the 14th.

    Yeah– a snooty, self absorbed ‘princess’ who pitches a fit about a gift needs very desparately to be kicked to the curb. The chap you know deserves better.

    Encouraging such behavior in adults by pandering to temper tantrums will be a capital offense when I am finally appointed The Great Evil Overlord of the Universe, as is my destiny.

  15. justelise says:

    “Plants don’t die unless you kill them..”

    That has got to be the line of the day.

    At any rate I do agree that roses are boring. If your lady (or guy) is a flower fan, find out what they like ahead of time instead of going with the Roses. Roses scream “I didn’t put any thought into your gift.” I know a lot of girls who would rather have something more thoughtful that will not wilt and die for Valentine’s day. Personally I’d prefer a RAM upgrade. :)

  16. bluegus32: “Is it really? How so?”

    As noted before, in addition to energy costs to either import flowers quickly from really far away or grow them indoors out of season … you have to dump MASSIVE quantities of nitrogen on them for fast growth. Then MASSIVE quantities of phosphorus for flower development. It’s hard on the soil and reduces its fertility (requiring more fertilizer the next year) and vast quantities wash off the soil into the watershed and cause algae blooms or kill fishies or other nasty things.

    Properly managing fertilizer to maintain soil health and prevent waste through runoff takes a lot more time and effort, and you’re somewhat at the whim of the weather as to when you can apply it, so “factory” growers just overapply and ignore.

    And I’m with Electoral College Dropout — up with screwing!

  17. aestheticity says:

    I wouldn’t ever buy online, because at least an equal part of the pleasure for me beside presenting them to someone (myself of course, I wouldn’t ever have them delivered) is being in the shop chatting with the florist and picking what you want together from all those lovely flowers. Frankly I’d be happy just to buy some for myself to be able to do that, or give them to some random lady outside. So many blowhards say roses are cliche, and they won’t get any flowers from me because obviously they’re lacking in genuine personal taste in favour of percieved fashion and modern revisionism. Roses are timeless and classic, they look nice and they smell nice and there’s all sorts of colours and there’s no law saying they can’t be mixed with other flowers.

    It’s also all well and good talking about Valentines being commercial bullshit, but just try ignoring it, or see how you feel after a few years of everyone else ignoring you on it. Personally I consider it a ritual on the same level as Christmas and Bonfire night (or Halloween for yanks). Maybe it is commercial bullshit and nothing more than a collective pantomime we all partake of, but not doing so is a pretty lonely effort to try and make.

  18. Kornkob says:

    It’s also all well and good talking about Valentines being commercial bullshit, but just try ignoring it, or see how you feel after a few years of everyone else ignoring you on it. Personally I consider it a ritual on the same level as Christmas and Bonfire night (or Halloween for yanks). Maybe it is commercial bullshit and nothing more than a collective pantomime we all partake of, but not doing so is a pretty lonely effort to try and make.

    Eh? I know of at least a 4 couples that decline to make a big deal out of Valentine’s day, not including my own long term relationship. It’s EASY to ignore the holiday if you’re earnestly romantic on other days. Unlike other holidays, valentine’s day does not have any real group component (like Halloween and Christmas do) and the kinds of romantic behavior that ‘celebrating’ the holiday requires is not inheriently tied to a specific date.

    I have no need of attention on a specific day out of the year to feel loved and fullfilled, woe to those who are so ill-loved and empty that they depend on that one day a year to feel thus.

    Bah to you and your ‘you’ll be sad and lonely if you ignore this holiday’ crapola. If it’s your ‘ritual’ that’s fine but deciding that anyone who fails to play in your little ‘pantomime’ is a doomed to be lonely is rubbish.

  19. bah! humbug!!! stupid flowers.

  20. RandomHookup says:

    A RAM upgrade? I think you and Electoral College Dropout are talking about the same thing.

  21. wesrubix says:

    or you could make some with origami

  22. kerry says:

    We don’t generally celebrate holidays, but last V-Day my boyfriend picked up a red velvet rose with a cheap, plastic teddy bear glued to the side from a street vendor, and it was the greatest Valentine’s gift I’ve ever gotten. Mostly because it was so crappy. I still have it, and it still makes me chuckle.
    Stuff that your beloved will really enjoy is way better than the status quo.

  23. adamondi says:

    Thanks for the advice, Meghann. I just ordered a potted mini rose plant to be delivered to my wife’s office on V-day. I know that she will appreciate being one of the few women in her office whose husbands do still something special on Valentines Day. And she will definitely enjoy having a plant that will continue to grow and bloom instead of some cut flowers that will just die in a week.

    As for V-Day itself, there is nothing wrong with doing something nice on that particular day, manufactured holiday or not. It just so happens that our anniversary is close to V-Day, so we usually end up getting each other something small and not going out for V-Day itself, but save that for our anniversary a week later, and avoid the jacked-up prices.

    It has been my experience that no matter how much a girlfriend, fiancee, or wife SAYS that she doesn’t really care about V-Day or protests that she would rather do something special on another day, etc., she will still be really happy if her man puts some effort into the day itself (no matter how illogical or unwise it is to perpetuate the artificiality of Valentines Day).

  24. Her Grace says:

    As a princess, I feel confident in saying roses are a no-go for many people. They scream “I didn’t take the time to think of what you like!” (unless, of course, the giftee genuinely does love roses). I love carnations and would prefer them any day–literally. Flowers on V-day are a waste of cash.

    Women who throw temper tantrums and are not 3 do not deserve being called princesses. Princesses are graceful and polite at all times, not spoilt brats.

  25. Kornkob says:

    I stand corrected, Your Grace. Please forgive the implication that a princess was anything but the very picture of poise and gracious good taste.

    Let me further amend my comments: When I am appointed Evil overlord, persons impersonating princesses who throw tempter tantrums will sealed up in a barrel and the barrel traded for a perfectly servicable cocker spaniel.

  26. dizziest says:

    I work for an online flower company, and I can say for sure that the only flower we mark up for Valentine’s Day is roses. We only do that because our growers charge us more. If you’re looking for something unexpected but still romantic, I’d recommend lilies or another more unusual flower– tulips, hyacinths, and daffodils are all great spring flowers. Carnations last forever and look pretty, but are often perceived as cheap, so I’d avoid those.

  27. lexluther says:

    As I’ve said elsewhere, it’s best of all to forget the roses — they’re hopelessly bourgeois and generally reveal a streak of humorlessness. Worse, the whole Valentine’s-rose industry is poisoning thousands of
    Ecuadorian workers (as well as their land) with horrid insecticides.

  28. superbmtsub says:

    This is the last time I’m buyin flowers … for a long time. Keep spending frkkn 50-70bucks everytime for these lil dumb events. I’m officially givin it up. I said it. FTD and Proflowers can take money from others. I’m gonna go and buy candy and take her out to the movies instead.