Was FTD Just Overwhelmed This Valentine's Day?

Was the combination of a flower-centric holiday and a controversial Groupon promotion too much for FTD to handle? The network didn’t spend this Valentine’s Day just sending puny flower arrangements to people’s moms. For many people, they just went ahead and didn’t deliver the flowers at all. Two readers who took advantage of the Groupon discount shared their stories.

Jonathan wrote last night:

I placed an order with FTD during that whole Groupon debacle. I probably should have realized that, after I heard all the stories about it being a bad deal, it was in fact a bad deal. I went ahead and placed an order anyways–one to be delivered today, on Valentine’s Day. A beautiful $80 bouquet of flowers for my fiancé. I anxiously awaited her call today, but it never came. I called her and asked if she received a package, but she did not. So I tried to give FTD a call, but have not been able to get through to their customer support line. It looks like a lot of other people are having the same issues with no delivery. Apparently they are refusing to give refunds as well. I’m not sure about that though–I’ve been sitting on hold for about 45 minutes now.

Earlier, Chris wrote:

My girlfriend lives in the New York City area, and I live in the Washington, DC area. Because we both work and have limited vacation time, we couldn’t spend this year’s Valentine’s Day together. We celebrated this past weekend instead.

But because I don’t live under a rock, I know that girls still love flowers on Valentine’s Day; they love the attention they get when the flower delivery guy walks past everyone and stops at their desk. Knowing this, I planned to buy flowers and have them delivered today. Thursday when I checked online and saw that Groupon was offering a FTD.com groupon I thought what luck. So I went ahead and bought a nice bouquet of tulips and triple checked to ensure they were getting delivered today, Valentine’s Day (I also noticed that they jack up their delivery rates for today). I specifically ordered a bouquet that would be delivered by a local florist, so that she could experience that elation of the flower guy walking to her desk.

I was happy to get to work today and sit by my phone and email, waiting for the call of jubilation. It never came. Instead I got news that nothing was delivered. My girlfriend was getting upset, thinking I hadn’t gotten her flowers. By 3pm I had to ruin the surprise and tell her that I did in fact buy her flowers and that she should be expecting them. And then I got on the phone. And waiting on the phone. Then waited some more.

By 5:00 I was still on hold and her office closed. She had left for the day, sad and upset that she was the only girl in the office not to get flowers.

After 90 minutes on hold the first CSR said there was nothing he could do except cancel the order. I asked to speak to a supervisor, and after several attempts to transfer me and 20 minutes, I finally spoke to her. She seemed to understand and was sorry. She offered to have the florist change the delivery address, but my girlfriend lives 60 minutes from her office, so the local florist by her office who was assigned the order wouldn’t deliver. The supervisor tried to see if a local florist where my girlfriend lives could deliver, but she came back on the phone and said maybe.

I told them to just deliver to the office, hoping someone is there to accept them and put them on my girlfriend’s desk. The best she could offer is 40% refund.

40%? For ruining Valentine’s Day? It’s not like I can zip up to New York City tonight to make up for it. I feel like they can do better. Like buy us a cruise.

An Acela ticket would be an awful lot cheaper than a cruise. A full refund would be more reasonable, but it sounds like FTD might be giving out a lot of those this week.

It’s easy to go to a national, heavily advertised site, choose an item, and assume that item is precisely what will arrive at your recipient’s home. That’s how we expect e-commerce to work. For something as delicate and in-demand as flowers on Valentine’s Day, though, that doesn’t always work out.

For the freshest, prettiest, most reliable flowers, call a florist local to the recipient, or check whether they have a direct website where you can place your order without pesky human interaction.

PREVIOUSLY:
2011 Valentine’s Day Garden Of Discontent
Groupon & FTD Offer Refund For Controversial Valentine’s Day Deal