The 2013 Valentine’s Day Garden Of Discontent

One of these things is not like the other

One of these things is not like the other

This year, the major national flower-distribution networks were just as busy as usual on Valentine’s Day. Busy being terrible at their jobs. Maybe the vast majority of flower arrangements ended up where they were supposed to and looked more or less correct, but it’s the outliers that make both senders and recipients feel like crap. When the vast floral-industrial complex markets to us with the message that the quality of the flowers we send or receive is a proxy for the quality of our love, then they should go out of their way not to screw that up for us. Right?

Madeline was supposed to get a vase of roses, but it’s more like a tiny bed of rose petals. Wilted rose petals. She sent along the photos that you see above and below, and explained what opening the package was like.

I was complaining about my sad Valentine’s Day flowers from 1-800-flowers and someone suggested I email you. I should say that I looked on their website to try to figure out what my arrangement was supposed to look like, but I couldn’t find one that even remotely resembled what I received. However, I suspect it may be this, since it is the only one that sort of matches the color scheme I received.

flowers2

flowers3

flowers4

flowers5

flowers1

flowers5

They arrived last night in the typical box-with-vase-and-flower-food, which didn’t fuss me that much – I’ve had flowers (lilies) come out of the box as buds and bloom beautifully. However, when I opened these, two of the roses dropped their “heads” instantly, and several more look like they are about to go. There was no greenery (except for the leaves from the rose stems) or baby’s breath or other filler in the bouquet. They have been dropping petals steadily since I opened them, and they are in vastly different stages of bloom – a few seem that they are about to go (or already went), one or two are still buds, and everything in between. They are generally crinkly and droopy and sort of sad-looking.

I was sort of giving them the benefit of the doubt, assuming it was their busiest day of the year. My boyfriend contacted them, and we both assumed they would replace them. Instead, he received a form email offering him a $20 gift coupon, and no replacement. For a floral arrangement that definitely cost well over $50 (I do not know the exact price as it was a gift).

Photos are attached. The first picture is my desk after I opened the box, trimmed the stems, and wrangled the roses into the vase. Note the number of petals and the sad decapitated flower heads.

It’s not just flowers that had screwy deliveries. Robert ordered a slightly more practical bouquet for his girlfriend: one of chocolate-covered strawberries. He saved some money by having it delivered on Wednesday, which is helpful since her workplace was closed on Thursday, Valentine’s Day. Only they didn’t show up at her workplace that day. They showed up on Thursday, when no one was supposed to be there. He writes:

Two weeks ago, I ordered a lovely bouquet of chocolate-covered strawberries from Edible Arrangements for my girlfriend to be delivered to her on the day before Valentine’s Day.

There were two factors at work in that decision: one was the shipping discount Edible Arrangements offered for day-before-VD delivery. The other, and vastly more significant, factor was the fact that my girlfriend’s workplace is closed on Thursdays and she would not be working that day to receive a delivery on Valentine’s Day itself.

Nevertheless, with no notice via phone or email or smoke signal, the local Edible Arrangements location simply ignored Wednesday’s scheduled delivery date and chose to deliver the bouquet on Thursday. By utter sheer luck and coincidence, someone did happen to be at work that day to accept the delivery, otherwise I have no idea what would have happened.

I don’t expect a business to know that there are reasons someone might choose to have a Valentine’s Day gift delivered the day before Valentine’s Day. But I do expect them to honor whatever delivery date I select when I place my order.

Felicia had a few orders with Proflowers that went wrong. One, she received, and another she sent.

A friend of mine told me about your site via email after seeing me post my frustration with Proflowers today. I went to the site and saw your article. I had the same problem with the multi-colored roses. They weren’t as multi-colored and there wasn’t a single red rose in them. But it get’s much worse than that.

I had made a separate last minute order on February 13th for my best friend. She had recently broken up with her long time boyfriend and I wanted to brighten her day with some flowers on Valentines Day. I paid more for the flowers I ordered than I would have a couple days before for the same thing and I had 6 choices to choose from. Then to top it off I got their delivery fee and an express fee/valentines day fee on top of it. Fine, I needed to get the flowers and get them there that next day on Valentine’s Day so I did it.

By 5pm I hadn’t heard from my friend – I figured she would have texted me when she got them so I gave in, having to ruin the surprise, and ask her if she got a delivery. She told me she hadn’t. I told her what I sent and she checked throughout her office building – reception, mailroom, nothing. So I placed a call about 6pm to ProFlowers.

Their recording says that orders to business addresses would be delivered by 5pm, then after an automated system took my info it assured me there was no problem with my order but they couldn’t give order status, I chose to speak to a rep. I waited on the phone on hold for 30 minutes before someone answered and when the Rep did from the first sentence it was as if I interrupted this guy while he was watching his favorite movie or surfing the web. I told him my problem and he responded with a rude, “it will take until 9pm for some orders”. I reminded him of the recording on phone system and that why would a delivery to a business be delivered at 9pm? I got dead silence.

Then he blurts out to me that “it will be delivered tomorrow”. I went on to tell him how unacceptable this was, that I paid extra for this delivery, I paid more for the flowers and had less selection. Had I wanted a Feb 15th delivery I wouldn’t have spent the extra money. He told me he would give the extra express fee as a refund (which is only $10) but didn’t even know the amount of the fee – apparently he was too busy to look up my actual order and the cost. I said I’d take it figuring I would handle the matter with a email to customer service but I asked him, “So you tell me it will be delivered tomorrow, does this mean that it never went out today or that your tired to deliver it and there was a problem?”. Obviously it was a question he didn’t want to answer.

Finally he told me that the delivery never went out and it would go out tomorrow. As I told Proflowers in my email if this employee is an example of the mantra of your company and this is your idea of service, I won’t be ordering again. I reminded them that while I know they are busy, it is expected, it’s Valentines Day, it is not a surprise and they should be properly staffed – not have customers on hold for a half hour when there is problem with their order. I gave them the run down from the extra cost, the rude employee, my personal time and a ruined surprise – and that they owe me more than $10.

After seeing your article it seems to be a bigger problem with this company and it turns out that a friend of mine and my sister had an issue as well and also dealt with a rude employee. Amazing.

PREVIOUS EDITIONS:
The 2010 Valentine’s Day Garden Of Discontent
The 2011 Valentine’s Day Garden Of Discontent
The 2012 Valentine’s Day Garden Of Discontent
Valentine’s Day Garden Of Discontent: The 2013 Entries From Proflowers