Online Florist Garden Of Discontent: The Christmas Shrub

Erica’s boyfriend is the type of exceptionally thoughtful person who sends his girlfriend’s mom flowers for Christmas. It’s a nice arrangement, with the greenery arranged in the shape of a Christmas tree and decorated with candy canes. Or, in the case of the arrangement actually sent, a roundish shrub.

I’m sure you get a lot of messages like this during the holidays, but my boyfriend thoughtfully sent my mother flowers, and attached is what she received vs what he ordered. It was supposed to be a tree-shaped arrangement, and she essentially received a shrub. They bear a slight resemblance, but not much. My mom still likes and appreciates them, but still… We just initiated contact with the company, but hopefully they will give some kind of refund.

Well, it’s not all bad: the ribbon used in the actual arrangement is prettier than the one in the photo.


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  1. momtimestwo says:

    I had the same thing happen to me. It was supposed to be a small cupcake made of flowers, what she got was a teddy bear made of flowers. She thought it was cute, but I was pissed. But she never took a picture for me to send to the company and get a refund. I will never ever use 1800flowers again.

  2. KyBash says:

    Silly OP — doesn’t everyone know that the sales pictures are posed for by professional flowers?

  3. Dr. Ned - This underwear is Sofa King Comfortable! says:

    All the more reason to seek out Roger the Shrubber

  4. Wonderweasel says:

    So your boyfriend ordered some hideously tacky christmas plant and then complained about the product being a……hideously tacky christmas plant.

  5. larrymac thinks testing should have occurred says:

    Expecting a floral arrangement to look like it does on the website is like expecting a fast food hamburger to look like it does in the ad.

    • Snoofin says:

      I agree, however the item you receive should at least be constructed of the same items that are in the picture. I dont believe that the item received has all the ingredients as the picture from the website. At least when you buy a Big Mac, it has the burger, 3 buns, pickles, lettuce, onions, cheese, and mac sauce. It might not look good at all but at least it has them.

      • larrymac thinks testing should have occurred says:

        You have a point, but describing the components of a Big Mac with anything other than “two all-beef patties, special sauce, lettuce, cheese, pickles, onions on a sesame seed bun” will affect your final grade.

    • FredKlein says:

      Is that unreasonable?

      I can see a minor differences between the picture and the product- the picture was taken under ideal conditions- the right lighting, and so on. But when (as in this case) they can’t even get the basic shape of the thing correct….

    • Tim says:

      The major difference is that you don’t buy a hamburger primarily for how it looks. You probably want it to be tasty; the photos are just to lure you in. Flower arrangements, however, are purchased solely for their looks.

      A better analogy would be to art. Say you buy a print of the Mona Lisa online, and you receive something that only slightly resembles the Mona Lisa. Would you be angry?

  6. SteelBacon says:

    You should complain. I’ve not heard bad things about 1-800 flowers, esp since I use them once a year for my NZ friend. She’s not complained yet.

    • mehitabel says:

      Kiwis are phlegmatic types and not big complainers.

      As a control, send the same arrangement to a New Yorker. (Speaking as a New Yorker.)

  7. missy070203 says:

    what these online florist companies dont tell you is when you make the order through them they call a florist local to the delivery area and its made there by a florist in that local shop not by the company you ordered it from which pretty much means it’s a gamble of what is actually delivered- the shop they went through may not have had the materials needed to fill the order or may not have had a florist who is proficient in making box wood tree arrangments- but in an effort to get the cash and the order the shop decided to try – half assed apparently- you are almost always better off searching local shops in the area and doing the calling and ordering yourself at least the they are honest about what they can actually provide and the materials in stock

  8. brinkman says:

    Whenever there’s another one of these articles on a long distance florist who doesn’t deliver what they promise, it makes me hope for continuous rehashes of the classic Consumerist article on cutting a hole into a plastic detergent bottle so you can get that 8 cents worth of detergent puddled at the bottom.

    • KyBash says:

      I always hold the bottle under the stream as the washer fills, give it a swirl, and dump it into the load — that captures the final drops of detergent and washes out the bottle for recycling at the same time!

  9. flyingember says:

    The floral companies would do well to stop trying to make their images too perfect.

    A better marketing style would be to post images as made by florists in the field. They could couple it with a campaign of “real florists making out designs make masterpieces” or something like that and you can see how each florist takes the design but they’re all slightly different.

    Than they can legitimately pass off a weird version as the fault of a third party and they will show how no plant arrangement will ever look exactly like their photos but they can still look excellent. They’re plants after all, they’re all different.

    • Jane_Gage says:

      Or how about a disclaimer and a guarantee that you at least will get equal value and quantity of materials?

  10. pop top says:

    To me, articles about online florists are getting to be like articles about ordering appliances from Sears or doing any kind of shopping at Best Buy: you should know better by now.

    • mauispiderweb says:

      But what would Consumerist report about, if not for these “we said it before and we’ll say it again” posts … preparing for running a marathon? Oh, wait.

  11. chizu says:

    It seems to me that the item on the right pretty much has everything the left one has. I think the problem is the shrub on the right is a bit too small and so it looks off. On top of that, it doesn’t seem to be the kind of plant that you could train/trim into a conical shape… Well, you probably could, but it’d take a while for all the branches to come in, and keep trimming until you get to the desired shape. I think this is one of those cases where the florist tried their best to get the product out, but they simply don’t have a very specific plant to achieve the desired result.

    Speaking on ordering flowers online. One time, I tried to order flowers for my friend for her birthday in Japan. Except her birthday is a few days after the New Year, so pretty much everything is closed. I eventually found one place and picked a blue flower basket that wasn’t too horribly expensive. It looked pretty, and I thought a small flower basket would be nice. I ordered it and didn’t hear much about it afterward. A few months later when she visited, I asked her about the flower basket and she was like “DON’T EVER DO THAT AGAIN.” It turned out it wasn’t a small flower basket they delivered… It was a GIANT flower basket, the box it came in came above her waist and she had to carry it on the train back to her apartment. It was a 3 foot tall flower basket she got. I guess the result came out better than I expected. =v=b

    • taaurrus says:

      So she DID receive the flowers then? When you stated you hadn’t heard anything – I was assuming her flowers were never delivered. But she DID receive them, whether they were exactly what you ordered or not, and she NEVER EVEN CALLED TO THANK YOU?? How do you receive flowers and NOT thank the person who sent them to you?? – thereby, letting them know you received them so they wouldn’t have to ask you months later when you visit?? I’m sorry – my WHOLE problem with your story is NOT that she received flowers not as described – it’s that she received flowers and DIDN’T EVEN THANK YOU FOR THEM.

    • Dr. Shrinker says:


      The delivered thing has none of the 4 candy canes or 6 red roses that I can see on the original product. Instead of red ornaments scattered throughout, it has 2 gold ones that look like they were placed there by a 3-year-old. Not to mention, it’s supposed to be a tree but it’s a freakin’ BUSH.

  12. drewsumer says:

    See also, ‘How Every Pizza Place Ruins A Salad’

  13. MaxH42 thinks RecordStoreToughGuy got a raw deal says:

    The angle and the lighting are so different, the only thing I can see from these photos that is obviously, objectively, and substantially different is the amount of baby’s breath (which does give the one in the catalog a nice snowy look). But other than that, this one doesn’t seem as substantively and quantitatively different from the photo as the others that have been reported here. Sure, I’d be disappointed too, but personally I think I’d just make a mental note not to use them again rather than complain. Or, if it really is worse than it looks, they should take more pictures from more angles with better lighting to better bolster their complaint.

  14. Cicadymn says:

    It reminds me of buying a hamburger…

    Well…anywhere really.

  15. ceez says:

    you know what? I think that orderingfloral arrangements were a good idea in the past….like waaaaay in the past. When we had no internet, when you had to look up a local florist in your area, call, visit, order and then they would deliver what you ordered.

    Now if you live in Miami and order flowers for your sweetheart you are more than likely getting flowers shipped from a florist in Oklahoma. Not only that, but they are pumping these out like a Chinese sweatshop. There’s no time for details and more of a “who gives a damn” attitude.

    So the BEST bet is to shop local, pay the extra cost of a TRUE local florist who will deliver the flowers as ordered.

    This happaned to me once and never again will I order flower arrangements online…no matter how pretty the picture looks or how affordable it is, you will regret it.

    • ChuckECheese says:

      Like waaaaay in the past, like, say, 1987? When I ordered a Teleflora arrangement from a mail catalog and the resulting bouquet was still crappy, misrepresented and overpriced?

  16. JF says:

    Thanks to this site I never use a third party to order flowers. Aside from the florist getting to keep all of the money instead of splitting it, I get flowers I have always been happy with. I just recently sent some to my dad in the hospital. Called the florist told her what types of flowers I wanted, my price point and a little extra… I wanted a bag of chips added to the arrangement as a joke for my dad. Florists are artists, sure they can whip out a standard preset arrangement, but I like to let them work their magic :-)

    I had my mom send me a pic of what arrived to make sure I got my money’s worth and I was very happy with the arrangement that arrived at the hospital a few hours after making the order.

  17. JF says:

    Is it just me or does that website image look VERY Photoshopped?

  18. bethanyboo says:

    I stopped using ProFlowers after seeing so many of these stories on Consumerist. I tried looking up a local florist, but my grandmother lives in Bumfuck, PA, and I had a really hard time finding one. I love the convenience of these online floral sites, but they charge an exorbitant amount for what they actually deliver.

  19. cparkin says:

    I’ve used ProFlowers a bunch of times and the actual arrangement that arrives is always bang on. I don’t use anyone else anymore.

  20. Swins says:

    Actually most of the arrangements seen now are CGI

  21. Jane_Gage says:

    Eh, he’ll get her pregnant, their kids will destroy the house, they’ll find termites. Once life shits him out a few more times he’ll have perpetually lowered expectations just like everyone else.

  22. mopman64 says:

    One time at band camp…

  23. Awesome McAwesomeness says:

    Who are these florists producing this absolute shit? I make arrangements at home that are far better than this. These look like something a child would put together. Do they not have pride? I could have made that bush look far better than that. It wouldn’t have take much effort either.

  24. madderhatter says:


  25. james says:

    Always Always, Always call the LOCAL florist directly, one nearest the delivery target.
    Never, never, ever deal with middlemen, as they market things that the local florist will not do.
    I often call looking for “something nice, not a budget-buster”, and find that the local florist is willing to make great deals.

  26. madfrog says:

    Growing up, I had a friend who’s mom was Jewish and Dad was Catholic. They used to have something called a “Hanukkah Bush”, maybe that is what this it! I covers both holidays to be very PC!

  27. Tina Flowers says:

    Please accept our sincerest apologies for the issue you have posted. Please email me at: with: your name, the recipients name and the delivery date of your order. Please also include an email address and a contact phone number where you can be reached. Thank you. I look forward to hearing from you and resolving this for you promptly. – Tina Flowers

  28. Tina Flowers says:

    Please accept our sincerest apologies for the issue you have posted. Please email me at: with: your name, the recipients name and the delivery date of your order. Please also include an email address and a contact phone number where you can be reached. Thank you. I look forward to hearing from you and resolving this for you promptly. – Tina Flowers