Every year, after the major flower-giving holidays, readers send us photos of what they ordered and what they actually received. It’s a dismaying scene, and what we really want is to never publish another of these features again. That’s why we’re sharing what we’ve learned about the flower business from readers and from florists in the 10 years that Consumerist has been around.
Valentine’s Day isn’t the biggest flower-sending holiday on the calendar. That would be Mothers’ Day. It remains an important flower-giving holiday, though, and one during which florists need to obtain massive quantities of red roses. Here’s one flower delivery that went terribly wrong, and one that turned out beautifully. [More]
Earlier today, we highlighted the feat of globalization that brings millions of red roses to our doorsteps on one specific date. Unfortunately, mid-February this year is a time of bitterly cold temperatures in much of the country. Cool temperatures preserve cut flowers, but cold temperatures can destroy cut flowers and kill live plants. That’s why this Valentine’s Day hasn’t been so great for the national flower-delivery brands. [More]
It would make a lot of people in the flower business very happy if we would just reschedule Valentine’s Day to sometime in July. If we would do that, they wouldn’t have to rush to transport millions of roses from warm climates to colder ones before the very firm deadline of February 14. We’re stuck with that date, and that’s why farmers and wholesalers need to use plant hormones, heaters, fans, and passenger jets to get roses ready at just the right time. [More]
Shopping online is simple: you see a picture of the thing that you want to buy, click on it, type in your credit card, and then that thing arrives on your doorstep or the doorstep of your gift recipient. This simplicity falls apart when it comes to ordering flowers online, which leads to plenty of disappointment. Here’s how to avoid that. [More]
Reader Philip likes to send people flowers, and that includes his grandmother. He used the 1800Flowers.com website to send her a very festive arrangement for Christmas, and she was pleased enough to post it on Facebook. Philip wasn’t pleased, though. What he saw online wasn’t what he had paid for. He tried to get 1800Flowers to explain what went wrong. They gave him a refund, but no explanation. [More]
A few weeks ago, we shared with you some insider tips from a former florist who explained that the real arrangements we receive look meager compared to website photos because the arrangements in photos are designed for two-dimensional photographs. We wondered whether our readers had other questions about the flower business that she could answer, and she has agreed to answer your questions. [More]
A common consumer complaint about flower deliveries is that the arrangements that show up on our loved ones’ doorsteps isn’t as tall or full as the pictures we saw of the arrangement online. A former florist wrote to Consumerist to explain why this is. The photos from FTD, Teleflora, and other Big Flower companies are staged to look nice for the camera, but real-life is three-dimensional. [More]
Michelle placed her Mother’s Day order from a site that appears to be a fake local florist, aggregating orders and sending them to local shops affiliated with wire services after taking their cut. She didn’t know that, though, and chose an arrangement based on her mom’s love of purple roses. Got that? Purple. [More]
Someone Cathy is close to is in the hospital with a shattered femur, which sounds extremely unpleasant. To cheer this person up, cathy sent some flowers through FTD. The flowers are pretty enough, but Cathy doesn’t think they’re what she ordered. [More]
Great news for people who were looking forward to a future of receiving small deliveries on their doorsteps by unmanned drone. A federal judge’s decision last week means that a Michigan-based florist can go ahead and continue their tests of flower delivery by unmanned aerial vehicle. [More]
Friday is Valentine’s Day, the annual Festival of Pink and Red Dead Plants and Sometimes Chocolate. This year, the timing of the holiday poses a special challenge to florists and other gift-deliverers: The 14th falls on a Friday, and the next business day is a federal holiday when many workplaces close. That’s tricky enough, but what about the blast of ice and snow currently threatening much of the country? [More]
Daniel ordered what’s called a “country bundle” from 1-800-Flowers for his girlfriend. When we have flowers delivered, we’re not buying dead plant stems. If that were the case, there wouldn’t be such a large industry built around flower delivery. What we’re buying is the experience of dazzling our partner when they see the flowers. Daniel’s girlfriend received this arrangement, but she wasn’t dazzled. Should she have been? [More]
A few weeks ago, we asked our readers not to send us any Mother’s Day floral disasters. That’s because you weren’t going to have any floral disasters. Reader R. really did her best: she located a florist near her mom’s home, placed her order directly with them, and even discussed it with the shop. She was still disappointed with the end result––though her mom probably loved it, because that’s how moms are. [More]
We’ve heard of past cases where wedding industry businesses (from bakeries to trolley companies) refused to deal with same-sex couples, but one couple says it was even worse when their local florist declined to provide flowers for their wedding, because she’s a long-time friend. The Washington attorney general has subsequently filed a consumer action against the florist.
Why are we still yammering about Valentine’s Day flowers? The holiday itself is long gone, but as birthdays, funerals, hospitalizations, and other occasions come and go, the problems with using national Big Flower websites remain. As another major flower-sending holiday, Mother’s Day, approaches, we’re sharing this story from reader Josh about how wonderfully his order from a local florist turned out. [More]
Valentine’s Day is a chaotic time for florists, with temporary help mixing with regular staff to get everything delivered on time and to the right recipient. (Well, mostly.) In Chicago, one busy florist claims that a man took advantage of the floral fracas to walk off with 21 flower arrangements worth a total of $2,000.
As a customer, you see ads from the ancient florist wire services like FTD and Teleflora. Readers write in and complain to us about those specific brands, since that’s the website they visit and the brand name that’s familiar. When you order up some flowers, though, that’s not who brings them to your door. It’s locally-owned florists, small business owners, who actually arrange and deliver your gifts. They might receive orders from the wire services, but often earn no profit or even take a loss on putting it together. [More]