What would your gent or lady love say after receiving a bunch of dying roses from you on Valentine’s Day?
This is something online flower delivery customers are asking themselves. The amorous Hallmark holiday has a way of sneaking up on us and doing to our wallets what cupid does to hearts. Thus, shopping online might seem like a reasonable and convenient workaround when we save our tokenistic gestures until the last moment. But flower delivery is a unique form of commerce inasmuch as the petal patrons never actually get to see or assess the product prior to its arrival at the recipient’s abode.
So, the question is: are you getting what you’re paying for?
According to TODAY, some businesses leave much to be desired. After ordering from some of the larger floral delivery companies like 1-800-Flowers, Teleflora, and FTD they noticed gross inconsistencies. Some of the arrangements arrived dying, some didn’t have the number of flowers promised, and – depending on location – whatever was ordered might be totally different from what was described online.
For example, a $59.99 payment for one arrangement from 1-800-Flowers arrived in Illinois and New York looking fairly similar to the ad’s summary. The recipient said it was, “Very cool and modern, and a lot like the picture.” However, in Los Angeles, the recipient noticed a disparity in the number of lilies from what was promised: "While the ad shows eight lilies, the bouquet that showed up only has five," adding: "If I'm paying for eight lilies, I don't want five."
— D.C. Douchebag (@DCDouchbag) February 4, 2014
The arrival of an arrangement from the Teleflora in New York also included inconsistencies.
With brown, wilting lilies, the $54.95 bouquet fell short of being worth the cost. The same arrangement that arrived in Illinois was put in a totally different vase. The store's response when it was brought to their attention was that they were sorry but they reserved the right to make such substitutions.
As for FTD, their $49.99 assembly of blooms arrived at the door of the Illinois location looking "a little sparse” and “not as tall”, according to the contact there. In L.A., results were not much more impressive, as the individual there described them as appearing also aged. Then, the New York location failed to deliver – and that’s not a figure of speech; they literally never showed up. FTD sent flowers and a refund after that episode.
Each of these companies claim they "guarantee satisfaction," and will offer refunds or replacements if a customer isn't happy. But can you truly refund a gesture gone wrong? Also, it’s hard to imagine a person telling someone they adore, “Hey, thanks for the flowers, man. They looked like something out of the Adams Family movie.”
All is not lost, though. 1-800-Flowers is planning a more plausible solution. If all goes well, you could see an actual picture of your posies before they leave the store. The company hopes to have that new technology ready to go in the next few weeks.
Also, some surmise that a rise in the buying of artificial flowers may ensue for the upcoming holiday. Between the rising costs for real flowers and discontent over their quality, co-owener of K Flower Talk, a faux flower company, said:
“Customers would usually complain about the steep hike on prices of blooms as Valentine’s Day approaches,” adding, “we are expecting them to switch to plastic flowers,” concluding that she expected sales to go up by 50% from last year.
Dupe blooms could be good... so long as you use a line like this:
#imagine Oliver gives you 13 flowers, 12 real and 1 fake. He smiles, mumbling,"I'll love you until the last one dies."
— never leaving Cav! (@SupportingCav) February 3, 2014
But if a faux-quet just isn’t your style, it appears that real online flower delivery services aren’t to be entirely eschewed. You may just want to check the reviews first for your area so you can weed out any ones that sound like they might be a few roses short of a bouquet.
Image via Wikimedia Commons