I actually started writing this post last spring, but I thought in honor of the lame Valentine’s day flowers that just rolled out, I’d pull it back out and finish it.
I’m not a big fan of the Lethal Weapon movies-I’m not sure I’ve seen a single one of them all the way through. However, I did see the great Joe Pesci rant about how they always fuck you at the drive thru. It goes in part: “They know you gonna be miles away before you find out you got fucked, ok? They know you’re not gonna turn around and go back. So, they don’t care.”
I have been finding the same problem with the floral industry. First of all, it’s all dominated by the 1800, Pro and Tele florists, so you’re paying them a markup to get the same thing from a local florist that you could have gotten for less if you had just ordered direct. It is impossible to send someone flowers for less than $50 bucks. And because it’s a local florist recreating the concepts those vendors are promising, whether or not you get what you order depends entirely on what the local florist has in stock and their skill level in being able to duplicate the arrangement.
The first time I got burned by this, my sister and I had ordered a birthday cake shaped arrangement for my mother.
I think we can all agree-totally not what we ordered. This was a few years back, so I think we ordered this from Pro Flowers-they were at least gracious enough to acknowledge their mistake and offer a $25 gift card for future use.
So from then on, I’d usually find a local florist’s website, look at the web vendor arrangements they were offering, then call the florist direct. Instead of ordering the “Sunny Day Bouquet” I’d describe the flowers in it and get it for 10 bucks or so less. This has worked fine over the last several years, until I recently ordered flowers for my sister when she was in the hospital. This one comes to us from Strange’s Florist of Richmond, Virginia (www.strangesflorist.com).
I was excited to find Strange’s Florist’s website, because they were local, did not appear to be affiliated with any of the big vendors and had several arrangements featured on the website that were very reasonably priced. I wanted to send something to brighten Salsera’s day, but I wasn’t looking to spend a mint doing it (still love you, tho!) I found a brightly colored bouquet that was available for only $24.95. I called to order it and asked if I could add on a vase since Salsera wasn’t going to have a vase handy in her hospital room.
I figured your bottom of the line basic glass florist vase that probably costs them a couple bucks each wouldn’t add too much. I mean if they were smart, they could go to Goodwill and find them for .50 cents each. Yeah, I figured wrong TWENTY BUCKS to add a vase. When I was like, “the hell?” she gave me some bullshit about how since it was in a vase now, it would have go to the arrangement department. I guess if you just get a bouquet the delivery boy just wads some flowers together and calls it a day. At that point, I just needed to get this done and get back to work so I agreed. And then there was the delivery. All in all, I was charged $49.95 for that $24.95 arrangement.
And this is what $49.95 (special! from the arrangement department!) got me from Strange’s Florists of Richmond Virginia (www.stranagesflorist.com):
(Photo on the left courtesy of www.strangesflorist.com)
Yeah, not even close. Instead of a vibrant tightly packed array of flowers, Salsera got an anemic three color arrangement overflowing with green filler. Clearly, I got completely screwed and I wasn’t going to let that slide. I used their e-mail contact form, offered to send them the pictures and asked that someone call me to explain what exactly had happened to the flowers that I ordered.
When someone did call, they gave me some song and dance about how since I ordered it late in the day, they didn’t have the exact flowers so they “upgraded” me. I explained that I didn’t consider it an upgrade to get such a lame arrangement and was not satisfied with my order. They offered to redeliver the correct flowers, PROVIDING SALSERA WOULD RETURN THE OTHER ONES. Yes, she was being discharged from the hospital day, that is exactly what a sick person wants to be doing, answering the doorbell to make floral exchanges. I mean, you think they would have just let us keep them for the inconvenience. But instead, despite the fact that there is a CLEAR difference in what was advertised and what was delivered, they acted like I was trumping up a stink in order to get some more flowers free.
So when I vetoed the flower exchange, he asked me what I wanted. Because I am a hard ass only to a certain point, I hemmed and hawed and demurred until he offered me 10% of my order refunded. Which, by that point, I was like, what.ev.er., I’ll just consider this a moral victory, that’s fine. And then? They NEVER refunded my measly $4.95-and that is why I mentioned them by name and linked them several times here. I hope somebody else if forewarned and forearmed. Strange’s Florists of Richmond Virginia (www.stranagesflorist.com): FAIL.