Replacing Someone Else’s Flowers

Read what one local florist experienced when replacing roses from a courier delivered ‘direct from the grower’ shipper this Valentine’s Day.
Reprinted with permission
Catherine Hillen-Rulloda, AIFD, PFCI of Avante Gardens

As part of an effort by a small group of florist to help educate consumers about the quality, value, service and design that professional florists bring to the gift of flowers, Avante Gardens participated in a an unusual guarantee program whereby we offered to replace flowers delivered by drop-ship companies during the Valentine’s Day holiday.
Did recipients come bursting through our doors to complain? No. Despite repeated attempts, we had no luck getting placement of the press release in our local newspaper and simply relied on word of mouth.
On Thursday, Feb. 16, a friend and former student of my husband’s school of floral design dropped by our shop. After stopping to visit with a few of the staff members, she wandered up to the cooler, stopped, shook her head and said “Now that’s what roses are supposed to look like” while pointing at a display. Lowering her eyes, she continued, “I told my husband that Valentine’s Day was so busy at flower shops that if he wanted to send me flowers, to do it before or after the holiday.”
“He’s on the computer a lot and decided to send me flowers from You can’t believe how poor the roses are. Small, damaged heads, spindly and short stems. The stems are so weak, I’m going to have to wire them. The first box was so bad that we complained and they sent out a second box. I got the new one yesterday and they’re just as bad as the first ones. He spent more than $80 but they look like a $10 bunch from the grocery store.”
I asked her if she saved the box and the flowers and told her about our guarantee. She called me after returning home and read me the text from the box which claimed that had product superior to ‘traditional’ companies and quipped, “Gee, this really defames florists.”
For several years, florists have winced upon hearing the insults and innuendo of radio personalities as they promote ‘fresh from the grower’ products and slam professional florists with claims of offering superior products at lower prices. At least one of these pitchmen has gone so far as to say that florists offer ‘crap’ – on a nationally syndicated show. Florists know these assertions to be untrue but have felt powerless to refute the attacks on our profession and the products we deliver.

Our friend brought the roses to my shop this morning. These ‘longstem’ roses were nothing more than soft, thin 50cm medium stems measuring 18″ in length; hardly the impressive presentation depicted on the website.

Some of the flowers appeared to be infected with botrytis, a fungus known to afflict roses during periods of high humidity.

In fairness to ProFlowers, the dozen rose bouquet had also included, per this recipient’s description, 3 stems of hypericum (coffee berry) and 2 small stems of salal (lemon leaf) which she had left at home. The order did not include a vase. Even with the hypericum and lemon leaf, it’s mystifying as to how any recipient could possibly create an arrangement like the photo depicted on the site. Not only would a knife be required, a wand appears to be the more appropriate tool.
The photos below show a basic dozen longstem – 30″ tall – roses from Avante Gardens next to the ProFlowers roses. (We provided the vase for the shot.) For the same or less than the price of that box, North Orange County customers received quality roses, professionally arranged in a vase and hand delivered to their offices and homes this Valentine’s Day.

Will this consumer request yet another replacement from She says it’s unlikely since she walked out of our shop today with a beautiful dozen rose bouquet – on us. Her husband has chalked this up to an $80 lesson in hype over reality.

2 thoughts on “Replacing Someone Else’s Flowers”

  1. I used thinking they were a florist. WRONG, they were a call center and didn’t get my flowers delivered. Something about contacting a real florist and transfering my order to the real florist. Anyway, it took them two days and my flowers missed the funeral.

  2. You are right about being a call centre. The same applies for Interflora and Teleflora as well. Your best bet is to deal directly with the florist.

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