To begin with, let me explain. I am not writing this to build my own business because there are four other reputable florists in this community.
Yes, this is the time of they year when I write a few words about buying flowers for Mom on Mother’s Day. Since so many of us work or live miles and miles from our Moms, it is a time of the year when there are a lot of scams out there. It is the time of year that most flowers are ordered to be delivered to different cities or states. There are some that simply take your money and run. Others skillfully build that offer for 2 dozen roses for $29.95 into a bill that often exceeds $79.95 or more.
A little background. As you look on the web, you will see as many as a half dozen listings before you get to the local flower shops. Of course, there are legitimate companies out there, but many of them are companies that are not flower shops. Professional florists call them “order gatherers.” They have phone numbers and phone book ads and a bank of cubicles, each with an operator and a computer screen with their offerings. That is all, no refrigerators, no supply of flowers, no delivery truck. They take the orders, take a substantial cut and ask other florists to do the heavy lifting. Many florists will not even accept their orders.
Of course, their success comes from their ability to build those loss leader offers into larger sales from a service fee that may be as high as $19.95 (local florists service fees normally range from $7.95 to $9.95, and the 20 to 25 percent allowed by the wire service they send their orders through.)
So, how do you get through all this mumbo jumbo and get full value for the dollars you spend. First, if you are ordering off the web, move down to the real florist listings. Call your order in to ascertain that it is a real flower shop. Discuss your needs with a person who works in the shop that will deliver your order. If you are ordering via a yellow page ad, call your local florist. Most of those large, beautiful ads belong to order gatherers.
My best advice? Call your favorite local florist. I know that members of the Teleflora and FTD systems are monitored for proper conduct. But the most important thing most florists, I know that I do, is maintain lists of those florists about whom they have received compliments or complaints. Your local florist will often call the receiving florist to get information for you. And most importantly, if there is any issue, you have a local “go-to” person.
Here is a quick guide for May flowers. I absolutely love Mothers’ Day. Certainly, because of the lovely the variety of flowers that are available throughout the month. Carnations are the flower of the month. Stop, don’t turn your nose up at Carnations. Gone are the small flowered, weak stem and uninteresting colors of years ago. Today we have a full spectrum of colors ranging from the very deep purple that looks almost black to the purest white, with every imaginable tint and hue in between.
Hydrangeas are beautiful at this time of year as are the Ranunculus I have seen these past couple of weeks. The good ones are from Canadian Growers and they are gorgeous. The colors are vibrant. We are nearing the end of the season for good snapdragons. As the weather warms the stems get weaker and the flowers smaller.
Calla Lilies, especially those small flowered types are wonderful. I think that the white ones, bring back a lot of nostalgia. I try to avoid the bulb flowers, Tulips, Iris and Daffodils this late in the season because they last just a few days.
So, there you have it, there are a whole lot of beautiful blooms out there to send to Mom, to brighten her day. To tell her that you love her.