My three-week series on the flower industry ruffled some petals. Here’s a sampling of responses from readers:
• Wow. I am a florist, and your article is biased and lacks a complete understanding of the industry. If you are going to post things for people to read, at least don’t throw people under the bus just because you simply don’t understand the floral industry. — Amanda Alman, Gassville, Ark.
• Just sending a compliment on your florist column. Made my morning coffee fun. You hit on every feeling I have had ordering flowers. — Irene Robicheaux, Mandeville, La.
• Once, I was sending flowers to someone who was going to host me. I spent over $100, not including tax and delivery. When I arrived, the hostess thanked me and said she had placed the flowers in the bedroom where I was going to stay. When I saw them, I knew why! They were not presentable for any public room. They were puny and downright sad. When I complained to the florist, they said, just as you reported, that it was too bad that I was not pleased. I do not think that they ever expected me to see the flowers. Anyway, I just wanted to confirm your observations. — Claudia Brown, Menlo Park, Calif.
• The pandemic has wreaked havoc on the flower world. The flowers we can get are over double the price and, if I want to feed my kids and keep my house, we have to charge the prices that we charge. You can’t generalize an entire industry based on two orders to two florists. It’s bad enough that the grocery stores are trying to freeze us out. We do not need people like you who have never worked a day in a flower shop telling us how to run our businesses. — Melissa Floyd, Portage, Ind.
• Your series on florists is a great public service. I had a funeral for my daughter in February. A friend across the country ordered flowers through the funeral home online link, but I never received them. Also, I ordered white roses to be delivered for the funeral through Costco online. I received red roses. I called the online service. They could not correct the mistake but could deliver the following week (after the funeral). They gave me a credit. — Linda Lowman, Altamonte Springs, Fla.
• As a home-based florist, I don’t agree with not using home-based florists. Our designs are often more unique and less expensive than those from brick-and-mortar stores as we do not have the overhead they do. Yes, you can purchase flowers at Trader Joe’s, but not everyone has the same ability to make a flower arrangement. I like that you mentioned to be frank about your budget. If expectations are not met, then the florist should do everything they can to remedy the situation. — Lori Sato, Danville, Calif.
• I grew up in my mom’s family-run flower shop, where the work was long and hard, so couldn’t help feeling bad for your local florist. I don’t know about you, but I’m inclined to give every retailer a break this year. Their business was hammered. While I understand your disappointment, I don’t think I would have called them out with a megaphone as large as yours. — Claudia Latona, Osprey, Fla.
• When I send flowers to my mother out of state, I go through a florist in her small town. I ask that, before making the delivery, they snap a picture of the flowers and text or email it to me. This is a great business practice for all florists. — Kathy Hubbart, Oklahoma City
• I totally agree that connecting with an actual florist makes a big difference. I developed a relationship with one whom I could just call, say how much I wanted to spend and the purpose of the arrangement, and they always came through. The arrangements were exceptional. — David Smiley, Orlando, Fla.
• Florists who’ve weathered the pandemic have had to deal with disrupted supply chains, changing delivery modes and, of course, the loss of income. I hope, now that it’s safe, people will step offline and stop inside and buy some lovely local flowers. — Chris Albers, New Orleans
Marni Jameson is the author of six home and lifestyle books. Reach her at marnijameson.com.