A reader: I’m so excited for Valentine’s Day! I have a special girl this year. This is the first time I am getting flowers for a girl. I usually get flowers from the grocery store for my Mom and that always works out, but my girl is away at school in another state and I don’t know where to order the flowers. I looked online but it all seems so confusing. How do I know that I am getting the full value of what I am spending? I don’t want to pay for flowers that are not good quality.
Action Line: Congratulations on your new girl! Flowers are always a wonderful way to brighten anyone’s day, whether it is an ordinary weekday or a special occasion like Valentine’s Day.
But it is important to remember that flowers are extremely popular gifts for special days and florists can only get so many of each particular bloom available in their area. So order your flowers early to get both the best prices and the best selection of what is available in the area where your girl is going to school.
You are right to look online for different options and to get ideas of what types of arrangements you might want to send. It’s a great way to browse.
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Try shopping locally. You can contact a local florist in your hometown to place your orders. But check them out at bbb.org first.
Using a local florist in your hometown will also eliminate any wire charges, which gives you more money to spend on the flowers. Be sure to ask specific questions about what type and how many flowers will be used in each order. Also inquire if there is a delivery charge.
Or you can go to a local florist and ask them for suggestions of what types of flowers will be readily available in your girl’s area. Again ask specific questions about what you are sending and what you will be getting for what you are spending. Don’t forget that your budget will have to include wire and delivery charges.
One big advantage of using local florists is that you have someone to talk to if there is a problem with your order. When you order online, you can speak with customer service, but it is not the same as talking with someone who actually owns the business.
Many online ordering sites are merely call centers, NOT actual florists. This means they charge either a flat fee or a percentage of your order amount to handle the transaction, which means less money actually goes for your special gifts. This also means they don’t have the vested interest in your special delivery that a local business would have.
If you do decide to order online, be sure to use a national floral group and, regardless of the location of the florist, be sure to check them out at bbb.org before committing to a purchase.
Action Line is written by Blair Looney, president and CEO for the Better Business Bureau serving Central California. Send your consumer concerns, questions and problems to Action Line at the Better Business Bureau, 4201 W. Shaw Ave., Suite 107, Fresno, CA 93722 or firstname.lastname@example.org.