A reader: I have a new girlfriend. I want to send her flowers on Valentine’s Day. I’m inexperienced and do not want to go too big or too small. I also want to make sure that the quality of the bouquet is one that will last. How do I find a reputable florist? I looked online but each florist seems to have different options for sending flowers and they all have some type of disclaimer that the actual flowers in the sample arrangements may differ from the pictures. I really want to make a good impression on my new girl. How do I know that I am getting a good deal?
Action Line: Congratulations on your new friend. 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. Order your flowers early to get both the best prices and the best selection of what is available in the area where your hometown is located.
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 without feeling like you have to buy. But when it comes time to actually send the flowers, go to one of your local florists.
Using a local florist 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. If you go to a local florist, you can ask what selection is readily available where you currently live. Ask the florist for suggestions.
One big advantage of using local florists is that you have someone to talk to if there is a problem with your orders. 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.
Ordering online is an option. Many online ordering sites are merely call centers, NOT 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 as always, regardless of the location of the florist, be sure to check their Business Review at bbb.org to make sure they are a reliable company before you make a purchase. Happy Valentine’s Day!