Business Columns & Blogs

How to make sure Mom gets what she deserves

Action Line columnist Blair Looney offers six pieces of advice about buying a Mother’s Day gift.
Action Line columnist Blair Looney offers six pieces of advice about buying a Mother’s Day gift. Los Angeles Times file illustration

A reader: I want to do something really nice for my Mom on Mother’s Day. She’s the best! My problem is it is always hard to find something unique and meaningful. Any advice?

Action Line: Not knowing you or your mother personally, I’m not quite sure I qualify. However, I’ve done some research and found some things you may want to consider.

Flowers are always nice and are the most popular choice today. A great meal is always appreciated, either at home or out on the town. How about the latest bestselling novel? You could choose a mug, write her a poem or simply spend the day letting her choose what the events will be. If you are still not sure, ask your Mom.

If you decide to make a purchase for her, remember these things:

1. Do your homework. Before ordering flowers, jewelry or any other gifts for Mother’s Day, check on the company at This is a great way to help prevent disappointment with the product or customer service.

2. Allow time for shipping and delivery. Check with the retailer or website to be certain that you have allowed enough time for delivery. Make sure the date is specified clearly and guaranteed when you order. If you order ahead of time, delivery and other charges will be less than last-minute or overnight shipping.

3. Look for signs that online purchases are secure. When you are providing your payment information, the beginning of the web address should change from http to shttp or https, indicating that the information is being encrypted – turned into code that can only be read by the seller. Your browser may also signal that the information is secure with a symbol, such as a broken key that becomes whole or a padlock that closes. Without this assurance, do not enter any of your personal information.

4. Keep documentation of your order. When you’ve completed the online order process, there may be a final confirmation page and/or you might receive confirmation by email. Print or save that information and keep it handy in case you need it later.

5. Have a backup plan. Make sure you understand the store’s guarantee. Find out how customer complaints are handled and what recourse you will have if the arrangement is not satisfactory. It’s best to use a credit card when ordering online, because you can dispute charges if the vendor doesn’t come through.

6. Make sure the business has your information. When it comes to flower delivery, there are times when delivery instructions need to be confirmed or a delivery driver needs additional directions. Make sure the florist has a call-back phone number or your cellphone to help them ensure your mom gets what you expect.

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