Saturday, May 7, 2011

Is there a shortage of flowers in the USA?

Hello Aspierations Friends,

To all those Moms, Grandmas and mommy's to be, I wish you a very Happy Mother's Day on Sunday!

I will be spending the day with my boys.  We didn't have anything particular planned as an outing so I suggested this evening that maybe Sunday afternoon after we get home from church that we can watch a movie or two downstairs in the living room and break out the popcorn.  The boys (two small and one husband-sized) seemed agreeable with this.  I've asked for a gift that they all do their best to get along and each give me a big hug.

We did have a fun Saturday experience today at the Columbia Springs Fish Hatchery. Please see John's blog "To Fish or Not To Fish, That is the Question" for anecdotes and pictures.  It was a short visit but totally worth it.

When we got home, I knew I had a lot of work to do because I am hoping to take Sunday off.

I was trying to keep my spirits high after a successful fishing venture for the boys but I'll admit, I was bummed in the later part of the afternoon. Having run an online retail business at Count Your Beans Dolls & Bears for over 12 years, I have always prided myself on excellent customer service and quick turnaround.  On the rare chance there is an issue such as a lost package or broken item, we provide quick and friendly customer-oriented problem resolution.  I try to live by the adage of treating others the way you wish to be treated.

Okay... now that I've said that, can I just say that my luck with purchasing gifts and flowers online for family and friends just sucks?  Non-deliveries, broken items, missing items, wrong items, late shipments after the occasion... the number of times it has happened with gift items is CRAZY.  Seriously...

That being said, I know people and businesses make mistakes and I am a very understanding and forgiving individual. In my opinion, the way a business handles their problem resolution is a barometer for how much they really care about their customers.  I apparently have a knack for choosing companies whose customer service (at least when it comes to servicing my order) just stinks.

For example... this year for Mother's Day, I ordered 3 bouquets of flowers for my mom, birthmom and mother-in-law.  I ordered from two different nationally known companies.  I ordered early just in case there would be a problem.  Well, my mom's bouquet arrived on Friday via Fed-Ex and the vase was shattered.

My mom had other vases so it wasn't a big deal to her.  Originally she didn't want to tell me because she didn't want me to think she was disappointed but she thought I should know so that I could let the floral company know.  I did and they were excellent about the whole situation, responded via email within an hour and offered to refund my order in full.  (I had only asked for a refund of their shipping / handling fee so this was a pleasant surprise.  Hooray for ProFlowers as you now have my business again.)

The other two bouquets I ordered through TeleFlora via Haute Look with a guaranteed personal delivery of Saturday, May 7th.  As I did not hear from my birthmother or mother-in-law saying anything had arrived, I went online to look up my order and found the order #s but no confirmation of delivery.  In fact, the May 7th delivery date was rescheduled to May 12th for both orders.  Not May 8th (Mother's Day), not even the day after (which is not cool in my book) but May TWELFTH!  Seriously?  Are there no more flowers in the Orlando, Florida and the Sacramento area of CA?

So I went to my email and noticed an "update" on my order that came in at almost 3:00 p.m. I received an email saying that my order (no order number, no reference name to which order...) could not be delivered because they could not find a florist to fulfill my order and that it was cancelled and a refund would be issued to my card.  Hmm... nothing like waiting until mid-afternoon on the day the order is to be delivered to let me know... Why not the day before?  Better yet, don't LURE customers in with GUARANTEED delivery dates for what is obviously a special holiday occasion and then leave them hanging at the last second.

I am not sure now whether one or both orders were cancelled because of the major flower shortage that must be taking place in Florida and California but of course I immediately responded and unfortunately have heard nothing back as of yet.  Ugh...  Sorry to the Moms... we really did want you to have a special bouquet! I take full responsibility and hope you will forgive us!  We do love you!

Speaking of bad floral experiences, for Valentine's Day this year I wanted to surprise John with a fun bouquet.  It was to have balloons, a chocolate bar, a monkey and a rose.  It was supposed to be delivered the day before on Sunday, February 13th.  This order was placed with  The order didn't end up being delivered until Wednesday night, February 16th...  despite promises of delivery on the 13th, 14th and even the 15th.  Seriously... They also promised a partial refund which never occurred.

Well darn, this blog wasn't supposed to be me ranting about my bad floral buying experiences.  Sorry about that!  I'm just sad because even though I tried to create fun and special surprises for those I love for special occasions, something happened beyond my control and the loved ones didn't get their surprise as it should have been.  I'm sorry for the disappointment.

Have you had any similar experiences?

Still, I do love to shop online and will continue to do so.  I know that most vendors out there are reputable and do a good job!  I think though for the next "holiday" occasion I want to send flowers, I'll pick them myself and drive them directly to the recipient's location.  Better yet, I'll have the kids hand make some with pipe cleaners and tissue paper.  They'll be cuter and they'll last longer!

Hope you have a great rest of the weekend!  I'm looking forward to a hopefully relaxing day tomorrow, lots of fun time with the kids and a delicious spaghetti dinner cooked by John.  If I'm REALLY lucky, I'll get to sleep in and not have to do work emails until the kids are in bed.

Thanks for stopping by!

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