The Tale of the Sad Flowers

Gather ’round, children, and I’ll tell you a tale of disappointment, incompetence, and woe.

Back on November 3, 2006, my husband used 1800flowers.com to send a birthday bouquet to his grandmother. He ordered the flowers to be delivered the same day.

Now, I know what you’re thinking–he should have ordered them sooner. Well, yes, perhaps you’re right…but alas, we are all human, and sometimes we don’t do everything as we should. Sometimes, in fact, we wait until the last minute.

A few days passed, and lo and behold, no flowers arrived.

Score: -1 point for 1800flowers.

On November 6 or 7, my dear husband, awash in displeasure that his attempt to send some birthday cheer had failed, contacted the company. A representative of the company assured him that she would look into the matter and call him back. It’s a very good thing that my husband did not hold his breath waiting for her return phone call. If he had, I would be a widow right now.

Score: -1 point for 1800flowers.

On November 8, having heard nothing more from the villainous flower people, he called again. Note: This was a full five days after his grandmother’s birthday, and five days after the order was placed.

He was once again assured by a representative that she would look into the matter and call him back. Wonder of all wonders, she actually DID.

We hereby grant 1800flowers one badly needed point in the battle for good service. This brings their score to -1.

The representative informed my husband that the order had never reached the flower shop. She told him that she would place the order immediately and have the flowers sent as soon as possible.

Things are looking up for our flower people. They are now at 0 points.

The flowers arrived on November 9, a full six days after dear grandmother’s birthday. They did bring her much (belated) delight, and she called us to thank us for not forgetting her birthday after all.

My husband subsequently contacted the flower company, wanting some recompense for all the anxiety and disappointment they put him through. After hearing his sad tale of woe, the representative offered him a 20% credit on his order and a gift certificate for 20% off the cost of the order ($8).

Brava, 1800flowers! Brava! You have now climbed above 0, and stand at 1 point.

Time passed. Snow fell and melted…and fell and melted. Life went on, in the way that it always does.

And now, in mid-March, I decided that my darling mother was in desperate need of some cheer. I live three hours from her, so I can’t exactly pop in to her place of work and do a little jig. Thus, I decided to send her flowers.

Under normal circumstances, I would use hallmark.com for my long-distance floral needs. I have used them in the past with no problems, and their selection has always seemed, to me at least, the most sophisticated and elegant of all the online flower vendors. However, in light of the gift certificate my husband had received, I decided to give 1800flowers.com another chance.

After all, we are all but lowly humans, and we all deserve a second chance, right?

I placed the order on March 15, 2007 (ah! The Ides of March. I should’ve known better) and selected delivery for the following day. I chose to send the flowers to my mother’s business, a nail and hair salon of which she is sole proprietor. Once I finally found a bouquet that wouldn’t cost me $21.98 to send the next day–no, dear children, this is not a joke–I made my order. As it was, the shipping cost $10.99, so our gift certificate didn’t even cover that.

I chose the Nantucket Tulips by Julie Mulligan, typed a little “Smile!” message to my mom in the provided text box, and set about choosing what occasion card I would include. After much deliberation, I decided that a “Rosh Hashanah” card would give her a giggle, as it would allude to an old inside joke between us.

I tracked the delivery online and impatiently waited for my mother’s phone call, eager to hear the pleasure in her voice. Shortly before noon today, I received the call.

“I got some flowers!”

“I wonder who they could be from, hmmmm?”

“That’s so sweet. But…”

Oh, no. No! Not a “but”!

“…they’re a little, um…sad.”

Dear listeners, I don’t know about you, but when I send flowers, I don’t want to hear the word “sad” unless the flower-sending occasion was a funeral. I want my mother to smile at the flowers every time she looks at them, not grow angry that her daughter got ripped off ($34.99 for ten wilted flowers and a basket vase?).

*Sigh*. I hate to do this, 1800flowers, but you’re back in the negative. -1 point.

“Well, did you at least like the card? I picked it out to make you giggle.”

“What about the card? It just has your message on one side, and “1800flowers” on the back.”

Now, this may seem like a small thing, a mistake in the card choice, but to me, the card was part of the package. The whole idea of this plan was to make my mother smile, and the card was supposed to be the cherry on top of a beautiful ice cream sundae. Instead, my mother received a bowl of melted ice cream topped with an olive. Or something. Now all she can do is smile at her daughter’s good intentions, and fume at the company that reached into her daughter’s wallet and gave her a handful of crap in return.

Score: 1800flowers, -2. Me: royally pissed.

And so our story ends, with 1800flowers unable to redeem their reputation, at least for us. And my mother will keep the flowers in a prominent position at her business, and ensure that every client she has until those flowers wilt and die knows not to use 1800flowers.com. And of course, a few people will see this post on my blog, and may think twice about who they choose for their flower needs.

Happily ever after? I think not.

P.S. My mom will be taking some pictures of the flowers (which came separately from the vase, with instructions to cut the stems to fit the vase–they couldn’t even be bothered to put the damn package together before they sent it–and sending them to me. I will be posting them here, and perhaps sending them, and a condensed version of my tale, to Consumerist.

 

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