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  • Writer's pictureMarni Jameson

Floral Arrangements Part 4: Reader Replies - a Mixed Bouquet

My series on the flower industry has ruffled some petals. Since readers have had so much to say, I’m handing the microphone to them today. Welcome to my inbox:

Wow. I am a florist, and your article is biased and lacks a complete understanding of the industry. If you are going to post things for people to read at least don’t throw people under the bus just because you simply don’t understand the floral industry or business for that matter. Amanda, Gassville, Arkansas

Just sending a compliment on your florist column. Made my Saturday morning coffee fun. You hit on every feeling I have had ordering flowers for all occasions over the years. Spot on. Irene, Mandeville, Louisiana

I thought I was the only one in the world who had problems with floral orders! Once, I was sending flowers to someone who was going to host me. I spent over $100 not including tax and delivery. When I arrived the hostess thanked me and said she had placed the flowers in the bedroom where I was going to stay. When I saw them I knew why! They were not presentable for any public room. They were puny and downright sad. When I complained to the florist, they said, just as you reported, that it was too bad that I was not pleased. I do not think that they ever expected me to see the flowers. Anyway, I just wanted to confirm your observations. Claudia, Menlo Park, California

Let me just say I am the (expletive deleted) who sent out yellow daisies for white because the person ordered online on my website, where, before you place the order it flat out says substitutions may be needed for color or variety due to availability. It is not my responsibility to make sure people read before they place the order. I do call my customers when I have to sub things out when they call to place an order or come in.

The corona pandemic has wreaked havoc on the flower world. The flowers we can get are over double the price, and if I want to feed my kids and keep my house, we have to charge the prices that we charge. You can't generalize an entire industry based on two orders to two florists. It's bad enough that the grocery stores are trying to freeze us out. We do not need people like you who have never worked a day in a flower shop telling us how to run our businesses. Some people just don't deserve to have flowers. Melissa, Portage, Indiana

Your series on florists is a great public service. I had a funeral for my daughter in February. A friend across country ordered flowers through the funeral home online link, but I never received them. Also, I ordered white roses to be delivered for the funeral through Costco online. I received red roses. I called the online service. They could not correct the mistake, but could deliver the following week (after the funeral). They gave me a credit. Linda, Altamonte Springs, Florida.

I have been burned many times, including once when my daughter gave birth to twin boys in another state. I sent a bouquet, then went to see her three days later. I was appalled. They were dingy non-colored flowers with a brown bow, for newborn twin boys! I had ordered through my regular florist in Oklahoma City, who called the New Mexico florist and, praise God, they made it right. Thank you for revealing the “dirty little secrets.” Linda, Yukon, Oklahoma

As a home-based florist, I don’t agree with not using home-based florists. Our designs are often more unique and less expensive than those from brick-and-mortar stores as we do not have the overhead they do. Yes, you can purchase flowers at Trader Joe’s, but not everyone has the same ability to make a flower arrangement. I like that you mentioned to be frank about your budget. If expectations are not met, then the florist should do everything they can to remedy the situation. Lori, Danville, California

Regarding your recent columns on purchasing flowers, you have left out the benefits of buying from local growers at farmers markets. (My daughter grows flowers and sells at farmers markets.) Although limited to what is in, their flowers are always fresher. Support your local farmers. Mark, Pinole, California

I grew up in my mom's family run flower shop, where the work was long and hard, so couldn't help feeling bad for your local florist. I don't know about you, but I'm inclined to give every retailer a break this year. Their business was hammered. While I understand your disappointment, I don't think I would have called them out with a megaphone as large as yours. Claudia, Osprey, Florida

I ordered a flower arrangement for my sister-in-law, who had just lost her father. I paid extra to have a mixed white rose bouquet delivered the next day. Four days later, I got an email from the company ( saying they were going to have to substitute some flowers. Two days later, I get a call, again letting me know there would be substitute flowers. By now it seemed too late to send flowers, so I cancelled the order, and received a refund ($118). The next day, my sister-in-law called and thanked me for … the plant! Cindy, Winter Park, Florida

Loving your series on florists. I recently got burned by Ava’s Flowers, which I found by googling “Florists in Carmel, Indiana." Though I paid for same-day delivery, they couldn’t fulfill the order and tried again the next day – apparently forwarding the order to an actual florist whom they would not name. The floral arrangement choices on their website looked spectacular. When I got a picture of what was sent compared to what I ordered, I went ballistic. The delivery was half baby’s breath and ferns. Several calls and emails later, I received a refund and a $20 coupon toward a future order. Ava’s Flowers is apparently just as you describe, a call center, charging a service fee and delivery fee on top of the cost of the arrangement. Carolyn, Ocoee, Florida

When I send flowers to my mother out of state, I go through a florist in her small town. I ask that, before making the delivery, they snap a picture of the flowers and text or email it to me. This is a great business practice for all florists. Kathy, Oklahoma City

I totally agree that connecting with an actual florist makes a big difference. I developed a relationship with one whom I could just call, say how much I wanted to spend and the purpose of the arrangement, and they always came through. The arrangements were exceptional. David, Orlando, Florida

Florists who've weathered the pandemic have had to deal with disrupted supply chains, changing delivery modes and, of course, the loss of income. I hope, now that it's safe, people will step offline and stop inside and buy some lovely local flowers. Chris, New Orleans

Me, too.

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