A friend saw the post about the importance of ordering from a real local florist (and avoiding order gatherers) and had a question. What difference does it matter who he buys from or how the order gets filled? His point was that if they run a good call center or website that makes ordering easy for him, and make sure that flowers get delivered, why should he worry about what happens in the middle?
Fair question! To illustrate imagine that instead of flowers you want to order pizza. You look up your favorite pizza place online but get tricked into going to a fake website. It isn't the website of the pizza place you wanted, but a pizza order gatherer masquerading as your favorite place.
Whether you call or order from the website they do a pretty good job of getting the details, payment, etc. We also run into the first problem you face as a consumer – they hit you with a service charge. The “service” is the process of actually taking the order, something that the real pizza place would have done for free. You have now paid for something you really didn’t need to, and absolutely no value was added for you. You are also likely to pay a higher fee than the pizzeria would charge – again you pay more without getting any value in return.
Even bigger problems come later because the order gatherer wants to keep as much of your money as they can. That means passing along as little as possible to the people that actually make the pizza.
Let’s say you paid $20 (not including delivery fee or service charge) for a large pizza with double cheese. The order gatherer typically wants to pass along no more than 60% of that, meaning that when they call the pizzeria they will typically offer $12. They want to get a $20 pizza for just $12.
Would the pizzeria agree to do that? Of course not – they couldn’t afford to. And this is the problem – the order gatherer know better than to ask for the large double cheese pizza that you paid for. Instead they just ask for a pizza with some extra cheese – whatever they can get for $12.
So that was the answer for my friend – the problem with order gatherers is that you don’t get what you paid for, and the people that are engaged in some very deceptive business practices profit handsomely.
My friend had a counter argument to this example. He pointed out that if he ordered a large pizza with double cheese and got a small pizza with a little extra cheese he’d complain and demand a refund or replacement.
It’s a great point and this is where the analogy breaks down for a couple of reasons:
Does that mean it is a "no harm, no foul" situation since everyone is happy? No! If you are going to be satisfied with a $12 small pizza order it directly from the pizzeria and pay $12. Don’t pay $20 to an order gatherer.
You should send flowers, and you definitely want to avoid order gatherers. Fortunately it’s easy following the tips on finding a real local florist on the BringFlowers.com website.