Last month Deadspin posted an article called A Complete Guide To Buying Her Flowers which was, for the most part, very good. There were however a few things that should be confirmed, clarified or corrected...
When should I buy her flowers? Today. Busy? Okay, tomorrow then.
The more random the timing, the better. Nothing makes a person’s day like a completely unsolicited gesture of love, and it’s hard to top flowers in that department. Do it on a Wednesday, for no reason other than “these are pretty and they made me think of you.” Boom. Bonus points: Throw in some good wine or beer, and the night is yours.
This is absolutely great advice. Yes – flowers on birthdays, anniversaries and the floral holidays (Valentine's Day and Mother's Day) are great, but there is nothing better than getting flowers for no reason at all.
It's also a better time for giving flowers. You'll pay less, the product will almost certainly be better, and the florist will have more time to spend with you. Florists love flowers, and they like helping people out.
Now – friends sometimes say something like "if I get her flowers and it's not her birthday she'll assume I did something wrong". That is lame, Beyond lame. Really pathetic. If the relationships is that messed up it would probably be better for everyone if you parted ways. There are lots of people out there thrilled to get flowers for no reason, without assuming it is some kind of admission of guilt.
Carnations are garbage, suitable only for children and bad prom corsages.
That's a little extreme.
Hating on carnations is often the sign of a poser – someone who wants to project an air of knowledge about flowers by trashing carnations. Yes – a bouquet of carnations, just carnations, might seem cheap and unimpressive. Arguably still better than nothing, but not impressive.
But carnations are used to great effect in filling out larger arrangements. It's the difference between what is often called a "focus" flower (more expensive flowers like roses, tulips, lilies, etc.) and a "filler" flower. No matter how you feel about the suitability of carnations as a focus flower they are a great filler flower. If you tell a florist they can't use carnations at all you are really tying their hands.
Where should I buy them? Anywhere!
Ahhhh... this gets into a problem.
If time or money is tight flowers from the street corner or side of the road might be better than nothing. Might. They also be bad enough to put you off flowers, but remember where they came from and what you paid. Complaining that the direct cheap flowers you bought on the side of a highway didn't last makes no sense – you get what you pay for, and if you pay almost nothing you get almost nothing.
Flowers from a grocery store are probably better, but rarely as good as what you would get from a real local florist. The proper care, handling and preparation of flowers is something florists spend years mastering. And they really don't co-exist well with fruits and vegetables – flowers are much better off in an environment, like a brick and mortar flower shop, that is purpose-built for flowers.
Okay, if you have time and wanna do a Google search for a good, local florist, then go for it.
Now we're really into a minefield. It might seem crazy but the internet is absolutely jam packed with large, successful and sophisticated businesses that use all of their resources and expertise to convince consumers that they are real local florists. They are very good at tricking people and, when they do, you will get ripped off every single time.
One group are known as drop-shippers. They offer low prices, maybe even free delivery, and make some exciting claims about the freshness of their product. The problem is that it is prepared in a centralized manufacturing facility, packed into an ugly shipping box (complete with ugly plastic strapping tape) and shipped overnight in conditions that are terrible for flowers. If the author thinks carnations are bad, she should see flowers, packed into a carton, that have spent 24 hours bouncing around airplanes and delivery trucks.
Another problem is dishonest order gatherers. Floral order gatherers masquerade as florists, but have no flowers or means of preparing flowers. Typically they use a website and/or call center to take your order, then relay that same order to a real florist near the recipient.
They're a middleman, which wouldn't be a huge deal, except that they try and take a huge cut of your money without providing any value. You can read more about the problems with floral order gathering here, but the idea is simple:
It is absolutely terrible from top to bottom. First the order gatherer promised you a $100 arrangement for $60 plus a $15 delivery charge. Then the real florist gets just a small part of that. You might never see the flowers, and the person who gets them might still be happy (they don't know what it was you thought you were buying) but you are getting ripped off.
If you are going to order flowers over the phone you have to be absolutely sure you are dealing with a real florist. It's not easy – major players are trying their best to trick you – but there s a guide to help make sure you connect with a real local florist.