It seems crazy if you aren't in the business but many florists, especially the most visible ones out there, aren't really florists at all. They want you to think that they are real, local, hard-working florists that will personally prepare and deliver your flowers, but they're not.
Instead they are what is known as order-gatherers. Order-gatherers aggressively promote themselves as real local florists in the hope that a flower buyer will place an order with them. Since they have absolutely to way to prepare or deliver the order (they are usually just a call center, usually very far away from where you are sending the flowers) they try and get a local florist to do it for them.
The problem is that they keep a lot of the money. Here is how it works...
You might go to their website. You might call their 800 number. In either case you contact them in the belief that they are a local florist that will prepare and deliver your order. In this case I went to their website, was drawn to this product, then called them to finalize the order.
I called just to confirm that they were in fact a local flower shop that would personally prepare and deliver the flowers. They assured me of this. They also assured me that the flowers, colors and vase shown in the photograph were on hand in the store. I also paid an extra $10 to upgrade to a larger arrangement.
Just to confirm this photograph is what I ordered and was assured I would received:
The receipt for this order looked like this:
...into filling your order for a lot less money. Please note that florists often "relay" orders back and forth (and that is OK unless they have made a promised that they are a real, local shop) and there are accepted standards in the industry for sharing revenue on this kind of order. It works well for everyone, including the customer.
But when an order-gather gets involved everything breaks. They aren't happy with the accepted split, so they lie to the filling florist (the real local florist that will actually fill the order) about how much money the customer paid. Take a look at the order details they sent to the filling florist:
In his case they told the filling florist that the customer paid $35 (rather that $49.95) for the flowers. They also mislead on the delivery charge.
So the filling florist, the one that prepares and delivers the flowers, is being paid to make something much smaller, or less valuable, than what you ordered. The order gatherer doesn't care. They just want to get something delivered. As you can see they don't send a picture or try and make sure the right flowers are used, despite their assurances on the phone
This where things get really ugly. You ordered something very specific. The real local florist is asked to deliver something very vague, and is underpaid to do it. In this case the actual product looked like this:
Instead of a clear, square glass vase there is a coloured, round plastic vase. Instead of spray carnations and white alstroemeria there is... well, let's just agree that what was delivered is nothing like what was ordered:
Pretty big difference!
Almost everybody loses. The customer paid to get something very different, and did not get anything close to fair value for their money. The recipient did not get anything close to the beauty that the sender wanted to provide.
And the filling florist looks bad because what they delivered is so different, and so much less, than what was bought and paid for. The whole thing works because the customer/sender often never even sees what arrives, but if they do they won't be happy, and it is the underpaid filling florist that gets the heat.
The only one that does well is the order-gatherer, the only party that did not add any value to the proceedings.
Don't make this mistake. Learn more about how to avoid order-gatherer and purchase from a real local florist.