Earlier this month, a woman reached out to a prominent advice columnist asking how to delicately suggest he use a real, local florist for future flower purchases.
“The birthday bouquet he had delivered to me arrived with limp, wilted, torn petals and leaves, and broken stems. It was one of those box-of-flowers deliveries,” she wrote to Abigail Van Buren, author of the Dear Abby column, which has more than 110 million readers worldwide. “I doubt my boyfriend realized they would not arrive in a vase and arranged by a florist.”
The woman said she thanked her beau for the gift but didn’t share a snapshot of the bouquet because she “knew he would feel bad — both about the lackluster arrangement and the money he had spent on it.”
Ordinarily, she added, she would never consider expressing disappointment with a gift. “However, with Valentine’s Day (and another flower delivery) approaching, I wonder if I should let my boyfriend know that it might be better to use a local florist to ensure he is getting his money’s worth. Or should I just cross my fingers that it was a one-off?” she wrote, signing her letter “Ungrateful Girlfriend.”
To florists’ delight, Van Buren emphatically told the woman she should tell her boyfriend the truth about her damaged flowers in a box.
“He has a right to know, and it will not make you appear ungrateful,” Van Buren wrote. “He may be able to get a refund if the order was mishandled and he had ordered an arrangement in a vase. And if the vendor is not forthcoming, he may choose to deal with a different one next time. Please give him the option.”
It’s the season for increased attention from the media on the floral industry. If you spot a negative floral reference in the lead-up to Valentine’s Day, email Katie Butler, the Society of American Florists’ senior vice president: email@example.com.
Katie Hendrick Vincent is the senior contributing writer and editor for the Society of American Florists.