Saturday, June 23, 2018
Business

Sending flowers on Valentine's Day shouldn't be done on a whim

If you think the pressure isn't on for Valentine's Day, ponder this heart-stopping tidbit:

More than half of women — 53 percent — said they would end their relationship if they didn't get something for Valentine's Day.

Yikes.

I have a tough time believing that stat from the Retail Advertising and Marketing Association. But whether you've been in a relationship for six weeks or 60 years, you owe it to your significant other to recognize the day with at least a note on a napkin, preferably more.

Consider it the obligatory cost of being a "we."

Of course, you can stand tall against commercialism and the chubby naked kid wielding an arrow. But when the parade of flowers starts, you'd better have a good story or hightail it to the store.

Americans are expected to spend $18.6 billion this Valentine's Day, up slightly from last year. Not surprisingly, men will shell out more than women — $176 per guy vs. $89 per gal — with the caveat that many married folks would rather save up for attic insulation.

Candy and cards top the sweetheart list, and flowers aren't far behind. Florists love it when Valentine's Day falls on a weekday, prime time for guys eager to impress their lady — and everyone else in her office. The fact that the holiday falls on a Thursday this year is especially good because it gives those who can't wait a chance to proclaim their love a day or two before everyone else and get optimal exposure.

"Imagine the water cooler talk on that one!" says the Society of American Florists on its website, Aboutflowers.com.

Easy now.

For those going the traditional route, sending flowers on Valentine's Day can be tricky and shouldn't be done on a whim. Fresh flowers are expensive, especially this time of year, when high demand boosts prices. Getting them delivered on the busiest day of the year for florists could prove stressful if they don't arrive on time or come withered or uninspired.

Last year, the Better Business Bureau received nearly 5,000 complaints against florists, up 18 percent from the previous year. Most complaints alleged that the wrong flowers were delivered or the flowers never arrived at all.

To avoid problems, many florists recommend ordering from a company you know rather than going to an online flower delivery site. Local florists can individualize a design, suggest the best blooms and be held accountable for their product if something goes wrong. They'll probably steer you away from red roses, the least bang for your buck.

"Buying local is always your best option," said Anthony Swick, co-owner of Bay Bouquet in South Tampa. "It ensures quality. We handpick our flowers and tell clients what's available. It's about building a relationship."

Most websites use local florists to fulfill orders but take a significant cut of the sales. Some offer less expensive flowers direct from the grower, but they show up in a box, not in a customary vase.

Be careful when ordering off a picture. Those photos are "inspirations" and touched up to look perfect, Swick said. Unlike a shirt made in a factory, a fresh flower arrangement can't be duplicated exactly.

Some sites list multiple prices for the same bouquet but show the most expensive option in the picture, with all the blooms tightly arranged facing the front. An arrangement that costs $69.99 for 12 stems, for example, might cost $99.99 for 23.

For fun, Google the Garden of Discontent, which recounts horror stories of people who ordered flowers online but didn't get what they expected. The pictures of straggly bouquets are so pathetic, they're almost laughable.

People can skip the element of surprise altogether by going to a flower shop and buying in person. Many florists stay open late on Valentine's Day and have arrangements at all price points ready for purchase. Buyers avoid the delivery charge and the stress of wondering whether they arrived.

And they still get credit from Cupid for a job well done.

Susan Thurston can be reached at [email protected] or (813) 225-3110.

Comments
Tampa Bay workforce development initiative looks to Houston for lessons

Tampa Bay workforce development initiative looks to Houston for lessons

The biggest hospitals in Houston had a problem.To earn a prized institutional certification, they needed more nurses with bachelor of science degrees in nursing.But local colleges were more focused on turning out nurses with two-year degrees who, to ...
Published: 06/22/18
Health care IT company CareSync shuts down, laying off 292

Health care IT company CareSync shuts down, laying off 292

TAMPA — The days ahead were supposed to be bright.For weeks, the future of health care tech company CareSync had been thrown into question as founder and CEO and founder Travis Bond unexpectedly departed, kicking off multiple rounds of layoffs. But t...
Published: 06/22/18
Coal and gas hold onto their share of electricity production, despite massive push for renewables

Coal and gas hold onto their share of electricity production, despite massive push for renewables

Here’s an intriguing set of facts: Coal produces the same percentage of the world’s electricity as 20 years ago. Oil and gas remain about level, too.Same for nonfossil fuel sources. In other words, the massive push towards renewables over the past co...
Published: 06/22/18
Brink: Why have Florida’s working-age men left the labor market in droves

Brink: Why have Florida’s working-age men left the labor market in droves

A cancer lurks within Florida’s otherwise rosy job numbers, one that’s been called a quiet catastrophe and an intractable time bomb.Too many men between the ages of 25 and 54 have stopped working.Economists call those the prime-age years. Incomes gen...
Published: 06/22/18
Pride divided no more: St. Pete Pride comes back together

Pride divided no more: St. Pete Pride comes back together

ST. PETERSBURG — The 16th annual St. Pete Pride Parade is getting ready to march along the downtown waterfront the second straight year. But many hope to move past the division caused last year when the parade was uprooted from its original hom...
Published: 06/22/18
For sale: A Tampa Bay area elementary school where you can eat tacos and buy wine

For sale: A Tampa Bay area elementary school where you can eat tacos and buy wine

ST. PETERSBURG — For sale: a 104-year-old elementary school with restaurant and wine shop. It even has a title company where you can close the deal.Less than a year after completing a major renovation of the historic North Ward school, developer Jona...
Published: 06/22/18
Domain Homes: Buyers love them, some others don’t

Domain Homes: Buyers love them, some others don’t

TAMPA — When the 2008 financial crash brought down the nation’s housing market, hundreds of home builders went out of business. Among them was Sharon McSwain Homes in Atlanta, forced to liquidate in 2009.But just as developers like to develop, builde...
Published: 06/21/18
Updated: 06/22/18
Armature Works developers sue Ulele and city of Tampa over use of nearby building

Armature Works developers sue Ulele and city of Tampa over use of nearby building

TAMPA — Two of the city’s hottest developers — the companies behind Ulele and the Armature Works — are heading to court over control of an old city building that sits between the hit eateries. Both want to redevelop the city&...
Published: 06/21/18
Orlando airport first to scan faces of U.S. citizens on international flights

Orlando airport first to scan faces of U.S. citizens on international flights

Associated PressFlorida’s busiest airport is becoming the first in the nation to require a face scan of passengers on all arriving and departing international flights, including U.S. citizens, according to officials there. The expected announcement T...
Published: 06/21/18
Saboteur or whistleblower? Battle between Elon Musk and former Tesla employee turns ugly, exposing internal rancor

Saboteur or whistleblower? Battle between Elon Musk and former Tesla employee turns ugly, exposing internal rancor

Hours after Tesla had sued its former employee on charges he had stolen company secrets, and days after chief Elon Musk had called him a saboteur, the Silicon Valley automaker made a startling claim. The company had received a call from a friend of t...
Published: 06/21/18