that's over for another year. Don't get me wrong. We love to be busy; we love to see you all, but we really don't love de-thorning all those roses. It's not good for our hands; we'll be digging thorns out of our fingers for the next few months (and you all thought we had such a glamorous job) :o)
While the reality of it may not be glamorous, the busyness (is that actually a word?) of the day was phenomenal and far exceeded any expectations we may have had leading up to the day itself. Whoever said "romance is dead" has obviously not been to Fareham. There sure are a lot of you out there. By Saturday we had to beg and plead with wholesalers to source more roses for us as the dozens were coming in thick and fast. Not once did we expect that. What really surprised us was that nobody wanted single's or half dozens this year. Everyone that wanted roses went for the full dozen. In 26 years I've NEVER known that to happen before. Have to admit it caught me by surprise a little bit and it's not often I get to say that.
One of the worst parts of the day is the emergency phone calls for specific flowers and the abuse we get when we can't get what the customer wants at such short notice. That happened at 7.30 yesterday morning; never a good thing when I'm so NOT a morning person. Ever the professional I did end the conversation by suggesting the gentleman (if you'd heard the language he used you wouldn't call him that) tried another shop as I wasn't willing to serve him. I admit I did then hang up. I do believe I was justified in doing so though as he wanted a bouquet of white anthuriums, white calla lilies and purple roses. These are not flowers that would be held in stock on a normal day as the prices are not the cheapest in the world for any of them, but at Valentines these are also flowers that we would have had to order by Wednesday of last week, and even then we wouldn't be able to guarantee the roses at this time of year. However while I had the customer on the phone, I got on my mobile and rang round 4 wholesalers and 2 van sales guys to see if they had any of the flowers or something similar. As I suspected they didn't but this is when the customer laid the abuse thick and fast and told me "you are a disgrace.. Call yourself a florist? How can you not stock the basic fundamentals" etc etc.. this went on for a couple of minutes before I pointed out that he had heard me try to source them, that he was asking for flowers that it was impossible to get at such short notice and that I didn't appreciate the language he was using (don't think it's appropriate to put here the words he used). That's when I then suggested he try someone else (sorry to any fellow florists that may be have had to deal with him after). It all comes back to the age old saying "miracles I can perform.. the impossible is slightly harder". Thankfully he didn't ruin the day for me and from then on everyone that came in or phoned was lovely.
One of the great things about Valentines is the card messages. Some customers guard what they are writing and they are then passed a solid envelope that cannot be seen through. Others ask us what to write or get us to write them for them and to be honest most are pretty much box standard; but a few years ago there was a young lad that came in with a poem. I've always remembered it and he gave me permission back then to share, so if you're ever stuck for something to write and your husband, wife, or partner have a sense of humour I'm sure he wouldn't mind you using this;
I compare thee to this beautiful rose
But not the part that's thorny;
Me I'm like a rhino
Clumsy, half blind, But HORNY.
It still brings a smile to my face even now when I think about it. I've no idea if he mace it up himself or if he borrowed it from someone else, but it was lovely to have someone bring humour into the day along with the romance.
Then there are the people that don't write their name on the card because "she'll know who they're from". We always ask if they do happen to phone whether we are allowed to let on who's sent them (although we are registered with Data Protection, we are still under law not allowed to provide customer details.. this has caused problems in the past at Valentines and it's not unusual for us to get visits from the local constabulary with regards to flowers that have been sent out). I had several yesterday but one particular person phoned asking who had sent them. I'd been asked by the orderer not to let on but if she asked if it was from him I was allowed to say yes. So the phone goes and it's the call I've been expecting. What I didn't expect was for the person who received the flowers to reel off a list of roughly 20 people before they got to the person that had actually ordered them. The disappointment in their voice when I was finally able to say Yes to a name was plain for anyone to hear. I truly do feel sorry for the person that placed the order as what they paid was by no means cheap.