One of the comments I receive more than any other when it comes to the blog (and conversations I have on the telephone, via the online chat or face to face in the shop with people) is how refreshing they find my honesty. If I think a certain flower combination won't work, or a specific design might not look quite right, then I will tell my customers. The same goes for the flowers themselves; if a flower comes in from the wholesaler and I think it's not good enough to be sold (meaning I think it's not going to last a minimum of 7 days) then I will refuse to sell said flower - I have even been known to contact an overseas customer to say the flowers I'd specifically ordered for him had come in, but I didn't consider them good enough to send out, so between us we came up with an alternative. At the end of the day my business reputation is on the line if I send out flowers that aren't going to last.
That's why this morning it was hard to read the email that was sent to the shop last night, stating that 12 roses we delivered last Tuesday were dead by Sunday, and had been thrown in the bin. Once I had got over the shock that flowers we sent out hadn't last, I re-read the email and I will admit it threw me into a bit of a quandary. Did the customer want a refund? or replacement? Was he just letting me know that the quality of the roses wasn't good enough? Upon checking out the order, I noticed that it was 6 of one colour and 6 of another; now I will be honest IF the the order had been for just one colour, I would have assumed it was an issue with the wrap of roses themselves, and possibly offered him a discount on his next order, but for it to be 2 separate colours (and therefore 2 separate wraps) it is most likely to be that the customer hasn't followed the care instructions (or the wholesaler hasn't dealt with them correctly before sending them out to me) but of course without the flowers being returned to me, I have no way of knowing what the problem with them is; I have received no complaints on the other roses from the same wraps that were sent out to different customers on the same day; I also have one of the white roses from the same order (we have to buy them in wraps of 20 - the customer had only 6 and the remaining 14 didn't all sell on the day, and as you all know I refuse to have roses in the shop longer than 24 hours - so I took one home) and this morning when I left it was still as fresh looking as the day it arrived in the shop.
Now my biggest dilemma was how I deal with this so the customer doesn't hit the internet and put us down on every review site there is, but by the same token I have never dealt with this customer before, I know that at least one of the white roses from the same wrap is still perfect, and I have no way of knowing whether the roses the customer received were dead through them being bad to begin with, or because they weren't looked after correctly. Had he bought some food and it had been off, he would have taken it back to the store it was purchased from for a refund. Had he bought clothing from a store that had a hole in, for a refund/replacement he would have had to take it back, so why is it deemed acceptable for people to think they can just email a florist, tell them the flowers are in the bin and expect something to be done about it? This is why I made the tough decision to tell the gentleman that unless I receive the flowers back, then there is nothing I can do about it. This may now result in him leaving bad reviews about us all over the internet, but just say he then tells his friends all they need to do is email us to say their flowers have died, and before you know what's happening I could be sending out flowers, or giving away money all over the place for absolutely no reason whatsoever. So if you receive flowers at any time, and believe they are not good enough, please let us have them back so we can at least get our money back from the wholesalers too, before we replace them for you. I do hate the thought that a customer feels let down, but I believe this to be the right decision.
So the sneak preview..
You know how every year the Halloween window is the one we all look forward to? Well this year is no different, but I will admit it gets harder each year to come up with something different. In recent years we've based the displays on the Amityville Horror (one of the best fictional books you could read - sadly the true story prior to the fiction isn't quite such a nice read); we've used the traditional oranges; reds and purples have featured and last year of course we went all black and white with the UV lights on (they did create an amazing effect that's for sure) but we wanted something a bit more upbeat this year, so settled on Orange (got to have some tradition) Black (again a halloween associated colour) but we've added a Lime Green to the mix too. Vlad will himself be taking centre stage in the window this year and has had his hat and buttonhole decorated accordingly; yesterday he also held the wedding bouquet that will be making an appearance in the window; we think he looked quite good, and are looking forward to seeing how the colours will work together.
I think our colours are going to work well; can't wait until October to get it all finished and in ready for your opinions when you pass by.