Monday, 7 January 2019

Beware the wolf

in sheep's clothing.

Before I get into my waffle, I would like to wish you all a very happy and healthy 2019. May it bring forth all you could wish for. 

Yet again, over Christmas (as has happened to use more-times-than-it-should), there were people ordering flowers (mainly online, but some via the telephone) who believed they were calling our shop, when in fact, they were calling others who just happen to use our business name in the keywords on their paid for adverts. Thankfully, I am able to point the customers who have called me to complain, in the right direction, however, what about all those people who haven't bothered to make a complaint, who think they have placed their order with me? How many people out there right now are telling their friends and family not to use my business, when they've not even received their flowers from me? It truly makes my blood boil, especially when more than 95% of the (so-called) florists people believe they are calling, placing an order with, have never even stepped foot into a flower shop. For those who use another shops name to generate more business to yourselves, I say "Shame on you". I also pity those who are genuine florists that have to do it, for their businesses must be struggling if they need to poach from competitors in nearby areas. I would like to shove flower stalks in very delicate places to those who use local businesses names, when they are nothing more than people sitting at a computer desk in a call centre, who have most likely never even stepped foot in a florists. 

I know a lot of people choose to order online because it is quick, easy and convenient; I've been known to use the internet myself, but please, please, please, check that you are using a local shop, someone who actually knows the difference between Eustoma and Estonia!! It may take you 10 minutes longer to scout around, but not only will it be worth it for the person you are sending flowers to when they are hand delivered by a driver trained in how to handle flowers (ours often sings to our recipients too - although I'm not sure that's really such a good thing); those flowers the driver is handing over, will have been created in the shop, on that day, from flowers which arrived direct from the markets on that morning, but you can also rest assured that the money you spend will go on the flowers you have ordered. Nobody sitting in a call centre is going to skim 30% from the total yo have paid for their "admin fees". Local florists, independent florists, do the admin work themselves and don't need to charge you extra for doing so. Using a local florist means your flowers won't have been sitting in a warehouse elsewhere in the country for a few days, before being placed in a box and sent out with a courier, who has umpteen other deliveries in his van, and not a single clue about how to handle flowers so they arrive in perfect condition. It may take you an extra half-an-hour but a little research can be the difference between your loved one receiving flowers that have made-their-day, to ones which will have you reaching for the phone to call in a complaint.


Of course, there are some out there who claim to be florists having completed a 6 week evening course at a local college; not everyone is genuine, but that's where the internet can be a wonderful thing. Never use a shop who has generic images on their website; choose one who has their own work on there, that way you get to see what they are capable of making. Anyone, including those of you reading this who haven't the first clue about flowers, can start up a website, find generic copyright free images on the web and take orders. There are so many companies out there these days who claim to be florists but are nothing more than people sitting in offices taking calls over the phone. 

I did a google search for florists in Fareham. The top 3 in the list are not, that's not independent florists, and not one of those 3 is in Fareham. Number 1 is somewhere in London; Number 2 is eflorist who are a call centre in Hampshire (they do have some shops on their books who they will sometimes send orders to - none of these are in Fareham - however, most of their stuff (like Interflora) is sent from a central warehouse elsewhere, via a courier service). The 3rd is also a call centre with no link to floristry whatsoever (in eflorist defence 30 years ago they did know a little about flowers). The reason those businesses have come out on top of the list, is because they are paying to advertise on google; they are doing their best to dupe the general public into handing over their hard-earned money to them. They are not in any way, shape or form, independent florists, and they most definitely are not in Fareham or any of the surrounding areas. Make sure if you wish to use a local shop, someone who knows the area, who employs a driver to personally hand-deliver the flowers to your loved one for you, that you are in fact using a local shop. Check out their address - all local shops will have their premises address on their website; check out their phone number. If it has the local dial code you are more likely to be calling a local shop (although as you will see in the paragraph below this is (sadly) not always the case). More than 50% of the "Florists" in the google list below are not florists. Only ourselves and Rawsons are. 


I did the same for Portsmouth; not one of these shops is local. Flowers Same Day have Interflora images on their website, and although they have a local number and a list of roads your flowers will be delivered from, there is no actual address for any shop in that list. Clicking on the link about staff (who by-the-way are telesales staff - not florists) will take you back to their main page. Clicking on the link saying "Local Florists - Just like ours" does nothing.  However, dig a little deeper and you will see the reason they have no address for you to visit them at any of their so-called shops in Portsmouth, is because they are based in Carlisle; in rooms above a tanning salon and nail bar (I love google maps :) ).

Of the other 2, Bloom and Wild are based in London, and Lilian Rose (who again, have a Portsmouth number) are based in Cheshire; these companies are nothing more than "Order Gatherers" which means they are all call centre. You will call a Portsmouth number which will be forwarded to their call centre in Cheshire. It's so wrong this is allowed to happen, yet sadly it is not illegal. 


I was so hoping to get through this year (and at least this month) without having to moan about something, or someone, but alas, call centres masquerading as florists, taking people's hard earned money under false pretences is something which requires my complaining :) More importantly it is something which potential customers - wherever they may be wanting to order flowers anywhere in the world - need to be warned that not-everything-is-as-it-seems. If my moaning here saves one person being duped into handing over their money to someone who is not whom they believe, then it will have been worth it.






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