Goodness; what a start to a Monday morning. I’m only glad nobody from the “ooh I’d love to do your job, it must be so lovely to play with flowers all day” brigade never came in this morning. I may have battered them with a gerbera stem.
8am: Clive leaves with a funeral tribute that has to be delivered to a directors in Portsmouth by 9am at the latest. Allowing for the fact it’s Monday and wet (which is always a recipe for disaster on our road networks) the hour to get there was practical. By 8.35 when he hadn’t even reached the M275 and was sat in stationery traffic, he phoned me to give the directors the heads up that he was on the way but was currently sat in traffic (they give us the latest time for a delivery but I think sometimes they tell us to be there a lot earlier than we need to be to allow for traffic themselves). Hoping someone would be there at that time (they’re often not) I rang and was lucky enough to get through, to be told they didn’t have a funeral today with the name we were given. I double checked I had the right directors (and did) so asked the woman on the phone if she was sure? She was; she also checked every 11.15 funeral they have between today and the 1st December just in case we had got the date wrong. All her checks drew a blank, so I thanked her for her help, and proceeded to ring the customer who ordered the flowers; I got an answerphone so had to leave a message. I then told Clive to hang tight and I’d get back to him as soon as I could.
Hanging up the phone to Clive, the shop phone rang, so I answered hoping it would by my customer with the funeral details, but what I got instead was a very upset lady (who has every right to be) asking why her flowers weren’t delivered on Saturday? Thankfully the order wasn’t coming from our shop; it was an order that I phoned through to a shop in Essex. They’d accepted the order and taken my money for payment, so I went through the usual checks with my customer – had they spoken to the recipient over the weekend to know the flowers hadn’t arrived? Had I got the right address? And several others I use to verify the information – to find the answer was “yes” to all my questions. I asked her to give me half an hour to sort out with the shop that had the order what may have gone wrong. When I phoned the shop they admitted they had forgotten all about it – not something that happens often, thankfully, but I had to admire their honesty, even though I was pretty angry about it. I do realise they are only human, and occasionally mistakes happen. They offered to deliver today instead and promised to send something as an apology as well as adding more flowers to the order. My customer was obviously disappointed when I rang her back to explain what happened, but thanked me for sorting it for her.
This still left the funeral to sort and see if I could find out what happened. I phoned all 4 crematoriums in the area to see if they were dealing with the service. I rang every funeral director (from Chichester to Southampton, via Gosport and Waterlooville) I could think of (including all the ones that belong to the co-op but still pretend to be independent, as well as ringing the co-op too). I drew a blank with everyone. Once I’d exhausted all the options I could think about, I then set to getting on with today’s jobs.
One of those jobs found me out in the kitchen bleaching and scrubbing the vases. We have an alarm on the shop doors that buzzes in the kitchen for me, so I know if someone has come in while I am out there. Either this didn’t work, or someone left the door open when they went out of the building (it's an easy enough thing to do when there's so much going on) because I suddenly sensed something at the same time as hearing a noise from behind me. Spinning round I saw 2 lads (late teens early 20’s) about to get to the lobby area at the back of the shop. They can’t have seen me because when I asked loudly “Um, what are you doing” they both jumped and started to walk back down the corridor and into the shop. I followed and then saw another one stood by the shop door – I have no idea if he was just hanging back or keeping an eye out for people that may be coming along. One of them answered “we saw the door was open and nobody was in here so wanted to check everything was ok”. I would truly love to believe them, but I have never seen them before in the area, they looked exceptionally guilty when they knew realised I was there, and they couldn’t get out of the shop quick enough. If they were really worried I think they might possibly have hung around a bit longer to explain themselves a bit better. After they’d gone and I shut the door I checked all the security cameras which definitely seems to back up my theory more than work in their defence.
All of this happened before 9.30 this morning; I’m hoping it’s not a pre-cursor to how the rest of the week will continue.
Post note; our customer got back to us on the tribute we hadn’t been able to deliver with the correct details, and we were able to get the flowers delivered to the funeral with just minutes to spare – but at least they were where they needed to be in time.