As if giving us the weekend of the clocks going forward (when we really could do with more hours, not less) this year we also have the added benefit of that 'B' word; that's right, "Brexit" happens on the Friday of Mothers Day weekend - aren't we being spoiled?
I was brought up to never discuss religion or politics - wise words that I still adhere too now; mostly (we all have (and are entitled) to our own opinions and beliefs) and whether you believe in something, or don't, whether you voted in, out or to shake-it-all-about, is absolutely nothing to do with me, just as my beliefs and which way (or if) I voted are nothing to do with anyone else. I've seen friends and families torn apart because they were unable to accept what a loved one believed in or how they voted during election at some-point-in-time (the irony of a live-and-let-live person cutting out a family member because they voted a different way to their parent has not been lost on me). However, I'm not here to talk about other people's issues; I'm here to talk about how Brexit is going to affect my little business tucked away in the outer rims of Fareham.
Exactly how will it affect my business?
The honest answer to that is:- "I haven't got a clue". At this precise moment-in-time, I really don't think anybody has.
What I can tell you is that my wholesalers have done (are still doing) everything they possibly can to ensure we are still able to purchase flowers. They have customs officers in place, have filled in ream-after-ream of paperwork and have ensured us (the florists) that how we order will not be affected at all. However, they have absolutely no control over our borders - or those on the continent - and as such we have no idea when we will be able to get flowers after the 29th March this year. This week there has been some kind of strike action in France which has affected flowers coming through the ports; if we leave with a "no deal" in place (which is looking more-and-more likely) then what might happen is anybody's guess. Yes, we will be able to get flowers in the future and I am sure in exactly the same way we do now, but in regards to Mothers Day flowers, and orders for a couple of weeks after it's going to be a free-for-all. There is every possibility we (and you) won't notice any difference whatsoever; there is also every possibility everything is going to be thrown into complete-and-utter confusion.
I think even if we are able to finally hammer out a deal, things will still be extremely chaotic for a few weeks, and so I have to prepare the shop (and all my lovely customers) for the worst.
As a result, I will not be able to guarantee any flowers, or orders for Mothers Day after Wednesday 27th March (and even then I think I'm leaving it a bit later than I should), so if you were/are planning on placing an order for Mothers Day, please do so ASAP. I also need to make you aware that while every-other-year (and on a daily basis) I order my flowers to come in the same day they are going out for delivery, this year I will have to do something I've never done before and I will have to get the flowers in the Thursday before, just so I know I have what I need and won't be letting anybody down (I know a huge proportion of shops will get all their stock on the Monday before; I'd never risk that early) the supermarkets have already got most of theirs in and are keeping them in chillers until the week of Mothers Day to ensure they have enough - no, I will not be doing that. Having to order them for the Thursday is hard enough for me.
After Mothers Day (if we make it to the other side ok) then I will most likely still have to put some restrictions in place; please, do not hold this against me (or any other florist - shop, or business). This is an unprecedented never-before occurrence, that only our (and overseas) governments have control over. The last thing any of us want to do is to let anybody down, and I know we will all do everything we can to avoid that from happening, but after some of the vile abuse I was subjected to the day before Valentines Day (and on the day itself) because some members of the human race had left it too late for me to order exactly the flower they wanted, I need to prepare you all (and myself) and arm you with the knowledge things may be a little "iffy" for a few weeks.
Here's hoping a deal can be reached and this whole blog entry can be filed in the "Completely Moot and Irrelevant box" far away in the depths of cyber space.