I believe I have disappointed a customer; I'm not entirely sure, however, the fact I never heard back after explaining why I was unable to do what they wanted me to do, I'm going to assume they have been left disappointed. As you all know this is something I would never intentionally do, and absolutely hate that I have had to.
Let me explain.
Those of you who have bought from the shop know that I will make an order up for any amount that you wish to spend. Yes, I have made a little bouquet for £3 because that's all the customer had. I have never turned away a customer because they don't have a grand budget, and I never will do. For their money I will also try my hardest to include a particular flower if they wish - this, however, is not always possible. This week I have had a customer ask for me to make up a small bouquet, for a small budget; not a problem, I am here for everyone. For their money they wanted a specific flower, which is not one I ever stock - partly because I don't like them, and partly because this is only the 2nd time that I ever remember being asked for them. I wasn't sure if I would be able to get them, so checked onto my wholesalers site to see if there were going to be any available. They were, so I relayed what colours I could get them in, asking which the customer would prefer. Now, this is where I came a bit unstuck.
My customers budget was £10. The flowers required were going to cost me £1.27 EACH, plus the VAT, so the total cost price to me was 1.53 each, and I had to buy 10 of them. They only come in single colours, and my customer came back asking for a selection of mixed colours, which means I would have had to buy at least 30 stems of a flower I don't stock, and wouldn't be able to use. The ones left over from just one bunch I could incorporate in other orders; the remaining ones from 3 bunches would be impossible, so I explained that for me to sell £10 worth of them, it would cost me £46. Maths wasn't my strongest subject as school, but even I can work out that would mean I (the business) would be losing a minimum of £36, and that was if I only charged cost price for them. This lead me to say I was "sorry" but I could only get them in the one colour and would be unable to make a bouquet using more than the one colour. Again, I went through the single colours I could get; the customer said they would "get back to me", never did, and this is why I feel they are disappointed in me and my response to their requested order.
Flower prices at the moment are just atrocious; I am paying more for basics, like roses, lisianthus, lilies and chrysant, than I used to sell them for. Anything a little 'out-of-the-ordinary', or out of season, as the ones requested, are costing even more.
Sadly, for those of us who run smaller, independent businesses, we are living in a world where the supermarkets and online sellers (most of whom have never even stepped inside a flower shop) are selling at less than wholesaler price, and/or they are buying a lower grade/quality of flower. This is great for consumers if you just want a bunch to brighten up your dining table, not so great for those of us who make up what the grower is losing out on by selling to the supermarkets; you all know how I feel about that though so I won't harp on about it again! What it does mean is that expectations higher than ever before are placed upon those of us independents, and very often, no matter how hard we try, we are not always able to meet those wants and demands. We never started up our own business to make millions, however, we also cannot afford to give flowers away and throw money in the bin.
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