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COLUMN: The woes of a flowershop boy

On February 14, 2013

 

 

Picture, if you can, standing behind a long black counter covered in loose leaves and cut stems. You’re standing on piles of discarded flower parts, plastic cellophane and ribbon of every color. You can’t see the countertop you are working at or the floor you are standing on because of all the debris. Standing in front of you are what seem like leagues of frustrated customers, come to you to help save their hides all because they forgot about Valentine’s Day.

When people ask me what I do for work while I’m attending USU, I’m generally pretty happy to tell them I work in as a florist. I am met with a wide variety of responses, ranging from weird looks from guys that read, “You’re a florist? But you’re a dude,” to girls fawning, breaking out everything they know about flowers and sharing their dream wedding plans with me.

But there are two times during the year when I try to refrain from even thinking about my job as a florist, and one of those times is Valentine’s Day.

I’m always really quick to express how much I hate Valentine’s Day whenever it is brought up. Most people think they are funny and just respond by saying, “You only hate it because you are single.” False: Actually, that isn’t even a factor to why I hate the holiday. It actually has to do with the high expectations people have, and most importantly the “11th-hour procrastinators.”

They come to me at the very last minute when I am standing there with nothing left but piles of stems and expect me to make something out of nothing, and then they expect to get an arrangement of red roses for less than $20.

There is a better chance of flying to the moon than getting decent long stem red roses at the last possible minute on Valentine’s Day, cheaply. Flower prices almost double for a florist to purchase them from a wholesaler, which means you can expect the retail price of the flower to double and then some. It all goes back to the principle of supply and demand we all learn about in economics classes. When the demand skyrockets, so does the price.

Then we tack on the labor. Just like the price of the actual flowers, labor costs go up for florists on this magical holiday. A florist can plan on working at least 24 hours straight to meet the demands for just the pre-ordered arrangements and then an additional 6 to 8 hours just to help the blessed 11th-hour customers.

And as if that wasn’t enough, then there are the attitudes of the customers themselves. I understand you are frustrated because there are such high expectations on you to produce something amazing and memorable this year, but there is no need to be rude. I can only work one miracle at a time, but sometimes there comes a point where I have nothing left.

So there I stand, at the end of another fabled Valentine’s Day. My legs hurt, my head is pounding, and if I have to be nice to one more impatient customer, they’re going to find out what bad customer service looks like. And none of us want to know what that is like, trust me.

So on Feb. 15, hug a florist and thank them for their service, because the only thing worse than Valentine’s Day is knowing Memorial Day is right around the corner.

 

–kiel.reid@aggiemail.usu.edu

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