22 April 2019

Floral Fiasco

Have you ever had one of those Mondays where you wake up exhausted, only to find yourself surrounded by a field of flowers whose glorious perfume is wafting headily around you like some sort of botanical crack you can't quite stop snorting? Yeah, me neither.

Until today, that is.

Today, as we speak, I have three rather large floral arrangements deployed about my kitchen, all of which feature Easter lilies of one variety or other. In fact, it's starting to look like Easter exploded (beware Weapons of Mass Resurrection), or perhaps as though Jesus were planning to resurrect himself directly from my basement (it is a little tomb-like, after all). Needless to say, this deluge of daylilies was not remotely planned, at least not by me. I'd like to say that some hot, passionate European man was trying to win my favor(s) by showering me with flowers, but alas that's not the case. Nor am I normally so popular as to warrant possessing multiple bouquets at once. The last time I had multiple bouquets was when my cousin and sister both happened to send me gorgeous floral arrangements for my birthday this year; receiving them was especially nice considering I had a fever at the time and was busy hacking up several internal organs for fun and profit. The number of times people have gifted me with multiple floral arrangements prior to that? Nada. Zero. Zip. Zilch. In other words, one less than the number of times I have voluntarily tried Brussels sprouts. Frankly, I want to be IN European countries like Brussels, not have them sprouting ominously inside my intestinal tract. But I digress.

Here's the thing: I love flowers. I blame my mother, who was so obsessed with them that I felt morally obligated to send her some for every birthday and Mother's Day once I'd left college. I love flowers almost as much as she did; I just don't love them so much that I'm willing to put in the necessary effort to grow and care for them. I overheat easily enough as it is and, let's face it, Tennessee and Georgia (where I spent most of my adult life) are not exactly friendly climes to the melanin-impaired. Nor have I been given flowers for the majority of my life. As a result, I occasionally send some to myself, especially at Thanksgiving or Christmas. Shut up...it is not sad and pathetic. (Okay, maybe a little.) Usually I prefer to order directly from local florists for the best selection and best bang for my buck, but sometimes it's difficult to resist the 25% off coupons with which Teleflora keeps wallpapering my mailbox.

Because I am excessively entranced by pretty glassware (yay, genetics!), I was particularly attracted to a flared turquoise vase used as the base of one of Teleflora's arrangements. Not only is turquoise my happy color, I figured I'd be far more likely to use this vase over the cheap, crappy clear glass vases one usually has lying around, so a couple of weeks ago I ordered the relevant arrangement. I requested delivery for Friday, April 19th to have it in time for Easter while not having to spend all day Saturday waiting on delivery. Instead, I waited all day Friday for a delivery that never came.

You will be MINE, you fabulously flared turquoise vase.
(Photo credit: Teleflora)

Friday evening I received an email confirming delivery. Say what, now? Naturally I called Teleflora for clarification. After what felt like three hours on hold, I finally spoke to a (theoretically) real person who promptly told me that I shouldn't have gotten the confirmation and that my arrangement would be delivered Saturday instead. I expressed polite displeasure at the delay but was basically blown off. Fine. I decided to wait and see what happened.

The next day I was up by 9 am in case the delivery arrived early...which it didn't. When it finally showed up around 2 pm, I was less than thrilled. The vase was lovely but was not the fabulously flared turquoise vase I was anticipating. The flowers, meanwhile, were awful. I realize one has to make allowances between what Teleflora pictures on its website and the reality of what any given local florist may have in stock at that particular moment, but what arrived was not remotely similar to the arrangement I'd purchased, not least because its pale pink roses looked as though they'd been drained of color by a horticultural vampire before being used violently as a flyswatter. Most of the petals were tatty and raggedy as though they belonged to whatever floral dregs had been left behind at some grocery store at 6 pm on Valentine's Day.

Sad flowers are sad.
Half-dead two-day-old roses FTW! The vase and tiger lily are pretty, though.

Now normally, I'm not much of a complainer. Okay, that's a lie. I complain all the time, same as everyone else...at home. Even so, I rarely bother to complain about things at stores or restaurants and such; most of the time I'm willing to give people the benefit of the doubt because I've worked in both retail and restaurants before and I just don't think complaining is usually worth the trouble. Then I looked at those sad, wilty roses and thought "Yeah, no." So I emailed Teleflora (gasp!). I politely suggested that the flowers I'd received were substandard, that the vase was not as pictured, and that the delivery fee had not been adjusted to account for the late delivery. Done and done.

Naïveté is not a good color on me.

An hour later, I received a second knock on the door and was presented with a second floral arrangement from a second florist. S'cuze me, what? I checked the enclosed card, which had the exact same wording and sentiment as the first arrangement. Okay, so not from somebody else. What the fresh hell? At least this arrangement was much prettier (not to mention much closer to the original online photograph); in addition to the giant blue hydrangeas (which I now permanently associate with my sister), it had FRESH roses festively sprayed with tinted glitter and was further festooned with colorful fake easter eggs. Sadly, it too lacked the fabulously flared turquoise vase. Still, it was a vast improvement over Delivery #1.

Happy flowers.
Boring vase.

I again emailed Teleflora, using the diplomatic version of "WTH??" to inquire why I now had TWO floral arrangements (neither of which possessed the vase that was my entire reason for ordering from them in the first place) and whether or not I had been double-charged for this plethora of petals. The real irony is that as if two bouquets weren't enough, I also still had the pretty azalea I'd purchased on Thursday with the (likely deluded) belief that I would plant it in the front flower bed before it dies.

I do love me some variegated blossoms.

Happy Easter to me--what a weird embarrassment of floral riches.

Sunday evening I received replies to my two emails from Teleflora. The first apologized for the substandard product and inaccurate delivery and informed me that I would be refunded $36.83 (which happens to be double the delivery fee I paid but way less than the cost of my order, so that makes sense). The second email confirmed that I wasn't charged twice; it further stated "The recipient may do what she would like with the arrangement that was in bad quality and keep the one that is in better shape or do what you would like with them." Okay, then. All's well that ends well, fabulously flared turquoise vases notwithstanding.

But wait! There's MORE!!!

This morning as I was leaving to go to my gym, I noticed a tag hanging off the front door handle; I foolishly assumed it was advertising. When I returned home and pulled it off the door, it turned out to be a notice from the same florist who'd sent the Happy Flowers, Boring Vase (sounds like a movie title, right? Like Crouching Dragon, Hidden Tiger?) Apparently they'd tried to deliver yet another arrangement yesterday. On Easter. When they're closed and half the city is at church. If I'd head-desked any harder, there would be a chalk outline of me draped over my laptop right now.


I called the florist and told them I'd received a hangtag.



"Oh, yeah, we've got one for you right here. We received a complaint about quality and we take complaints VERY SERIOUSLY."

"Wait, WHAT??"

Fifteen minutes later I was still trying to explain the sequence of events that had led to this increasingly ridiculous situation, including assuring the lady that her arrangement had been absolutely lovely (incorrect vase notwithstanding) and that she had no need to send me another because the "substandard flowers" had come from a different florist (who conveniently left the company's name off the enclosed card and envelope). She would have none of it. She insisted that they wanted their customers to "be happy." She did rather fairly point out that it was impossible to keep every one of Teleflora's vases in stock and wished they would notate that on their website; she also expressed a justified frustration over Teleflora always mentioning quality complaints without specifying the nature of the quality issues, but she refused to be swayed by my pleas that her business was not at fault. She then informed me that she'd send the delivery guy over with the new arrangement and the "MUCH BETTER, MUCH PRETTIER VASE" right away.  (Insert mashup of a facepalm and scream emoji here.)

"FFS" didn't even begin to cover it by this point...I was starting to feel like I was in that episode of Friends where Phoebe's bank accidentally deposits an extra $500 into her account and when she tries to rectify the situation, she ends up with an additional $500 and a football phone. Things escalate further when she gives all the extra money to a homeless woman who then buys Phoebe a soda with a thumb in it, causing her to receive $7000 from the soda company. Apparently life now imitates art instead of the other way 'round, because you just can't make this shit up.

I delayed my post-workout shower for fear that Delivery Guy would arrive just as I was lathering up; instead I ended up marinating in my skanky workout gear for an extra hour and a half before he arrived. I think it was the same guy who brought the other arrangement on Saturday because he looked decidedly less pleased to see me again; I'm hoping it was just my stank and not him being all nonplussed and branding me the complainer I apparently am, but my expectations are low.
Arrangement #3...because there can never be enough flowers in one house.
You certainly can't fault the Berlin Blossom Shoppe's customer service...major props to them. I give them 10 stars out of 5.

The new arrangement is also stunning, just like Florist #2's previous arrangement, and the "much better, much prettier" vase weighs enough by itself to bludgeon the troll from Harry Potter insensate or to breach a small castle. (Mmmm....castles.) I felt so badly for the second florist being made accountable for something they had not really done wrong that I even dug through my trashcan looking for the cellophane which had encompassed the original floral arrangement in the hope that it would have a sticker denoting the purveyor's name. Unfortunately for me and Florist #2, said cellophane appears to have evaporated into thin air. Perhaps Florist #1 snuck into my house and absconded with the evidence in order to cover its substandard tracks. If only I'd had the Crystal Bludgeoner 2000™ yesterday to greet him.

Ah, well...I tried. Now I have three generously-endowed vases of flowers (plus one bonus azalea) arrayed about my home for the low, low price of 2/3 the original cost of the first one, all because Teleflora's left hand didn't seem to know what its right hand was doing and because a local florist was wildly enthusiastic about rectifying an error it hadn't made.

This has all gotten entirely too ridiculous, even for me--there is absolutely no way I could have made all this up on my own. On the plus side, my house currently smells like Easter, Spring, and a botanical garden all rolled into one, and I am now extensively armed with leaded crystal weaponry. Plus I have leftover Honeybaked ham and I'm not afraid to use it.

Meanwhile, if anyone has a sick loved one or someone in the hospital who needs a pick-me-up, let me know. I juuuuuuust might have an extra flower or two lying around to share.


  1. Oh wow. I am laughing harder than a 54 year old woman who has given birth can safely laugh. You go girl! From now on, I am bringing my similarly-messed-up situations to you, so that you can put them into humorous form and possibly make a profit! :D

    1. Thank you! Glad I could make you laugh! As far as making a profit, I've been trying to figure out how to cash in on my bent sense of humor for decades. ;)

  2. PS: I KNOW that I have seen that vase, recently, on my sourcing expeditions (oka "thrifting"). If I find one, expect it to arrive in New Jersey in a timely manner, sans flowers.

    1. OMG!! That would be AMAZING!! If you do find one, I'd be more than happy to reimburse you for it. Alternatively, I could swap you; turns out I may have a few extra vases lying around. ;)