garden flowers

Sending Flowers

Sending flowers should be a "feel good" experience.
Giving a gift of flowers, like any act of giving should give the  donor a warm feeling of accomplishment, and like with any other gift it should leave the recipient with a warm, loved and cared for feeling.

But what happens when the flowers you ordered don't live up to your expectations?, substitutions are sent, and sure you got free delivery as advertised, but the arrangement only had half the flowers in it compared to the bouquet that was pictured in the ad from which you ordered! This can be a common occurrence unless you know exactly who you are dealing with or order from your trusted local florist or flower market.

Here are some things to look for when choosing a florist or ordering flowers to be sent to another city or state/province or even overseas.

Choosing a Local Florist
When sending flowers to be delivered within your city it is always best to use your local florist, the one you would trust with your wedding flowers or other important occasion flowers. If you haven't ordered or bought flowers in the past, check with a friend or relative, you can also check the local phone book for a florist near you, but make sure that they really are near you with a local phone # and a local address, yellow page listings that only list an 800# and no local phone # can be a tip off that the company you are about to call is not really a local florist at all, but one that will transfer your flower order back to a florist in your city to have it delivered to the recipient. See: Affiliates, Agents & Commission Based Sales Outlets

How to Send Flowers By Wire
If you have a good local florist that you deal with it's always best to place your order with them as they regularly send flowers to many city's and most likely know of a reputable florist in the location you would like your flowers delivered. Your local florist already knows your likes or dislikes and will be able to assist you in making a suitable purchase for the occasion, and they will be able to look after any discrepancies and in general guarantee your satisfaction.

How to Choose an out of town florist
If you don't have a good local florist that you deal with you could try to locate a local florist in the recipients area via yellow pages or the internet, but be careful when selecting a florist in unfamiliar territory!
If you are planning to order by phone your first choice should be to ask a friend or relative in the city where the flowers are to be delivered for the name and number of a good florist in their town. If that's not possible you could call information to get a florist's phone number, but they often just pick the first number that comes up in the book, and that may not be a local florist at all, but instead a floral agent or commissioned sales outlet (many cities have 800flowers listed as there first full page ad, and they are located in NYC). You could also check the Internet, but extra caution is needed here as there are literally 1000's of web sites that pose as local florists but are in reality commission based sales outlets.

What Flowers Should I Order
Purchasing flowers when you are in the store and can actually see the flowers, choose the style of bouquet suitable for the occasion as well as speak to a clerk in person is relatively easy and you can feel quite confident that the flowers you have chosen will actually be delivered. "you've made a selection and seen the product, or at least the quality of flowers and plants as well as the displays in the store" But what if you have to order without seeing the actual's not like ordering a manufactured item where every item comes out of the same factory and the same mold. Each and every flower is different, yes just like every person is different so is every rose, "no two roses are identical" and every floral designer has their own flair for arranging flowers, just like every individual has their own personality.
The most important thing when ordering flowers "sight unseen" even if you have seen a picture in a magazine ad or on the Internet, is to deal directly with the local florist shop that will actually make the delivery with their delivery vehicles or delivery service.
When phoning the local delivering florist it's generally a good idea to let them know what occasion the floral gift is for, what kind of sentiment they are to present and the date they're to be delivered first, this way the florist can assist you with making an informed  decision based on what flowers are (or will) be available to best fulfill your wishes. If you have a certain style of design or feeling you would like sent be sure to discuss this with the florist, as well as any likes (bright colours, long lasting, fragrant etc.) and dislikes (no daisies, no carnations, no red, etc.). Most often the nicest and best value floral arrangements are the ones that have the least amount of restrictions as that way the florist knowing your basic requirements can create your floral order with their freshest and nicest blossoms available on the required delivery date.

Affiliates & Commissioned Sales Outlets
This type of business are better known in the industry as "Order Gatherers", these business' have evolved over time and have really come to the forefront like many other business's with the popularity of the Internet. A few started off as, and still are legitimate flower shops, but many no nothing about flowers other than the more we sell the more money we make, so they'll promise you anything because we'll just send it via a wire service to a local florist where your order is to be delivered and let them worry about making it look just like the picture and delivering it for the price we sold it for less a healthy commission, service charges, taxes etc.
This scenario can create several problems: Firstly they advertise products that are not always available in every part of the Country making substitution probable, and secondly they have no idea of local demographics or delivery schedules, let alone the fact that the florist that will eventually deliver your flower order has to pay a huge commission to the order gatherer as well as service charges and membership fees to a wire service to receive your order.

Wire Services FTD, Teleflora, etc.
A Flowers by Wire Service was started in 1910 by a group of florists as a co-operative and was called Florists Telegraph Delivery or FTD for short, it was joined in the 1950's and 60's by Teleflora and several other privately owned flowers by wire services to which for a fee and monthly dues flowers shops could join and transfer orders between fellow members. In the 1980's and 90's many of these wire services either folded or were bought up by Teleflora, and FTD was also taken over by a financial group and no longer operated as a co-operative but instead now operates as a for profit corporation listed on the NYSE. As in any business you have to keep up with the changing times and these wire services are no different.
Where wire services once devoted all their resources to the member florists, giving them ready access to technology for transfering orders between members as well as advertising and promotional materials including specialty floral holiday containers, this has in recent years changed and now the wire services are actively vying for the retail flower dollar with their web sites and in some cases even sponsoring and promoting Commissioned Sales Outlets.