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Jesse puts flower industry to the test

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Flowers on Valentine’s Day are a must. And if you are a florist, that day you will have your hands full with orders.

“Every day leading up gets crazier and crazier, more flowers coming in more people,” said Rachel Martin with Ballard Blossom.

But if you are looking for the perfect bouquet, you’ll need a good guide. And your best bet is to place your order with a local florist.

“Any real florist that’s a brick and mortar store is going to have their physical address on their website. If something should come up unforeseen, they’re right here in your community,” explained Martin.

Instead of using a local florist, lots of lovers prefer to place an order with an online flower site.

So we tested two online flower companies: FTD and 1-800-Flowers on a cross-country delivery. I’ve sent two bouquets to Boston and they’re sending the same flowers to me.

Martin says the picture online only tells part of the story.

“So they enhance the bouquet to make it appealing when it is on the flat screen, but that’s not really realistic of how you’d want to deliver a bouquet,” said Martin.

You also want some of the flowers not to be wide open like in the photos.

“You want it to come tight. Once it’s like this (most of the flowers fully open) it’s only going to have a couple more days of life to it,” said Martin.

Meanwhile, when making the order on one bouquet, I first see the service charge – it’s $17.99, and the flowers cost $64.99, for a total of $82.98.

That means the service fee is almost 20 percent of the total order.

I then placed an order with 1-800-Flowers, choosing the Straight from Heart Bouquet.

The cost of that bouquet was $99.99, $20.98 for a service charge, plus tax of $7.56.

It comes to almost $129.  That’s a lot of money when you start with a $99 bouquet.

The next day, I received both bouquets, so I rushed them to Ballard Blossom so Rachel Martin could evaluate them.

She said the 1-800-Flowers bouquet was very good.

The only issue was that it less than the 18 inches advertised on their website.

“If you are someone who is interested in sizing and you looked at the size, that would be the only mark against them,” explained Martin.

1-800-Flowers says the bouquet was shown on the web site in full bloom, but they deliver their flowers with the buds tight. It means the bouquet may start smaller but it will bloom into its advertised size.

The bouquet from FTD, however, was of even better quality — but it looked puny. But the flowers were exactly to the advertised size.

So before you buy, pay attention to the details.

“If being in a hurry you are looking at a website –you’re coming at it in one direction and maybe not paying attention to how big is it exactly,” explained Martin.

FTD says it is delighted that their bouquet was of the highest quality.

Now, local florists may charge a delivery fee, but we didn’t find one as high as the service charges from the florists we tested.

Your best bet is to order locally and save on service charges. And that’s cash to buy candy, too!

And Martin agrees with that assessment.

“You can go into your local florist. They’ll have a connection with another real florist who can send it.  They’ll be held accountable, because they are the ones you placed the order with,” said Martin.

 

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