Saturday, February 14, 2009

The Florist's Lament or Why It Doesn't Pay to Wait till the Last Minute

So this is what's left in my shop as of last night. Good for me to have sold everything, not so good for you if you think you'll be able to stroll in on Valentine's Day today and find a good selection of things to choose from.

See, in my shop, I really take a lot of pride in the quality and selection of flowers we carry. This means I like to hand pick out as many of the flowers as possible, preferably in the Boston Flower Exchange where I can get the most interesting stuff. This entails getting up at 4:00am and driving to Boston, picking out product amid their glorious display, and scurrying back to Worcester, hopefully to open the shop on time.

Every week, I make an educated guess on how many flowers to buy. Some weeks, most weeks really, I get it pretty right, and we have enough flowers for all, with not too many leftovers at the end of the week. If I buy too much, it's not like I can freeze them, and I prefer not to sell old flowers the following week because I want our customers to get the maximum life possible out of them.

When it comes to a holiday, the guessing game on how much to buy gets harder. I want to have enough flowers to sell to make everyone happy, but I don't want to over buy and get stuck with flowers that I paid holiday high prices for.

So when folks wait till say, February 13, to order Valentine's Day flowers, and my purchases for the week are already made, I may or may not have flowers left. I bought conservatively this week based on crappy Christmas sales, the poor economy, and that Valentine's Day falls on a Saturday, a notoriously bad day of the week for it to fall on for florists. I would guess that only about 20% of my total orders were placed before I went to buy flowers. Not encouraging.

As you can see, I guessed wrong. Today we're going to have last minute folks come in, look around, and leave because I don't have enough flowers. I don't have to time or the physical energy to run to Boston for more flowers, and besides, by the last day all that's left to buy are the dregs, the things no one wants. Even if I go there, I'm sure there won't be much that's fresh and new, certainly not tropicals, which don't come in again till next week.

So lesson to be learned for the consumer here - please order early! We want to be able to help you and get you the beautiful, fresh flowers you want!
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