Tag Archives: Flower

Mother’s Day gift ideas

flowers - gerber - assortedMother’s Day is just around the corner, and now is the time to cash in on savings. Flowers are one of the easiest and best gifts for most moms. My mom loves flowers, and gets them whenever she can come up with a reason to get them. I’ve been the receiver, “Just because.” So, of course they are to of the list for Mother’s Day gifts. Hopefully she’s not reading this.

ProFlowers is my favorite go to florist. They deliver all over the United States. I think they deliver a good product. I will say I have received a few bad bunches, mostly roses, from the company. I complained and was offered another bunch or a refund. The company’s customer service is top notch.

I’ve heard people grumble about these flowers, so let’s be clear upfront. The flowers arrive in a box. The receiver has to cut the stems and put them in water. Sometimes you get a vase. Sometimes you don’t. It depends on the promotions and whether the giver paid for one if it wasn’t free.

If that’s not for you, call a local florist where your mom or loved one lives. Do not order the arrangement online. Call and request certain flowers and a dollar amount. You usually get a better bouquet than just ordering the standard one online. If you develop a rapport with the florist over the years, they will take care of you each time. Make sure you ask about shipping, because it’s often up to $10 extra.

Shipping with ProFlowers is a bit expensive. It’s like $12 which seems like a ripoff, but it is what it is. You are going to pay for it most places.

The company is running all sorts of deals right now. I saw 20% off on Facebook. I’ve gotten VIP emails, and there is a LivingSocial deal. You pay $15 for a $30 discount. To figure out which offer will give you the most savings, pick out an arrangement ahead of time and figure out your budget.

If your budget is around $50, the LivingSocial deal will probably offer you the most savings. If you are going to spend $100, try the 20% off deals.

People always worry, as competitors have done this, that the daily deal site offers are more expensive than ordering normally off the website. While there is a special website for the deal, ProFlowers.com/livingsocial, I compared the prices and they are about the same.

You are only allowed one LivingSocial deal per email address or registered user.  So, a hubby and wife may need to buy the offer to take care of both moms.

If you live in town, how about picking out the arrangement yourself. Costco sells beautiful flowers for less than $20. They have exotic looking ones with bright colors and roses. You can pick them up last minute, too.

I tend to buy something that lasts. While the arrangements look better than a potted plant, I think plants are a better option because they will show your mom love week after week.

You can even buy an exotic looking potted plant by going with an orchid. They are beautiful plants, and you can get a decent one at Costco or a big box home improvement store for less than $20.

It’s not the size of the gift, but the beauty of it. Get one that will last for weeks and months to come.


Mother’s Day savings

You can get your mom a beautiful gift this Mother’s Day without breaking the bank. Lots of online florists are offering 50% off deals including ProFlowers and FTD. That’s just the start of saving.

ProFlowers is offering a LivingSocial coupon for $15 off a $30 purchase. FTD is offering a Groupon for $20 off a $40 purchase.

In previous years, there were issues with the FTD deal.  In February of 2011, users who bought the deal were directed to a special website to buy the flowers. Shoppers complained the prices were higher so the offer really wasn’t a deal. Plus, you couldn’t take advantage of other discounts or promotions which are common with these online flower sites just for visiting the website. Sometimes you don’t even have to enter a special promo code to get a free vase or a percentage off your oder. To deal with the issues, customers were allowed refunds if they complained.

That previous issue made me leery to take advantage of the ProFlowers deal, even though it’s a different company and I’ve had great luck with ProFlowers delivering a high quality product. A few times they’ve missed on the flowers. Call it a bad batch or whatever, and the company made it right.

I read the fine print on this year’s deal, and found ProFlowers setup a special website to deal with this coupon. That was the issue that got FTD in trouble because the prices were different. I perused the prices on the special site. They appeared the same, and reluctantly I clicked “Buy.”

I’ll note this year’s FTD deal does not use a different site for purchase. You simply go to FTD.com if you use the Groupon deal.

While there is a special website setup, I bought the flowers with the deal without going to the special site. I did that just to make sure I wasn’t paying any additional fees. The promotional code was accepted.

Deals are really the only way to buy flowers from these online sites because the handling charges and shipping charges add up fast. If you buy a $30 arrangement, expect to pay close to $45 with all the fees. Consider the promotion you bought as a way to cover all the excess fees you’ll be charged online. Also, you don’t see all these fees until after you enter all your information on ProFlowers. At that point, you’ve already invested a lot of time. Are you really going to shop elsewhere if you don’t like the price?

If you can, I’d skip online and head over to Costco or your local florist. You’ll get a nice looking arrangement for $15-20 at Costco. Your local florist won’t charge you excess fees either because you’ll be delivering the bouquet.

If you have to order online, take advantage of multiple deals. Use Ebates. It’s a great way to get paid for shopping. I earned an additional 16% back on my order. Plus, if you click through from Ebates, you’ll get a free vase.

Also, look for promotional codes. You might be able to save up to 20% more.

You don’t have to spend a lot to save a lot this Mother’s Day. You just have to know where to look for the savings.

Tomorrow, I’ll tell you why balloons might break the bank this Mother’s Day and a trick to keep the cost down.

Orders that get lost in translation

It’s been just over a week since many people received flowers for Valentine’s Day. Are yours still alive? Mine are, but fading fast. While the holiday may be in the past, Mother’s Day is just around the corner and there are some valuable tips I learned this holiday that may save you next time around.

I wrote in the days leading up to Valentine’s Day about gifts that won’t break the bank. Floral arrangements that last, like orchids, were one example given. You can find them for $15 at big box home improvement stores. My fiance read my article and swung into action ordering an orchid arrangement. What a perfect gift or so we thought.

My fiance outdid himself ordering an orchid from a floral shop. It arrived in a vase with pussy willows, some greenery, and yes those dreaded roses. While my fiance specifically said not to include those pricey Valentine’s Day roses, especially after my post, we didn’t make a big deal about them. The arrangement was nice and had that orchid. It’s the thought that counts, right?

The orchid came in a vase with water. I thought it was odd as you don’t usually see orchids in a vase, but I didn’t think much more of it. Of course the floral place knows more about keeping them alive than me, right?

When I arrived to work this past Monday, I noticed one of the blooms was shriveled up. Several others had black spots that appeared to be mold. So, I began researching orchid care instructions. Shocked, I found most sites said orchids don’t like constant water. It makes them rot.

That day I ran out in search of the special orchid soil and pulled them from that constant water. I couldn’t find the soil, and finally called the floral shop out of desperation. Clearly the woman knew there were two types of orchids because she asked me if mine were in water when I asked her about re-potting. I was shocked at what she said next. The florist cut a fresh orchid that won’t live several months or years as expected. It will die soon. That certainly defeated our purpose of ordering an orchid.

So often I find miscommunication is to blame for discrepancies in the floral industry and any business for that matter. I think it just irritates floral customers more because of the cost involved with an arrangement, the purpose of them, and the short lifespan of flowers. Consumers don’t know all the intricacies of flowers, delivery, or the business so it’s easy to feel misled. I don’t think we were misled, but it felt that way. I blame miscommunication for the problem. My fiance probably said orchid not realizing there were two types, and he got the wrong one. However, you’d think the florist would ask which type of orchid if there is a difference in longevity.

Of course, my fresh orchid will last longer than fresh flowers. However, two weeks is definitely not two months as I expected. It’s not just men that don’t get what they expect.

Delivery fees
On a separate occasion, I ordered a floral arrangement for a friend through a different business in a different city. I said I wanted to pay $100. I specifically made sure I didn’t say I wanted a $100 arrangement knowing there would be delivery fees and taxes tacked onto the final price.

We talked about why the arrangement was being sent, what I was looking for, etc. Delivery was never mentioned. When I received my credit card statement, I was charged $20 more than I expected. In this case, I was out that $20 because I’d already collected the money from my friends who were part of that $100 arrangement.

Why was delivery conveniently left out of the conversation? I blame myself for not asking that question, and I blame the business who deals with these situations everyday for not making it more clear. Once again, miscommunication was to blame.

In that call, the business graciously refunded me the delivery and admitted they should have made that clear.

I will note that my fiance also mentioned he paid more than expected. Not being on that call, I can only guess it was the delivery again.

My point in all of this — you can’t spend long enough talking to the florist when you place an order. Ask lots of questions including how long that arrangement will last. If you want something specific, make that clear. Don’t leave anything open for interpretation. Flowers are not cheap, so make sure that money is well spent. It’s still the thought that counts, but that thoughtful person should still get the most bang for their buck!

Valentine’s Day Gifts that won’t break the bank

What to get your Valentine? The answer doesn’t have to break the bank. If you didn’t splurge this weekend, don’t spend all your money on flowers. They’re a great accent to the holiday, but don’t waste $40-50 on them. It’s just not worth it. They only last a few days. Flowers are not the only way to that girl’s heart. There are other low budget items too.

To save money on flowers, skip the roses. They’re extremely expensive this time of year, and in my opinion they are overrated. Forget the carnations. They just look cheap. Lillies are a nice alternative. They’re unique, big, and fragrant for a more reasonable price.

Costco is my favorite place for flowers. Every bunch is unqiue and they’re often exotic looking for $15-20. These bouquets are often bursting with color and will put a smile on your loved one’s face without breaking the bank. Just don’t wait until 5 P.M. on Valentine’s Day or it might be slim pickings.

Want something that’s going to last longer? Buy an orchid or other exotic looking plant. You can find them for reasonable prices at big box home improvement stores or try your local greenhouse.

Skip the online floral shops. If you want to send flowers to someone out of town, call a local florist. You’ll pay fewer fees and get a better bargain especially if you have a relationship with that florist and go back time and time again.

Plus, when I ordered flowers from a national online floral retailer for a NewsChannel 5 test, my Inbox was loaded with emails for months afterward. Buy local and save yourself the headache.

Sweets for your sweetie
Have just $10 for a gift? No problem. How about cupcakes? They’re sure to bring a smile to your sweetie’s face.  Let’s be clear, though, I’m not talking about the cupcakes at the grocery store. Head to a bakery or cupcake shop. You’ll pay more, but you’ll get a more exotic cupcake. Again, arrive early. Most cupcake shops sell out early especially on holidays. I went to one last week, and the cupcakes were all gone by 2:30 during the week.

How about something homemade like chocolate covered strawberries. They’re on sale right now at the grocery stores in Ohio for $2 a pint. Or, head to the West Side Market in NE Ohio and you might find them even cheaper. It just depends on the inventory. At the grocery store, go to the baking aisle and buy the chocolate dipping tub. It’s the size of those microwaveable soup or Macaroni and Cheese containers. It’ll run you about $3 or $4. A cheaper option is to stop by a craft store and pick up the chocolate drops. You’ll get way more, but if you want to make one stop you can get everything you need for around $7 at the grocery store.

If you really want to splurge, get a $50-75 gift certificate for a spa treatment. Every woman likes a manicure, pedicure, or massage every once in awhile.

You don’t have to spend much — just spend your money wisely. It’s easy to get ripped off on this day of love.

Avoid extra fees on Valentine’s Day flowers

Love is in the air, but will you be in love with the price you pay to get your loved one flowers? The prices skyrocket around Valentine’s Day, but there are ways to reduce your cost.

First, make sure you’re not paying a middleman. It’s common in the online floral industry for a middleman to process your order. Sometimes, there are extra fees attached.

I conducted a test for NewsChannel 5, and ordered three sets of flowers. I placed two orders online for the same set of flowers, and the third arrangement I made by calling a local florist. Which one came out the best, and what’s the secret to avoiding extra fees? Watch the story below.

Plus, find out how long certain flowers last and the meaning behind them on the NewsChannel 5 Interactive Flower Information Center.