“Happy Valentine’s Day, Honey! Sorry, the flowers caught traffic and wouldn’t make it there on time.”
She is away at a psychology conference in Austin Texas. The night before she flew off we had lobsters to celebrate Valentine’s in advance. With her usual charm, she tried to learn what I had in stock for her for the Valentine’s Day. I am never good at keeping surprises, not even our engagement proposal. However, I stood my ground and kept my lips sealed. “Not telling you, but you will love it,” I assured her.
What’s the surprise then? You may wonder.
Hershey’s chocolate? No, she never liked chocolate.
Stuffed bear hug with a personalized card and candy treat? Sounds fun, but lack romance.
Upon her checking in to the local Radissons Hotel & Suites, I asked for the room number. She was bit tickled and asked what it was for. “Nothing, just want to know,” I replied. Silly? Yeah, but didn’t have a more witty line on the fly.
After virtually roaming every floral shop in town, I settled with a Be My Love Floral Bouquet – red roses and carnations exquisitely arranged with white Asiatic lilies and chrysanthemums in a ruby red glass vase. I was certain that the flowers would adorn yet another beautiful and romantic chapter in our life.
“May I order a flower bouquet for delivery please?” I asked.
“Sure. For tomorrow? Valentine’s Day?” the florist responded.
“Yes. For tomorrow,” I confirmed.
After taking down the delivering address and my card info, he asked for my phone number and email address.
“Do I need to provide my email address?” I wasn’t ready to put my email account in any harm’s way – subject to endless spam.
“Yes, we want to make sure that the delivery is on time. If we couldn’t reach you by phone, we will email you,” reasoned the salesperson. They sound really responsible. You may wonder, so have I, until things gone south.
The service fee was over $16. Yes, it’s not a typo. “It’s Valentine’s day rate. Everyone is paying that much,” as the salesperson put it.
“You sure that you guys will deliver the flowers on time, correct?” I asked. I wouldn’t pay $16 delivery fee if they weren’t ready to do it on time.
“Absolutely. I can assure you,” promised the salesperson.
So the order has been placed. There is nothing left but waiting.
I even mentally run the episode in my head, imagining a delivery person at her hotel door.
“Who is it?” she asks.
“This is for Mengyao,” he hands over the flowers.
Yes, I can see the smile on her face. The joy runs through her. I even had my phone ready for her call. What a fantastic Valentine’s Day – near or far, together or apart. I had it all planned out.
Not exactly … here comes the reality, the evil floral shop.
After a numerous call to the front desk, no flowers have been delivered. I went through my web browser history and dug out the merchant’s number (1-800-848-5510). Six calls, none went through. Their facebook page states that they are no longer taking any orders for Valentine’s Day. The full romance I had installed in the bouquet started to escape.
Every call to the front desk, every attempt to reach the Evil Flower Shop bled the romance a little, until there was nothing but utter disappointment and abhorrence. How could they do this to any customer? Let along on Valentine’s Day?
The wind became chiller. Folks started to file out of the café. Every time someone leaves the café, a gust of fridge wind breaks through and imposes a lasting shiver upon the dwindling customers.
At 5:32, I received an email, most likely automated, from the floral shop. It states:
|FROM: WWW.FLOWERSDEPOT.COM EMAIL:FLOWERSDEPOT980@GMAIL.COM DEAR (addressed to me) : DELIVER OR CANCEL
WE COULD NOT GET YOUR ORDER DELIVERED TO (her name) AS THE FLORIST WERE
OVERBOOKED FOR THE HOLIDAY. WE WILL DELIVER YOUR ORDER WITHIN THREE (3)
BUSINESS DAYS AS PER OUR DELIVERY POLICY.
IF YOU DO NOT WISH THIS TO BE DONE, PLEASE REPLY TO THE EMAIL ABOVE, AND WE
WILL CANCEL YOUR ORDER.
SO SORRY WE COULD NOT BE OF SERVICE TO YOU ON THIS BUSY HOLIDAY.
“Please tell me this is a Valentine’s Joke, a silly one. I have paid close to $80 for a flower bouquet and now you are refusing to deliver it as scheduled.” I pleaded.
“I have asked time and again (review your recordings, if you have them) whether you will be able to deliver it on Valentine’s Day, and the answers were resounding ‘ABSOLUTELY,’” I argued.
“I refuse to accept your overbooked at this late in the day (5:32pm). Deliver my flowers as you promised. You’ve already successfully drained every last drop of romance out of this effort. Deliver my flowers as we agreed. She is there at a conference and not going to stay around three days to wait for your flowers,” I reasoned.
No responses from the shop. They have gone silent. This is war. I mentally declared war on this ill-managed floral shop (www.flowersdepot.com). They were super good at charging extra fees, but equally good at failing their promises. So where does this leave my Valentine’s Day.
The flowers never made it there on time. The floral shop resent the automated email and once again promising to deliver it within the next three business days.
My valentine has been very good sport about it. She appreciates the effort as much as she would have with the flowers.
The flowers never made it, but the underlying emotion has, fully.
Happy Valentine’s Day, Melon!