This post is a little different...a little more personal.
Last month my Grandfather and my best friend's step-father passed away and I experienced funerals from the client side rather than the florist side--up close and personal.
My grandfather's funeral was in Louisiana and I couldn't attend. I thought about sending flowers, but I don't know the local florist and I really didn't want my name on an arrangement that I didn't get to see or personally approve. So I didn't send anything. That was hard. I wanted to be there and since I couldn't, I wanted to show my feelings but there just wasn't any way to do so that I was comfortable with.
My friend's step-father's funeral was close and she asked me to design the casket piece. I know how important this was to her and her family, so I really felt the pressure to get it just right. I don't know, hopefully I did. Several people thanked me, but it's just hard to tell when emotions are so heavy and so strong.
These experiences really brought home how important flowers are in the grieving process. They are a visible, often beautiful expression of our feelings for eachother. They say what words can't say sometimes. They show that we care, that we love, that we're thinking about each other even when we can't be close.
Unfortunately I also saw something that really, really bothered me. Several local shops (no, I'm NOT going to name any names) sent flowers that contained flowers that were not in prime condition. In fact, they were obviously old and dying, visibly wilted and dropping petals. My friend even brought it up to me later. While she appreciated each and every gift and thought, she easily recognized that the florist had sent old stuff. And that's just sad. I dunno-maybe they thought that since the person sending wasn't close & wouldn't see the flowers, it wouldn't matter. But it does. This is the kind of thing that makes everyone afraid to send flowers. It's part of why I didn't send flowers for my grandfather.
It's important to know what you are sending for a funeral. You, as a customer put trust in us. Unfortunately, maybe you shouldn't. Ask for photos to be sent to you. (Hopefully, the florist will offer without being asked. I do.) Look for shops with photos of their own work on the website. (Many good shops use stock photos. Unfortunately, you just can't tell if you're getting an award winning designer...or someone trying to clean the scraps out of the cooler.) Read the reviews and leave your own review whenever you can...Google, Yahoo, Yelp, wherever. As a florist, I can't imagine taking advantage of my customers like this. If you've ever had this happen to you, I'm sorry!