August 10, 2007

A Rose by Any Other Name ...

TEXAS RESIDENT LEROY GREER, of Missouri City, is not the brightest bulb in the lamp store. We know this because some time ago, Mr Greer sent his mistress flowers using the 1-800-FLOWERS order-gathering service. He naively told them to keep the transaction private. However, some time later, the marketing folks at 1-800-FLOWERS apparently sent a thank-you card to Mr Greer's marital home, where the long-suffering Mrs Greer came across it. She was then able to get a receipt for the purchase and promptly filed for divorce proceedings, according to the Above the Law legal blog.

Oops.

However, this being the United States of America, Mr Greer has done what any philandering, unfaithful husband would do in such a situation. He has filed a lawsuit against 1-800-FLOWERS and wants ... ONE MILLION DOLLARS! ... for his troubles. The whole story can be found here and here.

We shall see, I suppose, whether Mr Greer's case has any legs. However, one can certainly lambaste the cad for his poor judgment. Here at The Rant, we consider adultery a particularly pernicious and vile sin on moral and general principle grounds. Sundering the holy bonds of matrimony is wicked enough, but not having the guts to break things off beforehand is classless and wretched.

As such, this debit far outweighs the minor credit one would have to give Mr Greer for sending a dozen-long stemmed roses arranged with filler and greens, as well as a stuffed cuddly animal thingy, to his mistress. For this, he paid $100.64, including tax and service. The guy may be a louse, but he's a clever louse because he knew enough to send roses. A pity he had not sent the roses to his wife!

Interestingly enough, on the bottom of the receipt, Mrs Greer scrawled a nastygram to her soon-to-be ex-husband, which reads: "Be a man! If you got caught red-handed then don't still lie. Your T-Mobile has her number so why still lie?" I would suggest that Mrs Greer not hold her breath waiting for Mr Greer to suddenly reveal his chivalrous side, but also note this item suggests Mr Greer was not exactly the most careful guy in the world.

Indeed, had Mr Greer been a bit more sharp, he would have used a local florist. For one thing, local florists accept something called "cash," which leaves no records for the investigators. For another, local florists would have ensured he got the best possible bouquet -- both in terms of the bouquet's design and the flowers' quality and freshness -- and for a cheaper price.

When I was younger, I used order-gatherers to send flowers but now I always stick with local florists. In part, this is because of two bad experiences I had with an order-gathering service.

A few years ago, I had sent my mother flowers for her birthday and the bouquet was in such poor condition that my mother sent it back and got a new one delivered. I was downright mortified, as you can expect. My mother, thankfully, realized that her son was not the source of the problem, but as you can imagine it was highly embarrassing for me nonetheless. I mean, it's my Mom, for God's sake.

Another time, I had sent flowers to my mother but was horrified to learn from my father, late in the afternoon on the day they were supposed to arrive, that the flowers had not arrived on time. Fortunately, they arrived just a few minutes later but as you can imagine I was embarrassed and enraged at the whole situation.

Later, I learned a bit about how the floral business works, and how local florists don't make much money on the orders they receive from the big conglomerates. That helped me see why I had faced such troubles beforehand. Since local florists' own customers were far more valuable to them than the business from order-gatherers, it made sense they would pay the most attention to their own customers and then focus on those of the order-gatherers.

That's not, of course, to say that local florists would purposely give short-shrift to a faceless order: that is business and revenue, after all, and local florists are a hardworking and decent bunch. But let's say you had a situation where supply (of flowers, delivery drivers, etc.) was somehow limited, and a florist had to prepare bouquets for a few local customers and a few orders from outside. The florist would have every incentive in the world to do the best job with the local customers, while doing just a passable job with the outside orders. That's just simple economics. So the lesson for me was: to ensure the best possible service and quality, one ought go with a local florist. Even though the end result would be the same 98 times out of 100, I could rest assured knowing that in the event of a calamity, the local florist would make the maximum effort to treat my order as best he could. Plus, I wouldn't have to pay the $12.99 service fee.

The benefits of this strategy were made clear to me this past Valentine's Day, when New Hampshire was struck with a particularly awful blizzard. I'd had my eye on a beautiful girl and had been looking for the right time to ask her out. A few days prior to the holiday, she had mentioned in the course of conversation that she'd never been sent flowers, and I was shocked and horrified to learn this. So about half an hour later I went down to my local florist and innocently arranged for a bouquet to be delivered to her at work for Valentine's Day. (It was a nice bouquet, but nothing TOO forward, and I made sure to consult with the ladies at the shop about what exactly to send, and what to put on the card given the situation, because I'm a stickler about all things flower-related).

About the same time, a colleague of mine at the office had arranged, through an order-gatherer, to send flowers to his significant other.

A couple of days before Valentine's Day, I got a call from my local florist informing me about the blizzard, and they asked if they could deliver the flowers on Feb. 13. I was fine with this, as I figured it was better they arrive early than not at all. As it happened, the blizzard hit around noon on the 13th, but my flowers had already been delivered, MUCH to the delight of the girl to whom I had sent them. My friend, however, had not been so lucky. His flowers got delayed and when they eventually arrived AFTER the holiday, they had sadly perished. The constrasting outcomes cemented the lesson in my mind.

Sadly, my gambit did not work out in the end -- as it happened, the girl whom I thought was single was actually in a relationship. (Since then, I've met him; and based on that one meeting, I can say he's actually a really nice guy). But that's the way things go in life. Plus, when the next time for me to send flowers to a girl comes around, I have a hell of a good local florist on standby.

Posted by Benjamin Kepple at August 10, 2007 08:47 PM | TrackBack
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