myspace layouts, myspace codes, glitter graphics Totally Biased Book and Movie Review: Mother's Day Sort of Rant Rather Than Review

Friday, May 18, 2007

Mother's Day Sort of Rant Rather Than Review

... I apologize. I promise to get back to reviewing and stop ranting by this weekend. Really. In the meantime, just let me vent a bit.

I know, I know, I have been kind of slow lately in updating this site. Call it lethargy. Call it laziness. Call it, The weather has finally warmed up and the air conditioners were not yet put back in. Mostly, though, call it Mother’s Day week, a.k.a. Hell Week Number Two, in the florist’s vocabulary. It has taken me all week to regain my ability to focus my eyes and stop the drool from escaping my mouth when I bend my head to the left. I don’t know if I have mentioned how the new owners at the shop do not really know how to, well, you know, arrange flowers? Guess who that left to do 98% of the bouquets? Indeed. Because of that lovely holiday, my life has been a series of flowers, flowers, and flowers, with the occasional plant and balloon thrown in….vases, baskets, and dish gardens…ordering, greening, waiting on a billion people. Not to mention trying to convince that last-minute Larry that his mom will indeed like something out of the cooler even better than the fantastic bouquet that he is envisioning in his mind.

This is what I call, for lack of a better term, not wanting to use the many cruel and derogatory terms in my head, a “Created Bouquet”. This occurs when someone comes in to buy flowers for someone else and goes directly to the flower selection, looking it over with a critical, and of course, expert eye. I admit this is usually women, but occasionally a man will do it, too, and he isn’t always gay. They almost always immediately tell me what they don’t like. And yes, it is usually roses. No, not what the person they are actually buying the flowers for doesn’t like, but what they, the purchaser, do not like. This has never made a great deal of sense to me. Although you may indeed be one of those rare individuals who truly dislikes roses, and I suppose there are a few, though why they always seem to be proud of this nonsensical character trait baffles me… the most beautiful flower, the most sweetly scented flower, lush and fragrant and absolutely gorgeous, but it is with weird pride that people declare, “Oh, I don’t like roses!” I suppose in our search for individualism in this copy-cat world, everyone has to take joy in being different, no matter how small, or strange, that difference may be… anyway, if you are indeed one of those individuals, that doesn’t mean the person you are buying for is, too. In fact, logic argues against it, since I have seen the happy recipients of rose arrangements for many years, and it is, in fact, most of the population that likes, or even loves, roses. Do we use this odd determinant when selecting other gifts for people? Imagine it.

“Oh, that is a cute blouse, I could get it for her, but it is a size small, and I don’t wear a small.” Or “I see that new Stephen King book is out and I bet she hasn’t read it yet, but I don’t like suspense novels, so I will get her a romance novel instead.” Or “Wow, the box of godiva chocolates is on sale, I could get that for a gift…ah, but I am on a diet. I guess I will buy her some lettuce.”

You see what I mean? It’s just weird, choosing flowers for someone else based on your ideas of good/bad/likeable/unlikeable.

I got off track, how unusual for me… ok, so the created bouquet buyer then starts to select the exact flowers they want in the arrangement they are buying. “I will take a couple of those lilies,” they say, pointing to the alstroemeria. “And three of the daisies,” waving negligently at the stems of daisies, which incidentally have six blooms on each stem, so if I were to cut off three of them, the stems would be an inch long and not very good for anything. “Just don’t use any roses,” they inevitably say, pointing at the lisianthus. “I don’t like roses.” Did I mention this is always said with a measure of pride? So after they have picked out their four flowers, and a vase that needs at least twenty to fill it up, they usually tell me how to arrange it. This is probably beautiful in their mind’s eye, but I will tell you, even if I follow their directions to the nth degree, somehow it never, ever looks they way they planned for it to. I will tell you why, although this is only my theory and hasn’t ever been tested. This is because florists actually do this for a living, and we kind of know how to do it, and the rest of you don’t. I have heard many reasons for this created instruction. Most people say they don’t like “arranged” looking flowers, usually with the same note of glee that they announced their dislike of roses. “I just like them to look like they have been stuffed in a jar.” However, when I hand them the flowers they have picked out, and a jar, they suddenly can’t just stuff them in there and make it look quite the way they envisioned. So they tell me to do it. Sigh. Now, I can understand if they mean they don’t like the stiff, fan-shaped arrangements that are done for funerals, but when they tell me they prefer the “Martha Stewart” look, I want to scream. Do they think Martha is not arranging those flowers before she allows the photographer to snap away? (or more likely, having her on-call professional florist whip it together?) In fact, most Martha-type of arrangements take much, much longer than a traditional-looking bouquet, simply to achieve that artless, “just stuck in a vase” look. And she uses masses of flowers to achieve it. She has unlimited amounts of flowers and can virtually stack them on top of one another to achieve the look. Normal people don’t have that kind of money. A “simple, elegant bowl of hydrangeas” that you see Martha set on the table, marveling at the sweet, “unarranged-ness” of it, probably costs a hundred bucks and takes an hour to get to look just right.

At holidays, the ideal customer is the one who tells me, “Just do whatever you think she will like. You have always done great before”, and give me an amount they want to spend and tell me what to put on the card. I love those people. Especially those who realize in this little town, being the main florist, I probably do know what their mothers will like more than they do. On a holiday such as Mother’s Day, it is the worst time for someone to come in and choose their three and a half flowers and gigantic vase and order me to “just put in there, no greens or anything, not like, arranged.” And then of course, they ask for it to be “big”… and “I want to spend around twenty five bucks.” If there is anyone reading this who thinks $25 will get you a big beautiful bouquet, I am sorry to break it to you, but gum is no longer a penny and you can’t get a newspaper and a cuppa joe down at the diner for a dime anymore, either. And going to the talkies cost more than a nickel, too.

I admit that possibly, for sentimental value, you can love a “created” bouquet… I suppose. It could be considered the floral equivalent of a hand-made card, brought home clutched in one grimy fist, and presented to Mom along with her breakfast in bed of cheerios. But once that kindergartener has grown up and holds a job, drives a car and hopefully pays his taxes…well, at that point, most moms would like a “created” bouquet about as much as a hand-made card. I know, I know- there are exceptions to this. There are no doubt some moms who are reeling in horror at the suggestion that they wouldn’t like something that their darling child made up, on his own. And if you are one of them, madam, you are a rare creature. You will just have to take my word for it.

I have spoken to enough unhappy recipients of “created” bouquets. I am the one who has to take the call, while a woman on the other end is shrieking about “the most ugly” , “lopsided”, etc… and then tactfully try to explain that her child picked those flowers out himself, and told me exactly how he wanted them arranged. Usually at this point, the mother in question will grunt, “oh.” But she is sour, I tell you, sour and unpleasant, and I know that deep in he heart she blames me for this fiasco of flowers, and believes I should have convinced Junior to buy her a dozen roses.

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Anonymous Anonymous said...

I admit it, I would have liked a vase of roses instead of the sad little plastic sleeve of daisies and broken tulips that I got. I am a materialistic terror of a mother!

12:37 PM  
Blogger Alasdair said...

Brilliant! And too true. Especially the $25 part. And the huge vase part. And... anyway, brilliant.

3:59 PM  

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