The Mass Produced Floral Assembly Line (Why Not To Order Mass Produced Flowers For Mother’s Day)

After graduating from the floral design program at SCROC (Southern California Regional Occupational Center), I pounded the pavement looking for paid work as a floral designer.  You don’t just sashay into a place like My Little Flower Shop and say “I’m here now, show me your centerpieces, teach me your aesthetic and I’ll revolutionize your tablescapes.” You have to pay your dues.  And pay I did.

My first gig was at a big national chain florist, in the run-up towards Valentine’s Day.  The kind with the “official” arrangements available everywhere. The shop I worked at is on a corner best known to hot-dog connossieurs as home to one of LA’s historic hot dog stands.  But my workspace wasn’t street facing.  It wasn’t anything facing.  It was a shipping container. One end was left open, and one side lined with tables.  There were five of us, who stood in the shipping container eight hours a day making “dozen reds” (a dozen red roses with baby’s breath and ferns).  We made them, and then walked them to another shipping container across the alley, filled with shelves.  This started 10 days before Valentine’s, and kept going right through that day. Dozen red after dozen red. Chili-dog smell upon chili-dog smell.

An arrangement for Mom with heart and soul!

When one of our My Little Flower Shop arrangements arrives somewhere, the recipient can see that we are passionate about what we do.  When a girl got a “dozen red” that had been wilting in a shipping containers for 8 days, what do you think she saw?  I haven’t gotten a chance to drive by and check, but I bet dollars to donuts that a shipping conatiner full of underemployed, depressed designers is out there knocking out “Mom Bokays.”  Is that what you want dropped off at your Mom’s house?  Didn’t think so.

So skip the cookie-cutter ProFlowers, FTD, Teleflora nonsense.  Go with a real business who will make a real, unique arrangement with real feeling.  And who would never put a designer in a shipping container.

Live well, and love well.


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HYelp! The cry for help with Yelp! issues heard ’round the nation

The Yelp RV.
Image via Wikipedia

HYelp! HYelp! My Little Flower Shop is the latest in a long line of wedding businesses to find that Yelp! seems to have a really unfair, arbitrary non-algorithm that pulls down positive reviews left by real customers, leaving subjective, often unfair reviews to sink your online reputation.

Do you Yelp?  Yelp (officially with an exclamation point) is a crowd sourcing review website that is often handy.  When you’re in Omaha, how else would you know where locals get the best Thai food? Unfortunately, some vocal (and prolific) customers have taken the tool that’s meant to share information with the community, and begun to wield it as a weapon against businesses that have displeased them in any way whatsoever.  Say, by telling them we are closed on a holiday weekend, and can’t take their flower order.

So the kicker is, the people at Yelp! know that there are also businesses that try to “game” their system by putting up fake positive reviews.  So they check them all, and pull down ones they think looks suspicious – often they are 100% true, from happy customers.  To top it off there are the rumors of the sales calls where people offer to wipe out bad reviews or restore good ones with the purchase of advertising.  It’s gone as far as groups of small businesses suing the company for extortion. Patt Morrison, Southern California KPCC radio journalist, covered it on her call-in show, with this chat with Yelp! spokesman Vince Sollito. (Patt also has her own hot dog on the menu at Pink’s Hot Dogs.  Now that’s an accomplishment).

My Little Flower Shop needs your help on Yelp!  Are you a happy bride? Happy floral customer?  Please leave a geniune review for us.  We’ll hope that some of them stick!