Shhhh, save a few bucks on flowers for your Valentine! We won’t tell!

OK, Guys, Hello.  Guys?  Dink, Dink!  HELL-O!  Yeah, men, I’m talkin’ to you today, ’cause you don’t have a lot of time left to think up your Valentine’s Day plans for your Sweetie.  You can’t forget about it and get away with it, considering all the advertising on television, in magazines and newspapers, even on radio for all those dozens of roses and accompanying chocolates.  $19.99 for a dozen roses at Proflowers with a TV coupon code, you say?  Pretty attractive price, right?  See and hear the fine print, and add the shipping, which in this example runs a low, low $9.99 plus an extra $4.99 for Valentine’s Day delivery, plus all the other tiny little fees, and you end up with this:

Order Total

One Dozen Rainbow Valentine’s Day Roses + 12 FREE $39.98:        $29.98

Large Ginger:   Free!

Standard Delivery        $9.99

Guaranteed Valentine’s Day Delivery  $4.99

Care & Handling          $2.99

Tax:     $3.36

TOTAL:           $51.31

The advertised discount code didn’t work so I was unable to get the $19.99 price.  However, I did get both $10 off the regular price and another dozen free – wow – plus a free “standard” ginger jar, which is clear.  Other vase styles were available – for additional charges, of course.  These aren’t long-stemmed, either.  They are the shorter version, which will probably still make your sweetheart swoon nicely.  The chocolates were 6/$9.99.  You can see how such a low, low advertised price can turn into a major expense fast.

There were a myriad of other possible charges:

Guaranteed Valentine’s Day Delivery

From $4.99 to $9.99

Monday Delivery

From $4.99 to $9.99

Saturday Delivery

$9.99

Rush Delivery

From $4.99 to $9.99

Morning Delivery

$14.99

Alaska/Hawaii Delivery

$19.99

“Care and Handling???”

And I hope you don’t mind your posies presented in the afternoon, Tuesday through Friday.  And not in a rush.  Oops, Valentine’s Day is a Tuesday….and for Proflowers, even the day before Valentine’s day resulted in an additional charge, unless you were okay with “flexible delivery,” meaning your blossoms could be delivered either Valentine’s Day or the day before.

So how do you save money and still get your sweetie some stems?  Thought you’d never ask!  If you must use a long-distance delivery service, I suggest going online to find a Teleflora or FTD arrangement you like the appearance of, then finding the telephone number of a florist near your honey with an online directory such as www.yellowpages.com.  Or, simply key “florists in <your desired location>” into your search engine and see what it comes up with.  Then, call directly.  Describe the arrangement or give the title and the price you are willing to pay for “something similar to but not necessarily the same as.”  The florist won’t have to pay the franchise fees to the service and you’ll reap the savings.  Remember, though, that if it comes with a special vase or accompaniment, you might not have access to it without paying those fees.  Florists can’t make trademarked arrangements unless they pay the services for their use.  You can also give the florist a free hand – they are trained in making creative arrangements, and your recipient will end up with a less commonplace look for their lovelies.

Shop owners appreciate not having to pay fees to such services, as customers are disappointed when they receive less for their money – and prices for flowers have risen with everything else.  When you call a florist directly with a good idea of what you want to send or the title of a similar arrangement, they can make up something fabulous within the budget you’ve set and deliver – sometimes for free – your sentiment to your Valentine without intermediaries.  So get on the stick and call them directly, ’cause you are running out of time!

Today’s Thrifty Tip:  to keep your flowers fresher longer when you don’t have those handy packets of preservative,  use this recipe to make your own mix:  combine  2 tablespoons white vinegar,  2 tablespoons sugar,  1/2 teaspoon household chlorine bleach, 1 quart warm water.  Change the mixture every 3 to 4 days to keep blooms fresher longer.  Be sure to remove any leaves below the water line.

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