This post has significant updates at the bottom since its original posting.
It’s rare that I go on a tirade against bad service. In the case of 1-800-flowers, I’m more than happy to make an exception. It is, however, the only thing in this pathetic situation I’m happy about.
I have a close friend in Houston who has been ill for way too long, and this week has been particularly difficult for her. Thinking that I wanted at least one little positive thing to happen to her this week, yesterday I ordered flowers to be delivered to her condo. I used 1-800-flowers.
By about 5 pm I got the email notification that the flowers had been delivered. By late in the evening, after she had said nothing to me about them, I knew something was wrong. I asked her if she’d received a delivery from me earlier.
She replied with words to the effect of “oh, was that you? I wondered about that,” then told me the full story. She’d been on a conference call for her job as the flower delivery fool had tried to call her. Apparently, the security gate at her condo complex had gotten the best of him. After getting off her conference call and listening to the delivery fool’s voicemail, she called him back, no later than ten minutes after he had been at her complex and called her.
She told me that not only was the delivery fool unwilling to double back and make the delivery, but that in the process, he was rude to her.
So, to review, 1-800-flowers failed to deliver the arrangement I had paid for. Then they were rude to the person the flowers were supposed to cheer up. And they lied to me in sending me a confirmation that the flowers had been delivered, when in fact they had not.
Incensed, I called them late last night, and connected with some badly-trained buffoon who assured me it would be taken care of, in such a way that left little doubt they would put as little effort into it as possible.
Meanwhile, I took to twitter to make sure others knew what they’re getting into when they order stuff from this half-assed operation. I got an auto-response (a grammatical tragedy) from their “customer service” rep (read: crisis management flack) to follow and direct message them so that the issue could be resolved (read: take it private so potential customers can’t see the extent to which we suck). It wasn’t immediately clear to me that it was an automated response with no humans on the other end, until after I noted that Senator Leticia Van de Putte had replied to my original tweeted complaint, and as a result she received the same auto-response (which was either another grammatical tragedy, or an insult to a Senator). Also, after I dutifully followed their instructions, followed them, and direct messaged them, they quickly sprang into action by doing…nothing. Except for another auto-response this morning, again asking me to do what I’ve already done: follow them and direct message them so that the issue can be resolved. Get a clue, losers: I can’t follow you any more than I already have. I’m following the ever-living crap out of you. And I’ve already direct messaged the bejesus out of you. But still no reply, and no flowers.
So thanks, 1-800-flowers: you wasted my money. You wasted my time. You not only failed to make somebody feel better, you made them feel worse. And you’ve lost a customer forever. For all these precious gifts from you, here’s a little delivery in return, from me to you:
Update: I just received an email from this sorry-assed company, which included the following: “We would like to inform you that we have scheduled a redelivery of your order on 06/02/12 at no additional cost.” SERIOUSLY?? No additional cost? How magnanimous of them, to do today what they were supposed to do yesterday, all without charging me more! Holy crap, these people are a waste of skin.
Update #2: In my discussions with 1-800-Flowers, I asked for three things: that the rude delivery dork apologize to the intended recipient for his rude behavior to her, that the flowers be delivered immediately, and that I be refunded my money because of the company’s indefensible handling of this situation. I got only one of those three things immediately: the delivery dork did call the recipient and apologize. When my friend told me that delivery dork had called, she also mentioned that delivery dork had told her that for reasons unknown to him, the order had been canceled.
A full hour later, I got an email from a 1-800-Flowers representative, informing me that their company policy would allow for either delivery of the flowers, or a refund, but not both, and that they awaited my decision. An odd circumstance, seeing as how I already knew from Delivery Dork that 1-800-Flowers had already canceled the order. The representative also informed me that I would be mailed at $25 gift certificate as an apology. I replied to the company to cancel my order and issue my refund, but that they could save the postage on their silly gift certificate, since I am clearly never utilizing their services again.
In what I thought would be a clever twist, I then ordered a similar flower arrangement from 1-800-Flowers’ competitor, Pro Flowers/FloristExpress. Even including expedited delivery fee, Pro Flowers was less expensive than 1-800-Flowers, and I was poised to write a final update praising Pro Flowers for coming through for me.
Unfortunately, I’m unable to do so: after hours of back-and-forth customer service SNAFUs of their own, despite their guarantee that they could deliver the flowers within four hours of the order being placed, Pro Flowers finally admitted to me that they would be unable to fulfill the order at all today, and would instead issue a refund. But at least they weren’t liars like 1-800-Flowers. They were, however, just as incompetent.
That said, for your future reference, if you ever want to have flowers not delivered, Pro Flowers fails to deliver them at a significantly lower price than 1-800-Flowers fails to deliver them.
And to my ill friend, I apologize for my utter defeat in what at first appeared to be a simple task. Here are the only flowers you will see from me today:
Final update: this happened.