Consumer rant: 1-800-FLOWERS

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.



9 Responses to Consumer rant: 1-800-FLOWERS

  1. ceiblogger June 2, 2012 at 3:12 pm #

    Three years ago, I vowed never to do business with them again. My mother’s favorite flower is the yellow rose. I ordered through 1-800-flowers. They sent a yellow arrangement. When I contact them they refer me to their policy that allows for substitutions. Really? I ordered a specific flower for a specific reason AND for my mother, who I happen to think is pretty darn special, and you think “hey, yellow is yellow is yellow?” I’ll spare you the rest of the details. Suffice to say, I carried the issue far enough to understand, that company culture and policy were at the heart of the bad customer service. Buyer beware.

  2. Amy June 2, 2012 at 3:20 pm #

    They are the worst! Three years ago I ordered flowers for a funeral – they completely screwed up the delivery and order. I will never use them again and always give them a thumbs down. They suck.

  3. svsalon June 2, 2012 at 5:52 pm #

    My hub’s grandma died a little over a week ago. I ordered flowers through the funeral home’s interface, which doesn’t show the vendor. I put specific instructions that the flowers were to be there for the graveside service. Hub told me he was told that the florist couldn’t do it in time but the flowers would be there later in the day (after everyone had gone home, no doubt). Ugh. Reading your story makes me wonder if the funeral home was using a widget to got to something like 800 flowers and they messed up. I’m annoyed because now I have to spend time fighting this as I don’t want to pay for (somebody’s) poor service.

  4. Mule Breath June 3, 2012 at 12:00 am #

    With all of the fiascos I’ve suffered via .com florists, candy delivery and just about every gift purveyor I’ve tried… I’m about ready to buy gifts at the store and make delivery myself.

    The only consistent success I’ve enjoyed has been sending books via Amazon.

    P.S. Avoid too.

  5. Anonymous June 3, 2012 at 7:34 pm #

    A tip: I ALWAYS use a local florist shop, just do a search for florists in the city and state the recipient is in. Quality and service will be infinitely better!

  6. Eric Miles June 5, 2012 at 1:10 am #

    The real story of this whole mess is that these companies are not the florist company providing the flowers and delivery. They merely take orders from customers and redirect them to a local florist who pays a fee for the referral (commission). I think these florists are just as bad as the order company. I’d suggest calling a local florist near the recipient and giving a direct order. They need the business and will provide better service.

  7. Anonymous June 5, 2012 at 2:22 pm #

    Use Yelp to screen local florists.

  8. Monica Joy June 5, 2012 at 4:45 pm #

    Last year my husband sent me the crappiest arrangement from 1-800 Flowers. The card read, “Love you see you soon. Love, Tony”. My husband is not named Tony and this was not his message to me. After bringing home the sad little vase and wilting buds it was aparent those were not the flowers he ordered either. He too had a similar experience trying to get a refund. He now knows my favorite local flower shop and to never send me flowers in a box ever again.

  9. Thomas Cameron June 6, 2012 at 5:01 am #

    I had a similar train wreck of an experience on Mother’s Day. It was a complete cluster ****, they sent an arrangement about 1/2 the size of the pic, and it didn’t get there til the day after Mother’s Day.

    Never ever again will I use those idiots.

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