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A lot of talk is happening right now in our industry about wire services, order gathers and the general condition of the flower business. I have many opinions on where we were and where we are going but this blog really isn't about that. My main concern right now is being able to handle my customers outgoing flower orders.

Truth be told, this past Mother's Day holiday became a nightmare. I know for sure, that there were nice, hard working shops out there that really wanted us to fill their orders and we wanted them to fill ours. The problem? Order gathers and even completely choked up our computer systems by sending us orders for product that we did not have, below our stated minimums with unrealistic timelines. Yikes, we had orders coming in quicker than we could see if we could even do them to the point that my FTD mercury machine ended up being suspended for a good part of the holiday (not to mention that my modem broke and FTD was not able to get me a new one until the Tuesday after the holiday). We found that with phone calls back and forth, we were able to get our out of town orders completed by reliable florists, and we found shops to take care of ours but come on, gang. Isn't that what our computer systems were supposed to do? When did it go from them being useful on a holiday to being completley worthless?? When did it become ok for them to slame us with literally 100's of orders and the penalize us if we are not able to fill them exactly as the recipe states. No shop could possibly carry every single flower and container that they want. When did we go from being floral designers, hand creating a product to being mass production machines that benefit large corporations?

Anyway, the point of this is that I am concerned that those of us truly local florists are all using a system that is supposed to allow us to send orders to each other but that system is being made useless. What are we going to do about it? Honestly, I have no idea. I have already talked to my Teleflora rep about how to block certain shop codes such as certain order gatherers but do I want to do that year round? Probably not. If anyone out there has an answer to this problem, I'd love to hear it.  


  1. We have had the same problem, not just Mother's Day but in the past several holidays. We have also talked to our Teleflora rep about it. Right now, we have someone in what we call "Orcon" (order control) and they determine whether or not we can fill the orders and if not then refuses them. It's a very stressful job for the holiday because that person spends an unbelievable amount of time refusing orders! I know thats not a solution but I wanted you to know we feel your pain!

    I have spoken to several local florists in the Indianapolis area and they also tell me that they are forced to refuse orders because they are unable to fill as requested. So, my question is: Who is accepting the orders? or are these order gatherers having to call the customer to cancel the order?

  2. I'm not a florist, but wanted to say that I support the local florist (Go, Gillespie!). I think that I have ordered one item that was shown on Gillespie's own website (my son chose it for his great-grandma's birthday). Usually, I call tell them what it is for, give some idea of type (planter, cut, balloons...) and they make a beautiful arrangement for us. We have never been disappointed by any of the orders they have filled for us.

    General people probably don't realize that FTD doles out the orders to local florists. They don't understand the system.

  3. After our 20 year membership with FTD,
    WE QUIT !
    We were tired of their business practices. We were loosing money and customers. We quit in December and still haven't gotten our last payment from them. They have been holding over $1300.00 of ours for over 120 days. "part of their policy" "in case something is reported late" We are shocked and angry. Instead of finding a way to help us stay members they found another way to penalize us.
    As far as Teleflora goes, we have been rejecting undervalued orders and from order gathering shops, with a comment that says,
    "We can not afford to fill undervalue orders"
    We would much rather fill our local customer orders, while making a profit, then give away our service/product for someone else to gain.
    One last subject... well it's really a question.
    Why in the product description on Teleflora headquarters orders, is the product price (59.95) but they really only give you $49.95, and they have charged the customer $74.95, is that just hope you'll fill it to the first value? - That's how we loose. How many times have you faced a customer complaint (via headquarters) that it doesn't look like the deluxe version they ordered on Or do you fill the order with extra flowers even though you don't have the money? I'm really worried about this. I have expressed my deep concern to Teleflora.
    They got back to me and said it was a "computer glitch" and would be fixed shortly.

  4. The time has come for florists to quit wire services completely. I quit TF as of Feb 1 and have a very nice independent web site. I advise my customers to call a florist direct when they need flowers out of town. For those old time customers that don't want to be bothered with that I call a florist direct for them or send it through FSN.This Mother's Day I delivered 50 more arrangements than last year when I was TF. It seems scarey to make such a change but we knew the time had come to do away with our dependence on the wire service and market to our local customers and web orders. So far it's been great. I have more energy to concentrate on my shop when I'm not dealing with under min. orders.

  5. Thank you everyone for your comments. Time will tell if florists will continue to need the wire services for sending and receiving orders. I do appreciate their other services but I feel that the world is changing and perhaps their business model is not longer as viable.

  6. Hi,
    I am new with the blog and would appreciate you get your advise how to refuse undervalue orders on holidays since the wire services usually send orders about 2 or 3 weeks ahead. I know that if you refuse their orders a lot, they will call you and getting angry why you reject their orders and threat that will stop sending orders to your shop.
    Many thanks for advises from you


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