Sending Flowers During Covid, For Many Reasons

Three weeks ago, a florist, Julia Gray, gave a bright bouquet of flowers to a customer in Queens – spring colors, by request. Seeing the accompanying card, which the sender had carefully fixed by telephone to Ms. Gray, a family incident occurred. The flowers were sent as an apology.

“It was a young lady, sending flowers to her aunt,” Ms. Gray said. “He had not seen his family for a year and a half.” When Ms. Gray tells the recipient that the flowers belong to her niece, her face burns. “People are understanding that time is of the essence,” Ms Gray said. “You can’t catch one.”

As the real manager of Donhauser Florist, An Astoria flower shop opened by her great-grandfather in 1889, Ms. Gray is used to tout the transaction of affection through bouquets. But the epidemic, she said, hastened the process.

“Sending flowers always has meaning, but it’s more serious now,” Ms. Gray said. “The message used to be short – ‘Happy birthday, love and so much love.’ Now people are writing paragraphs, and they are a lot more specific. I have to remind customers that this is just a small card. If people really have a lot to say, I will type and print it. “

During the lockout in various states in the last 11 months, many people have been inspired for a soul-searching campaign. This has probably been a period of uncharacteristic rumor, during which many people had no choice but to be alone with their thoughts. And when those ideas sometimes become meow criminals, the florists get a call.

“I wear my counselor’s hat regularly,” said John Harkins, who owns Harkins, Florist In New Orleans for 42 years. Mr. Harkins grew up in the floral business, but earned a degree in counseling and worked as a teacher. “I have broken people crying over the phone,” he said. “I want to be infinitely patient and kind. And you know, these are some people who really appreciate you. “

Mr. Harkins estimates that his business is up 50 percent compared to last year’s time. “My father told me when I was a youth that the flower business was a recession proof,” he said. “He started during the second dip of the Great Depression in 1937. He said, ‘When things really go bad, a man can’t go out and buy his wife a new car or mink coat, but He can buy a dozen red roses and looks like a big shot. ‘It’s a sort of hard time denial. That’s where the florist steps in. “

According to a recent survey conducted by the Society of American Florists, more than 80 percent of respondents reported an increase in holiday sales compared to 2019. In January, 1-800-Flowers, a major e-commerce retailer, announced what it was the highest quarterly revenue and profit in the company’s history, with total net revenue of $ 877.3 million, compared to 44.8% in the same quarter last year. Percent increase. The president and CEO, Chris McCann, estimated that about 22 million stems, including about 14 million roses, were distributed by the company for Valentine’s Day.

The epidemic success of the flower industry at the retail level has revealed our enthusiasm, if not a little disappointment, to nurture relationships from afar. Outside of the epidemic, friends and loved ones may have gathered at a bar or restaurant to celebrate special occasions. I wish, instead of saying this in person, we are all saying it with flowers.

And there is an underlying sorrow.

“It’s drenched to find that the reason someone sends flowers is because otherwise they would be in person,” said White Mclure, who runs the floral design studio Whit Haugen in Los Angeles. “I get choked up thinking about that.” Ms. McAlur also noted that, given the staggering number of Kovid-19-related deaths in Los Angeles, she is receiving a significant increase in condolences and sympathy orders.

“We may not be necessary in a food, shelter, clothing way, but mental health is essential, it is necessary to be connected to people,” Ms McElure said. “Our work is helping people stay connected during this time.”

Ms. Gray, too, has found her flower shop the first witness of epidemic casualties. After handing over an arrangement to a grief-stricken woman who had lost her husband to Kovid-19 several months earlier, Ms. Gray stopped crying in her car.

One of Ms. Gray’s clients, a regular, lives in Hawaii. Currently unable to return to New York, she has Ms. Gray’s flowers at her parents’ tomb in St. Elmhurst’s St. Michael’s Cemetery. “It’s interesting, she wasn’t ordering before the epidemic,” Ms Gray said. “But now we have a long discussion about what she wants for her mom and dad.”

Mr. Harkins has also seen an increase in funeral orders. Due to the capacity restriction on the funeral, those orders often now go directly to the bereaved’s home, when previously they were sent to the funeral home. And, surprisingly, “people are spending a lot of money to console their friends when they lose a pet,” Mr. Harkins said. “Often they don’t know what to say, so what I suggest is, ‘Let’s not mention pet and death, let’s just say’ send lots of love, ellipse ‘and sign your name.” “

More than ever, florists are on the front lines of their customers’ raw emotions: agents of agreement brought in to soothe grief or loneliness with fragrant symbols of newness.

“We are getting more deliveries to say hello and check in,” Ms Gray said. “This is a couple that we have just started taking during the epidemic. He lives in Brooklyn and he lives in Queens, taking care of his elderly mother. He sends her flowers every two weeks – beautiful arrangements, always thin, gorgeous long-stem roses. If there was not an epidemic, he could see it and not send its flowers. You should see the cards written by him. He is madly in love with her. They really got into a brawl, I think they broke up at one point. But they got back together. He kept sending flowers. “

Emily Scott, Owner Floricanvento Flowers In Harlem, said that customers and florists alike are conscious of the exaggerated sensitivity between the epidemic. “There have been a lot of deaths, and this is such a touching subject,” he said. “But whether it is a death or a new birth such as a great, positive occasion, there is still a lot of love that needs to be expressed.” As well as less obvious feelings: “There are a lot of nuances that can be accepted through flowers.”

In fact, some of Ms. Scott’s deliveries are meant to tie up ambiguous relationships, which present the challenge of expressing intent without misleading the recipient. “I had a boy say, ‘I want to give these flowers to my girl, but she is not really my girl.’ We have to explain the short notice we receive from customers to ensure that we are conveying the right message. ”

Ms Scott said she relies on the work of an emotional messenger: “I feel privileged to have a contact between the client’s feelings and the recipient.”

He said that to see the flowers can inspire the necessary successes in morale. “Even if it’s just pouring water out in a vase, it can be good for mental health,” she said. “Giving people flowers gives them a healthy, meditative moment. This may be what drives them out of the gutter of depression. People are sending flowers as a way to make people happy. “

When we can regroup until something blessed in the future, the small gardens we give each other will have to endure.

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