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Flowers as a Gift

This morning, as I was driving to the shop after a meeting, I started thinking about the floral seminar that I attended at the beginning of the month. Our speaker had called flowers a "Gift" and he was trying to have all of us (florists) think of our product as a "gift option". I knew what he was getting at and I agreed that sometimes we forget that flowers are one of many gift giving choices. Sometimes in my mind, I have set us apart from other gift retailers but the truth is that our product is one of many options that gift givers can choose from.

Now this got me to thinking how do flowers rank as gift? I’ve been in the business so long that sometimes it’s hard to think like a consumer or even a recipient of flowers. In an instant, I was 5 years old again. It was my first dance recital and my mom had given me a sweet little nosegay of carnations and babies breath, tied with a pink bow. If I close my eyes, I can still smell those flowers and I feel instantly happy at the memory. Suddenly I’m now 11. I placed 3rd in a silly little dance competition at a local mall. My best friends parents send me a cute arrangement of daisies. I still have a picture, proudly smiling with my flowers and my trophy. Ok, so I’m 13 and I’m in the hospital. I’m in pain, there’s no room ready for me and I’m waiting alone on a gurney in a hall way. I open my eyes and next to me is a tiny budvase with a single flower that’s had eyes and ears glued on to look like a poodle. Oh, how happy I was! I still smile when I think of it! Now I’m 16 and my Junior Prom date presents me with a sweet little wrist corsage of pale blue carnations that match my powder blue gown. I feel special and I proudly show the flowers in pictures my mom takes of me. Shortly after, it’s the funeral of my beloved grandfather and now I take a flower from his casket to press in a book. Fast forward, I’m 18 and it’s Valentine’s Day. I had just started dating the man who would become my husband. He has sent me the most adorable floral arrangement with a silly styrofoam heart and hugging bears. I still have those bears. It’s finally my wedding day. The smell of the flowers, the carnations, the roses, the stephanotis... It’s funny on that day they remind me of what it felt like to be a little girl on my birthday because the smell transported me back. Now, almost 23 years after my wedding day, the smell of carnations, roses and stephanotis reminds me the day that I truly became a woman. How did that happen, when did I grow up?

The truth is that as a child I always received a nosegay on my birthday and another at recital. I cried when my husband called another florist to have them deliver roses to me on our anniversary, even though I was a florist. I truly remember every single flower that was ever given to me, every corsage pressed in a book, every flower taken from a funeral.

So as I try to look at flowers from a different point of view, a view that I haven’t really seen in 20 years, my heart swells with pride. Truly, my job is not just selling flowers but helping people create memories. Strong emotional bonds to events and people. Well, there are certainly less pleasant ways to earn a living.
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