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THE CITY REBORN FROM THE ASHES OF AMERICA'S MOST DISASTROUS FOREST FIRE
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From My Window

Issue Date: March 1, 2017

Buy Local

By Jane Thibodeau Martin


Despite my "no gifts" request for Valentine's Day my ever-thoughtful husband ordered me roses from a heavily-advertised on-line flower delivery service. It's one he's used before with good results " and it was not FTD. That's all I'll say about the identity of the company before I tell you my tale of woe.

The flowers arrived on Feb. 13 via Fed Ex, beautifully boxed and in two separate bouquets wrapped with cellophane. I heard the truck pull in our driveway, and took the box inside immediately. The roses looked perfect in the box when I opened it " still in bud, with luxuriant green leaves on the long stems.

But when I cut the cellophane off the first bunch to trim the stems and put them in a vase, a very weird thing happened. The first rose I picked up immediately shed all its leaves, and some petals as well. I was rather startled, since they looked so good, but as I picked up the next roses each one also shed every single leaf and many petals. So, while I hoped for different results opening the second bunch, I used the video feature of my I- phone to record the results as I cut the cellophane on the second bunch. That bunch, if anything, shed more petals than the first; in addition to every single leaf. The result was a vase of roses with totally naked stems, with a petal or two periodically continuing to waft off as I looked at them. It reminded me of the scene in the movie "Beauty and the Beast," where a flower continues to slowly drop petals to mark time running out for the life of the Beast. My sink, meanwhile, was full of rose foliage and a heap of red petals.

I contacted the company via e-mail at their customer service web page, and offered to forward the video, but they declined to see it. The contact apologized most profusely and promised a new shipment to replace it on the following day. Since that was Valentine's Day I was skeptical " it is a peak time of flower deliveries. But I trusted the apology.

On Feb. 14; no flowers. I guessed they got caught up in the holiday delivery rush, but dashed off an e-mail of inquiry. I got another profuse apology; an assurance the flowers would arrive on the 15th, and was a bit more confident a delivery would arrive.

But no; and after yet another e-mail; no replacement flowers on the 16th either. At this point I finally looked at the company's web page on line, and it was loaded with complaints from customers about missed deliveries; poor quality flowers; incorrect flowers sent; and overcharging. It began to dawn on me that I was going to have to give up on straightening this mess out; and since we were going to be away over the weekend and unable to receive a replacement delivery I attached my 10 e-mail string of correspondence with their customer service team, told them I did not want a replacement delivery; and to please credit my husband's credit card for the charge.

I got a prompt response from customer service asking that I fill out a form listing our order number; date of delivery; recipient's name; sender's name, on and on.

At this point I got "grumpy." (I was actually something else, but that term is not really appropriate for a newspaper.) I responded that it would seem the 10 e-mail chain attached should provide adequate information by itself with no form needed, and then, for the first time, attached the video of the flowers being opened.

This seemed to immediately have the desired effect, and his credit card was refunded. My guess is they did not want to see my video posted on social media.

It is astonishing that such a large and heavily-advertised service would have such a fiasco on Valentine's Day, but it certainly made for a good story. It's fun to complain to others when you receive absolutely horrific customer service.

I told this story to my daughter and her fiancé over dinner that weekend. They then shared their "florist" story, which was a totally different experience, and carried a certain amount of charm as well.

Our daughter's fiancé lives in Seattle, Washington. Our daughter lives in Dallas, Texas. Over the course of their relationship, he has frequently sent flowers to her workplace. He has always used the same, small Dallas non-chain flower shop for his orders. They know him by name, and the service has been flawless. Our daughter sends me pictures of the delivered arrangements, unique and beautiful every time. Our daughter and future son-in-law are now preparing for her move to Seattle, and one of the things they want to do during one of his last visits to Dallas before she moves is to drop by at the florist to meet them in person for the first time, and thank them for their excellent customer service and for being part of their story . The florist has been a part of their courtship from the very beginning, and their only regret is that this trusted florist will be unable to do the flowers for the wedding, which is planned for Seattle.

I can't think of a local business I have ever dealt with that would require a week's daily effort to make right a wrong. I am sure they exist, but when a person's business reputation is "on the line," small businesses normally make every effort to satisfy reasonable customers. I have lived in Oklahoma for 17 years, but I still use Everard's flowers in Marinette several times a year for deliveries to family and friends. The same friendly voices always answer the phone, and when I stop in during Marinette County visits to do a cash and carry transaction everything looks the same. When I call and ask what they have in flowering plants for delivery I get an accurate list; when I ask what plants look particularly good and they say "Persian Violets" I know the plant my Mom gets will be beautiful.

If you are disappointed in a local business and complain, the person answering the phone is probably NOT going to give you a ten e-mail run-around.

If we don't support our local businesses we will wake up some day to find them gone. And we will be left with no option but the unpleasant work of holding ŕ-800-we fib" accountable when they fail us.

Two weeks ago I mourned the slow passing of the classic supper club "salad bar."   Well, apparently if I want to hear from the people who read the column, this was the right topic to feature!  People are very passionate about salad bars, and if you are willing to take a short drive from the Marinette/Peshtigo area, they can still be found, according to Peshtigo Times readers!  Here's the recommendations sent, and they are still coming.  Please note some of these got multiple mentions.

Rene's at Twin Bridge

Weathered Wood in Mountain

Waubee Lodge near Lakewood

Nimrod in Athelstane

"The Woods" "Country Inn"  and "Hilltop" (I gather near Crivitz)

Bob and Laura's in Pound

Romey's Holiday Inn at Kelly Lake

You can reach me for commentary, alternative viewpoints or ideas at this e-mail address: Janiethibmartin@gmail.com.


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