Anaheim CA Flowers  Blog by Avante Gardens Florist
09 August 2009

Fear the Florist Will Ruin the Surprise?

Like thousands of florists, we request the phone numbers of recipients when flower orders are placed - just in case we need to contact them in the course of making the deliveries. Previous posts about the topic explain why we sometimes call the recipient first (from Bloomery's blog) and detail some of the unique flower delivery issues we face here in Orange County. 


We flower shops are keenly aware gift givers complain about florists who ruin the surprise by phoning ahead of the delivery, but sometimes it's unavoidable - especially if the delivery address is incorrect or incomplete.

Lately, we've noticed more customers giving us their own phone numbers as the recipients' numbers and this practice has delayed some time-sensitive flower gifts (especially Birthday flowers) from being delivered promptly.

Just recently, we received an online order for birthday flowers and balloons and the purchaser gave his own phone number instead of the recipient's.  The address provided for the recipient was incorrect, with the street name being the same as a street in an adjacent city and similar to a street in the same city but in a different zip code. We started calling the customer at 10am and left several message plus an email to request a call back to get the proper address and/or a phone number.

As it was getting later in the day, we sent out a driver to attempt delivery at the possible locations, but no one was home and the information available at the houses lead us to believe these too were not correct. We really tried - because we know how cool it is to get flowers on your birthday.

Finally at close to 6 p.m., after our delivery team had left for the day, the customer called to say he'd been in meetings all day and hadn't had the time to return our calls. He said he hadn't given us the recipient's phone number because he didn't want the surprise ruined. He then gave us the correct address and phone number and the order was rescheduled for the next day's delivery. Per his request, we did phone the Birthday Girl to tell her flowers would arrive the next morning and were delayed due to an incorrect address.

Trust me when I tell you that flowers that miss the birthday are far more disappointing than having the surprise ruined by a phone call. Having a direct phone number to each recipient is an important tool to help us get your thoughtful flower gift delivered on time.

If you're concerned about a call being made in advance, try the following:

Provide the florist with the phone number and request the recipient not be called in advance. The florist will then have a number for a follow-up in case no one answers the door. (We're amazed that people don't stay home all day waiting for flowers, but it happens. ;) ) 

And do remember, even if you know you're getting flowers a little in advance, you'll still have the delight of receiving them, reading the personal message sent along with the bouquet, enjoying their fragrance and color for days, and remembering the thoughtfulness for a lifetime. :)

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# Karen said:

Great post, thanks for that! We sometimes have trouble with this, but as you say, it's often unavoidable! We try not to call at all costs, but when the driver is outside the house, knocking on the door and no one answers, it leaves us with little alternative! Especially if all their neighbours are out as well!

10 August 09 at 8:25 AM
# Bonnie said:

We always require phone numbers for hand-delivery. Unless the person ordering will guarantee that the recipient is home and will either take the responsibility if a gift has to be left at a doorstep or pay extra if the driver has to re-deliver.

We agree that a surprise is not spoiled if the recipient does not know who the sender is & what they will be receiving.

10 August 09 at 8:32 AM
# Twitted by TwigsFlowers said:

PingBack from

10 August 09 at 9:13 AM
# Adam said:

Weather is also a huge factor in calling ahead! Ummm, it's 95 degrees in Philly today! We need to call first before sending driver out in heat with flowers! Same goes for freezing cold winter days, & that's something you guys in Cali do'nt experience. We even had an internet order today that said Ok to leave if not home! NOT! How would you like to sit out all day in 95 degree humid weather?! Call ahead is neccesary for these weather situations too.

11 August 09 at 12:16 PM
# avantegardens said:

In a perfect world, we arrive at the door with a surprise bouquet, but in  the real world - with hot summer temps and some folks afraid to open their doors to strangers - phone calls are necessary.

Just yesterday, we had a couple deliveries where the recipients were home but never answered the doors. Phone calls let them know they had flower gifts so the deliveries were successfully completed.  

Without the phone numbers, they would have been delayed since our drivers thought no one was home.

Adam, thankfully no snow or freezing temps here. That's why we live in So Cal!

11 August 09 at 9:20 PM
# Alpine Country Club said:

I think the tradeoff between ruining the surprise and making sure that the flowers are delivered on time is necessary--it should be the general rule that is followed unless the customer specifically asked otherwise (such as what is mentioned near the end of the post).  The problem is, I believe, that when a lot of people here florist they envision the type presented on television ann in film: arriving and having the recipient gleefully open the door to accept the pleasant surprise.

13 August 09 at 10:34 AM
# David said:

I am also seeing more senders give their phone number in place of the recipients. While we don't call often. A correct phone number has helped us deliver flowers in a timely manor.

18 August 09 at 6:49 PM
# Florist Career said:

I have experienced this as well, many times when I had my shop located in Boston.  Thank you for taking the time to write this post and explaining to people why telephone numbers are important.  I found this article to be very helpful information to those florist wannabe's or those looking into the florist career field.  There are many other things that go on behind the scenes than just flower arranging.  Thanks again for sharing.

27 August 09 at 9:53 AM

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