Tuesday, August 28, 2007


I know that I've touched on this before, but one of the more difficult parts of being a florist is knowing how much and what inventory to have on hand, since it can go south real quick-like.

Why am I bringing this up now? Funerals. Or impending funerals, more specifically. But let me explain a bit first.

Florists, much like anyone that works in the medical field, have very (for lack of a better expression) gallows senses of humor. Death is just something that you have to deal with, sometimes on a regular basis.

I witnessed a great example of this last weekend at a floral design show. The presenter was talking about how, at his shop, all brides pay 50% of the cost of flowers 60 days before the wedding, and and the rest at 30 days. He stressed that there were no refunds, ever (as the flowers would have been ordered by that point, and labor costs would have been incurred).

Then the presenter said something that made a room of 75 florists fall about laughing.

"Well, I suppose you could refund partially if the groom DIED or something. Or you could use the wedding flowers for some really beautiful sympathy work."

Seriously, it was absolute pandemonium in the room. There was snorting. Now you may think, "God, what a bunch of heartless bitches," but if we thought too much about the emotion surrounding funeral services, we'd be of no use to no one. And we have a job to do.

Back to my point. There are two members of our community, really, pillars of it, who are not doing well. One has stage 5 cancer and has received last rites, the other has A.L.S. We know that they are still on this plane of existence, but for how long? Who the hell knows?

So, we're dealing with several things at the shop. One, we're all weepy messes about these two people, which are family and friends of myself and several of my co-workers.

It's awful, though if I haven't said it before, hospice workers do God or whomever's own work.

Two, we're bracing ourselves for gigantic funerals. Huge ones.

Why are we especially concerned about this? Because this weekend is Labor Day, and the floral warehouses we order from do not deliver on Sundays or on holidays.

Which brings me back to inventory: do we hedge our bets and order supplies in, thinking that they'll pass in the next 5 days, taking the risk that nothing will occur and we'll be caught with perishable product?

Or do we not order anything in other than our regular order, and take the chance that we'll be caught flat-footed on a holiday weekend?

We'll just have to wait and see- no decisions need to be made till Friday. I hope this doesn't sound callous, merely practical.

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