Flowers My wife, Kay, and I have a Valentine's Day tradition. Well, actually, it's MY tradition. Kay gets the benefit, which is very okay.

Early in our marriage I decided it would be romantic to give her a rose for every Valentine's Day we've been together. This year marked our 24th, so I needed to get her two dozen red roses. (Admittedly, 24 years ago, I didn't think this far ahead."

Seems simple enough, right? Well, no. You see I also give our daughter, Kelly, one single rose, as part of the tradition. So I really needed 25 roses – 24 for Kay and one for Kelly.

I went to the 1-800-Flowers website to get my roses. I could order six roses, twelve roses, and 24 roses, but I couldn't find a way to order 25 roses. So I sent a query to customer service. The next day I received the following response:

Thank you for contacting us.

We appreciate your inquiry. In order to better assist you, please be so
kind to contact us at 800-230-3082. One of our representatives will
gladly assist you placing your order. We look forward to serving your
gifting needs in the near future.

If you have any other questions or concerns, please do not hesitate to contact us at the address listed below.


Mynor Sosa
Sales and Service Specialist

Cool, they can help me! I called the number Mynor gave me. A helpful operator came on the line and my conversation went something like this:

Operator: How may I help you today?

Me: I'd like to order 25 red roses for Valentine's Day.

Operator: I'm sorry, sir, we don't sell roses in that quantity.

Me: But I received an email from Mynor saying you could help me.

Operator: No, I'm sorry, sir, we don't sell 25 roses.

Me: May I speak to a supervisor?

Supervisor: How may I help you?

Me: I'd like to order 25 red roses.

Supervisor: I'm sorry, sir, but we don't have that quantity for sale.

Me: Why not? That's how many I want.

Supervisor: We can only sell what you see on the website.

Me: Well, how about we do it this way? I'd like to order 24 red roses. Can I do that?

Supervisor: Yes, of course, you can.

Me: Okay, I want to order 24 red roses. And then I would like to order one more red rose and you just put it in the box with the other 24.

Supervisor: We can't do that.

All right, you know how this ended. I did NOT order any roses from 1-800-Flowers. I DID get my 25 roses for Kay and Kelly. And I now get to rant about the lack of intelligence on 1-800-Flowers part.

This is an example of what I call "Post Office Regulations in an Internet World." Why create stupid hurdles and rules that irritate customers? I don't care whether this is inconvenient for YOU to have someone go get one single rose and stick it in a box with 24 others. I'm happy to pay for that odd order. But then your rules weren't designed to make it easy for me, were they?

Hey, 1-800-Flowers! You know that operator and supervisor who said no to me? Here's something you might want remember: THEY are overhead. I am profit. In marketing, everything walks the talk.

This whole thing reminded me of the restaurant scene in Five Easy Pieces. If you haven't scene Jack Nicholson go ballistic, you're going to love it: