Having a Florist on Speed Dial

This story originally appeared on the Gents Cafe Newsletter. You can subscribe here.

In my fourth decade, I’ve finally realized one of the true hacks of manhood: having a florist on speed dial.

This epiphany was a long time coming after many trials and tribulations for my wife of nine years (partner of seventeen), my mother (and mother-in-law), my sister (and sisters-in-law) and countless wonderful friends deserving of celebration during life’s highs (as well as support in life’s lows). It came after too many overpriced bouquets, poor selections on special occasions, flowers that arrived late (or never at all), flowers that looked prettier in the photo and shriveled quicker than my toddler’s skin in a bath.

(And it also came after a few mistakes of my own, namely that one Valentine’s Day in college when – after celebrating Christmas, our dating anniversary on January 22nd and Tara’s birthday on February 2nd – I thought flowers were unnecessary. Suffice it to say that was the last time I’ve missed a Valentine’s Day since.  But it sure made for a cheap dozen roses on the 15th!).

It’s not just about having any florist on speed dial – it’s really about having a florist you trust. And in my case, that’s Steve’s Flower Market, our mom-and-pop florist serving the neighborhood – and now most of the city of Chicago – since 2010.

As far as I’m concerned, a local florist like Steve’s simply can’t be beat in terms of quality, price, convenience, service, and – most important of all – an actual human on the other end of the line that cares nearly as much as you do about the person receiving the flowers.

Being able to call this florist and trust their judgement impeccably to pick out something beautiful – something so much more vibrant and arresting that I could ever select on my own – and based on the simplest of descriptions (“seasonal but unexpected”, “bright and wild”, “something stunning and ready in 1 hour”) feels almost like a Bond-esque talent…or at least one to set a modern gentleman apart.

And then there’s all the intangibles: having a florist on speed dial means you’re not scrambling to find a florist day-of, but instead place your order (like the gentleman you are) ahead of time, allowing you to trapse confidently into the flower shop and walk out two minutes later with a bouquet that’s the envy of all the other poor saps waiting in line who’ve yet to have this epiphany themselves.

Of course, it also feels great to support a local neighborhood shop, one that along with the small Italian restaurant, the quirky coffee shop and the fire station across the road, give your neighborhood character, heart and soul.

I found that even the city’s “trendy”, popular florists that have the most word-of-mouth and top-of-mind awareness can’t come close to the mom-and-pops as they need to offset heavy marketing budgets with flower sourcing that is suspect and bouquets that are paltry (especially in light of the hefty receipt they generate).

So for birthdays that arrive too quickly, impromptu promotions that deserve celebration and equally impromptu layoffs that require consolation, and for all the great holidays celebrating the people in our lives (including Mother’s Day, consider this your reminder!), just call your local florist and your loved one couldn’t be in better hands while you can enjoy feeling a bit like Bond.

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