With Valentine’s Day just around the corner, many people are preparing to send flowers to their special someone. Nowadays, it’s just as common to place an online delivery order as it is to visit a florist -- but like so many things online that opens up a whole series of new questions about appropriate etiquette. How much should you tip the flower delivery person? (Especially if it’s a gift?) What are the ins and outs of rush ordering? What should you expect and what merits a customer service complaint?
To make online flower delivery a bit less stressful, here are some helpful etiquette tips.
More than anything else, tipping seems to cause duress when it comes to ordering online flowers. One thing that makes this especially tricky is that typically flowers are sent and delivered as a gift—therefore, if you’re supposed to tip are you sending a gift that ends up costing the recipient money?
While it’s not necessary to tip a flower delivery person, the opinions on the subject vary widely. The Emily Post Institute, the arbiters of proper etiquette, don’t even list flower delivery people on their comprehensive list of tipping guidelines. So, as a base line, no it’s not rude to not tip the person delivering your flowers.
However, typically, many people to choose to do so and generally aim for somewhere in the $2-$5 range. If you are tipping and the bouquet/plant is very large or looks heavy to carry, consider exceeding $5. There are certain circumstances where tipping is the polite thing to do. If the flower delivery person has to make a special effort for you, show them your appreciation with a little extra cash. So, for instance, if its wintry weather and they have to navigate any icy driveway or they have to go through several layers of security at your office building or even just climb several flights of stairs to reach you, tip them to show you appreciate the extra work involved. It is also polite to tip during particularly busy seasons, such as Valentine’s Day or Mother’s Day.
Lastly, if you’re the one sending the flowers, consider adding a tip to your order so as to avoid making the person receiving the gift from feeling obligated to pay. When you place the order, make a note and add extra to the payment to express your gratitude. Be sure to also let the recipient know you’ve done this so they don’t tip a second time (unless they want to).
The only instance where you should absolutely tip for flower deliveries is if wedding bouquets are being dropped off. In that case, it’s a bigger job and something in the $5-10 range is customary.
Shipping and Rush Orders
Sometimes sending flowers at the last minute, especially if you want to send something in response in celebration or remorse, is unavoidable. There are plenty of florists that offer rush orders and same day delivery. So, if you’ve waited until the last minute, there is likely an option for you. However, be aware it will cost you -- often, same day delivery or rush orders are significantly more expensive because of the extra labor it requires to assemble a bouquet and deliver it in a timely manner on such short notice.
Be considerate of busy seasons as well. If you’ve waited until the afternoon on Valentine’s Day to remember to order flowers, you may just be out of luck. If someone is willing to help you send a bouquet, be kind and considerate with their time. In these instances, it is best to tip generously.
When shipping online flowers, read the fine print closely about how your flowers are delivered. Some websites offer places to request special handling/instructions, so look around until you find the service that handles shipping the way you prefer.
When to call customer service
Many customer service questions can be answered without calling or emailing for help. Most websites, especially for larger scale sellers, have a FAQ section, so be sure to check there before dialing in with your question. Additionally, most online flower delivery orders come with a tracking number for your packages.
That being said—every online flower delivery service should have a customer service hotline to call or email. If you need to make a last minute change to an order, call as soon as possible to see if it’s possible. If you don’t have adequate information via a tracking number, you should absolutely follow up to verify that your order has been shipped, delivered, etc.
The number one reason you should contact customer service is if your order is wrong or delayed/never arrives. You need to report the error and find out if the service offers any kind of restitution for the mistake. In this case, as with all the etiquette here, be sure to be mindful and polite when dealing with customer service representatives. They are no more to blame for the error than you are.
With these helpful tips and tricks, online flower delivery should be a breeze. When choosing an online florist, keep these ideas in mind and always follow up on their policies to be sure you know what they expect as far as tips, shipping, and more.