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Friday, July 08, 2011

Petals Florist, Port Elizabeth

So, I am sure many of you remember the dealings I had with Petals Florist, Port Elizabeth for our wedding day.  Those of you who've forgotten can refresh your puny memories here.

"What happened next?" I can hear you ask.  Well, gather close my many friends and I will share with you my review of Petals Florist, Port Elizabeth and their wedding service.

Petals Florist, Port Elizabeth, Eastern Cape Review

As you know, the flowers provided for our wedding were beyond awful (as per the previous Plog).  On the day, we were lucky enough that the lodge where we got married were able to make some new arrangements for us, so the day wasn't ruined.  Having said that, we paid approximately £80 in flowers (well, actually, TheBloke (TM)'s sister did) which were totally unusable.

Despite emailing and asking for a refund, the owner of Petals Florist didn't bother replying... until my Plog went live, and then suddenly I got two emails straight away.

One was from the owner of Petals Florist, a lady called Desere Heck.  This sounds like a made-up name (although it isn't) and if she were in a comic, I imagine she'd hang round with girls called Cynthia Crumbs, Bunty Golly-Gosh and Jemima Crikey.

Her email - at first - was civilised and explained that she'd recently taken over the business and didn't feel she could be held responsible for the previous owner's mistakes.

However on the very same day I had an email from Tersia Ferreira, the lady we'd dealt with whilst arranging the order, stating (and I truly love this):

"I would firstly like to apologize for your terrible experience – however I would like to advice you that I have sold the business before your wedding.   Trevor Bacon of Petals Florist did the wedding and I believe he did a good amount of mistakes in weddings after that as well."

Please note that throughout this, no-one is saying that they thought the quality was good.  In fact, poor Trevor is being blamed for fucking up weddings throughout the Eastern Cape.

Desere Heck is telling me that she DIDN'T own the business during my wedding... as is Tersia.  Now, as the customer, I don't really care who owns the business, I just want a refund.  I pointed this out to Desere; as they are trading under the same name, it is Petals Florists, Port Elizabeth who owe me the refund.

Desere's response was to offer me a free bunch of flowers (not that useful when I'm based in the UK - and anyone we sent it to in PE would know it was a freebee from a crap florist).  I explained we were looking for a refund.  She whinged a lot about how it wasn't her fault.  She said she was a new start-up business and I was damaging her business and she hoped I felt good about myself.  (I did actually, so it was nice of her to ask.)

We weren't threatening to sue.  We weren't asking for compensation.  We just wanted a refund for the flowers that were unusable on the wedding day.  Many brides would be a lot more agitated than I was.

I suggested what I thought was a very fair compromise.  Because she was a new company (albeit trading under the same name), I was willing to cut her two months' slack and she could pay the refund on July 6.  I would take all references to Petals Florist's name down in the meantime, and so long as the payment was made on 6 July, it would remain that way.

Desere Heck of Petals Florist, Port Elizabeth agreed to this.

A few days before the 6 July, I reminded her, and gave her the bank details to transfer the money to TheBloke (TM)'s sister.

This was the response (edited slightly to protect identities of the innocent - not Desere):

"HI Laura

I have decided against making the refund for the following reasons:

  • I did not have anyything to do with your wedding so don't see why I need to pay for this
  • I offered you flowers as a kind gesture twice and you did not want them
  • Your friend mentioned she doesn't like flowers and so I am concerned about how much she knows about flowers. How do I know how she carried the flowers to your venue? Was she gentle, was it in the heat, was it touching the side of the container? The flowers were in her care for longer than they were in ours.*
  • If the flowers were in such a shocking condition why did she not say anything when she collected them at the shop. Why did she not point out the pen mark in the shop?
So, if you feel good about putting the blog back up then please do so. What that achieves for you ,only you will know. I have a clear conscience about my decision.

Kind regards

*NB The flowers were picked up a day before the wedding, against our wishes, and at Petals Florist's request as they decided to shut on our wedding day, despite initially promising they'd be open.  The flowers were kept in a cooler box the entire time... so much so that they weren't even taken out to be inspected.  They were wilted, yes, but the flowers were poor quality in the first place - too much green, not enough blossom, and that weird crimped edge you get on flowers that haven't been grown properly.

So there we go, UK.  Some lessons we can learn from customer service from our friends in South Africa:
  • It is fine to provide the customer with a substandard product
  • If the customer complains, ignore it
  • If the customer goes public with the complaint, pretend it's someone else's fault
  • If this doesn't work, grudgingly promise a refund
  • Tell lies about above refund (despite having a "clear conscience"
  • Lose our wedding certificate**
** This wasn't actually Desere of Petals Florist, it was South African Home Affairs, but I thought I'd mention it.

So, I hope you enjoyed my review of Petals Florist, Port Elizabeth and their wedding flowers.  I will be providing Desere with a monthly breakdown of how many potential customers come to my site, after Googling Petals Florist, so she can see how much potential business she's losing.

So, to finish, a limerick:

A florist called Desere Heck
Told lies right up to her neck.
The lilies were wilted
But TheBloke wasn't jilted;
The ceremony she failed to wreck.

And one for Petals Florist:

In PE a florist called Petals
Made a wedding bouquet out of nettles.
When someone complained
They said, "We're all untrained!
We could send you a dock leaf to settle!"


Anonymous said...

What kind of florist draws on a bride's bouguet with green pen? Any idiot knows it should have been a purple marker.

Anonymous said...

Well, anyone knows that Port Elizabeth is not a very big Town, and therefore bad news tends to spread quite quickly! After reading this, i would need to tell people who want to order flowers from "Petals".....NOT TOO!! They are idiots not to want to sort this out, before they loose all business.

Laura said...

Anonymous - it was blue pen actually, a nice Bic biro! Perhaps they save the purple marker for funerals?

Anonymous... totally agree. Despite the fact that they should want to do the "right" thing, it's SO short sighted from a marketing perspective and potential lost business. Please tell everyone you know about the service at Petals.

Oh, and Petals Florist (who tried to leave an anonymous message saying how good the company was), you do realise I can track the geographic location of comments? Wasn't a particularly smart disguise. Your comment has been removed.

This blog could be removed too, if you settled up on the cost of the flowers. You might want to try Googling Petals Florist, Port Elizabeth. My blog is currently the number 1 hit.

L x

Janice said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.