I Thought Fair Trade Was Better

This was supposed to the Valentines Day that I went all in with Fair Trade. I wanted to do something special and unique for my wife and I didn’t want to just go down to the store and get something. I wanted it all to be Fair Trade.

I located Organic Bouquet on the web and saw that they were having a special on “Fair Trade USA Certified” roses.Everything looked good! Lets remember however, that I am a man and I was doing this on Monday the 13th. So I called the company to see what the deadline was for getting the roses shipped out and delivered on Valentines Day. It was confirmed that if I placed the order by noon my time I would have it on my doorstep on Valentines Day. So I placed the order: $50 for 2 dozen assorted roses and almost $20 for the shipping.

Tuesday came, and as you could probably guess since I am posting this, the roses did not arrive. I received an email from the company stating “We just received notice that your order with Organic Bouquet was delayed in the shipment process. It will now be leaving our facility today and arriving to your intended recipient tomorrow.” I was pretty disappointed but the news did not ruin our Valentines entirely. I made Fair Trade Truffles for my wife and we had a wonderful dinner followed by a concert and poetry night at a local gallery. So our Valentines Day was still very good.

Wednesday came and the flowers arrived, albeit while I was not home. My wife received the package and placed the flowers in a vase. She was rushing out and I arrived home later. I saw the box on the counter and was waiting to see the flowers as I rounded the corner. My first impression… “Really? That’s what I ordered? This doesn’t seem right.”

I’m not a flower expert but I have given rose and other flowers to my wife before and the quality of these seemed very low. Many of the roses seemed to be bruised and most of them looked like they had a booked placed on top of them as they looked smashed. Peddles were brown, leaves were falling off and there seemed to be new growth on the stems.

I took the flowers out of the vase to get a better look and to rearrange them into two vases and decided while I had them out to take a few pictures. I trimmed the stems, added rose food to the water and removed some of the lower leaves, (although many leaves fell off on their own). As I looked at each flower I just kept thinking that the quality was very poor. Am I wrong in this? What do you think? I have never had roses shipped before. Is this the way that they usually arrive, smashed and wilted? See more photos here.

This is what the roses look like after 2 days in some water and out of the box…

To be honest, this is more of a specific product review than a critique on Fair Trade. And I am frustrated with this particular process but committed to the cause. This review is not to say that Fair Trade is bad but rather that Organic Bouquet delivered a poor quality product in my opinion. For me, I was so excited to be purchasing fair Trade Roses for the first time and so disappointed with the outcome of the purchase: a delivery that was delayed and a poor quality product. My wife said it was the thought that counted…

My conclusion: The principles of Fair Trade are principles to live by and I am committed to making this a way of life for me and my family. Along the way I will encounter some experiences that do not live up to my expectations. But we all know that this is not exclusive to the world of Fair Trade only. I am sure that we all could recall an experience with purchasing something that did not live up to our expectations but that did not stop us from purchasing goods altogether.

This whole thing is about being treated fairly and treating others fairly. I purchase Fair Trade because I believe it helps people in a very tangible way. But I also don’t want to purchase Fair Trade just for the sake of it. I see that most producers put their heart and soul into the thing that they make or crop that they grow and I love that aspect of Fair Trade. The ones who could do damage to the movement are those who do not pass those goods, made with love and passion, along to the consumer with the same level of care and consideration.

I will probably try this again with a different vendor and hopefully a different outcome. Here is a list of florists I may try in the future:

Whole Foods MarketsOne World Flowers, 1800flowers

I’m learning and growing and I want Fair Trade to be the best.

7 thoughts on “I Thought Fair Trade Was Better

  1. Bummer Steve! I received beautiful roses from OneWorldFlowers.org and each one perfect. They each had a FT certification sticker on the stem….24 of them. We were very happy. I would definitely complain to the company and get a credit for next time if not a full refund. And, yes, with Fair Trade flowers you have to order early. Sounds like you had a bad experience not a bad Fair Trade experience.

    • That’s good to hear about One World Flowers Annette (good name BTW). I’ll definitely try this again, just with a different vendor. It wasn’t really a bad “fair trade” experience, but rather a bad experience in general like you say. I feel t like the company should have card for the product better and I think that’s what frustrates me. I’m living and learning and still committed to Fair Trade! I’m not that easily swayed.

  2. UPDATE: Organic Bouquet customer service has responded very quickly to my emails and worked generously to correct this problem.
    They stated, “I am so sorry with all the issues associated with your delivery. We appreciate the chance to correct each and every one of these… On the condition of the flowers, that most certainly is below the standards we hold and sticking with our guarantee, we are more than happy to refund the entire amount. I have issued authorization for $49.95 to be refunded to the credit card used at time of purchase.”
    Thank you Organic Bouquet for your attention to this matter. My experience with your Customer Service Dept has been very good!

  3. Thanks for the product review, Steve! I’m hoping that their product will improve- sounds like a great resource for conscientious consumers.

    • Thanks Robin, I’m hoping so too. I do know that they have a great Customer Service Dept though. They were very helpful in resolving the issues, just hope they work on their product as you say.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s