Susan's Super Citizen Showcase

Wednesday, February 14, 2007

Selling candy and flowers on the big day

Georgia Temple of Dutch Girl Chocolates in Vancouver Canada“When you’ve got three or four of us working here behind the counter all at once and we’re all stepping all over each other, then you know it’s as busy as we were hoping it would be,” says Georgia Temple with a laugh, as she ties a bow on a box of delicious hand made treasures at Dutch Girl Chocolates at 1002 Commercial Drive in Vancouver, Canada. “It’s been really crazy. Yesterday in the evening was a lot worse actually – now today it’s all the last-minute people.”

Crazy, yes – in a good way, if you’re a retailer. According to a new study conducted for the Retail Council of Canada by POLLARA, 54 percent of a sample of Canadians intend to give candy and chocolates to their loved ones. Of the 1,885 people surveyed, the majority of 84 percent plan to give a Valentine's Day gift to their spouse/partner. Giving gifts to other family members, including children, is also very popular at 43 percent.

Interestingly, it is reported that B.C. residents are least likely to give gifts – with only 44 percent intending to buy. (I imagine the other 56 percent saying they express love throughout the year and don’t need a “special day” for doing so.)

Kim Webster manager of the flowerbox in Vancouver CanadaUp the street at the flowerbox (1704 Charles) a cluster of people are packed in amidst a rainbow of flowers poking their luscious heads out of their white plastic buckets.

“The men haven’t come yet,” says flowerbox manager Kim Webster, predicting an onslaught of men on their way home from work. She stands in a portable canopy of annexed flowers and buckets just outside the store, protected from the rain that's been falling all day. Kim says Valentines Day is one of the busiest times of year – along with Mother’s Day and the three weeks around Christmas.

Last-minute buyers have til 7 p.m. tonight – which is when the flower store staff will hopefully take a well-deserved rest after staying open til 1:30 a.m. last night and starting their last couple of days at 4 a.m. at the flower auction held by the United Flower Growers Cooperative Association in Burnaby (4085 Marine Way).

It’s news to me that such an auction exists - and Kim says it's the second biggest in the world. I came home, Googled it, and read this interesting fact on the cooperative’s website:

“The auction process starts in the early morning when truckloads of fresh flowers and plants produced by our local growers arrive at UFG's 26 loading bays. All floral products are visually inspected for quality before being placed in the wagon queue. Once accepted, pertinent sales data is sent to the main office where it is entered into the Auction's custom-designed, computer system. This information is later displayed for Auction customers on digital reader boards as products proceed through the sales gallery.”

Incidentally, I also learned from Kim that while most of the flowers are grown locally, the roses are from Ecuador, tropicals are from Hawaii, and orchids are from Singapore.

In any case, Happy Valetines Day – and please remember to be polite and patient and understanding to all people who work in stores, especially during these busy seasons when everyone is under pressure (shoppers and workers alike!)

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At Mon Nov 10, 09:38:00 AM PST , Anonymous Natalia said...

You write very well.


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