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(Columbia) Feb. 11, 2005 - Flower shops do a big business in roses, especially around Valentine's Day. But, with the convenience of the Internet, more and more people are buying their flowers online.
Consumer Reports testers ordered three $30 bouquets from each of the web sites and found quite a variety both in how many roses $30 buys and what the flowers looked like when they were delivered.
The magazine's Mari McQueen says, "In one instance we didn't receive as many flowers as we were promised. We ordered a dozen roses and received 11. In another instance at least one flower came broken, and some looked a bit old, like they wouldn't last that long."
And, it turns out what you see on the web site is not necessarily what you get. Teleflora's web site showed four pale pink roses in a vase. But, the three bouquets that came didn't match the web site or one another. The bouquets from Hallmark, on the other hand, all looked the same.
Many web sites work with local florists, so what you get depends on which florist they use. If you know a dependable florist, you're probably better off calling the shop directly.
You also might want to compare grocery store flowers to a florist's. There may not be as much selection, but you might just save some money.
If a dozen roses are your sweetheart's desire this Valentine's Day, the Society of American Florists says the average price for an arrangement of 12 long-stem roses should be about $70, about the same as it was last year.