Valentine’s Day is for all things sweet, from sweet-smelling flowers to sugar-filled chocolates. However, if you’re not buying local for the big day, things may quickly turn sour thanks to costly scams and disappointed valentines.
Each year, Americans collectively spend close to $30 billion on Valentine’s Day, according to the National Retail Federation. That’s hard-earned money that could be re-circulated through the local economy when spent at locally-owned flower shops and chocolatiers. All too often, though, it seems like that money ends up in a scam operation run by a distant organization.
Valentine’s Day scams come in many forms – and local florists have seen them all. You may receive a phony email that appears to come from a florist, asking you to re-enter your credit card information to confirm your purchase. Or, if you order through a large, online service, you may be paying for a much different flower arrangement than your valentine will receive.
Oftentimes, online flower services that boast nationwide and international services outsource their arrangements and deliveries to local flower shops. However, the local florist who arranges your order has virtually no say in the price you pay or the flowers you order. The online service could advertise an arrangement that simply doesn’t exist in the local florist’s inventory. If that’s the case, you could end up paying more for a less exquisite bouquet.
It’s unclear how much money goes toward these costly Valentine’s Day scams each year, but it’s important to keep your money out of harm’s way. To avoid such a scam, find a local florist in your community to work with. By taking a trip to Main Street, you can meet your florist in person, customize your bouquet and confirm every detail face-to-face. You can search for local florists in Independent We Stand’s Locals Only search engine. Additionally, the Better Business Bureau recommends searching its website for a local florist near you before forking over any cash for an arrangement.
When you shop local for Valentine’s Day, you’ll buy with peace of mind. You’ll also support a business in your own community. In turn, your Valentine’s Day budget could help pay local employees, create new jobs and support local causes. Whether you go with flowers, chocolate or both, that’s the recipe for a sweet Valentine’s Day.
Independent We Stand is dedicated to helping independent businesses across the country engage their communities and encouraging customers to buy local. If you’re a business owner, get buy local resources, tips and news by registering for a business membership. Your business will also be included in our ‘locals only’ search engine and mobile app. If you’re a consumer, take the pledge to buy local to join the movement.