Valentine’s Day Flowers a Rip Off?

February 14, 2009


“Roses on Valentine’s day are such a scam”, said the guy behind me into his cell phone as we waited in line to buy flowers the day before Valentines day. 

“1800flowers, ProFlowers, FTD, Teleflora, they all rip you off.. I couldn’t find cheap flowers for Valentines day anywhere.  Whether its flowers online or in a flower store like this, they all just gouge me because they know my girlfriend expects me to buy flowers for Valentine’s Day.  I’m not asking to have flowers delivered or a fancy flower bouquet, I just want a dozen roses and here I am in line about to spend $35 on some flowers that will just die in a few days.”

Valentine’s Flowers Worth the Money?

So what do you think?  Is the ranting cell phone guy on target or off-base?  Truth is, I used to feel the same way he does but now I realize that he’s actually looking at the whole situation from the wrong point of view.  You could say he should actually be thanking the lady behind the counter for only charging him $35 for the roses, here’s why.

Valentine’s Day Charm

The purpose of giving your wife or girlfriend roses on Valentines day is to show them that you care about them.  You don’t have to give them flowers but you do want to show your appreciation for their love and companionship in some way.  Women want to feel special and appreciated on Valentine’s Day but you don’t have to buy flowers to make that happen.

You could clean the whole house/apartment, cook her dinner, create a video collage, take her to her favorite show, buy her jewelry, take her on a trip… there’s an endless list of things you can do. 

Roses are Red… And Fast

Now I want to go back to the line of guys waiting to buy roses at the flower store for a minute.  One thing I didn’t mention is that we were all in a big hurry.  The store was full in an after work rush, the ladies behind the counter madly taking money and wrapping flowers as guys rushed in an out. I didn’t see a husband or boyfriend in there who spent more than 5 minutes picking up Valentine’s Day flowers.

Think about that for a minute, in only a 5 minute stop you can make your wife or girlfriend feel loved or appreciated on Valentines Day.  Compare that to all the things I mentioned earlier that either cost more money (take a trip, buy jewelry) or take significantly more time (cooking her dinner, making her a custom present, cleaning the house).

Valentines Flowers are Perfect

Now think about all the money and time the flower shops have to spend filling their stores full of roses so that guys can dash in and out with a fistful of instant Valentines day charm.  Sure flowers seem expensive at first glance, but what would we do without them?  Instead we’d spend a lot more time and/or money on other ways of making our ladies feel special. 

I’m not saying there’s anything wrong with being creative and making something special for your Valentine, just that we don’t always have, or make, time to create that perfect Valentine gift. For those occasions, flower shops perform a valuable service and I’d argue that those roses are money well spent.


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Ben Edwards, the founder of Money Smart Life, saved up enough to buy a Nintendo back when he was 12 years old. When he used the money to buy shares of Wal-Mart stock instead, he knew he wasn't like the other kids... His addiction to personal finance has paid off for his family and now he's helping you to afford the life that you want. Check him out on the web at Google Plus, Twitter and Facebook.

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10 Responses to Valentine’s Day Flowers a Rip Off?

  • Kenne

    I find it hilarious that ProFlowers has an advertisement on this page, right next to the part where it says that they are a rip-off. At least on my page anyways.

  • Slinky

    If you want to save money, call a florist and order ahead of time something more unusual (order ahead to make sure they’ll have it). Red roses are beautiful and classic, but what’s her favorite flower? Also, give your florist a break and order a head of time no matter what you buy. It saves you time and makes their life easier.

    The only reason roses are so expensive on Valentine’s Day is simple demand. You pay more because the florist pays more because the wholesalers pay more because the growers are working harder, pulling in extra labor, etc to meet that high demand. People complain about it, but it’s simple economics.

  • t

    I spent a little over $80 buying my girl friend flowers with vase from a florist several days before Valentine’s day.

    I looked at getting similar flowers at a high end grocer, but I think I’d of only saved about $30 bucks.

    Think next time I give her flowers, I’ll set it up so we plant some.

  • mapgirl

    I had a rant a few years about cut flowers (see the link I put on my name). I like cut flowers, but I think there are better things you can get, like a live flowering plant that lasts longer. Or else buy a week or two early, and get long lasting flowers like day lilies that smell divine. I don’t think that red roses are actually all that pretty. Try finding an American Beauty rose (like the name of the movie). Those are magnificent roses with great scent.

    Orchids make great desk plants for your special one because going without water over the weekend won’t necessarily kill them.

    Heartfelt sentiment is what really matters. My mom still sends valentines to her kids. They’re sort of cheesy Hallmark poems with glitter, but it really is the thought that counts.

  • Mike @ TheThriftyLife

    This year for Valentine’s Day I made my wife an original graphic print. Flowers are nice, but it’s not like you don’t realize Valentine’s Day is coming. It’s each year, every year on the same day – so there’s plenty of time to come up with something original. Write something, draw something, make something, fill a room with balloons – you have options besides flowers. I happen to have graphic design as a skill so I put it to use and made something for my own use, rather than my clients which I do every day.

    If you open your mind to what options you have you can always come up with something unique. And if you’re creative about using what resources you have available it can cost much less and mean a whole lot more.

  • Ed

    Costco – dozen roses $15

  • Ashley @ Wide Open Wallet

    What would you do without them? I don’t know. Good point. Also, you don’t have to get them at a florist. My husband got my flowers at the grocery store. Works just as well and he didn’t spend $35.


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