The problem: The father of a close friend died. I went to a florist in an expensive part of town, figuring it had to be good. I told the woman behind the counter that I wanted to spend $50 and asked her to make the bouquet lively and cheerful. When I came back an hour later, it looked like she had just lopped off some flowers and stuck them in a bowl. I was mortified. I decided I could not give those to my friend, so I took them home and kept them. Then I went back to my usual florist and spent another $50 and got a really nice, full and pretty bouquet. Now I’m wondering what I should have done to let the original florist know about my disappointment without offending her.
Low road: Say, “Oh, your first day on the job, eh?”
High road: Your desire to protect her feelings isn’t helping her. If enough unhappy customers walk away saying nothing, this floral shop owner will be un-offended right out of business. I’m guessing that because she operates in a high-end part of town, she prefers to offer clients quality over quantity. The flowers she chose might have been unique and harder to come by (read: expensive). But, who cares? You were unhappy and that’s not good. Instead of walking away, you might have told her, “I had something more robust in mind and I’m hoping you’ll work with me. How about if we add a few of those?” If she’s wise, she’ll very much want you to be satisfied. If she bristles, politely ask for a refund and take your bouquet business back to your original florist, where you have established a more-than-satisfactory arrangement.
Send questions about life’s little quandaries to email@example.com. Read more of Gail’s “High Road” columns at startribune.com/highroad.