Surviving Valentine’s Day as a trainee florist


It’s been a long time between posts, and I’m afraid that the trend will continue. Life has bounced from one extreme to the other. Due to a substantial administrative cockup that was not of my own making, I had a much longer break between jobs than was ideal. My finances have fallen into a black hole, and so did my mental health. I had barely climbed out of that, when the situation reversed. I now have three jobs and I’m studying. This might have been more manageable if one of the employers had been truthful about the job. Suffice to say I am doing treble the work for the same amount of money. If I really were a rose, I would take my thorns and whip them mercilessly so they learnt not do bullshit like that to me again.

The only bright spot is that my floristry course starts this week. And I survived two days in a florist’s shop on 13 and 14 February. I figured if I threw myself in the deep end on the most idiotic and frantic day of the florist’s year that I would know from the outset if I could seriously do this for a living. I stripped thorns and foliage, cleaned and filled buckets, wrapped hundreds of single stems, and made various permutations of red rose bouquets and wired gerberas. I truly did not expect to be asked to do any bouquets, and I’m grateful for the extraordinary amount of practice I got for handtied bouquets.

The down sides? Well, I lost sensation in my toes. For a diabetic this is a really bad thing. I already have a problem with my lower back, and it was in fact, exactly the same way that this developed originally. I was a Christmas casual shop girl, in a place which had benches and monitors built for midgets. There’s only so long a spine can handle bent into an unnatural S before something goes wrong, and I have been paying for that organisation’s lack of consideration in the variability of the human frame since 2008.

Secondly, I was out the back making the stock bouquets, meaning I had no contact with customers and didn’t have to answer the phone. The senior florists were doing all that along with making the orders, which were much bigger and more elaborate. Plus almost everyone worked longer hours than me, without a break. In reality I had the easiest time of all. So I have some things to think about as my course starts next week, but I haven’t been put off entirely.

In conclusion, if you want to give your beloved flowers, Valentine’s Day is probably the worst day to do it. The day is SO FRANTIC that your florist will not be particularly discriminating. You will get better flowers and a better bouquet if you pick any other day of the year…except perhaps Mother’s Day.

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