Advantages Good customer service - flowers lasted well
Disadvantages Were delivered on a different date without notification
Last year for Mother's Day, my daughter ordered flowers and sweets from a company called Blooming Britain. We had a bit of a nightmare with them, as did many others according to the report on Watchdog about them. Firstly they weren't delivered when they should have been and then when they did arrive the flowers were half dead and they had sent the wrong sweets. They did replace the original bouquet twice until eventually they sent a huge bunch of flowers which lasted a week and Belgian chocolates as well as the correct sweets, by way of an apology. It was all very stressful for my then, 16-year-old daughter who obviously wanted to send a beautiful gift to me.This year the brave lass decided to try again but this time with another company. She tried to set up an account with Tesco, as I had both sent and received flowers by them in the past and was extremely satisfied with their service. Unfortunately, because she only has a Visa Electron card, the transaction wouldn't go through so she turned to their big competitor, Asda.
As I haven't sent flowers from there I thought that I should first do a little bit of research on the website before writing about the actual quality of the delivery and gifts themselves.***The Website***
The flowers section can be found via the Asda website or directly at www.asda-flowers.co.uk. On the main page you will find that there are 2 different ways to have flowers delivered - bouquets by courier or flowers by post. My daughter chose the courier option but just to make this a full review I'll give you a little bit of information from the website itself on the postal option too.You can browse the flowers available by varying prices, the delivery method or by occasion. At the moment the options for the occasions are spring flowers, new baby, new home or sympathy. There is also a small gift section too.
The site is very easy to navigate and the pages load quickly. The simply laid out sections make it exceptionally easy to find exactly what you are looking for and the picture of each bouquet can be clicked to find out the exact contents of it. You will also find that unlike some other flower selling companies they do not show a picture of what is classed as the luxury bouquet while giving prices alongside for standard, medium and luxury. What you see is what you get.***The Prices***
Everyone wants to know what they are going to get for their money and flowers can be very expensive so looking for the appropriate bunch of flowers in your price range can be time-consuming with some sites. As mentioned earlier, you can search by price at Asda. The ranges start at under £15, then progress from £15 to £30, before going to the section at over £30 for those well off or very generous people.The under £15 range has 3 options and each one looks lovely in the pictures. There are carnations, lilies or beautiful orchids. The carnations are priced at £9.49, the lilies at £12.97 and the orchids at £14.25. They all look as if they would be a reasonably sized bunch for the price. These are all available by post as opposed to the courier option.
The next range has 6 bouquets in it and they vary from the simple Spring Bouquet with chrysanthemums and carnations mixed with smaller flowers, to the more luxurious Dawn Chorus, which contains roses and lilies to name but a few.The most expensive range contains 4 varieties of bouquets. The most expensive is at £40 and contains 27 stems of various flowers and ornamental leaves.
***Delivery***For all the bouquets priced £15 or over you get your flowers delivered in a large box by courier. They are hand tied and arrive with a gift card that is printed with whatever message the giver chooses. There is no extra delivery charge with these flowers so the price you see under each bouquet is the price you pay.
***The Gifts***There are three gift options that can be included with your flowers. A 6" teddy bear with jointed arms and legs is available for an additional £3.50, the 225g of Belgian chocolates is available for an extra £5.98 and there is also a vase available to include for an extra £6.50.
***The Ordering Process***Obviously I am not actually ordering the flowers but thanks to my daughter I have been told that it was a simple process, which only took 5 minutes to do. After putting in details of the message, she had to insert my details for it to be sent to and then her billing address before putting in her payment details on the secure website. As I said previously, her card is an Electron card and they took this no problem but I see they also take Visa, Mastercard, Eurocard, Switch or Solo.
She was then sent an email confirming her order.***My Delivery***
I had already had a couple of small gifts from my children who always group together to get me something so I wasn't expecting a ring of the bell on the Sunday morning, which came just as I had put shampoo on to my 4-year-old's head in the bath. Shouting to the girls to get the door, I could hear a bit of excited chatter out in the hallway and was wondering who it was when one of them popped in to watch my son while telling me it was for me. At the door stood a courier with a very large green box and an electronic signature machine in his hand. Apologising for my very wet hands I rushed to dry them and collected the box, which I could see had fresh flowers written on it.As I did so my elder daughter mentioned to the guy that she was getting worried as they were supposed to be delivered the day before. He replied that they were trying to get as many out on Mother's Day as possible and I thought this was a really nice gesture. Unknown to me, my daughter had been panicking the night before when they had not turned up. She had phoned but the company said the computers were down and they would phone her back. Then she had sent an email when she didn't hear anything from them. She looked so relieved when they turned up that I really felt for her suffering again.
***The Flowers***I don't know how much this bouquet cost and I'm not about to ask my daughter either as it would be a bit rude but I know they were not a cheap bunch of flowers. Opening up the box I could instantly see that the flowers were hand tied with lovely ribbon and kept upright in the box to keep them looking lovely. They had one of those things that looks disturbingly like a full nappy, to keep them watered in transit and on the outside of the box there was a cellophane pack which contained the order details, my gift card and instructions on how to care for the flowers.
This bouquet contained 6 large white roses that were already in bloom and a lot of lily stems which in total contained 14 heads, all but 2 of these white flowers were still in bud. I noticed that one or two of the roses had started to dry out at the edge of a couple of petals but they soon recovered once they had been placed in a vase with lukewarm water and the flower food that came with them. I will say at this point that it's best not to put stone cold water in with your flowers and that cooled boiled water seems to help them last better.As well as the flowers there was a small amount of decorative fern type leaves. Unlike a lot of bouquets though, this was minimal and the leaves from the lilies are enough to make it look beautiful.
***Lasting***Well it's now Friday and 12 of the lilies have fully opened and the other 2 look like they will open up later today or tomorrow. The 2 that were open when I received them are still looking very fresh. The roses aren't in quite as good condition though but I think this may be due to the coldness of the weather at the weekend when they were delivered and then coming into my lovely cosy house with my central heating. They are still lovely though and I haven't had to throw any out as yet but I realise that they might have to go in a day or two.
***The Scent***The scent of the roses was lovely when I first opened the box and they really stood out. Unfortunately that disappeared quite quickly, not I think because they lost their scent as such but more to the fact that the lilies are very strong scented and the house is now filled with their scent. Everyone who has come into the house recently, immediately notices the aroma so there can be no complaints there, although it has started my hay fever off a little bit early and I can be found sneezing away just now. I don't really mind though as they are gorgeous.
***The Chocolates***My daughter tells me that the chocolates that were included were part of a special offer when you spent X amount on the flowers for Mother's Day. Obviously I again don't know the details of the price but this 80g gold box was wrapped beautifully with a blue ribbon and had a small fabric rose attached at the top to decorate it.
I almost didn't want to open it, as it looked so good, but come on, this is me and there were chocolates inside - Belgian chocolates at that. Carefully untying the ribbon and opening the box I found 6 chocolates nuzzled inside. Two each of dark, milk and white. Now obviously there wasn't enough to share out so my kind family allowed me to eat them all. As with a lot of this type of continental chocolates, they were all quite large and extravagant and you really know that you've eaten one. Five of the six were truffle based delicately laced with some sort of liqueur or topped with cream. The sixth one had a soft praline centre with crispy bits in it. All of them were totally delicious and it was a real shame there weren't more of them.***Final Thoughts***
I must say that I was quite impressed by these flowers. The lilies really have lasted well and the scent from them has been remarkable. I was quite worried when I saw so many of them still in bud as I know from past experience that lilies sometimes don't flower when cut. They were packed beautifully and my only complaint was that my daughter wasn't kept aware of the rearrangements for delivery. Whilst I understand the sentiment to deliver them on Mother's Day itself, it would have been nice for them to email them to confirm that this was ok, especially as she had requested for a Saturday delivery.She has had an email sent to her on the Sunday evening apologising for the distress this caused and they are going to be sending her a £10 Asda gift card voucher to make up for this, which is a nice way of dealing with the problem. It just goes to show that they take their customers' complaints seriously without her having to keep calling and emailing, as she had to do with Blooming Britain last year.
As for me, I'm not sure whether I will use Asda for my flowers in the future or not. This is only because I usually use Tesco and have never had any complaints about their standards. The mix up with the delivery does put me off a little bit as I do wonder if the delivery guy just hadn't managed to get all his deliveries done on the Saturday. This could have been the explanation for the slightly droopy roses too.All in all this was a pretty good service and after having looked at the website, I must say it seems to be a very easy process with lots of information about what you are getting for your money. Maybe I will give them a try in the future too.
***Update***I wrote this on Friday as you might have guessed by my comment earlier under the lasting section. It is now of course Tuesday and the roses had to be taken out on Sunday, but the good news is that all the lilies are now fully open and going strong. The scent is still really strong and they still look lovely.
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