Di, of Pensitivity101, is our host for Truthful Tuesday. This week, Di asks us:
Do you think the hike in prices for flowers, especially red roses, as we near Valentine’s Day, is warranted?
I woke up at 3:00 this morning and was having trouble falling back to sleep, so I picked up my iPhone and saw Di’s Truthful Tuesday prompt in my reader. My original thought was to just comment that if you’re concerned about price gouging by florist on Valentine’s Day, don’t buy roses on the one day of the year when they are most in demand. Duh!
But then I thought about my economics courses in college and realized that it really all about the basic economic theory called “The law of supply and demand.” Simply stated, it is the theory that prices are determined by the relationship between supply and demand. If the supply of a good or service outstrips the demand for it, prices will fall. If demand exceeds supply, prices will rise.
The demand for flowers, especially for long-stemmed red roses, skyrockets on one particular day each year: February 14th, Valentine’s Day. So are all of the florists out there are just ripping you off because they can due to that huge demand? Or is there something more to it?
There is, indeed, something more to it. I don’t want to come across as an apologist for the flower industry, but the fact is that flowers are an agricultural product and are highly perishable. They have to be farmed and harvested well in advance so that the flowers are ready to be shipped at just the right time.
In order to meet the huge increased in demand on Valentine’s Day, more labor must be hired to harvest the roses one stem at a time. The timing is critical because roses cannot be stockpiled. They have to be sent to the wholesalers immediately after they are picked.
Ensuring that the demand is met on that particular day is a logistical nightmare that brings together growers, field hands, cargo planes, truckers, and customs officials across several continents. Everything must be perfectly timed. If the roses arrive too early, they’ll start to wilt, and people won’t want to buy them. If the flowers arrive the day after Valentine’s Day, nobody will be interested in buying them and the florists will be stuck with stock that they can’t move.
The bottom line is that it’s really expensive just to get these millions of roses to the market in order to satisfy what is essentially a huge one-day spike in demand. The retail florist is at the end of the long line of entities involved in getting the product to market. The costs of all this planning and execution are, of course, passed on to us, the consumers.
So is the hike in prices warranted? Based upon the law of supply and demand, yeah. Is there anything that can be done about it? Yes, stop being a lemming and falling victim to this Hallmark holiday hype by thinking that you need to buy the love of your life a dozen long-stemmed red roses every February 14th. Think of the money you’ll save if you buy them a month early.
“Honey, I know Valentine’s Day is still a month away, but I love you so very much that I couldn’t wait until then to buy you these dozen long-stemmed red roses.” It’s a win-win solution.