Buying flowers to send as gifts is a much different proposition than it was years ago. With the advent of the computer, there really is no need for anyone to utilize a 'wire service" anymore. If you're looking to send flowers to someone in the next town, the next state, or around the world, you need do nothing more than look online for a local florist in your friend's town. Or if you already have a relationship with your local florist, he/she can suggest a reputable florist, or place the order for you. Why trust your special bouquet to someone sitting in a cubicle?
The next big question is cost- do you really know how much of what you spend goes towards the actual flowers? Those lovely wire service photos showing a full bouquet of roses is quite likely not what your friend is going to receive. Read the fine print...and don't be deceived by the photos that most often show many more flowers than will actually be included.
How do you know who you are calling? Check them out with Better Business. Ask what their physical address is. A bonafide florist will be glad to tell you where he or she is located. A call center or "Basement Betty", (someone who works out of their home), will be much more hesitant.
When using the Yellow Pages, be alert to ads that use leading words such as "your local florist", or "your hometown florist". Especially when no address is listed, these are often fronts for Order Gatherers and should be avoided.
A local florist will deliver your beautiful bouquet by hand. Isn't that much nicer than having a crushed box sitting on the doorstep, left to the elements? (Not to mention the flowers will be stressed from lack of water!)
Keep business local-use a home-town florist the next time you'd like to send flowers.