Best Spends

I Don't Buy Flowers and You Shouldn't Either

Dead flowers in hand
Lolostock/Shutterstock

I am no stranger to making bad decisions in life. I’m the kind of guy who buys pants without trying them on first. The guy who orders the shrimp cocktail at a greasy diner.

One mistake I consciously and consistently make is the act of refusing to buy flowers for loved ones. It’s gotten me into some real trouble with girlfriends, and has disappointed, well, only one mother.

But you know what? For once, I refuse to label THIS decision a mistake. It is a soundly reasoned choice. Allow me to explain.
 

Flowers are born to die

The average bouquet of flowers lasts one week -- max. That’s seven days of hell in which your gift literally withers away and dies at the hands of another… and that’s all assuming said other knows how to take care of them. What happens to a bunch of flowers after they’re given as a gift? They’re fawned over for a day or two before they’re stowed away in a shoddy vase as the petals begin to wither and droop.
 

They're the gift that's meant to be forgotten 

Sure, there are plenty of gifts out there that are meant to be discarded -- cookies, birthday cards, Edible Arrangements -- but only flowers are thrown away because they start to rot. If you have roses, they turn black; any other kind of flower will lose its petals all over your coffee table and remind you of the sheer fragility of life. Even worse, if you don’t put your roses in the trash, you get that awful stale smell of vase water and dirt. Now you've got olfactory warfare, along with blackened roses giving your home an early 2000s emo vibe.
 

They don't satisfy all of the senses

Not to harp on the whole baked goods over flowers argument, but you just can’t eat flowers, despite what some precious farm-to-table restaurants might like to tell you. Flowers look and smell nice -- I’ll give you that -- but doughnuts look, smell, taste, and feel nice. Have you ever held a fresh, warm glazed doughnut in your hand? It’s like holding a baby -- a baby that will soon be making its way back to your tummy. Is this an argument to slowly phase out flowers for pastries? Hell yes.

Dead flowers in a vase
PublicDomainPictures/Pixabay

They're extremely hard to import

A 2009 article on Scientific American outlined some of the challenges large flower companies -- Big Flower -- face during big holidays. "Few companies can fill one container with one species on one single day and have the supplier wait a week," said Christine Boldt in the piece, who’s the executive vice president of the Association of Floral Importers of Florida, "our product is very perishable."

She goes on to talk about that  noxious gases and diseases can also result from mixing up flowers. Of course, you could buy locally or just grow your own flowers, but that’s a whole new level of effort for the sake of a present.
 

It's the gift that keeps on giving... pain.

If you’ve never heard the song “Every Rose Has Its Thorn,” by incorrigible diabetic rocker, Bret Michaels, you’ll know that every rose indeed has its thorn. One of the biggest slaps in the face that you can give to a person you love is making them work for their present after they receive it. Unless it’s a puppy or a fuzzy little kitten, you shouldn’t have to work for your gift.

Flowers take precious time and effort of a person’s day away. You need to find a vase, fill it with water, put the flowers in water, prune it, make sure it gets sun, avoid thorns, clean up after it. And all for what… a week of life?
 

Flowers are expensive

You have two choices: you can spend the bare minimum amount of dollars necessary on a dolled-up bouquet of glorified weeds or drop some serious cash for a couple of tulips. The latter of which could bleed you dry of $125 if you deliver them via 1800Flowers. More than a hundred dollars for a present that’s going to crinkle up and croak in a week? No.
 

Vase water is disgusting

It’s truly the most revolting liquid on earth -- and that’s counting all the stuff that comes out of you when you have food poisoning. There’s no avoiding the horror that is vase water when discarding your asphalt-black flowers. You’ll spend the rest of the day relishing the time in your life when your fingers didn’t smell like an ocean of dead fish.
 

Your personality can't shine through flowers

Giving flowers is almost like having a baby when you’ve already got a kid. Inevitably, all the attention is going to go to the bouquet in hand and leave that metaphorical kid sulking in the background. For as long they’ve got the flowers, they’ll comment on how pungent they smell and how bright they are.

Sure, you’ll be commended on your ability to know what type of flower is their favorite, but -- in the end -- your thunder will be stolen. That’s why it’s so nice to write a card or bake a cake. You can put your blood, sweat, and tears into something like that… all while avoiding vase water. That shit is truly awful.
 
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Jeremy Glass is a writer for Thrillist and would rather die than have to smell vase water.