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by Abigail Van Buren

Girlfriend's Birthday Bouquet Arrives in Shabby Condition

DEAR ABBY: Is there a delicate way for me to tell my boyfriend not to use the same online floral delivery service again? The birthday bouquet he had delivered to me arrived with limp, wilted, torn petals and leaves and broken stems. It was one of those box-of-flowers deliveries.

I doubt my boyfriend realized they would not arrive in a vase and arranged by a florist. Instead, they had been packed in a box, without water, with the vase packed alongside, delivered by a regular package courier.

I usually send him a photo of my bouquet along with my heartfelt thanks, and while I thanked him as usual, I did not send a picture of the bouquet because I knew he would feel bad -- both about the lackluster arrangement, and the money he had spent on them.

I found what I believe was the intended arrangement on the website, and it was lovely -- a far cry from what was delivered to me. I love my twice-a-year flowers (birthday and Christmas), and I don't want to come across as critical or ungrateful. I am blessed to have such a thoughtful partner.

If flowers were just a one-time gift, I would not even consider mentioning it. However, with Valentine's Day (and another flower delivery) approaching, I wonder if I should let my boyfriend know that it might be better to use a local florist to ensure he is getting his money's worth. Or should I just cross my fingers that it was a one-off? -- UNGRATEFUL GIRLFRIEND

DEAR "UNGRATEFUL": Tell your boyfriend why you didn't send him a photo of the flowers he sent as you usually do. He has a right to know, and it will not make you appear ungrateful. He may be able to get a refund if the order was mishandled and he had ordered an arrangement in a vase. And if the vendor is not forthcoming, he may choose to deal with a different one next time. Please give him the option.

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