She's seen three Valentine's Days come and go from her counter at Conroy's Flowers at the intersection of Melrose and La Brea avenues in Hollywood. This busy assistant sales manager knows exactly how the day will unfold -- for some -- come Friday.
Early birds: About a week before Valentine's Day, business starts to pick up. Then on that day we open an hour earlier. On Valentine's we see crowds of people -- always more men.
A rose is a rose: The most popular Valentine's Day flower is the red rose. We usually sell 600 dozen during Valentine's. The most expensive floral arrangement I've sold was $400 -- for four dozen roses, with all kinds of other flowers and a vase. But the average price for a dozen long-stemmed roses is $80. The cheapest red flower would be the carnation -- that's what people give to their mother-in-law or sister.
Getting busy: Now, on Valentine's Day itself, it's really busy. If they know what they want to buy, they'll be out of here in 30 minutes. If they don't know what they want and need help, they may take almost an hour. They ask me, "What should I get?" I tell them roses, or carnations, or ... Sometimes you have to be extra patient with them, but I don't mind.
Too little, too late: People have to remember: You can't send flowers on Valentine's Day. People think they can just call up on Valentine's and place an order, but we have to deliver all the flower orders from the whole week on that day. So it's impossible.
First-timers: The customers that I really like are the beginners, people giving flowers for the first time -- it's usually young guys. They like everything you show them, and they're surprised at all of the different size arrangements you can get. And they're really happy with what they get.
Last-minute tips: The best time for shopping in person on Valentine's is early. We get people who come late, and that's OK as long as they don't get impatient. If they get impatient, I try to calm them down. If that doesn't work I just say, "Sorry, sir, we're doing the best we can." Then they calm down or they can leave.
This bud's for you ... and you ... and ... : The funniest thing is when guys come in and buy the same flowers for two women -- sometimes three or more. And sometimes women buy flowers and have them delivered to themselves, maybe to impress their friends.
-- Carolyn Patricia Scott