Valentine's Day is coming up, and the choices are endless for sending flowers.
NBC 5 Responds along with NBC consumer reporters across the country got to work to find out what you need to know before you buy flowers online.
The plan was to pick a flower delivery vendor, place an order and compare what was delivered to what was advertised on the vendor's website.
NBC 5 Responds in Dallas-Fort Worth tested out the online flower delivery service FTD by sending something nice to Lynda Baquero, our fellow NBC consumer reporter in New York.
Meanwhile at 30 Rock, Baquero did the same for us in DFW.
We entered in our ZIP codes and kept to a $50 budget.
Early on, I hit a snag. The earliest delivery date was four days later. Some arrangements take longer to arrive, but they'll be worth the wait, right?
The flowers I chose arrived in a box, and it was pretty clear Baquero struggled with the zip-ties.
"There's not as many white tulips as to the pink and the red, but it seems pretty good to me," Baquero said, as she opened the flower deliver box. "Oh, no, there are whites. They're just all hidden in here."
They were buds, not fully bloomed.
Meanwhile, my flowers in DFW arrived fully arranged, with no box and no zip-ties, but like Baquero's, they were needing to open up.
Even with fresh water they didn't hold up just five days later. Baquero's had a few issues right on delivery, but she says they were gorgeous by Friday but dead the following Monday.
FTD's website will tell you if flowers will arrive in a box or professionally arranged. The boxed ones will be packed up tight and require your sweetheart to do a little work.
As for how long they lasted, FTD says, "Flowers are a perishable product, our policy is to ensure quality and freshness through our FTD 'Good As Gold' 7 Day Satisfaction Guarantee."
If you are disappointed in your bouquet, you have to file the claim within that seven-day period as well. We waited too late to do that, so no money back for the boss.
Tom Jones, a producer at our sister station NBC San Diego, and his reporter, Bob Hansen, paired up with Alina Machado at NBC Miami to order bouquets online from 1-800-Flowers.
Hansen purchased a hydrangea in a mosaic planter. Machado purchased purple roses.
The roses arrived in San Diego in a box, and Hansen and Jones had to pull apart the packaging to assemble the bouquet.
Jones was not having it, but went back and checked online, and sure enough both his and Machado's order said "shipped in a gift box," something neither noticed when ordering.
Their flowers looked pretty darn similar to the picture and spiced up Hansen's Valentine's Day, for sure.
"Thanks South Florida, I didn't know you cared," he said.
In Miami, Machado got a note with instructions.
"It says here: please water hydrangea immediately," she said.
Apparently she had to keep watering it.
"So, now I have to water this plant frequently," Machado said.
She said the flowers looked just like the pictures and she did what most Valentines would. She said Jones's gift was "nice."
"Looks pretty, actually, there," she said.
We reached out to 1-800-Flowers, who said you should be sure you know if your flowers are coming in a box. It's stated right on the page, so be sure to look for it.
They added, "At 1-800-Flowers.com, we are very focused on our No. 1 product, our customer experience. Our caring team is obsessed with world class service and we are committed to delivering smiles for our customers."
You probably remember longtime NBC 5 reporter Randy McIlwain. He's at NBC Los Angeles station now and helping us put ProFlowers to the test alongside Christiane Cordero at NBC Connecticut.
"Every girl loves flowers, every girl loves flowers. So Christiane, I should be on her favorites list at least for Valentine's Day," McIlwain said.
McIlwain and Cordero decided to send each other the exact same bouquet just to see how they compare.
Their $50 bouquet shot up in price quickly, though.
"Adds $33 to original price tag."
ProFlowers had several add-ons you could throw in with the flowers.
"Some of them come with wine. Sorry Christiane, we love you, but we don't love you that much, girl," McIlwain decided.
Both flowers arrived on time exactly as promised, completely boxed. But just like we saw with 1-800-Flowers, lots of assembly required. But both McIlwain and Cordero seemed to have no issues breaking into the box.
But, some stems were missing something!
"It's kinda nice. Aw man, this is a joke. I just got a stem, there's no flower on this one," McIlwain discovered.
Both Valentine's said their arrangement wasn't fully bloomed, but overall, they both seemed pleased.
But there was one small problem. McIlwain never found his note and Cordero almost missed hers, too.
"I didn't even notice this when I got the flowers a week ago, but when you open the box, you flip the flap and what do you know? Randy Mac sent me a note. It says 'Dear Christiane, this is the first time I sent flowers to a woman other than my wife in 22 years. Feel lucky." And I do," Coredero said.
We're all one big happy NBC family. As for ProFlowers, turns out their parent company is FTD, the first company we checked out this week.
They say "If any customer is unsatisfied with their order for any reason, we will replace it or refund. That is our policy 365 days a year. And just like FTD, all ProFlowers bouquets are backed by a seven day Freshness 100 percent Satisfaction Guarantee."
That means you have seven days to send them back if you don't like them.
So ask your sweetie to show you what they got and if you don't like it, let them know.