Bouquet

Confessions of a flower vendor

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We see real-life romance daily. Lovebirds from a local college come regularly. And many Romeos get spurned here

Shopping trends in a flower shop vary according the gender of the customer. Here, unlike at other shops, male customers bargain far more than females. Most of the female customers who come to my shop think of flowers as an expression of love and sincerity. Male customers, on the other hand, have a tendency to think of flowers as an expense.

We see real-life romance and drama every day.  Lovebirds from a local college come here regularly, and the place occasionally becomes a theatre where their romance is played out. Plenty of Romeos get spurned here. But after all these years, I’m glad that my flowers have helped bloom at least a few love stories.

There are no holidays in our trade. In fact, our calendar is full of high-volume days—Valentine’s Day, Teacher’s Day, Children’s Day, Mother’s Day, Father’s Day, and so on. Then, there are festivals and the wedding season, when it becomes difficult to gauge market demand. No one wants flowers that are left over from the previous day. 

We have customers who buy specific flowers on specific weekdays. But roses, and specifically red ones, are perennially in demand. On Valentine’s Day, a single red rose could sell for up to Rs 100, and that’s not because of price gouging, but because of a lack of supply and tremendous sales volume.

Business may be good, but we cannot escape the wrath of the authorities, namely municipal workers and the local police, who extract their pound of flesh every month. We cannot survive here a day without making sure they are paid. Now, I have put up a photo of Anna Hazare at my shop. I hope they see it the next time they come.

(The vendor has been selling flowers on a major road in the national capital region for the past 15 years)

(As told to Arindam Mukherjee)