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Admins, help solve the Case of the Spoiled Wreath

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Question: "How do you tell your corporate office, kindly, that the holiday wreath they send each year doesn’t survive the shipment? We are located in Florida and every year the corporate office in Louisville sends us what was once a beautiful wreath with fresh fruit, nuts and berries. I am sure in the colder weather they hold up great ... but here in Florida the fruit is already molded by the time I open the box!" - Jeannie, EA

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{ 12 comments… read them below or add one }

Jeannie November 22, 2017 at 10:27 am

Thank you all for your great suggestions. It has helped me to make a decision. I am going to reach out to the corporate office to let them know what shape they come in and give them a suggestion of donating our “wreath monies” to a local food bank or the Boys and Girls Club.

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Minnie Lenox November 20, 2017 at 9:48 am

Kindly thank them for the thought but you must tell them that sending fresh fruit and other items like that through the mail to Florida does not work for your area. Maybe they could send an artificial wreath or maybe suggest something else that would work in your region. They keep sending it because no one has told them what it looks like when you receive it. Just tell them!

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Carly November 17, 2017 at 1:58 pm

Humor might work in this situation. A very kind thank-you, followed by a bit of a joke about the climate and what it does. Then follow that with another expression of gratitude for the thought and what it means to get something like that. End super-positively. You might also consider doing nothing at all—it really is the thought that counts, and getting a bit of a moldy wreath could become a funny yet beloved tradition that only goes to show how kindness is not in the gift, it’s in the gesture!

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Melissa Hunter November 17, 2017 at 12:34 pm

Do you have a contact at Corporate Office you could reach out to and let him/her know the problem? I definitely would not let it continue on, it is a waste of money and resources.

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Debilyn November 17, 2017 at 9:08 am

I would contact them with a “thank you, but.” Approach them with the question of who their supplier might be, and that the product did not arrive in good condition so they might want to consider another supplier. If you know of a good supplier, you might also suggest them. If they pack it themselves, this would also allow them to know that something is not being preserved well. I would take a picture of it upon arrival, so you can send it along. It’s important to let them know you appreciate the thought, though. If you are nervous about how you might come across, write out what you want to say and share it with someone so you know will give you good feedback. Do this whether you are calling or emailing, and you’ll be less worried about coming across as critical instead of helpful.

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Jacqueline November 17, 2017 at 11:36 am

I agree with Debilyn. Any delicate perishable item should be packed properly and shipped overnight express; so the supplier is doing a poor job at both. Honestly, perhaps the main reason the branch office is continually receiving the same perishable wreath is because the appropriate person at the corporate office has only heard “thank you” and not the truth. I would think the corporate office will be horrified to find out that their beautiful gift has been arriving with molded fruit, for years. Going forward perhaps the appropriate person at the corporate office will either use a new supplier or choose a non-perishable gift.

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Colleen November 17, 2017 at 7:53 am

I would very simply thank them for the gift and say that unfortunately, it will need some kind of cool packs to keep it fresh for arrival. Nothing wrong with letting them know – I’m sure they will appreciate it!

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Sandy Powell November 16, 2017 at 4:50 pm

I came across a similar situation, but the gift was sent to me and my family at our home by the owner of the company and his wife. I explained the situation to his executive assistant (who I’m certain is the one to actually place the order according to what he/his wife specifies) and let her make the call as to whether or not to address it I kwith the ‘big guy’ or possibly with the company they get the gifts from. It turns out that I was not the only one to receive a broken gift last year. The fact that I spoke up was appreciated; I know that the gift-giver in this case most certainly does not want to be one to give a gift of poor quality.

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Catja November 16, 2017 at 4:32 pm

First, I would thank them for the lovely thought, but ask whether this year they could send you a wreath with non-perishable decorations that would hold up better in your Florida heat and might even be used outdoors. That way you haven’t made them feel bad about previous years – and the implication is that you had to “baby” the previous versions. There is nothing wrong with erring on the side of kindness. And I’d also check with the vendor company to see whether the shipping agent needs to be alerted to the problem.

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Carol November 17, 2017 at 10:08 am

I agree with Catja…thank the company for the gifts but encourage them to choose a nonperishable decoration that you can use and enjoy, and recommend to the vendor that different shipping arrangements be made for proper delivery.

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Adele November 16, 2017 at 4:03 pm

You should let them know that it arrives in that condition. It’s such a waste and disappointment. Perhaps you can suggest to the corporate office that they source a local shop to put together a wreath that can be delivered to you in time for it to stay fresh.

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Paula Sandritter November 16, 2017 at 4:02 pm

I would contact the admin in the corporate office and explain that while you appreciate the thought, you wanted to be sure that the company was not wasting their money since the wreaths don’t survive the warmer climates and the fruit is molded when it arrives. I’m sure they will appreciate your efforts to save them money and embarrassment and will either ship from a local Florida location for quicker delivery, or change up the item they send for warmer climate recipients.

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