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Want a New Perspective on Valentine’s Day? Work at a Flower Shop!

February 22, 2024

Written by Valerie Dreyfuss

In the early morning hours of February 14, I was standing under fluorescent lights, surrounded by thousands of dollars worth of roses. It was Valentine's Day, and I was at ground zero: Boston City Florist on Commonwealth Avenue.

For the next five hours, I was part of a small army of warriors working frantically to assemble bouquets, wrap thorny stems, and write love notes for other couples.

The job was simple; I would be paid $15 an hour for making bouquets and helping customers. But it turned out that these seemingly simple tasks would help me sort through my own complicated feelings about Valentine’s Day.

This holiday is one of many contrasts: For those who are occupied, it’s a day of sweet togetherness. For those who are single, it can be a day of quiet loneliness.

Likewise, to other overly-saturated holidays, people feel pressure on Valentine’s Day to make it known how they are celebrating; it is the token day for single people to unapologetically express resentment, or one where committed people can show off their relationships.

While I’ve never experienced grave pressure associated with Valentine’s Day, the outbursts in Instagram stories have proved over time to both be unsettling and unwarranted.

In my past experiences — regardless of whether or not I’ve shared this day with someone — I’ve experienced a discomforting pressure to make it known how I am celebrating the day.

On this Valentine’s Day, however, I was the mediator; I simply did not have time to reflect on my expectations for the day or set any unrealistic expectations that would inevitably not be met. I viewed the holiday from a strictly business standpoint.

After all, Valentine’s Day is the most important day of the year for florists.

Amidst hundreds of arrangements, bouquets, and incoming orders throughout my six-hour shift, I gradually developed a new understanding and, dare I say, appreciation for Valentine’s Day.

One might assume that taking on the role of the mediator would be depressing—being the means behind acts of love from partner to partner—but I was surprised to feel the stark opposite.

I tapped into the mindset that it was almost like a secret operation with the sole purpose of making someone feel extra appreciated. I felt a sense of fulfillment that was almost shocking to me.

While the hectic atmosphere throughout the store was manifest, countless moments lifted the stress.

Perhaps the most endearing part of my shift was when a boy came in with a Notes app list of his girlfriend's favorite flowers. He approached me with the most sincere look in his eyes and said, “Do you have any of these? If you don’t, do you have anything similar?”

The flower shop I work at had a successful Valentine’s Day. That being said, the intensity of the environment was more than apparent.

Upon being hired a month ago, my boss would constantly joke at us saying we “don’t know what’s coming” about “the big day.” While the pressures were high, they didn't pertain to our emotions or expectations, which was freeing in a sense.

I still encountered stress on Valentine’s Day, but my mind was free of the typical ruminations I’ve stumbled into on the holiday.

Rather than fixating on unmet expectations or falling into unhealthy thought patterns, I hyper-focused on perfecting how to tie the perfect bouquet ribbon and cleaning roses in the most productive way possible.

While I may not work at a florist every Valentine’s Day, this past holiday signifies a pattern that has been broken for the better—to anyone who has felt a similar discomfort with the holiday, I strongly recommend spending the day at a flower shop.

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