Flower Delivery at the Workplace
October 15, 2018 7:35 AM   Subscribe

My wife has a relatively new job working the front desk of a financial advisory firm. Can I send her flowers at work? This vaguely feels like one of those "if you have to ask..." situations, but c'mon, flowers!

We had a pretty rough few days with some major plumbing issues, so while I was off watching YouTube how-to videos and punching my hardware store frequent shopper card, my wife handled everything else around the house that we'd normally get done over the weekend. Among other things I wanted to send her flowers at work to say thank you.

I'm not sure if this is ok, because 1) she's at the front desk that I believe is in the area where clients wait to be seen, and 2) after being gone for a month, a higher-up at a company that shares space with my wife's employer kind of blew up at her for setting up a diffuser that everyone had said was fine, so there was for my wife to know that this person (whose office is on the other end of the suite) would take issue with the smells.

And 3) she started working there a couple of weeks ago, so while I know she gets along great with her coworkers, she's a little stressed over figure out how things work there and I don't really know the vibe of the place yet.

It's not like I'm sending a giant funeral arrangement on a stand, but I'm a little nervous about a normal bouquet causing a disruption and/or making things worse with Crabby Not-Coworker (which isn't an employment issue, just more of a work place peace and quiet thing).

Is there a Miss Manners rule for flowers? Are they always ok? Or is it worth just picking them up myself and bringing them home to her after work so I don't somehow add extra stress to anyone's day?
posted by Nonsteroidal Anti-Inflammatory Drug to Human Relations (19 answers total)
 
Someone already takes issues with scented things and she's a new employee. DO NOT SEND FLOWERS.
posted by jabes at 7:37 AM on October 15, 2018 [29 favorites]


Honestly, I wouldn't do this. I know it's hard to understand - or explain - but sending flowers to her at work, especially this early, and especially to a front desk person, is kind of undermining her authority.

That said, get her some beautiful flowers at home.
posted by brainmouse at 7:38 AM on October 15, 2018 [47 favorites]


Or is it worth just picking them up myself and bringing them home to her after work so I don't somehow add extra stress to anyone's day?

Yes, or get them delivered when she'll be home.
posted by kapers at 7:39 AM on October 15, 2018 [11 favorites]


Heh, 3 confirmations right off the bat. Thanks, hivemind :)
posted by Nonsteroidal Anti-Inflammatory Drug at 7:40 AM on October 15, 2018 [2 favorites]


Flowers at home.
posted by bilabial at 7:41 AM on October 15, 2018 [1 favorite]


In general, I'd say a scent diffuser is obnoxious in the office, whereas flowers are fine, in terms of what you can reasonably expect people to have their allergies triggered by. However, if you know that crabby colleague has allergies or scent issues, maybe it's better to get out ahead of that by delivering the flowers to home.
posted by chesty_a_arthur at 7:41 AM on October 15, 2018 [3 favorites]


The reason I answered as I did didn't have much to do with the not-coworker (though certainly flowers can trigger allergies and sensitivities.) This is husband stuff, thanking her for wife stuff-- too personal for the office.
posted by kapers at 7:46 AM on October 15, 2018 [26 favorites]


They will be just as appreciated if you give them to her at home and you will run zero risk of office optics and politics.
posted by like_neon at 7:46 AM on October 15, 2018 [2 favorites]


Why not give her something small and ornamental for her desk? Back when I had a different desk, my partner gave me a small vintage ceramic vase (like 3" by 3") - nothing expensive or fancy or obtrusive, but pretty and unusual. I just had it tucked in a corner of my desk and it was nice.
posted by Frowner at 8:03 AM on October 15, 2018 [10 favorites]


you could get her a little orchid in a pot (commonly available at flower sections of grocery stores and Trader Joes) they look classy, don't smell and last longer than cut flowers. I find it hard to believe that anyone in the office would take issue with that.
posted by genmonster at 9:53 AM on October 15, 2018 [2 favorites]


This is not what she wants to be known for at the office. If she’d been there longer, and had an established identity there already, it’d be different, but right now it’s a distraction.
posted by snickerdoodle at 9:58 AM on October 15, 2018 [9 favorites]


Send her chocolates or something else besides flowers or wait until she walks in the door from work and surprise her with flowers (and a glass of wine).
posted by AugustWest at 11:19 AM on October 15, 2018


Update: My wife texted me that work today is such a disaster she can't even explain it over the phone.

At her last job it wasn't a disaster unless children were missing or the police were arresting people so I'm curious to see how the disaster scales match up between positions, but it's probably good I didn't toss a vase into the mix today!
posted by Nonsteroidal Anti-Inflammatory Drug at 1:31 PM on October 15, 2018


I like to send cookies because then she can share them and be very popular. Reading your last update, I hope she's not stuck in a Sick System. Been there, would not redo.
posted by OnTheLastCastle at 2:57 PM on October 15, 2018 [1 favorite]


I think a gift is a lovely gesture but I don’t understand why you have to send her anything to her office? Unless you are deliberately giving her something to get the attention of her colleagues, why wouldn’t you give it to her personally at home?
posted by Jubey at 3:33 PM on October 15, 2018 [1 favorite]


This is husband stuff, thanking her for wife stuff-- too personal for the office.
...
I don’t understand why you have to send her anything to her office?

Wait, is this not a thing people do? Has prime time television been lying to me my entire life? Did I watch too many movies growing up where Cary Grant's office is his entire life?

As it turns out my wife said it totally would have been fine, and it certainly wouldn't have made things any worse (see below) and definitely would have brightened her day. Is this just a Midwestern thing?


Reading your last update, I hope she's not stuck in a Sick System.
Probably not. My wife has been explicitly instructed to do 0 work for Crabby Not-Coworker's company, and upon finding out about this today when her attempts to boss around my wife failed, Crabby Not-Coworker kept clients waiting for a solid 20 minutes to cuss out the owner of my wife's company. I'm thinking that the diffuser wasn't really the issue last week. Too may people were out of town today for this sort of nonsense to be immediately resolved, and if for some reason it's just brushed off by the people in charge we're in good shape for her to go back to the job search.

Mondays, huh?

posted by Nonsteroidal Anti-Inflammatory Drug at 9:49 PM on October 15, 2018


As it turns out my wife said it totally would have been fine, and it certainly wouldn't have made things any worse (see below) and definitely would have brightened her day. Is this just a Midwestern thing?

I think our comments were to point out that this could definitely vary by person and by office culture so better to err on the side of gifting her at home, which would run zero risk.
posted by like_neon at 1:46 AM on October 16, 2018 [1 favorite]


RE: husband stuff/wife stuff at the office - it's totally a thing people do (maybe not some of the people in this thread, but still). There doesn't have to be a deeply personal card spelling out line by line why you are sending them - I love fresh flowers and my husband knows that and not a single person would look at me funny if I had a vase on my desk. I spend a LOT of time at work, and things from my husband that make me happy at work are A-OK and very welcome.
posted by ersatzkat at 12:49 PM on October 16, 2018 [2 favorites]


I've worked in legal offices and tech firms (Northeastern USA), and in all of them, people would have thought the flowers were sweet and completely appropriate.
posted by Jasper Fnorde at 3:38 PM on October 16, 2018


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