School's no-delivery decision criticized

When the year's most romantic holiday falls on a weekend, business is tough enough, say some local merchants, without a public notice that contributes to a decrease in business.

Deliveries of floral arrangements, such as the one at a local flower shop that featured this rose, were not allowed this week at Mitchell High School. The decision was criticized by some. (Photo by Laura Wehde/Republic)

When the year's most romantic holiday falls on a weekend, business is tough enough, say some local merchants, without a public notice that contributes to a decrease in business.

Mitchell High School is typically a major flower and balloon delivery stop on Valentine's Day. Normally, the school sets up a delivery table and students pick up their flowers after school. That didn't happen this year with Valentine's falling on a Saturday.

The school's administration sent letters to Nepstad's Flowers & Gifts, Cherrybee's Floral & Gifts, Char's Party Center and James Valley Nursery (although the nursery no longer delivers cut flowers) notifying the businesses that the school would be closed on the Friday preceding Valentine's Day and "we will not be accepting Valentine's deliveries for the high school this year."Bill Hins, co-owner of Char's Party Center, said he didn't think much of the decision.

"It pretty much squashed a lot of our school Valentine business," Hins said Wednesday. "I don't know why they couldn't have declared a day like Thursday as Valentine's Day, as in the past. But to say 'we're closed' was kind of cold, I thought."

Yvonne Palli, principal of the high school, said the letter didn't constitute an anti-flower policy. Since the district was closed Friday for a teacher conference and will remain closed Monday for President's Day, having a pre-Valentine's Day seemed a bit of a stretch, she said.


"Given the date of Valentine's Day and no school on Friday, we saw no need to deliver two days early," she said. At least one individual disregarded that advice and dropped flowers at the school, "even though we said we're not taking deliveries," she added.

Superintendent Joe Graves expressed a similar opinion.

"What we're basically saying is 'don't deliver them here because there'll be no students here,' " he said, adding that home delivery would have been the logical alternative.

Sending flowers or balloons to a home is not the same thing as sending them someplace public, said Hins. Part of Valentine's Day is sharing the excitement with others.

"It's just not as much fun," he said. "Even with husbands and wives, rarely do we take a bouquet to the home. It's usually to their business or where they're working."

Florists also were concerned about the school's no-delivery policy.

Nepstad's owner Stuart Barns said that, pursuant to the temporary high school policy, his business did not receive any orders for delivery to the high school. His only deliveries were to the middle school and grade schools. The flowers or treats were dropped at the main desk, runners delivered messages to the targeted recipients, and the gifts were picked up there.

Normally, said Barns, his shop sends a van-load of flowers to the high school.


The story was the same for Char's, according to Hins, who said his shop typically delivers eight to 10 balloon bouquets to MHS. This year, his only school delivery was one to L.B. Williams Elementary.

Cherrybee's owner Dick Anderson declined to comment, other than to say he planned to take care of his customers.

Palli said the no-delivery notice was issued partly to avoid problems that invariably occur when students fail to pick up their flowers. When that happens, she said, school employees end up making phone calls to remind students to pick-up their unclaimed buds. If unspoken for, flowers would have sat in the school over the four-day holiday, said Palli, and her staff would have ended up fielding wilted flower complaints.

Despite the policy, students did not go totally flowerless this week.

Student body President Isaac Harrington, a senior, said at least 75 students ordered individual roses for that special someone as part of a student council fundraiser. Students picked up their roses at the close of school on Thursday. The remaining roses went to school support staff, he said.

What To Read Next
Kari Rettig's charge she pleaded no contest to stemmed from her defrauding by falsifying documents such as tax returns and daycare bills.
Work began Monday and will span through the remainder of the week
Up to 50% less nitrates leave fields when ‘controlled drainage’ is used with drain tile
Family says autopsy, investigation don’t bring closure