Today I took time out of my busy day to do something completely foreign to me as a florist. I went to the State House to testify on behalf of a bill that is very important to me as a small business owner. For years I have been complaining about fake florists who advertise on line and in phone books as, Florist in Your Town. They have local phone numbers but are in fact call centers in other states who mislead unsuspecting consumers by pretending to be a real local business.
A while back Rep. Kate Hogan heard about this from my mother who helps out at the shop and is active in politics. Kate started researching the subject and authored the bill for which I gave testimony today. Having never been politically active before, I didn’t know what to expect, but I was prepared for anything thanks to florists in Vermont and Texas who gave me some tips. Both those states recently passed similar bills to prohibit such false advertising.
I arrived around 12:45 with just enough time to meet Rep. Hogan in her office, before heading to the Hearing room at 1:00. There were several other bills being heard today and naturally, I was last. Most of the bills they were considering would have an impact on me as a small business and/or consumer so I managed to stay awake in spite of some very long winded speakers. A few times I really wanted to say something about the other bills but I bit my tongue. (If you know me at all, you can appreciate the effort that took!)
Finally it was my turn and I kept it short and sweet which by then should’ve earned me more than a few brownie points with the legislators. I explained the situation, presented letters from other florists, showed them some yellow pages with the fictitious Florist in Concord listings and answered their questions. They seemed receptive, understood the issue, and promised to consider the bill carefully and read the written testimony. One of the men even admitted to ordering flowers recently and was worried he had ordered from a fake florist!
So that was my day at the State House, for what it’s worth. Now we just have to wait and see what happens. Mean while, I will continue to educate the public one person at a time about the importance of shopping locally and how to spot a fake florist.(More on that in my next post)