Wednesday, 9 February 2011
Say it With Flowers...
The Auld Reekie Ranter received this unsolicited email from an organisation called Change.org yesterday:
Valentine's Day, which accounts for 40% of fresh flower sales annually, is fast approaching. If you're planning to order a bouquet from 1,800 Flowers the world's largest florist -- you should know where most of those flowers really come from. At flower farms in Ecuador and Colombia -- the countries that export the most to the U.S. -- two-thirds of the workers are women. These women are routinely subjected to harassment and even rape from their male supervisors. They suffer eye infections and miscarriages from consistent contact with dangerous pesticides.
In the weeks leading up to Valentine's Day and Mother's Day, they're routinely forced to work 80-hour weeks with no overtime pay. Attempts to form a union are met with opposition by police and armed forces. Many retailers -- such as Whole Foods and Stop & Shop -- have taken the important first step of offering Fair Trade flowers to consumers who want no part of these abuses. Fair Trade certified farms must adhere to strict standards for workers' rights, which prevents the abuses described above.
Now, any abusive work practice ought to be condemned. However, anyone who knows me would not hesitate to say that flowers and I just don't go. I have no need to buy flowers for anyone and in all the years spent married to the infamous Mrs Smith, I haven't bought her flowers once. Not at all. There was one occasion - many years ago I hasten to add - when we were out together (a rare event I grant you) and I nipped into the public convenience at the bus station in Edinburgh. Laura and Michaela were still children at the time and when I returned they were looking at their mother somewhat agog as she stood clutching a large bouquet. It transpired a passing fella had pressed the flowers into Mrs Smith's bosom with the words 'here, you have these'. The poor chap had apparently been stood up by his girlfriend and obviously thought Mrs Smith could do with cheering up....
Apparently Valentine's Day is next week and the card shops in Edinburgh, as in most other cities in Scotland, are chock-a-block with soppy cards with images of hearts and flowers and ridiculous prose. I could purchase one of these monstrosities along with a manky looking teddy bear for the love of of my life but I can think of far better things to spend a tenner on - such as a wee trip to see my accountant, or as Mr Hill likes to call me, his retirement pension. Or I could just spend the money on Mrs Smith.....(come on, keep up)
Where's the romance in you, I hear you cry (if you're still reading this tosh) Those who know me will tell you it left a long time ago, when Mrs Smith ran off with one of the neighbours. How I miss him so. However, here's a verse to show all isn't lost:
Roses are red
Violets are blue
so goes the age old rhyme
But I know that Violets are red
and Roses are blue
I've seen them hanging on the line
My court appearance is due next week......