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March 29, 2014

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Few takers for vending machine flowers

THE flower vending machines at two Metro stations have failed to charm buyers.

The two machines installed at People’s Square and Xintiandi stations sell a little over 30 boxes of flowers every month. They cost between 100 yuan (US$16) and 200 yuan but it hasn’t impressed buyers, who have cited both freshness and costs as reasons for ignoring them, depending on them only for “emergencies.”

The vending machines are owned by a local flower shop, which stores 12 bouquets and boxes of flowers in each machine. The flowers are kept fresh by controlled temperature and moisture.

A flower shop worker, surnamed Pan, who checks the machines and replaces or restores the flowers every other day, said most of the sales happen around holidays.

Each machines, on an average, does three businesses every week. The machines were installed last month.

“If my boyfriend buys me flowers from a vending machine, I won’t be happy,” said an office lady surnamed Qian.  “It means he hasn’t put much effort into preparing the gift.”

A male commuter, surnamed Li, even doubted if the flowers were fresh.

“I will consider buying them from machines only during emergencies, like if I forget a family member’s birthday and can’t think of any other arrangements.

“I’m not sure how long the flowers have been kept there, and they are not cheap.”


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