Barware And Glasses
Kitchen – Kitchen And Dining – Barware And Glasses
Detail of the 2017 Ford Shelby GT350 Mustang had already been shared in February, although this was not official. However, Ford have deiced to release the official details of the changes, and everything that was shared was spot on, so we thought we would go over those package changes. Ford will now allow their customers to build their 2017 Ford Shelby GT350 Mustang cars the way they want to, and the changes that are now available to them do make for some impressive improvements. One of the main benefits with the 2017 model are the performance goodies. Before you had to purchase the Track Package in order to get extras such as MagneRide active dampers, aluminum strut tower brace, rear decklid spoiler and extra coolers was optional. However, all of these features now come as standard.
Now buyers are able to opt for the Technology package knowing that they can also enjoy all those features above. The Technology package has also seen changes, as it is now called the Electronics Package instead. So in this new package you now get Sync 3, along with a 9-speaker audio system and navigation. The Convenience Package offers the same as the Electronics Package, but also adds leather power-adjustable sport seats. It s not just changes to the package that Ford have worked on with the 2017 Shelby GT350 Mustang improvements, as there are also new colors that include Grabber Blue, Lightning Blue and Ruby Red Metallic. Sadly, Deep Impact Blue and Competition Orange are no longer an option. For full details please visit Ford1.
- ^ Ford (media.ford.com)
- ^ Ford F150 facelift changes may reveal Expedition update (www.product-reviews.net)
Mother s Day1 is near, and if you re like a lot of people, flowers are your go-to gift. More money is spent on bouquets around mom s special day (about ?2.4 billion last year, according to a National Retail Federation2 survey) than on Valentine s Day3 ( ?2.1 billion).
And more and more of us are ordering our Mother s Day flowers online4. Low prices and convenience are the lure: Virtual flower shops can keep prices down because their website is their storefront, and their flowers are often delivered from central warehouses. (Many of them also keep a portion of the sales placed through their websites that they pass on to local florists.) As a result, revenue for online florists has been growing 2.5 percent annually in the past five years as revenue for walk-in flower shops has dropped by 1.2 percent each year during the same time period, according to market research by IBISWorld5. Ordering flowers online also makes it easy to see a wide variety of bouquet choices. The photos on these sites are lovely: Lush arrangements of fresh flowers in full bloom, expertly styled. The only thing you can t do is take a deep sniff. But how can you know how the photo compares with the arrangement that actually shows up at mom s door? To find out, we ordered similarly composed and priced multicolor long-stem roses as well as mixed-flower bouquets from three popular online sites: 1-800-Flowers6, FTD7, and ProFlowers8. We selected arrangements that were supposed to be delivered in boxes (which usually means they re sent from a central warehouse), representing what many consumers might receive during one of the industry s busiest times of year. Flowers that arrive in a vase are usually arranged by a local florist.
All six bouquets were delivered on Feb. 11, close to Valentine s Day, to match the high-demand Mother s Day moment as much as possible.
When the mixed-flower arrangements arrived, we were surprised to find the ones from ProFlowers and FTD were in a vase. As a result, we didn t include the mixed flowers in our survey because the arrangements represented only what people near our office in Yonkers, N.Y., might receive.
We took pictures of the three bunches of roses in our photo studio. Then we asked 77 staff volunteers to inspect the arrangements and choose which ones they thought represented the best and worst quality, all under the supervision of our lab experts. We followed with an online survey of 162 staffers who were shown the flowers online pictures (we didn t identify the websites) next to photos of the roses that were delivered, and asked how similar they were on a scale of one (not at all similar) to five (extremely alike). FTD roses got the best scores; staffers liked the ProFlowers bunch the least.
Do you use an online flower service?
Tell us about your experience in the comments below.
On the left is the photo of the roses we ordered from the ProFlowers website; on the right are the flowers we received. ProFlowers (which was acquired by FTD in December 2014) says on its website that its flowers are hand-picked in fields and sent directly to your door. In our sample of a dozen roses, however, only five were intact. Almost all of our panelists who rated them in person (97 percent) said they represented the lowest-quality bunch. When we asked in our survey how similar the arrangement was to its online photo, 96 percent gave it a 1 out of 5, or a poor rating. When we called ProFlowers to complain, a customer-service10 rep apologized and sent us another bunch of roses the next day at no additional charge. The replacement roses were full and intact.
Total price: ?56.48
( ?34.97, plus ?12.99 for shipping, ?5.53 for tax, and ?2.99 for care and handling”)
The FTD roses received the best scores from our survey panelists: 95 percent of those who rated them in person said they represented the best quality of the three rose bouquets we ordered. Sixteen percent of the folks who took our online survey said they were extremely similar to the online picture (on the left); another 36 percent gave them a 4 out of 5.
Total price: ?76.01
( ?49.99, plus ?18.99 for shipping and ?7.03 for tax)
The roses from 1-800-Flowers arrived in fine shape, but our survey panelists were less wowed by them than the FTD roses. When judging how similar our delivery (on the right) was to the flowers online photo (on the left), 37 percent of our staffers gave them a good rating (3); 37 percent rated them fair (2). Only three of the 77 people who looked them over in person thought they represented the best quality among our rose bouquets. Only two said they were the lowest quality.
Total price: ?65.01
( ?44.99, plus ?14.99 for shipping and ?5.03 for tax)
Smart Shopping Tips
If you ll be ordering a bouquet for mom online, keep this advice in mind:
Go to online flower-delivery websites a few times before you order. We were offered additional price cuts and coupons the more we clicked on the sites.
Don t forget to factor shipping and taxes into your total cost. Our shipping fees ranged from ?12.99 to ?18.99 for a dozen roses.
Consider having your arrangement arrive a few days before a major holiday. You could save some additional money. Delivery costs escalate in the days leading up to Valentine s Day, as they probably will around Mother s Day.
Ask your mom about the flowers sent. (She may not want to complain to you, or she may just be glad you thought of her.) But if you suspect there was a problem with the bouquet, ask for a photo. Call the company you ordered them from to complain if you or your mother is dissatisfied with a delivery. All three companies we ordered from will replace your flowers or refund your money if you re not satisfied. All three also provide the same options if their flowers don t last for seven days.
Editor’s Note: This article also appeared in the May 2016 issue of Consumer Reports magazine.
- ^ Mother s Day (www.consumerreports.org)
- ^ National Retail Federation (nrf.com)
- ^ Valentine s Day (www.consumerreports.org)
- ^ online (www.consumerreports.org)
- ^ IBISWorld (www.ibisworld.com)
- ^ 1-800-Flowers (www.1800flowers.com)
- ^ FTD (www.ftd.com)
- ^ ProFlowers (www.proflowers.com)
- ^ how to keep flowers fresh (www.consumerreports.org)
- ^ customer-service (www.consumerreports.org)
Plunking a penny into a vase of water won t help your blooms last longer. But here s what will keep flowers fresh, according to Kristin Schleiter, associate vice president for outdoor gardens and senior curator at the New York Botanical Garden.123
Give Them a Snip
You ve probably heard that you keep flowers fresh by cutting the stem as soon as you get them home. Here s why it s a good practice: Flowers have a vascular system in their stems that draws up water and nutrients to feed the blooms. If you neglect to cut them, air that has been drawn into the stems while they were out of water can block water absorption. Use very sharp scissors or pruning shears, and snip at least one-half inch off the bottom of the stems to be sure you re cutting above possible air bubbles. Schleiter suggests doing this if your flowers are delivered4 in a box or tied with a rubber band.
Place Them in Water Quickly
To speed the process, you can cut stems under water to prevent air bubbles from forming in the stems. It s also okay to put the flowers in a vase of water right after you make the cut. Just don t dillydally, Schleiter says. Arrange your bouquet first, then cut the stems and put them in water.
Watch the Water Temp
Placing stems in hot water will cook them, Schleiter says. Room-temperature water is best, with one exception: Blooms from bulbs that flower during cooler months, like anemones, daffodils, and tulips, will do better if the water is below room temperature. Using cool water will help them last longer, Schleiter notes. If you have unopened flowers and want to speed blooming along, perhaps because you plan to use them as a table centerpiece in the next day or two, use warm water to help them open up more quickly. (The trade-off, of course, is that they ll also die sooner.)
Remove Below-Water Foliage
Any plant leaves and flowers you leave in the vase water will rot quickly, which will spread bacteria that will kill your flowers before their time.
Keep ‘Em Cool
Heat will hasten your flowers demise, so place arrangements in cool spots, away from heating ducts and vents. You can also keep flowers fresh by avoiding direct sunlight.
Change the Water
As we said, bacteria are the enemy, so wash out the vase and refill it at least every three days, Schleiter advises. Trim another half-inch off the stems while you re at it.
Make Your Own Flower Food
Those little packets that come with many floral arrangements help to keep flowers fresh because they contain sugar to provide a little nourishment; citric acid to keep the pH low and acidic, which helps water move up the stems a bit faster and may reduce wilting; as well as antibacterial powder. If your arrangement didn t include a packet of food or if you ve used yours up, you can make your own each time you change the water or before you give the stems a cut. Here s how: Mix together a few drops of bleach or a clear spirit such as vodka or gin to help fight bacterial growth, add a few drops of clear soda or superfine sugar to feed the flowers, and then crush a vitamin C tablet and add it to lower the pH.
Editor’s Note: This article also appeared in the May 2016 issue of Consumer Reports magazine.