To the Editor:
For the past 47 years, I have been the owner and operator of Berkeley Florist Supply Company, the oldest wholesale florist supply company in South Florida.
It is wonderful to encourage charitable gifts but it is not necessary to discourage flowers or any other expressions of sympathy.
If a family does not want flowers at a loved one's funeral, that is fine. In such cases, all that needs to be said is, “The family wishes that donations be made to (whatever charity)” in the name of the deceased. There is no need to say, “in lieu of flowers.”
For many years, sending flowers has been one of the most appropriate and appreciated ways to express sympathy and compassion, as well as respect for the deceased. I have been to funerals where they even hold up the flower arrangements and thank the people who sent them. This is a wonderful gesture.
I am aware that there are members of some religions, such as Orthodox Jews, who do not use flowers at their funerals and people know not to send them. However, in this day and age, when discrimination of any kind is so looked down upon, it is amazing to me that no one has realized that this simple phrase is open discrimination against the people in the flower business.
There are mom-and-pop flower shops all over the country that depend on the funeral business to make a living. It would be a wonderful thing if funeral directors could be made aware of this and, when writing the obituaries for the newspapers, leave out the discriminatory phrase, “in lieu of flowers…”
CEO, Berkeley Florist Supply Company Miami