Three out of ten flower shops in Stoke-on-Trent charge women more than men for Valentine’s Day flowers, our investigation has revealed.
One store quoted £20 more to our female journalist for the same 10 red roses bundle, and another four times as much.
The investigation comes after it emerged Sainsbury’s sold a Valentine’s card for husbands at 50p more than the equivalent one for wives, forcing them to blame an “error” after a social media backlash.
StaffsLive contacted a range of flower shops in the city, with a male reporter asking for the price of 10 basic Valentine’s Day red roses to be collected.
A short time after, a female reporter called asking for a quote for the same bundle.
One shop, Parsley and Sage on Trentham Road, charged our male reporter £30 for ten roses, but when our female reporter called the same shop, she was quoted £40-50 for the same product.
When we called back three days later for a comment, an employee said: “We didn’t know what size roses were coming in, so the £3 roses are completely different to a £5 rose. The £5 rose has got a larger head, larger stem, longer stem.”
However, the employee did not address the difference in price that was provided to both reporters.
H&R Florists, of Weston Road, near Longton, charged our male reporter £25 for 10 basic roses.
But when our female reporter called, she was quoted £45 for the same roses on the same day.
When contacted by StaffsLive, an employee said: “I actually explained to you that you wanted the cheaper roses, so I gave you the option of more expensive roses, and the cheaper roses. You said the cheaper roses, hence why they were only £10.”
Both original calls were made to the same employee, but she claimed: “I didn’t speak to her [female reporter], so I can’t obviously say exactly what my colleague would have said.”
And at Covent Garden, of Ford Green Road, Norton, staff quoted our male reporter £10 for a bundle of 10 basic roses.
When our female reporter called, she was quoted £40 for the same 10 flowers.
When we called back and asked if the shop varies prices on gender, an employee said: “Absolutely not.
“The price of our flowers are the same across the board, whether you’re male, female, black, white, Chinese, whatever you like. It’s the same across the board.”
He explained the different prices as a different bundle offered.
He said: “The grade of rose we use for Valentine’s Day is a completely different grade.”
Our investigation shows the approach to pricing by some shops, is noticeably different depending on the gender of the caller.
Our male reporter was quoted a price almost immediately when asking for “10 basic roses”.
But our female reporter received offers of more expensive roses and bundles, with one store even offering a £30-per-rose option first.
We contacted Stoke-on-Trent City Council Trading Standards, but they declined to comment.