A Few Things I Learned While Delivering Mums


John Torosian

It was approximately 6:25 a.m. on a beautiful Sunday morning. As I pulled my mother’s 2014 Volvo Station Wagon into the almost-empty parking lot, I was greeted by the 10 other gentlemen who had arrived mere seconds before me. A complimentary donut and a few pats on the back began to wake me up, and before I knew it, the first truck had arrived.

If you haven’t already guessed, this isn’t my traditional Sunday routine. In fact, the now-infamous “Mums Day” only comes but once a year. But, before I can explain Mums Day itself, let’s examine what led up to this.

No matter if you’re a student, parent, or anything in between, you’ve most likely heard of the football and basketball coupon cards. Heck, you’ve probably even purchased one. While you might not have actually used these handy coupons, the idea is sound: spend a little money to support the local team, and maybe you’ll get a couple bucks off your next Chief’s order. It is by this same principle that mums are sold to benefit the Golf Team, and when it comes to the practicality of these unique flowers, they certainly give the coupon cards a run for their money.

“We sell mums to people who actually want them, and that’s what separates what we do from the game cards,” said senior Captain Danny Fisher. “Besides the fact that people like supporting the Golf Team, mums are very functional; a lot of people I sold to had already planned on buying them.”

There’s only one major difference between the mums and coupon cards: the logistics of buying a card are almost nonexistent. One purchases the product, hands over the funds, and receives the product instantaneously. This isn’t to say selling the cards is easy, but at least it is a simple transaction. Mums, by comparison, are a different story. While the process of making the sale is essentially the same, the fun is only just beginning once the customer’s name is on the sheet.

The first lesson that I learned in this entire endeavor was that one truly learns who their real friends are when selling something. Your pal Steve from English? He doesn’t like mums. Jennifer from Calculus? She already bought from someone else. That one guy who was in your Wellness for Life class three years ago? He moved to California. Whatever the case may be, one needs to forget any preexisting notions, positive or not-so-positive, of their peers when trying to make a sale. What better time to bury the hatchet from an estranged friend then by texting them a picture of flowers with the caption, “Care to buy some mums?”

Fast forward back to Sunday morning. My sheet was finally chock full of names, and while the first load of red mums was lowered down from the truck, I began to look forward to deliveries later in the day.

After a few hours of organizing everyone’s mums into sections – a crucial step due to the lack of color on the mums at the time – I journeyed around the streets of Lake Forest and Lake Bluff. Here are a few things that I noticed on this expedition.

 The radio (which I was forced to use due to the absence of an aux cord in my mother’s Volvo) is essentially garbage. Upon turning it on (and leaving it on for hours on end), I fell into a deep abyss filled to the brim with Cardi B and extremely repetitive refrains. My favorite classic rock and alternative songs were nowhere to be found, nor was the decent hip-hop that would make up for endless Drake songs from six months ago.

As “The Middle” lulls me into a state of hypnosis, I realize that my destination has crept up on me. Siri explains that the address is 691. The nearest mailbox reads 671, and the next is 673. I shift my eyes back toward the road and allow my focus to relax for a bit. After a second, I check again. 703. What?! In the span of three houses, I jumped significantly ahead of the target address. With the car behind me bearing down hard, I am forced to turn into a random driveway and turn around.

So, how did this happen in the first place? Upon doing some research, Wikipedia informed me that in fact there is actually a complex algorithm in place here, stating, “…numbers that are assigned… encode the distance from a baseline (also known as base point) which is typically in the heart of a geographically large municipality such as a city.”

With this in mind, navigating through the winding roads of Lake Forest with a dozen flowers ready to pounce forward at any given moment proved to be tricky. Furthermore, at any given moment, swarms of grown men and women on bicycles donning head-to-toe jumpsuits would dart out. The average person might assume that the Tour de France happened to be in town, but any Lake Forestian is familiar with the large volume of bikers around the area.

“There are tons of bike paths all around here,” said senior Captain Sam Davis. “I really don’t understand why these people choose to use the road instead.”

All in all, selling and delivering mums for the Golf Team was absolutely a rewarding experience. There is a certain sense of pride that comes along with representing a team that you’ve worked hard to earn a spot on, and there is no better way to harness this than by offering friends and family the chance to support that organization. Furthermore, with all external factors aside, actually moving the flowers around is a fairly simple task.

Selling coupon cards might be easier than transporting mums around town, but the experience of developing a relationship with a customer and working together with your teammates before the sun comes up is forfeited. In this case, going that extra mile makes all the difference.