What used to be a simple task of distributing valentine's days cards among classmates in grade school has become a global business of logistics. Valentine’s Day celebration has been commercialized into a holiday where, not only do people think about flowers, cards, sweets, and good eats, but more importantly, whether everything will be ready on February 14th. According to the National Retail Federation, U.S consumers are expected to spend $18.6 billion for Valentine’s Day this year.
Did you know that 95 million flowers from Columbia and Ecuador arrive a week before Valentine's Day through UPS? More than 80% of all flowers come through UPS's Miami hub where 3,000 tons of flowers are transported. They are kept in coolers, checked at customs, then delivered to distribution warehouse where they are inspected, kept fresh in controlled 36 degree temperatures, before finally being delivered. This whole process takes less than 24 hours, and is necessary to ensure the flowers are fresh as they are highly perishable. This holiday alone adds about 130 additional flights to accommodate the demand of flowers, including those last-minute rush flights to accommodate all last-minute orders that are taken up until the 13th! Valentine's Day is one of the heaviest single day delivery days throughout the year and flowers are the most gifted item, of course.
Valentine's Day would not be complete without dinner plans, and UPS also provide transportation services of temperature sensitive lobsters from Maine to restaurants and households. Chicago-based companies like Lobster Gram, have been shipping Maine lobsters all over the United States since 1987. Logistics of transporting lobsters include resting them in salt water for a few hours to refresh their gills before packaging them with gel packs in shipping coolers. All that cooling is necessary, as temperatures during shipping cannot rise above 45 degrees.
That lobsters are seen as a sign of romance is a bit interesting, considering that prior to the 19th century, they were used as fertilizers, fishing bait, and poor food fed to prisoners, children, and servants. Lobsters were peasant food and not considered a delicacy until the transportation infrastructure improved
to allow for inland availability at a cost that made it exclusive.
So for those lovebirds excited to receive flowers and enjoy a nice dinner, don't thank your love. Thank logistics for making your Valentine's Day eventful.