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If you've put your Valentine's Day shopping off until the last minute, there are still deals out there -- even some from the major flower-delivery services. But there are also some compelling reasons why you might want to avoid using them.

Candy and FlowersIf you've put your Valentine's Day shopping off until the very last minute, there are still some deals out there. The major flower-delivery websites are limited in what they can deliver in time for the holiday, but most are offering discounts and promotions on those arrangements that are still available.

ProFlowers.com, for instance, is offering $30 credit for $15 at LivingSocial; alternatively, it currently has a buy one, get one half-off deal on its coupon page. Meanwhile, Dealnews has a deal for 1800Flowers.com that takes $10 off orders of $50 or more when you use the code DEALNEWSVDAY. And Offers.com has a deal for 20% off at FTD with the code FTDSAVE20.

But do you really want to go through a national flower-delivery service? Keep in mind that last-minute flower delivery is going to come with hefty fees for delivery. FTD, for instance, tacks on a $21.99 service fee for V-Day delivery, and ProFlowers charges around the same if you're getting it delivered on Feb. 14. And customers aren't always happy with what they get: One FTD customer has already sent in a photo of a disappointing flower arrangement to consumer blog Consumerist, while an angry ProFlowers customer posted a similar picture to Reddit. Meanwhile, angry Twitter users are taking FTD and 1800Flowers to task for bombarding them with marketing emails even after they've unsubscribed.

So if you decide to go with a national flower-delivery service, you're accepting some risks: The risk that your flowers won't appear as advertised, the risk that you'll get hit with service charges, and even the risk that you'll wind up in email-list hell. A better bet might be to go with a local florist: While they might have higher prices and could be at capacity for Valentine's Day delivery, you'll at least know what the arrangement will look like.

Forget Roses

If you're aiming for candy rather than flowers you can, of course, visit a candy store or even a pharmacy to pick it up on your own schedule.

But why limit yourself to candy and flowers? A recent poll from Harris Interactive found a strong desire among women for cleaning services and days at the spa, and also found that few men actually think about those sorts of gifts. Picking up a gift certificate to a local spa or buying a month or two of weekly maid service is a fast alternative that doesn't require you to wait for delivery.

But if you're determined to buy something online, you still have options for last-minute delivery that won't crush you in exorbitant delivery fees. As we've previously noted, Amazon Prime offers subscribers overnight shipping for $3.99; if you've never tried it before, you can get a free trial month of membership. And if you live in San Francisco or New York, the eBay Now app is offering free, one-hour deliveries from local stores like Best Buy and Target through Valentine's Day.



Matt Brownell is the consumer and retail reporter for DailyFinance. You can reach him at Matt.Brownell@teamaol.com, and follow him on Twitter at @Brownellorama.

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