Mom, Dad, can you split a flower?

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Mom, Dad, can you split a flower?

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A carnation-shaped brooch

It’s an annual tradition for Lee Yeon-soo, 27, to buy his parents a big bouquet of carnations to show his love and respect on Parents Day. Today, however, he decided to take his parents out for dinner instead, because fresh carnations cost too much.

“It’s often been the case that the price of flowers soared in May because there are many family holidays, thus more demand,” he said “But this year the price of carnations in particular rose unbelievably.” A good meal is a better way of using that amount of money, he said.

The carnation supply has been shrunk by the unseasonably cold weather, and prices of the flower jumped 30 percent year-on-year. Last year, a single carnation cost between 3,000 and 4,000 won ($2.69 to $3.59), but this year one costs at least 5,000 won.

“Last year, many local shops like Baskin Robbins gave out carnations if consumers purchased their products, but this year I haven’t seen any freebies,” said Lee Hyun-woo, 26, who bought her parents carnations despite the prices because “there is no other item that signifies Parents Day.”

Meanwhile, local retailers are taking advantage of the situation by marketing alternative gifts.

Over the past week at d&shop, an online store, sales for carnations dropped 7 percent year-on-year, while alternative gifts with carnation motifs, including a carnation-shaped brooch, pens and cell phone accessories, jumped 37 percent.

At G-Market, the nation’s leading online marketplace, sales of alternative items rose 40 percent over the same period last year, and sales of artificial carnations jumped 38 percent.

“The price of flowers in general will remain high this month with other flower-giving holidays, like Teachers Day, approaching,” said an industry official.


By Lee Eun-joo [angie@joongang.co.kr]

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