Floral manager Janet Supplee helps pick out some elegant stems.

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Mother’s Day, checkout line, QFC floral department, Harvard Market, Capitol Hill. Guy clutches a potted plant. For his girlfriend’s mother. About to meet her for the first time. Hmmm. How ’bout cut flowers instead, floral manager Janet Supplee suggests. Pot with dirt doesn’t seem classy enough. She helps him pick out some elegant stems, folds them in raffia and tissue. When Supplee is on duty, don’t expect to just grab a plastic-wrapped bouquet and go. Listen to her:

“Selling flowers is like being a bartender. You listen to their stories. You offer suggestions, compassion, understanding. You don’t pass judgment. You brighten sad times. You make people happy, and you smile when they come back to say thank you thank you thank you.

“When guys come in and buy a single rose or a dozen roses, I always ask, with an attitude, ‘Whaddja do?’ Some smile and say, ‘Nothing.’ Some smile and say, ‘It’s what I want to do!’ A lot of them say, ‘I’m in the doghouse.’

“I always tell people to go with their heart instead of obsessing on a trend. Think of what you would like to receive. Gerbera daisies. Why not? Don’t make it overwhelming. Keep it simple. It’s all in the presentation. You can make a dandelion look like a million bucks if it’s presented right.

“For Mom? Depends.

“The Classic Mom, down to earth, nurturing: Hydrangeas, potted or cut.

“The Working Mom, juggling, running every which way: Stargazer lilies. They smell good. The scent can make them forget how busy they are. The word ‘star,’ to look up, get away from it all.

“The Mom of a Certain Age with grown children: Roses. They’re easy. No mess.

“There was a gentleman, a film director, who lost his partner, one of those rare people who had a Significant Other for over 50 years when that type of lifestyle was not allowed and known. It was the one-year anniversary of his partner’s passing and he was, just, ‘Sell me the damn flowers and let me get out.’

“After an hour of talking, laughing, hugging and crying, he left.

“I honestly forget, was it roses? But I remember he made my day by allowing me in his life for a brief time to make him feel better. He went to the cemetery feeling blessed that he had had such an awesome relationship for 50 years. It wasn’t just about getting flowers.”