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Weekly Report #63 - Unpleasant Flower Ordering Experience, Merchants and Consumers in the Increasingly AI-Driven Era



This article is a record and reflection on the life of the week from 2024-06-24 to 2024-06-30.

An unpleasant experience of ordering flowers and seeking justice made me reflect on the relationship between businesses and consumers, as well as the increasing human-like nature of AI, while humans seem to be becoming more like AI. On Friday, the server suddenly experienced a Kernel Panic and couldn't be restarted. After various rescue attempts, I finally managed to recover over a thousand images from the image hosting service, which was a heart-stopping experience. I also took the opportunity to explore a new image hosting solution. It occurred to me that the last time I wrote a blog setup tutorial was over two years ago, and both the content and components have undergone many changes, so I decided to start a new series.

An Unpleasant Flower Ordering Experience#


Something very unpleasant happened over the weekend (and it is still being resolved due to the merchant's refusal to pick up the goods).

On June 30th, it was the one-year anniversary of me and my schoolmate being together. In the morning, I ordered a bouquet of flowers on the food delivery platform. It was supposed to be a happy occasion, but when the flowers were delivered to my schoolmate, there was a card attached to them. It said "to 小语宝贝" (to Little Yu Baby) and had some personal wishes written on it, but I didn't request a card to be included.

It seemed like the card was misplaced, and fortunately, I was present when the flowers were received, so it didn't cause any misunderstandings or conflicts. I was a bit disappointed at the time, but I wasn't too angry. So, I contacted the merchant for a refund.

I described the situation to the merchant, expressing my understanding that it might have been a mistake by the florist. However, because sending flowers is an emotional gesture that carries more value than the flowers themselves, I didn't want a bouquet that seemed to be intended for someone else. Unfortunately, the merchant's attitude was very bad.

"If the card was misplaced, you could have just thrown it away."

"I didn't do anything wrong, so why should I give a refund?"

"You can contact customer service for assistance."

I consider myself a emotionally stable person, and I generally treat people and the world with kindness. I have never made things difficult for delivery drivers delayed by bad weather or demanded compensation or refunds for spilled food deliveries. However, the merchant's attitude still angered me.

I can understand the florist's negligence, and I have no complaints about the flowers themselves. I just feel a sense of sadness. The merchant is in the business of "flower arrangement" and should understand that when someone sends flowers, it's not just about the flowers themselves, but more about conveying a sentiment or expressing emotions. The merchant's attitude made me feel that this sentiment was not being respected.

It seems that for this flower shop owner, flowers are just flowers, artificial creations produced on an assembly line. The nervousness of the person sending the flowers and the shyness or surprise of the person receiving them seem to be irrelevant.

Of course, I understand that there are costs and revenue considerations in business, but it still pricks at the few traces of idealism that remain in me. Without these emotions, the flower arrangement, no matter how beautiful, is just a pile of organic matter that will soon decay.

Businesses and Consumers#

So I contacted customer service, and it was through this conversation that I understood why the merchant was so confident. It turns out that on the platform, flowers are classified as non-returnable items. I understand that this may be because flowers are perishable goods that are handmade and cannot be resold after being returned.

This reminded me of the controversy a while ago about consumers using the "refund only" mechanism on the Pinduoduo platform to harm businesses. Isn't this experience also an example of businesses using platform rules to harm consumers?

The AI-like Nature of Humans#

This matter is not yet over, and the conversation with the customer service left me speechless.

Me: (describing the situation and the merchant's attitude problem in detail) I want to apply for a refund, but the merchant refused.

Customer Service: Is there no problem with the flowers?

Me: ... You could say that, but I don't want them.

Customer Service: According to the platform policy, flowers cannot be refunded~

Me: But a card intended for someone else was included with the flowers, and I don't want them.

Customer Service: Can I contact the merchant to send you a new card?


I still find this conversation somewhat laughable. They say that AI has become more human-like with the emergence of ChatGPT, and AGI may not be far away. But I feel that before that, humans have become more like AI. It seems that it has become difficult for them to treat the other person as someone with emotions and a brain.

Sometimes I often wonder what has happened to people nowadays. People who make flower arrangements don't treat flowers well, and I can't even imagine the negative emotions I would feel if I received a bouquet with someone else's name on it from my loved one. Customer service representatives on platforms whose job is to solve user problems don't listen to users and only know how to reply with templated responses.


I remember a florist I used to order from when I was in Beijing. Because it was a custom bouquet, it was more expensive than those on platforms, but she would ask about my story and the emotions I wanted to express. She would remember our habit of putting flowers in a vase and would bring to life all the little ideas I had about flowers. At that time, I was impressed by the thoughtfulness of the florist, but now I realize that speaking well and doing one's job with care is something that is hard to come by in today's society.

It was a small shop, with only the owner handling everything from sourcing, selecting flowers, arranging them, to delivery. On the other hand, the shop I ordered from this time is a popular online store in Hangzhou, often ranking first on various platforms with sales exceeding 9000. It's truly a pity that inferior products are driving out the good ones.

Interesting Things#


Luo Tuo is back!!! I used to watch his videos four or five years ago, and even the direction of my life followed his words at the time, regretting not choosing the blockchain field. Later, he switched to fintech and joined Jane Street, constantly seeking new challenges over the past few years, and gradually stopped making videos. In his recent video, he talked about learning and personal growth, anxiety, and impostor syndrome. These are things that I have been contemplating since I started working these past few years, and it still inspires me!

Now I'll continue learning Rust.


Although most interesting inputs are automatically synchronized in the "Yu's Life" Telegram channel, I will still list some here. It feels more like a newsletter.


  • Normal People: I really like this British TV series, and these days, when I think about other books, I suddenly thought of this one, so I plan to read the original novel.
  • What My Bones Know: I read about half of it last year, and these days, I thought about questions related to family and psychological healing, so I read about one chapter per day.
  • Atlas Shrugged: A gift from a reader. I've read the first two chapters.



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