Dear Heloise: When I receive a lovely floral arrangement, I take a picture of it to give to the sender. Then I buy the exact silk flowers and replicate the arrangement for future enjoyment. —Savannah in Huntsville, Ala.

Lovely idea! We received a letter from JoAnn Gregoire of Sacramento, Calif. She says: "I had a lovely plant of yellow mums delivered to me from my cousin for my birthday. When I called to thank my cousin for the lovely plant, she said, 'I knew spider mums were your favorite.' The plant delivered to me was not the spider mum she had paid for. A call was made to her florist, and plants were exchanged. Sending a picture of flowers you receive is a perfect way to say 'thank you' and to ensure that the sender got what he or she paid for."

This letter got us doing some research. What happens if you experience a problem with a floral order — the flowers are poor quality, are not what was ordered, are delivered late, are not delivered at all or die within a few days of receipt?

Here is what we found out. Flowers usually are guaranteed for seven days, while plants have a 30-day guarantee, and you must call or contact the company within this period. You do need to check this guarantee when ordering flowers.

Under normal circumstances, florists will work with you to rectify the problem. Depending on where you got the flowers, the florist might offer a full or partial refund, resend an order or offer a discount.

If you order flowers online, be sure to call each day that the flowers are not delivered so the company has a log of your calls.

Lastly, local florists are allowed to substitute flowers of different colors provided they are of equal value. Again, check with the florist when placing your order.—Heloise

Dear Readers: Following up from last week, here are some more uses for nylon net:

• Use to wrap presents or make bows.

• Tag luggage by tying a bow on it.

• Put in the bottom of a pot when repotting a plant.

• Place around a yardstick to clean under or behind the refrigerator or remove cobwebs from hard-to-reach areas.

• Scrub auto tires or bugs off of a car, because it won't scratch the paint.—Heloise

Dear Heloise: To give oatmeal flavor, instead of using sugar I stir in peach or strawberry preserves before I add milk. Delicious! —Eddie Hartman, San Antonio

Dear Heloise: My pet peeve happens when I am driving in traffic! There will be a sign that says a certain lane is closing and to start getting over into the other one. Most people slowly start to merge into the lane, while some others drive fast and then try to force themselves into the lane! Wait your turn! This always causes the traffic to back up even more — aggravating! —Kelly in Colorado


Send a great hint to: Heloise, P.O. Box 795000, San Antonio, TX 78279-5000; fax: 1-210-435-6473; e-mail: [email protected]. © King Features Syndicate Inc.