- The Washington Times - Friday, May 7, 2004

Most Americans will remember to call their mothers or send cards for Mother’s Day tomorrow, but about one in four will forget the national holiday altogether, according to a new survey.

Twenty-five percent of 500 respondents in an anonymous survey said they had overlooked the day meant to honor the most important women in their lives, according to Proflowers.com, a unit of San Diego electronic-commerce company Provide Commerce Inc.

“That was not something we were expecting to see,” said Ken Constable, senior vice president and general managers of Proflowers.com. About 25 percent of the respondents had never sent flowers to mother in their life for any occasion, Mr. Constable said.

Baltimore resident Steve Czenny said yesterday he forgot the holiday only once. “My mother called me on Mother’s Day and said, ‘I never received your card.’ And I said, ‘what card?’”

Mr. Czenny, who has three children, has since remembered to give his mother and wife a card, spending about $60 total on the holiday.

One D.C. teen conceded he has forgotten Mother’s Day several times. “I don’t always remember, but my mother knows I love her,” he said, asking not to be named.

Those who do remember Mom are expected to spend an average of $98.64 this year, according to a report by the National Retail Federation, a D.C. trade association.

The amount is slightly more than last year’s $97.37, said NRF spokeswoman Ellen Tolley.

“Mother’s Day saw a huge increase in consumer spending right after September 11, but since then it has stabilized to a gradual increase,” Miss Tolley said. In 2000 and 2001, the average spending per customer was less than $65.

She questioned the validity of the Proflowers.com report. “I think more consumers may wait until the last minute to get something, but most will not forget the day,” Miss Tolley said.

Temple Lee, another D.C. resident, said her older sister is the Mother’s Day reminder.

“We’re still figuring out what we want to do, but we’ve always been on time with our cards or gifts,” she said.

The NRF study said consumers will spend the most on jewelry, averaging $62.40 per gift, while taking Mom out to lunch tomorrow will cost an average $40.54.

Consumers will spend about $868 million on flowers for the holiday, Miss Tolley said. Total spending is estimated to reach $10.43 billion.

Greenbelt resident Myron Murray said his first priority tomorrow morning will be calling his mother and grandmother.

“It’s kind of hard not to notice that Mother’s Day is coming when you see signs up and ads on TV,” he said.

Mr. Murray said he won’t be able to give his mother her gift — a $3,000, eight-day vacation to San Francisco — until next month.

Although the holiday honors mothers, retailers are quick to note that more consumers are branching out and buying gifts for grandmothers, mothers-in-law, wives, sisters and friends.

District resident Sheila Smith spent about $30 yesterday on gifts from Victoria’s Secret at Union Station for her daughter, who is also a mother.

“It’s just a little extra for her,” Ms. Smith said, adding that both of her grown-up daughters have never forgotten to celebrate Mother’s Day.

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