From today’s Bangkok Post:

Rose growers in Tak’s Phop Phra district complain the Internal Trade Department’s price controls on roses have dashed their once-a-year chance of turning a big profit. The domestic supply of roses, particularly red ones, is outstripped by the huge Valentine’s Day demand, and retail prices soar… The department has warned traders they will face tough legal action if they are found selling roses at inflated prices today… Top-grade roses should be sold at six to seven baht each, while average quality roses with shorter stems should be retailed at three to four baht apiece. The department also instructed its provincial offices to survey the prices of roses sold at each local garden. The information will be used as a yardstick by which the prices of roses sold in Bangkok will be judged, to protect consumers from unscrupulous traders… Small traders selling overpriced roses face up to seven years in jail and/or a fine of up to 140,000 baht, if caught. Malai Toliang, head of a group of rose growers in Phop Phra district, said the department contacted him and asked how much growers charge for their roses. The department then proceeded to put curbs on rose prices, particularly in Bangkok. ”Rose growers are upset with the rose price controls. Sales are down. Retailers dare not make bulk orders out of fear they won’t be able to set high prices,” Mr Malai said. Wikran Saengmanee, the district’s agricultural promotion officer, said some growers might be forced out of business because of the price curbs.

Perhaps I am a killjoy, but I really see no reason why urban romantics should be protected from market forces in relation to the purchase of what is, quite clearly, a luxury item. If growers and traders can make a killing from urban indulgence then good luck to them!

And, anyway, what sort of a symbol of love is a six baht rose? Even the most eager lovers would only have to pay 72 baht for a dozen. I’d be wanting a gross!