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SUNDAY FILE

A Valentine's Day surprise

A discount florist had a delivery meltdown on Valentine's Day that left sweethearts all around Boston, Mass., wondering if he loves me or he loves me not.

KaBloom, a discount florist with 27 stores in the Boston area, said that as many as 350 orders went undelivered because of too many orders and too few drivers.

Husbands and boyfriends all over town had some explaining to do when their wives and girlfriends didn't get their flowers.

George Sanchez, a worker on Boston's Big Dig highway project, realized the dozen long-stem roses he ordered for his wife never arrived at her office. He had to save the day with a last-minute detour to a street vendor.

"It had me upset," said Sanchez, 32. "I wanted to surprise her, but I got the surprise."

More disgruntled customers

Want to fly round-trip to Paris for less than $25?

United Airlines inadvertently listed such eye-popping fares on its Web site for nearly an hour last month -- then disappointed customers who snatched them up by saying it wouldn't honor them.

A United spokesman blames a technical error for the misleading offerings at www.ual.com that lasted 55 minutes on the evening of Jan. 31. The result: International fares such as San Francisco to Paris for $24.98, with similar deals for flights to Hong Kong and other cities.

A total of 143 tickets were sold at the near-giveaway prices, United spokesman Chris Brathwaite confirmed.

United later informed the ticket-holders that the fares that looked too good to be true were just that.

"We certainly apologize for any misunderstanding and inconvenience it may have caused to customers," Brathwaite said. "But . . . it was a glitch. We fixed it and we advised the customers, and we gave them some options."

United has offered to find the lowest possible fares for the customers. But that's not sitting well with customers like Eric Bescher, who snapped up a $27.98 ticket from San Jose to Paris and expects United to honor it.

"If they don't come through with a goodwill gesture, I'm going to dispute it," he told WSJ.com, The Wall Street Journal's Web site.

No, you can't crawl from here

Dozens of breweries in Germany, the Czech Republic and Austria are joining forces to create what should be the world's biggest pub crawl to draw drinking tourists to the three countries.

The project has already secured sponsorship from the European Union cultural-historical fund. Tourists taking the beer route will be able to learn about the brewing traditions of countries and sample the products.

Germany and the Czech Republic already attract beer tourists, who flood the Munich beer festival in October and are practically a fixture in Prague, where the low prices and high quality of the beer are the stuff of legend.

An over-the-hill battle

Turning 50 doesn't have to mean just the arrival of the AARP card in the mail and over-the-hill jokes.

The American Association of Retired Persons has launched a magazine that targets America's baby boomers and tries to puts a new spin on aging. More than 3 million people will get copies of the first issue of My Generation, filled with headlines like "What your money habits say about you."

The AARP also will market the magazine on newsstands for $2.95, but the AARP logo on covers of those sent to members will be removed. That's a wise decision, said magazine industry analyst Samir Husni. "The minute you hear AARP, you think retirement. They are trying to shed that image with this magazine. It's going to be a very uphill battle," Husni predicted.

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