Cupid had better steer clear of the Capitol this Valentine’s Day.
House Sergeant-at-Arms Paul D. Irving has requested that staffers advise their sweeties to refrain from sending any crimson roses or romantic gift packages to the offices under his purview.
The delivery policy of the House prohibits commercial couriers and vendors from making deliveries directly to House office buildings and the House wing of the Capitol, Irving warned in a memo to staff obtained by CQ Roll Call.
Singing telegrams ready to deliver a serenade will be turned away at the door, and FedEx can’t bring cuddly stuffed animals or chocolate hearts past security checkpoints.
Couples who exchange gifts on Friday morning can bring the long-stemmed roses they receive to their desks, but guidelines apply. Only cut flowers set in water or “arranged in an unsealed box or carton” are allowed inside. In case of a surprise delivery or a persistent Valentine who insists on workday delivery, staffers can meet delivery people bearing cut flowers in an outside public area and bring the bouquet inside themselves.
Sealed envelopes and containers are not allowed, so sappy cards and love letters must be opened outside. Boxes of caramels, truffles or other sugary spoils also need to be unsealed.
Finally, last-minute declarations of affection might be thwarted by the House policy on overnight deliveries. All flowers, cards, candy or lovey-dovey gifts sent via a nationwide system such as FedEx or UPS will be processed offsite at the Postal Operations screening facility, “which may result in delay of delivery,” Irving warns.
In past years, Senate Sergeant-at-Arms Terrance Gainer has implemented a similar policy to ensure Senate lovebirds can receive Valentine’s Day bouquets delivered to Capitol Hill.
The Senate office buildings and the Senate side of the Capitol also allow only cut flowers set in water or arranged in an unsealed box or carton, and place the same prohibition on sealed envelopes or containers.
At least one Senate staffer can vouch for the fact that sending fresh blooms to the Hill isn’t the best idea. Her beau casually asked, “Did you get anything at work today?” after shipping a bouquet her way.
She received the romantic gesture three days late, after the gift underwent a thorough inspection. The flowers were still pretty, she recalled, but “a little sad.”