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Re: A moral question

  • Subject: Re: A moral question
  • From: "Bill Meyer" <njhosta@hotmail.com>
  • Date: Fri, 19 Mar 2004 01:23:22 -0500

Hi Chick,
       Would I expect them not to? No. As someone who's been around a
little, and not knowing the seller, I really have no idea what they will do.
They don't say anything about selling only those TC's then never doing more.
I should say here that I haven't talked to any of them about what their
plans are. For all I know, those deals could be in the works, and a second
batch of TC's already coming along at a nursery. The hybridizer could be
selling a small first batch of fifty or something at those rates while a
nursery (retail or wholesale) is growing on a second larger batch to sell at
$40 or so in 2006. Without their saying anything to the contrary, there is a
good chance they might do something like that. Or their deal could be with
one of the big labs and they will get the right to sell to retailers in
2006. On the other hand, they may just divide what they don't sell and drop
the price a little from one year to the next and never have them go out in
larger numbers.
        There's really not a lot of information there about what they're
doing at the site, and I get the impression that each hybridizer is doing
their own thing with FOoSF as kind of an umbrella. For example, you could
have a deal with Stuart to sell that plant starting in 2006, and be taking
delivery of the liners now. It could even be you who then asked them to put
that statement in there, so other nurseries wouldn't start selling them
before you do. I just don't see how there is enough information there for me
to draw any conclusions about what they're doing. (I'm using you as an
example, not suggesting you are secretly involved).
        I think you're just making the assumption that there are no nursery
deals already in place, or that there will be soon. There might be, but I
don't know. They have some really nice stuff, more than a single hybridizer
would have, and it wouldn't really surprise me to find out that a nursery
has talked to them about selling it in the future. It's my understanding
that the market for plants in that price range they're asking isn't very
large. I don't think they're equipped to do wholesale or any larger retail
to a lot of customers, so if a nursery wanted to do their plants later why
would they say no if they could reach a reasonable agreement?
        Another thing is that I don't know if any of them had any business
experience. I think Stuart and Ron are both teachers. Most of them are not
really mainstream hosta people. They would just be rookies then, and may
have plans that don't make sense to either of us. The point is that all that
we see they are doing is trying to control their rights to their plants. We
really can't tell any more from just seeing that. Anything other than this
would just be a guess.
                                                 ......Bill Meyer




> Despite your suspicion, what I was pointing out was that someone was
> doing something new in introducing hostas and I thought it might be a
> reasonable topic for discussion here. I don't find anything at all wrong
> with that kind of arrangement.  It doesn't affect me on way or the other.
>
> But since I've been accused of being less than candid here, I guess I
> have to explain something that I just thought would be obvious.  I said
> that the plant would not be widely grown because if a plant is sold at a
> relatively high price and with a restriction that the buyer cannot
> propagate it, I just kind of assumed that it would not then be put into
> tc by the hybridizer and sold at a significantly lower price.  Let me ask
> you a simple question, with no hidden agenda.  If you paid $125 for a tc
> plant to a seller that was asking everyone to agree not to propagate it,
> would you expect that the seller would then make a deal with a nursery to
> sell it "in big numbers"?
>
> You're perfectly right Bill, you win this one.  There is no reason a
> hybridizer can't do exactly that.
>
> Once.
>
> Chick
>
> Bill Meyer wrote:
>
>   Chick,
>           Oh stop it! Please. Your cracking me up here. If someone puts
that
>   restriction on it when they offer it, they are reserving the right to
keep
>   control over propagation of it. As opposed to leaving that open to the
>   winning bidder's discretion, like most plants were. There is no reason
to
>   assume that the donor won't make a deal of some kind with a nursery to
sell
>   it for them in big numbers at some point. They just reserve the right to
be
>   part of that process, not outsiders watching their plant be sold and
resold
>   by others who return no share of the profits to them.
>           I don't know if any of the plants that were sold that way will
be
>   offered soon by nurseries at lower prices. I don't know if that will
happen
>   any sooner than if a nursery bought the plant without restriction. Maybe
you
>   do, but that's not the point. With the First Look Auction, we just
recognize
>   their right to have control over their own property. What they do with
it is
>   up to them. It works out great for the serious collectors and other
>   hybridizers who then have a chance to get something that wouldn't
otherwise
>   be made available so openly for fear that it would be put into
production
>   without their involvement. If you as a nurseryman want to market one,
you
>   have to go to them and make some arrangement. You can't just buy it and
send
>   it right to the labs. We've even been thinking of putting up a list of
>   contact info for hybridizers who exhibit or donate just to make it
easier
>   for the nurseries to contact the hybridizers.
>           It in no way has anything to do with whether it will hit a
larger
>   market sooner or later. Just with whether the donor will be part of that
>   arrangement.
>           So, come on, it really was the Robin Hood thing, wasn't it? Come
on,
>   fess up!
>                                                         ........Bill Meyer
>
>     You just can't seem to get away from this thing you have against
>     "nursery folks" can you? My question about making sure that these
plants
>     were seldom seen was not meant to be red meat for you.
>
>     If you look at this objectively (ain't that a hoot?), selling the
plants
>     with the requirement that they not be propagated pretty well assures
that
>     they will not be widely grown, doesn't it?  Call me silly, but I still
>     think that new plants that come out at the current going price with no
>     restrictions are going to be slightly more common than those that cost
>     $250 for os and $125 for tc with a promise not to propagate them. And
>     before you find something sinister in that statement, it is meant to
be a
>     common sense observation, not a moral judgement.  It doesn't matter a
bit
>     to me what someone else charges for plants and it certainly wouldn't
hurt
>     me if hosta prices were to go up.
>
>     That's why I was curious about what others thought about doing it this
>     way. At least to me, it's something new and I thought we might be able
to
>     discuss it.  Maybe my language was unintentionally explosive, but I
can
>     guarantee you that charging that much for a plant and asking that
nobody
>     propagate it is insuring that it is seldom seen, or not widely grown
if
>     you prefer. Theoretically, no one will have this plant in their garden
>     unless they bought it from Stuart. Now, everything is relative, but
how
>     many people can that be?  That doesn't mean it's a bad idea.  It's
>     Stuart's plant, he should do with it whatever he thinks is best for
him.
>
>     Chick
>
>     Bill Meyer wrote:
>
>       Chick,
>              No problems with that? Dang, I sure hope Maryland wins some
more
>       games. If I remember right, you were the only one using the (sort
of)
>
>   bad
>
>       words. Nice misdirection there. But then you are the master of the
>       misdirection ploy.
>              In the First Look Auction, the FOoSF plants were sent in with
>
>   that
>
>       request as part of the listing. As I said before, we don't have a
>
>   problem
>
>       with conditional offerings in the auction. There's not a lot we can
do
>
>   to
>
>       enforce the bidders' living up to the terms the donors put forth,
but we
>       will ban violators from the auction. So far, everything has been
nice
>
>   and
>
>       civilized. Part of my reasons for optimism. Without the laws to back
us
>
>   up,
>
>       we've so far not fallen prey to those with profits in mind and
ethics in
>
>   the
>
>       closet. And no I do not mean you there, Mr. Sensitive.
>              It is a way to make clear that they are offering a piece of
the
>
>   plant
>
>       to collectors and hybridizers, without offering full rights to the
>
>   plant. As
>
>       we were talking about, some people had trouble with the difference,
so
>
>   it is
>
>       something hybridizers are trying to make a little more clear. It's
still
>       Honor System, just a little more defined for those who need it. That
was
>
>   our
>
>       fourth auction and it was Brian Skaggs who started it when he
donated a
>       plant on those terms in our first auction three years ago. I think
we've
>
>   had
>
>       at least one plant like that in each one.
>              Trying to make sure they're seldom seen? As in what -- that
the
>       nursery folks are some sort of Robin Hoods robbing the rich to make
sure
>
>   the
>
>       po' folks get to share in the wealth of those new hostas? Jeez,
we're
>       reaching new heights of silliness now. Us hybridizers better get
some
>
>   more
>
>       guards for the coach when we pass through Sherwood Forest.
>                                                      .........Bill Meyer
>
>         I know, I know.  I promised to shut up and here I go again.
>
>         I'm not going to argue with Bill again. He finally wrote a message
>
>   with
>
>         no name calling, no manifestos, and no inditements of a whole
industry
>         because of the misdeads of a few, so I'm going to assume that's as
>
>   good
>
>         as it gets.  By the way, speaking of as good as it gets, Maryland
won
>
>   in
>
>         the first round of March Madness today, not by much, but at least
they
>         won.
>
>         I went to the FOoSF site after reading Charlie's book review
posted
>
>   here
>
>         and found it very interesting.  Great pictures of some great
plants
>
>   that
>
>         are on the way.  The thing I found interesting, that I also saw at
the
>         First Look Auction, was the plants that were offered for sale with
the
>         request that they not be propagated.  I don't have any problem
with
>         that.  I guess it's up to the buyer whether he want's to buy the
plant
>
>   on
>
>         those conditions.  But it is certainly a departure from the norm,
and
>
>   one
>
>         that I would think will become more common if people find it
>
>   acceptable.
>
>         It may be an answer to Bill's lament, or it may be a way to make
sure
>         that these plants are seldom seen.  I really don't know.
>
>         What do you think?
>
>         Chick
>
>         Bill Meyer wrote:
>
>           Hi Dan,
>                  Funny thing is I heard from some privately that I was too
>
>       optimistic
>
>           in saying that I thought things were changing with regard to
>
>   business
>
>           dealings for the hybridizers. My opinion that I've stated here
is
>
>   that
>
>           things seem to be improving, and I attributed it to more open
>
>   business
>
>           dealings and discussion about them. I'll stick with that, and
hope
>
>   I'm
>
>       not
>
>           breeding discontent either way. I meant that in the past more
seemed
>
>   to
>
>       have
>
>           been mistreated than not. I think that was clear. I think there
is
>
>   less
>
>           happening now. I do feel optimistic, and I hope I'm right.
>                  I think the best ways to make some profit from our plants
is
>
>       still
>
>           discussed quite a bit. Of course the main concern remains
whether a
>
>       nursery
>
>           gets one and puts it into TC without giving us anything in
return
>           royalty-wise. The nurseries seem to be doing much less of this
kind
>
>   of
>
>       thing
>
>           these days and I maintain that the climate seems to be
noticeably
>
>   more
>
>           honest now. I see improvement, not a worsening situation. Hans
>
>   Hansen
>
>           voluntarily sent Mildred a royalty when he last TCed 'Spilt
Milk'.
>
>   If
>
>       that's
>
>           not a good sign, what is? I actually thought it was improved
enough
>
>   that
>
>       it
>
>           could be discussed without everybody heading for their shotguns.
>                  As for suggesting there is big money at stake, I believe
the
>
>       numbers
>
>           I talked about were in the $500 - $3000 range, which is
appropriate,
>
>   I
>
>       think
>
>           for plants that are not mass-market types. That was why $5000 or
so
>
>   for
>
>       a
>
>           patent seemed pointless. That much can be made if somebody else
>
>   doesn't
>
>           start setting up competition, selling your own plant for less
than
>
>   you
>
>       are.
>
>                  With the TC destroying the value thing, yes, I did mean
the
>
>       monetary
>
>           value. It does do that. Websters again -- #2
>           1val.ue \"val-y|\ n 1 : a fair return or equivalent in money,
goods,
>
>   or
>
>           services for something exchanged 2 : the monetary worth of a
thing;
>
>   also
>
>       :
>
>           relative worth, utility, or importance <nothing of ~ to say>
>
>                 This is really critical for the various societies whose
>
>   operating
>
>           revenues depend largely on auctions. This was becoming a real
>
>   concern
>
>       for a
>
>           while there as auction revenues were dropping rapidly each year.
>
>   When
>
>       'My
>
>           Child Insook' brought in $4100 the total AHS auction proceeds
were
>
>       around
>
>           $27,000 that year. They've had more than one year since with
total
>
>       proceeds
>
>           under $10,000, and no single plants over $1000. 'My Child
Insook'
>
>   could
>
>       have
>
>           done well for a few years, but somebody TCed it right away, so
that
>
>   was
>
>       the
>
>           end of its high value for the auctions. Of course private sales
>
>   follow
>
>       the
>
>           same rules. My talking about high-end plants losing their value
is
>
>       mostly
>
>           the result of my working with the auctions. It's those plants
that
>
>   are a
>
>       big
>
>           part of keeping the societies running. How long they hold their
>
>   value is
>
>           really no more than how long they can go without somebody TCing
>
>   them.
>
>       Once
>
>           they hit the lab, they won't bring in much for auctions anymore.
>
>       Likewise
>
>           for hybridizers selling their own plants. I don't expect to have
>
>   enough
>
>       to
>
>           buy a Ferrari someday, but I don't think they should stop making
>
>   them
>
>           because I can't afford one. I think having a few really high-end
>
>   plants
>
>       out
>
>           there is a positive thing for everyone. They generate more
interest
>
>   in
>
>           hostas if nothing else. Give us all something to talk about.
>
>                  I think the market is starting to stabilize some now,
getting
>
>       over
>
>           the onslaught of TC. There are enough new plants becoming
available
>
>   to
>
>       fill
>
>           all the different market niches. There's still no way to tell
how
>
>       quickly a
>
>           plant will hold that high OS value (as you mentioned about
before),
>
>   but
>
>       it
>
>           was starting to seem like once the last Benedict plants and a
few
>
>   others
>
>           were down in the $40 range that the auctions might never again
see a
>
>       plant
>
>           go over $1000.  I think this is a good trend, and should make
the
>
>   whole
>
>           scene much more interesting. Optimism again there. I'm in favor
of a
>
>       wide
>
>           and varied marketplace. I really don't think every plant should
be
>
>       available
>
>           for $12 as Bob Solberg once discussed in a talk. That may be
their
>
>   real
>
>           value in bottom line terms, but there is more to a plant than
that.
>
>                                                        ......Bill Meyer
>
>             Bill
>
>             I believe as a spokesperson for the hybridizers you are doing
them
>
>   a
>
>             disservice.
>
>             The correct steps to profit from hosta hybridizing are well
known
>
>       among
>
>           the
>
>             crowd you and I hang with. Your insistence that most or all
hosta
>
>           hybridizers
>
>             are being morally mistreated by the nursery industry is
misleading
>
>   and
>
>           false.
>
>             You are breeding discontent and it is not a good thing.
>
>             Don't spoil the fun hosta hybridizers are having by constantly
>
>       suggesting
>
>           that
>
>             they should be making big money from their hobby. You are just
>
>   setting
>
>           them up
>
>             for a big let down. You and I know it has never been that way
and
>
>   most
>
>           likely
>
>             never will.
>
>             You have mentioned several times that TC destroys the value of
a
>
>       hosta.
>
>           The
>
>             value of a hosta should be measured by the enjoyment a
gardener
>
>   gets
>
>       from
>
>             growing it, not it's cost. 'My Child Insook' at $100 is no
more
>
>       valuable
>
>           than
>
>             'My Child Insook' at $20. Maybe you mean earning potential
instead
>
>   of
>
>           value.
>
>             Dan and Lu
>
>             --------------------------------------------------------------
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>
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