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Re: Vendor Complaints

Well, that sounded too familiar to let pass, so I have to admit to being the the
vendor that Roy is so unhappy with.  The dates don't quite match up, and it
happened last year, but there are too many similarities to think that two
different growers could have done this to him. And while Roy was too nice to
mention names, now I'm going to make him even madder by saying that I don't see
the correlation and I don't understand why customers, and not just Roy by any
means, get so upset because their plants arrive late or don't show up at all.  I
certainly understand why not getting the plants is disappointing, but I don't
know why people get mad.

First, I don't see the correlation because, while I did make a mistake by not
including the refund check with the shipment, I didn't try to pretend it was
Roy's fault.  I don't consider customers idiots when they make mistakes on their
orders, but I did feel that this woman was a bit presumptuous to assume that
when she placed an order in early September that I would know she didn't want
her plants until April. OK, I admit it, I thought she was an idiot.  But even
worse, she had the gall to tell me I should be ashamed of the plants we ship
because they were all wilted by the time she got around to opening the box a
couple of weeks after we shipped them.  They ain't all beauties, but I'm not
ashamed of them.

The late shipments and crop failures are, to me, the perfect examples of why
buyers and sellers are two different species that will probably never understand
each other. Every year we have customers who get upset with us because they
don't get their plants when they think they should.  We schedule shipments based
on two unknowables, when we think they'll want the plants, and when we think the
plants will be ready.  They both depend on weather, usually in two different
places.  Last year we had a very warm March, followed by the coldest, wettest
April that I can remember in 20 year of doing this.  For the more modern growers
who grow all of their plants from tc in heated greenhouses, it probably didn't
have any effect, but we do it the old fashioned way, mostly by division and
mostly outside, and it's not nearly as predictable.  I think it produces a
stronger plant, but you can't turn them out like cookies.  If you have plants
that are damaged by cold after they've produced tender new growth, there is
nothing you can do but hold them till they look better, or if they aren't going
to look better in a reasonable amount of time, to list them as a crop failure
and send the money back. My goal each spring is to get rid of as many plants as
I can,  and get them out of here as soon as possible. I don't hold shipments
because I want to take care of the plants for a while longer, I hold them
because they aren't ready to ship.  And I don't send the money back because I'd
rather keep the plants, I do it because I can't fix the damage in a reasonable
amount of time.  Disappointing yes, for both of us, but I can't understand why
people get mad.  There's no magic in this, things go wrong just like they do in
your garden.   I learned a lesson last year and now I emphasize that our
projected ship date is a guess, not a promise.

And while I'm not against exaggerating for effect, now that I've admitted being
culprit, I have to say that the time line wasn't exactly as outlined.  The
shipment was late, and there were some plants we couldn't ship, and we forgot to
include the refund check, but we did send a check as soon as we learned of our
mistake.  The refund check was cashed and it cleared our bank on June 21st, so
it may have seemed like it took us until June 25th to get the plants and mid
July to get a refund, but I don't think it did.

Why Roy thinks I consider him just another dumb customer I will never
understand.  But then, I'm just a dumb vendor.


Roy Dales wrote:

>   Having endured some of the messages over the last few days about "dumb"
> customers, I decided that it is time for a little physics - every action
> creates an opposite reaction.  Please note that I left the word equal out of
> the equation.
>  How about some vendor complaints.
>  A couple of years ago I sent an order to a mail order nursery sending in
> the check and order early in order to obtain a "discount".  I received a
> reply thanking me for the order and informing me to "expect" shipment in mid
> May.
>  Memorial day came and went with no shipment, nor communications from my
> vendor.  I even read e-mails when others had received their orders from said
> vendor - they must have sent their orders extra early.
>  A phone call to the vendor in mid-June prompted a quick shipment promise
> with the package arriving June 25th.
>  Upon inspecting the shipment, I noticed several items missing with the
> explanation of "crop failure" written on the invoice.  Searching throught
> the rest of the package for a refund check I found none.  Well, I thought it
> will show up in the mail in a couple of days.
>  Around mid-July I called the  vendor about a refund.  "We'll send a check
> out right away" they told me.  A couple of days later it arrived.
>  This didn't set right with me, but who am I.
>  Just another dumb customer.
> Roy Dales
> Milton, VT
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