When we were at the Fort Wayne Home and Garden Show on Friday, sitting in on Dr. Lori's session "Trash or Treasure?" we learned a few things. She gave us tips on how to find an honest appraiser (don't choose an appraiser who also buys). But she gave us a tip that I already knew and have been employing for years, on occasion - ask the seller if they would take less for the item they're selling.
As gardeners, most of us know that the big box stores sell ripped bags of mulch at a discount, or plants that have suffered from underwatering, overwatering, or some other fate that gives them a less than robust appearance. Our plant experience serves us well here, because we can recognize those that just need a little TLC to bring them back to healthy goodness.
But what about the plants that are living on the edge? They still look fairly good, and the powers that be haven't noticed their flaws just yet. They're still selling at full price, but you know they're going to end up on the half-price shelf in the end. Who wants an orchid that has a broken flower stem, when there are a dozen more on the same shelf that don't?
Friday night, after returning home from the home and garden show, Romie and I turned around and went back to Ft. Wayne, where we joined our girls and their husbands (and a few others) to celebrate Adam's birthday. We got there early, put our name in for a table for eleven, and ran over to Walmart so I could buy a card. There, greeting us as we walked in, were several lusciously green Phalaenopsis orchids.
There must have been a couple dozen of them, all wrapped in their cellophane sleeves, selling for $15. They had beautiful, unblemished leaves and were all heavily loaded with lemon-lime blooms. I am drawn to green flowers for some reason and I wanted one. As I picked through them, mentally eliminating this one, then that one, while also trying to make a decision about whether I would purchase one or not, I saw it.
"It" had nicely branched flower stems like the rest of its buddies, but was suffering from a broken branch. The mishap had probably occurred recently, because the flowers on the wrong end of the break still looked fresh and perky. There was even a bud that wasn't open yet and it didn't have that dull, wrinkly appearance they take on when they are no longer receiving their life's blood.
Hmmm... I wonder if they'd sell it to me at a lower price because of this? Can't hurt to ask, right?
I took the orchid to the check-out and asked if they would discount the orchid due to the broken stem. A phone call was made to a manager, and the verdict was, "Ten dollars." I thought for a moment and agreed. Ten dollars for a basically healthy orchid was a bargain, even with a broken stem. While I wasn't likely to pay $15 for an orchid with all healthy stems, given that I already had several orchids at home already, this was just too good to pass up.
Dr. Lori would be proud.