Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Wayside Gardens Update

I thought I'd heard the last from Barbara, but I was wrong. She e-mailed me this afternoon:

Dear Kylee,

Thank you so much for contacting us here at Wayside! We value our customers’ comments and questions very highly, and we appreciate hearing from you.

I have inquired on why the shipping was as you stated, and I was informed that the website split the order into two order, because the Amaryllis was from a special Christmas offer. If you would still like to place the order for the Amaryllis at $12.95, Agapanthis at $6.47, and Paris Polyphylla at $6.47, you may call the number below and place the order at the same sale prices. The shipping would be $8.95 plus the $2.00 charge. If you choose to order please call right away before the items sale out. Please accept our apology for the frustration and any inconvenience caused.

Again, thank you for writing to us. If you have any further questions or comments, please do not hesitate to contact us (number and address listed below). And thanks for gardening with Wayside!

Wayside Gardens Customer Contact Team
1 Garden Lane
Hodges, South Carolina 29695
Telephone: 800-845-1124
Fax: 800-817-1124

The first and last paragraphs are part of a form letter, so the really pertinent part is the emboldened text in the middle. I had to smile at a few things when I read it. First of all, she got the pricing wrong on the items. The amaryllis is $6.47 and the Paris polyphylla is $12.95, not the other way around.

Secondly, anyone in customer service that involves written communication ought to have good spelling skills and if they don't, they should know how to use a spell checker. Of course, some programs don't recognize words that are misspelled if the wrong spelling is indeed a word. I'm not perfect either, but these kinds of errors bug me when I see someone in this capacity making them.

Thirdly - and most important to me - is the admonition to "please call right away before the items sale (sic) out." They took five days to answer my first e-mail, it took no less than four e-mails over the course of a week to get this straightened out, and they want me to hurry?

Okay, so maybe all that is nit-picking, but at this point, that's what I feel inclined to do and I don't have the urge to get right on the phone and place that order.

Earlier today I located some Paris polyphylla at Trans-World Plants in Oregon. They have a 100% satisfaction rating on Garden Watchdog, as opposed to a 50% rating for Wayside Gardens. It's not that easy to earn a 100% rating from your customers and Trans-World should be very proud of that. Wayside Gardens might take a look at them and other companies that have high ratings and see how they could improve theirs.

I have to inform Barbara that due to all that has transpired over the last couple of weeks, I will not be placing this order from them and it's doubtful that I will ever order from them in the future. If she had done her homework right from the start, this could have had a different outcome for her company. As it is, I have lost respect for the business she represents before I even had a chance to order and see their product.

I ordered the Paris polyphylla from Trans-World Plants and it was less expensive too, at $10.00 and that's not even a sale price. Hopefully, they'll be able to count me among their satisfied customers and I fully expect that will be the case. I'm not that hard to please.

Interestingly, Wayside Gardens is affiliated with Park Seed and Jackson & Perkins. I'm not sure where the division of things is between the businesses, but I've ordered several times from Park Seed and Jackson & Perkins in the last several years and have been satisfied with both their products and customer service.

I had a rose that arrived heavily damaged and nearly dead from Park's and they promptly refunded my money for it, since they no longer carried the item. Their Garden Watchdog ratings aren't that great either, each coming in at 65%, but I've never had a problem with either Park's or Jackson & Perkins. In fact, the roses I got earlier this year from Jackson & Perkins were lovely and have all grown well and performed fabulously.

Moving on . . .


Cindy Garber Iverson said...

I had to snicker at the reply you got (just as you did). Are they kidding?!?! PLEASE! So glad you found another alternative to getting your much-wanted Paris polyphylla. Cindy at Rosehaven Cottage

Ki said...

I have ordered plants from Wayside and Park Seed. A tree I ordered did not sprout in spring and they did not have another in stock so I was offered a refund or I could choose a replacement. I chose the latter and was satisfied with the order. I also bought a Daphne from Park Seed and it's doing OK so far.

I've ordered many Japanese maples from World Plants and all arrived in excellent condition. All the trees survived and are thriving. I would recommend them highly.

Connie said...

This sounds like a classic case of "too little, too late". Customer service is soooo important!

Katie said...

I always say that we need to vote with our wallets.

I'm glad to see you're doing just that.

Better luck with the next company!

Unknown said...

Heh... I don't care if spellcheckers do not necessarily identify unusual words. If you work for a company that sells agapanthus, you darn well ought to be able to spell agapanthus!

FWIW, I've had terrible luck with Park Seed (admittedly, I've only ordered seeds from them--and they shipped smaller quantities than they were supposed to and the seeds had poor germination. I had wonderful luck with Wayside before Park bought them--and the one order I placed after that sale, for 'Hillside Black Beauty' cimicifuga on clearance, was fine as well--but I've heard that things have gone downhill since then on different gardening forums.

Christine said...

I think shipping charges are getting way out of control. I realize that fuel has gone up, but good grief! I order from Park's and have never had any trouble. I have a wish list for Wayside, but I agree their a little high.

Unknown said...

Shipping costs are rising exponentially, but the majority of costs associated with shipping fees are directly related to the packaging. Trust me, trying to ensure safe shipment in a world of transit companies (I won't name any directly) that find humor in destroying the very plants we hold dear is a distressing endeavor.

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