Sunday, April 20, 2008

The Choice

My husband has no idea, but he's about to be very happy that Tim was "right". We stand to save a lot of money; because as far as I'm concerned, my local nursery went out of business this week.
I've made a tough decision to stop being a customer there - the place where I'd drop by to visit on the way home and find myself spending $50 when I really didn't need anything, the place I'd find myself sometimes 3 times a day when I was in the middle of a gardening project, and the place I'd go at least once a week even if nothing special was going on in the garden. I could always convince myself that something, some plant or pot or sculpture, was irresistable. But resisting is the current plan. Why the drama? Because the owner was rude to me. Details don't really matter. Technically, he was right. I parked where they said not to. He yelled at me. My feelings are hurt. If he cared about customers, he wouldn't have said what he did in the way he said it. He most certainly doesn't care if he keeps me as a customer. So I'm responding the only way I feel is appropriate.
I used to be in retail. I was a manager for Williams-Sonoma. And, I've been in the restaurant business most of my adult life. So, I really understand the complexities of customer relationships. When you're part of the staff, you sometimes feel like the customers can be demanding and unreasonable. As a customer, I try to remember what that feels like and be respectful and appreciative of people in service industry jobs. I don't expect special treatment, I wait my turn, I try not to bore them with too many stories. And, I always try to shop local.
So there were a lot of choices in this little gardening melodrama - the choice to say things, how they were said, what was really important, and how to react. There's also the choice of whether to shop local or drive to where they're nice to you; whether to save on petrol and support the local economy, or go across town or 15 miles to the north. Whatever else may come of it, it made enough of an impression on me that I hope I'll stop and think twice before I feel the need to "be right" about something.
No pictures in my post today, just ranting. Although I do have to tell you that I have two baby cardinals in a nest just outside my bedroom window. I was afraid the mother had abandoned it during the installation of our guttering. Instead, she and her mate kept their vigil and hatched the two eggs. In the midst of my trivial human drama, something that really matters is happening - and all's right in my little garden.

13 comments:

Anonymous said...

A difficult decision. I try to give the locals my business for all the reasons you name. I think whether an incident like this would make me end a relationship would depend on what happened before. If the balance sheet chalks up a lot of good experiences, one bad one might not drive me away.

On the other hand, after this experience, I never shopped at my favorite second hand clothing store again.

ourfriendben said...

Oh, no!!!! What a shame. I'm so sorry that happened to you! It's hateful to have to lose a favorite shopping venue for whatever reason. And it's hateful to be the victim of rudeness, too. I wish you'd make one more trip to the store, to deliver a printout of this post to Tim. It's so eloquent, it might actually help him be a better person.

vbdb said...

Thanks to both of you for your thoughts on this. The day may come when immediate gratification outweighs principles or hurt feelings - but for now I'm just trying to be grateful for the lesson. Can't choose the lesson or the teacher, can we? Just have to show up and attempt to learn.

Rachel said...

I know exactly which nursery you speak of. This may be their first transgression, in your experience, but I have enough family in the area that I'm aware of many more. I still shop there occasionally, for the local business reasons that you mention, and because it's really really convenient when I'm visiting family in the area. And also because I've never personally had a run-in with anyone there. But I know plenty of folks who have.

Rachel @ in bloom

Diana said...

VBDB- I'm so sorry. It really does just hurt your feelings when someone seems to go out of their way to be rude, especially when it's their job to be nice. But, it's hard to find nice these days, it seems. I hope your nesting birds bring you some good karma -- because you are right about that -- that is something that really matters.

Mary Beth said...

Life is too short to have to deal with rude people!

vbdb said...

You know the really good thing about this? Before I found my wonderful husband, I've had some bad relationships with men. This time it was just with a man at a nursery! (insert hearty laughter here...) I do have to admit to wanting to go by and see what new plants they've gotten in, but we are blessed in the Austin area with lots of great nurseries to choose from - especially Barton Springs Nursery and The Natural Gardener in Austin and McIntyre's in Georgetown. Vote with your feet, I say!

Mary Beth said...

Great attitude! I've left a little award for you on my blog.

bill/prairie point said...

too bad, but sometimes "local" and "convenience" are outweighed by other factors.

cindee said...

I understand how you feel. When this sort of thing happens I will no longer go to the place to shop. I believe you should be treated respectfully and friendly. I have a local nursery that I go to and they are always nice but I have been places where I never return because of rudeness. Reminds me of the movie Pretty Woman where Julia Roberts goes back to the store and says...Biggggg Mistake!!! They just lost a great customer. And it is their loss.

My Chutney Garden said...

You've just created on line karma. His rudeness will come back to bite him. He sounds like he is a huge jerk so don't be tempted to go back.
I was very touched by your post on my blog. It stayed with me for the whole day. Thank you for visiting,
sharon

Anonymous said...

Its great fun being VBDBs pick and shovel man-behind-the-woman. I love hanging out in the yard (when it is cool enough). In the intersts fair play I want to say that every word she says is true except:

1) It is a BIG tank. No more tanks are needed. We have two new little barrels that the addicted one is passing along.

2) The idea that the "out of business" nursery will save us money is implausible in the extreme. Only a parking lot in my yard would do that.

a very lucky man

Michelle said...

We should all stand up more often for what is right. Rudeness is never appropriate in retail. I am so sorry your feelings are hurt. I've been in your shoes. The best thing we can do is spend our money elsewhere... where it's appreciated~

Michelle @ Getting Dirty in Texas