Return Mentality II

back_yard_guy(z6 KS)April 29, 2005

We live about 40 minutes outside of Wichita. There used to be two really nice nurserys/garden centers on the east edge of town. They both went broke last fall. Since I can't make myself drive an additional 30 minutes to the west side garden centers, I stopped at Lowes to pick up some veggie plants for our garden.

While browsing at Lowes, a very attractive & nicely dressed woman (approx. mid-30s) walked by and pointed at the sign on a table of annuals and asked a nearby stockboy "what are A-new-u-alls' ? Before he could respond, she pointed at the sign on a table of perennials and ask "what does Per-e-nails' mean? (no, she didn't have a foreign accent).

The stockboy was a lot more moxy than I would have been. He made no attempt to correct her pronunciation. He pointed to the 1st table and said "these flowers only bloom for a few months and then they die. These flowers (perennials) come back and bloom for several years". The woman looked flustered for a moment, then piped up with " Oh, No! They die that soon? If I keep my receipt, I can bring them back when they die, can't I?" He went back to stocking plants and never responded to her last query.

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veronicastrum(z5 IL)

Do you suppose that she was one of the owners of one of the garden centers that went broke? You know, just trying to get a little revenge by making the competition nuts...

I will confess to doing something similar at a Kmart store. There was a large sign with the preprinted word PERENNIALS and a hand-written "$6.99 per flat". The sign was hanging on a rack of moss roses and petunias. I coudln't stop myself; I had to ask the man watering the plants which of them were perennial. (The word "none' was not in his vocabulary.)


    Bookmark   April 29, 2005 at 3:20PM
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back_yard_guy(z6 KS)

I have to confess to not thinking of that angle!

    Bookmark   April 29, 2005 at 3:24PM
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Cady(6b/Sunset34 MA)

Technically, petunias are perennials...if you live in a climate that is frost-free.

    Bookmark   April 29, 2005 at 9:53PM
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Cady, good point. Even the most reliable of perennials, the bulb plants like tulips, are treated as annuals in warm climates.

I've had folks ask for 'pre-annuals' when they mean perrenials. Doesn't mean they aren't intelligent. When I walk into a computer store I don't know a bit from a byte and some 18-year-old kid is probably rolling his eyes at my questions. 'That thingy you plug into the back of the other thing to make the printer work'.

    Bookmark   April 30, 2005 at 1:04PM
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That's the thing when you work around the public. One always wonders (if they are a good salesperson) if the person they're addressing is an accomplished gardener or doesn't know if the green side goes up or down. Unless I think a person really needs that information (like a landscaper who is unfamiliar with a certain plant) I try never to correct a pronunciation. Sometimes I'll use the proper one in a reply, but it would sound patronising to correct them as if they were ignorant. I hear the term Pre-annual a lot. LOL.

Believe it or not, I got a call from one of my retail outlets once about a woman who wanted to return about two dozen garden mums. They called me first to see if I would also reimburse them if they gave her a return. I told them I would if she actually dug the plant up and brought them back, so I could inspect them in case I had a problem. Since the ones I had in my greenhouses were in excellent health, I wanted to know what was going on.

To make a long story short, she dug them back up and the store returned them to me, and the danged things had simply quit blooming for the season. She got a good two month display from them. At least I got the satisfaction of making her work to get her money back for "borrowing" my plant material for nothing.

IOW, it takes all kinds. The most sincere clueless question I ever got as a floral salesperson was from a gentleman who just moved here from a tropical country. He was completely, and justifiably astounded we bothered to plant ANY FLOWER in our locality because they all died or looked dead in the winter. He just shook his head and walked out. rofl.

    Bookmark   April 30, 2005 at 10:35PM
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And Back Yard Guy misses a great opportunity to impress Horticulturally Deprived Good-Looking Babe.

    Bookmark   April 30, 2005 at 11:10PM
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LOLOL Amen and carpe diem

    Bookmark   May 1, 2005 at 12:26AM
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Well, he spends most of his free time in the back yard anyway.

    Bookmark   May 1, 2005 at 4:37AM
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back_yard_guy(z6 KS)

Folks, I can't / could not impress anyone - least of all a BABE! I'm just a weather-worn old man who talks as slowly as he moves:)

    Bookmark   May 1, 2005 at 9:59AM
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We used to take cut flowers to a large market here for sale as bouquets. At least twice a day, customers would ask whether they could take the flowers home, plant them and collect the seeds. I never knew what to say to them. Every reply I could think of was really insulting.
And I do hear "pre-annual" a lot.
I never dare correct pronunciation. Latin is not my 1st language, pronunciation (in any language)is not my forte, and I know so very few Romans it is difficult to find one who will tell me exactly how they used to pronounce a certain word. What matters is whether the customer and I are talking about the same plant.

    Bookmark   May 2, 2005 at 8:46AM
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nina, I don't think they meant the botanical name. LOL. A lot of customers can't pronounce it in the native tongue. The best ones are the customers who come back a year later and ask for what they bought last year. I'm good, but danged, not THAT good.

    Bookmark   May 4, 2005 at 10:45PM
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We get that one, but my personal favourite happens at least once a week. A customer approaches and says, "There's this flower that grew in my grandmother's garden that looks just like this one," while they point to something-anything in the garden - "except it's blue not red, and at least 3' taller than this ...What is it?"
I have yet to come up with an answer which I can enjoy and isn't too insulting.

    Bookmark   May 7, 2005 at 9:23AM
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Sue_in_Colorado(about 5)

I haven't got the 'pre-annuals' term but have had 're-turrnial's (which really like a lot- kind of implies an understanding of the situation).

Nina - I know what you mean by the 'insulting' reply!!lol. For years I had people (at farmers' market) tell me about how difficult is was to grow basil. I had the dangest time figuring it out, until one year, a wonderful employee realized that people were defoliating plants, not snipping them back to a node.

"I just can't figure what's wrong, it was so healthy until I picked off every leaf" That poor plant! - if I've learned anything it's that I can't assume common knowledge among people. Finding a way to negotiate this space is what makes all the difference in the world. Go figure.

    Bookmark   May 9, 2005 at 12:17AM
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And flowers for wedding bouquets are prenuptials.

    Bookmark   May 9, 2005 at 2:02PM
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