Saturday, November 20, 2004

How I Wasted a Metric Shitload of Time

Or, more accurately, “How a Metric Shitload of Time Was Wasted for Me.” I usually try to keep my blog entries free of naughty words, but today circumstances prevent that.

This morning I decided that my top priority should be buying approximately 100 tulip and daffodil bulbs, or next spring I would not forgive myself. (For those of you who aren't gardeners, tulips and daffodil bulbs have to be planted in October-November if one wants a nice spring display.)

So, abandoning my rule of not turning on the computer on the weekend, I fired the freaking thing up and went online. I figured I’d spend about 20 minutes--tops--finding and ordering the bulbs.

Well, I should have known that all those early-bird-gets-the-worm-type gardeners would have snapped up all the primo bulbs months ago. Every site I went to was sold out of the bulbs I wanted. After a frustrating hour and a half, I finally found a site, Westminster Nursery (no, I’m not going to link to it--read on to find out why), that claimed to have a choice selection of attractively priced bulbs ($24.99 for a 50-count bag).

When I tried to order some daffodil bulbs, I discovered that they were sold out--even though the Web site had bragged that the bulbs were in stock. As I was completely worn down by this point, I decided to settle for my second choice. I added it to my shopping cart, only to find that it, too, was unavailable. Click, click, click, click, click. Finally, I found something in stock--my sixth choice. I filled out the tedious order form only to get a dialogue box telling me that the minimum order was $25.00 and cheerfully suggesting that I continue shopping and pick out “a few more items.” I freaking hit the roof!!!! They price everything a penny shy of their minimum order as a completely transparent ploy to get customers to buy more bulbs from them. What the freaking fuck?

OK. Recall that I was totally burned out on bulb shopping, having spent nearly two hours online. As sleazy as I thought their policy was, I actually tried to see if there was something else I might buy from them. Everything I put in my shopping cart (including things I really didn't want--like squill) turned out to be sold out. After about 10 infuriating purchase attempts, I found their phone number (not toll-free) and got on the blower to these losers. I got a message telling me that their hours are 9-5 M-F only. That don’t make no sense. Everyone knows that 99.99% of gardeners shop on the weekends.

I then wrote them a blistering e-mail telling them what dim bulbs (hee hee) I believe them to be and reminding them that a satisfied customer tells 1-3 friends about her experience while a dissatisfied customer tells 10 or more. Or, in my case, writes a blog entry that will reach millions!!!!! (Perhaps, a slight exaggeration.)

So, just to recap why no one in North America, South America, Asia, Europe, Africa, Australia, or Antarctica should ever buy bulbs from Westminster Nursery, their transgressions are:
  • Hoodwinking potential customers into thinking they can get a bag of bulbs for the low, low price of $24.99 when in reality they will have to spend at least $12.95 more for crap they don’t want
  • Taking weekends off and spending them lying around on the couch like Jabba the Hutt, eating powdered donuts and watching Benny Hinn (or so I imagine)
  • Having a Web site that falsely claims 6,000 bulbs are available when, in fact, all they actually have are a few dozen vermin-nibbled bulbs that they scavenged from Walmart’s Dumpsters (or so I imagine)
  • Not having a toll-free phone number
I suspect that on Monday I will get some sort of oafish e-mail from them about “the costs of doing business online” or some such horse crap. The difference between what the bulbs cost and what their minimum purchase price is is one cent. I repeat, one cent! What kind of a business would be so boneheaded as to quibble over a freaking penny!

Even if they try to make amends and “generously” offer to absorb the one-cent difference, too freaking bad! I have placed an order with a far superior firm, American Meadows. I ordered some daffodil bulbs and then 20 minutes later placed another order for some tulips. A half hour later, I got an e-mail telling me that that they would ship the orders together, thus saving me some shipping costs. They ROCK!!!!! Note to Westminster Nursery: The people at American Meadows are actually at work on a Saturday--not drowsing in front of the TV with their mouths hanging open and their chins dusted with powdered sugar.


Blogger Rusty said...

Hmm. Suppose if I want to keep my wife perpetually devoted to me, I'll have to order some bulbs. With the new house comes new gardening responsibilities.

Ever been to the tulip festival down in Marion County? Often plenty o' bulbs down there; you just have to plan ahead (which I, of course, didn't).

Is the only option to buy online? Are there any local establishments you'd recommend?

3:15 PM  
Blogger Rozanne said...

Pieman, First check with your wife to see if she relishes the idea of spending a few hours in late November drizzle kneeling in the mud planting bulbs. If you want her perpetual devotion, volunteer to do the planting yourself. It's not hard, just tedious.

I'm sure I will be questioning my sanity once my bulbs arrive and I have to get out there and plant them. It should be worth it, though, and once they're planted they'll come up every year.

If you're not particular about color, you can probably still find bags of assorted colors of tulips at Fred Meyer. For some reason, they often have bags of red and yellow tulips. It is my personal opinion that red and yellow tulips together are an abomination, but that's just me. Portland Nursery also has bulbs, but they will be more expensive and will probably be pretty picked over by now.

You might just want to wait til next year and get some at the Tulip Festival (I haven't been). If you just moved into your house, the previous owners may well have already planted a bunch of bulbs. You won't know until they start sprouting in December or January.

11:28 PM  
Blogger Rusty said...

No wonder I enjoy reading your blog. You are so wise...

10:43 AM  

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