“What’s your best price?”
I get asked this question surprisingly less often than I used to. And I am thankful for that for a variety of different reasons of which I will share below.
As a consumer I’ve found myself only asking that question in jest, after I’ve developed a gentle convivial rapport with the salesperson or if I have found a fault with the item I want to purchase. Today, I got asked that question three times by a man who would take a step toward me as he asked, ..and he wasn’t smiling. Three steps toward me asking the same old tired question, 3 rebukes and me stepping backward 3 times to counteract the offensive nature of him invading my personal space.
What a guy!
Top marks for being one of the biggest drop kicks I’ve ever had to deal with in the gentle art of plant nursery sales.
I’m not so sure why customers get agitated by being rebuked when asking for a discount. I get the old adage “if you don’t ask, you won’t receive”, but why persist in asking for a discount again after being told no?
Perhaps they think a button can be pressed and hey presto, we manufacture plants synthetically or clone them overnight in a lab. Or, because they’re buying more than say 3, they feel as though they are buying bulk and so therefore a bulk purchase discount is warranted. The stuck record technique? Or, as above, ..intimidation?
I ask myself sometimes, whether this same question is asked after a restaurant meal, purchasing a tank of gas or of another, larger, franchised type garden centre when being presented with the till chit.
Plants, particularly landscape grade plants do not have a fast growth rate. They are slow steady growers which can take many years to get to a size attractive to ‘instant garden’ type gardeners. There is twice yearly fertilising, irrigating, potting on several times, heavy machinery use in moving them around various growing areas in the nursery, labour, potting mix, plant bag, marketing, advertising and many, many other factors which make up the price tag. They are living things requiring care and attention, manicuring and maintenance.
I pay AU$245 for a piece of paper to state a seed import has been inspected. That’s before they leave Australia. That’s even before MAF in NZ will let the shipment through. I may not receive all or any of that seed import. The seed then requires germinating and I may only get a 5-15% germination rate.
We love what we do here. Our customers are mostly enthusiastic , eager to learn the art of gardening (which is rapidly disappearing), often very hard case, up for a laugh and a bit of gentle banter. We have some customers who come in weekly to purchase, they’re the addicts, and it is a very fine addiction, plants. They sway, they whisper sweetly to each other and they offer safe haven for all sorts of insects, bee life, frogs and spiders.