The Meaning of “Doing Business”

It’s been an interesting Spring this year, working with our local Garden Center (Armstrong). The saga began in March when hydrangeas were showing up in beautiful arrangements to be purchased for Easter gifts and household decorations. I asked for hydrangeas to plant outside (the Southern California weather had been wonderfully mild during the Winter and was already at temperatures that made planting appropriate). I was told (in no uncertain terms) that those didn’t arrive until May. My response was that by May the weather would be hotter than blazes and far past the prime for planting hydrangeas (affected by the heat). Most recently, the problem has been in securing 4 more 8′ trellises to complete a wisteria bank along one side of the driveway – the 3 trellises in stock at the local Armstrong Garden Center had been purchased and installed and wisteria plants were winding their way up those trellises. And, in the places where additional trellises should have been, the plants were attaching to the chain link fence (only to have to be pulled off when the new trellises are installed). For a month now, there has been an inability to order the trellises – notice that i didn’t say “an inability to secure the additional trellises – but an inability to order them. I’m told by employees at the local store that it has something to do with a reluctance to place the order, by local management. Why on earth would this be? The only explanation that comes to mind is one that a friend from the upper East Coast offered – he said that their Garden Centers were controlled from corporate – thus, fragile Spring plants were dumped in their garden centers in early March (at the same time they were delivered to Southern California) only to immediately freeze and die because there was still snow and ice on the ground there. So, I’m assuming that the Armstrong problem relates to a corporate distribution problem, as well – too bad the corporate people don’t ever launch themselves out of their cushy office chairs and get out and around in their territories – they might then understand that the meaning of “doing business” is to supply their customers with their needs, when there is need, related specifically to geographical differences and NOT to corporate ease of distribution.

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