Monday, February 13, 2012

From Bo Tidwell... a nursery myth

Back in the day, when visiting another growing operation, you could always count on seeing a handful of particular items framed and hanging 0n the office walls: a nursery license, photos of the wife and children, some older photos showing early stages of the nursery, and possibly a photo of Shug Jordan, Bear Bryant, Vince Dooley, Bobby Dodd, or Woody Hayes, depending on your collegiate affiliation. But the one thing that you would see with about as much certainty as the nursery license and the family, was a framed quote that stated the following:
 "If people only knew how much work, how much sweat, how much water, how much fertilizer, how much risk, & how much know-how went into the production of these plants, they would gladly pay a fair price." 

Just for the record, I beg to differ. I did not agree with this thirty years ago and I most certainly do not agree with it now. If there is anyone out there who ever did or does now believe this, it is time you wake up and smell the baloney! Phoney Baloney I wish it could be that simple but the plain, cruel fact is that the market does not work this way. And as we spiral more and more rapidly into the age of instant information (QR Codes) and price shopping on steroids (Bar Code Scanners), the real truth is that the retail customer could give a rat's behind who grew it, how hard you worked, how kind and generous you are to your employees, how many Little League teams you sponsored, or how much you gave at the blood drive last week. The 2012 retail consumer is after only one thing and that is "bang for the buck" or put more simply: value. And the key is that the consumer's view of value is not based on ANYTHING the grower did on his end, but rather on EVERYTHING the consumer perceives that he will get out of the deal. This does not mean that you have to be the cheapest guy on the block, but for every dime that you are higher than your competition, there needs to be a clear justification for how this extra cost will benefit the buyer. And what about loyalty? That bus left the station a long time ago. Greenhouse Plants Light years ago in economic terms, H. L. Mencken was quoted as saying, "No one ever went broke by underestimating the intelligence of the American people." That was then; this is now. While this may hold true in some markets today, it certainly doesn't apply to the typical customer in the green industry. Our end consumers today are smart, well informed, and particularly in this economy, brutally callous about where and how they spend their money. And by the way, if you still want to continue to cling to the old myth, please contact me; I don't have time to debate the subject but I do have a great deal for you on some beach front property in Arkansas.

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