Twenty years ago this year, we published this hypothetical catalog piece about what it would be like if airlines sold plants, which is still pertinent today.


Customer: Hi. How much are your plants?

Clerk: Well, ma’am, that all depends on a lot of things.

Customer: Is there an average plant price?

   Clerk: Our lowest priced plants are $22, and we have 60 different prices up to $200 a plant.

Customer: What’s the difference in the plants?

   Clerk: Oh, there isn’t any difference; they’re all the same plant.

Customer: Well, then I’d like some of the $22 plants.

   Clerk: When do you intend to plant the plants?

Customer: What difference does that make?

   Clerk: We need to know to plan our plant production.

Customer: Well, I want to plant tomorrow. It’s my day off.

   Clerk: Ma’am, the plants for tomorrow are $200 each.

Customer: What? Well, when would I have to plant to get the $22 plants?

   Clerk: You would have to start very late at night in about 3 weeks. But you would have to agree to start planting before Friday of that week and continue planting until at least Sunday.

I’ll check and see if we have any of those plants available.

Customer: But you have a nursery FULL of plants!!

   Clerk: Well, that doesn’t mean that we have plants available. We sell only a certain number of plants on any given weekend. By the way, the price per plant just went to $26. We don’t have any more $22 plants available.

Customer: The price went up just as we were talking?

   Clerk: Yes, ma’am. We change the prices hundreds of times a day, and since you haven’t actually walked out of the store yet, we just decided to change the prices. I suggest you purchase your plants as soon as possible. How many plants do you want?

Customer: Well, maybe five plants. Make that six, so I’ll have enough.

   Clerk: You can’t do that. If you buy plants and don’t plant them, there are penalties including the possible confiscation of the plants you already have.

Customer: WHAT?

   Clerk: We can sell you enough plants to do your front yard and side yard, but if you stop planting before you finish the back yard, you’ll lose any remaining plants you’ve purchased.

Customer: What does it matter whether I plant all the plants or not? I’ll have already paid for them!

   Clerk: We produce plants based upon the idea that all our plants are planted at once. If you don’t, it causes us all sorts of problems.

Customer: This is crazy!! What kind of problem will it cause you if I don’t plant all my plants in one night?

   Clerk: Every plant you bought and didn’t plant on time would automatically become $200 plants!

Customer: To heck with this! I’ll buy what I need somewhere else!

   Clerk: I don’t think so, ma’am. You may be able to buy plants for your front yard, side yard, and back yard from someone else, but you won’t be able to buy plants for your driveway and paths from anyone but us, because we are the only ones that supply plants for areas like that. And I should point out that if you don’t plant in the correct direction, your plants will cost $300 a plant.

Customer: I thought your most expensive plants were $200!

   Clerk: That’s only if you plant all the way around your yard and finish back at the same point from which you started.

Customer: Let me guess…If I buy $200 plants for the driveway, but only plant in one direction, you’ll confiscate the remaining plants?

   Clerk: No, ma’am, we’ll just charge you an extra use fee plus the difference on your NEXT purchase of plants. 

Customer: That’s nuts. What if I plant the plants along a pathway that isn’t circular in direction? 

   Clerk: Plants used in a pathway are different, they’re known as One-Way plants. We charge more for those. In addition, if you pay for your One-Way plants in cash, we would designate you in our system as a “suspicious customer”. We would also search and interrogate you when you arrived to pick up the plants. And further, if you canceled your order for One-Way plants, we would be REALLY suspicious, and then you could expect a visit from the authorities.

And may we say, thank you for shopping with United American Southwest Garden Center!

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