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I’ve spent the summer helping hubby with his landscaping and tree nursery business and I have to say, being a tree farmer is a lot harder than you might expect.
People think they can show up out of the blue and simply drive away with a tree. Just like that. Seriously, there should be paperwork or something. Background checks. I love those trees – I water them and watch them grow; nurturing them with positive reinforcement and pruning them back in the direction of their full potential whenever they sprout waywardly. It’s a labour of love.
And, frankly, some people just don’t deserve them. Last week we played host to Mr and Mrs Never-Buy-Anything-At-Full-Price. They wanted a few trees, so we weren’t averse to talking a bit of a deal, but they walked around dickering and badgering so relentlessly that we accidentally gave them one of the trees for free; and virtually payed them for the privelege of being allowed to deliver them. So pleased were they with their pillaging skills that they went home and told all their friends, who all trooped straight over with the sole intention of harrassing us into giving away our trees, and probably our children.
We tolerated the assault for a while, but the effort of remaining composed through the onslaught was exhausting, and frankly I was forced to pretend that some of my favourite trees were sold in order to save them for more deserving families. In the end we had to fake an emergency phone call just to get them to go away.
On the flip side, the other day I had a delightful customer who was genuinely excited about exploring the trees and choosing the right one. She ended up taking two fruit trees and I’m pretty sure they couldn’t have gone to a better home. She even told me I could visit them if I wanted. Now that is someone who understands what buying a tree is all about!
I gather what we’re supposed to be doing here is running a commercial enterprise, rather than a tree adoption agency, but still … don’t talk to me about how the pathetic sticks available at the big box stores are cheaper, because if you do, you might suddenly find the price goes up and the only one available is that oddity in the back corner that looks suspiciously like a dead tree with poison ivy growing up it. .