Monday, 8 April 2013
This week's golden trowel is awarded to Avon Bulbs. Back in November some armchair travelling to the Crimean seaside followed a bulb planting session. The bulbs in question were crocus 'Yalta' described in the catalogue as 'a hybrid form resembling a large tommasinianus with silvery blue outer petals and darker purple inner petals. Gorgeous even in bud'. A long wait then ensued which this year seemed never ending but eventually signs of life were detected. Delight however rapidly morphed into disappointment when the flowers opened in March. Waving at me were the brightest yellow crocuses you could ever wish to meet - not quite the desired effect. The crocuses had been planted across two containers which were then pushed temporarily out of sight. However there was an upturn in the proceedings - as the yellow crocuses were croaking, slivers of purple shone out. They are in flower now, look most attractive and are presumably the genuine article. Unfortunately though only 3 out of some 25 bulbs were the variety that had been ordered.
A phone call was made to Avon Bulbs to inform them of this occurrence. As soon as I mentioned the word 'Yalta', the ever friendly and courteous lady who answers the phone at Avon Bulbs, immediately guessed what I was about to say. Apparently other customers have made the same observation with some having all yellow crocuses, others had a mixture whilst presumably some customers ended up with exactly what they ordered. It was suggested that the supplier had probably got confused when packing up the bulbs. An apology was offered and a replacement bag of 'Yalta' will wing their way to me this autumn.
Result : one satisfied customer.
This week's rusty trowel goes to Wilkos. Now Wilkos is great for us non drivers. It stocks a wide range of bulbs, seeds, pots, plants and gardening sundries. Here in the greenhouse vermiculite is used regularly both for seed sowing and cuttings so being able to buy it from a local store is great. A 10 litre bag of vermiculite travels quite happily on the bus so the services of himself are not required. However the design of the bag changed a couple of seasons ago. The new design has larger ventilation holes which result in a trail of fine vermiculite particles escaping all over the contents of shopping basket, conveyor belt and the assistants who have to pick up the bags to scan them. Once packed they still leak further so it seems you are paying for something that has diminished in volume, before you have even started to use it. After seeing two assistants sprayed with dust in the last month, which can't be good for their health, I decided that a phone call was in order. My comments were met with the response that so many thousands bags of the product had been sold and that I was the first ever customer to complain! My concerns were noted but it looks like either I have been incredibly unlucky and picked up bags with faulty ventilation holes, or that the holes in the bags are all the same but everyone else is not unhappy with the product. Perhaps I'm just getting too pernickity? I will continue to buy vermiculite at Wilkos in the immediate future but will now investigate online sources.
Result : one why did I bother customer?
Have you had any positive/negative experiences as a customer recently when purchasing horticultural items?