Over at the Inadvertent gardener Genie is telling the story of her "bitter" experience at the local garden center. She has even coined a phrase I have never heard, "plant trafficker', her phrase for a garden center employee. I keep thinking of a song I would call "Plant trafficker", perhaps to the tune of "Smuggler Blues"by the Eagles. If I were the owner of the nursery in question I would be reading her post. The problem for the garden center owners is they probably don't even know this conversation is going on. We are only at the beginning of this "blog revolution" that will change the gardening world. If you don't "get online", you'll miss out.
I believe more and people will tell the stories of their garden shopping experiences, for better or worse. If your a garden center owner, landscaper, designer, etc., you had better hope you are giving the customer your best, or the world will hear of it! You don't think a lot of people at the local level are reading this stuff? Think again. Just because folks don't interact on the blogs does not mean they are not reading them.
The garden center in question, has a web presence, but not in the blog world. If they did they could address the concerns of Genie. Explain their side, and talk about what they could do to prevent this type of negative experience.
Genie's complaints at first got my "plant trafficker"defenses up. We in the garden center business forget that we are talking about stuff that some people have never had experience with. We use jargon that we think everybody knows about. Buy a 4" annual? Is that how big the plant grows or the container size? What's an annual? What's a perennial? Buy somthing in a five gallon can? The can dosen't hold five gallons, why are we calling it that
Why should I be defensive? This is such a great opportunity to ask myself if I would, and I hope I would, have responded differently to her requests at the garden center. It reminds me that the most important thing I can do is Listen. Not talk over my customers experience level, assuming I know what they want. Meanwhile there is talk of a new gardening magazine. Over at Rant they want to start a magazine for gardening that is modled after "Wired" magazine. Amy say's "Look at Wired magazine. It's a magazine about computers and technology, right? But you'll never read "Customize Your Browser Toolbar in Five Easy Steps" or "Weekend Project: Upgrade Your Hard Drive." No, it's a magazine about the wider world of technology--about people and ideas and news and business and politics and, yes, a little about software and hardware. And even if you're not a geek, you still interact with technology somehow, and for that reason it makes for fascinating reading. Why? Because the magazine has style. It has opinions. It has attitude. Imagine a Wired magazine for gardeners. "
The revolution is happening before our very eyes! I don't doubt for a minute that these blogs will change the way we view gardening and the garden industry for the better. I know it has captured my interest. We'll see how long it takes my friends in the trade to notice.