Limited guarantees don't resonate with me.

If you think there is a disconnect between wholesale nurseries and retail this will just confirm that. Baileys Nurseries is offering a two-year guarantee for their new “Easy Elegance” Roses. According to their website “Easy Elegance Roses are so easy to grow that we guarantee your success. This limited guarantee covers all residential plantings for two full years from date of purchase and covers the following,• Guarantee applies to residential use only. • Limit of $60 or two roses per household. • Guarantee does not cover damage from animals or roses over-wintered in containers. • Roses can take some time to grow after a hard winter, so be patient. Guarantees are not accepted until after June 15th. Just send us you name, address, receipt, plant tag and a photo of the rose in question...”

Baileys seems to think that's what is keeping younger people from gardening more, a lack of guarantees. They found that Generation X, and Y find roses hard to grow. They equate roses with grandmas garden. Nothing about wanting a guarantee, just old fashioned, and hard to grow. So we are going to solve that by a guarantee. Let me see, I buy a rose and I am suppose to hold on to the receipt for two years, I can't plant it in a container and over water it(which I guess means container gardening must be hard), but I guess if I over water it in the ground thats O.K. Only two roses? Why? If your going to guarantee the roses shouldn't someone who has bought ten of them be entitled to the same guarantee?

This is where the disconnect between some wholesale nurseries and retail operations is growing. My customers do not want more guarantees, but the assurance that the plants they buy are in top condition and that we will be here if they need help. Why only guarantee the roses for two years? What about a lifetime guarantee? How about guaranteeing all the roses a home owner buys instead of just two. Why require the homeowner to deal direct from Bailey's. Shouldn't I be able to take the rose to the retail center where I purchased them and receive my refund or new roses? Do they guarantee the roses will live, or thrive? If they live, but don't thrive as I thought they should, do I still get a refund. Why not give the guarantee to the retail nursery that actually bought the roses from the wholesaler?

Small retail garden center business need to understand that this kind of marketing only benefits the chain stores where this type of mentality reigns. We in the small garden center market are trying to get people interested in gardening, with all the risks and personal responsibility that entails. Who said gardening, or anything worthwhile was risk free? Shouldn't we be encouraging people to make mistakes, learn from them, and jump back in?

Guarantees that have a list of requirements to follow before the guarantee can be enforced just don't resonate with me. Maybe with the market that Bailey's is targeting, but not with the customer I am working with. My customers get a lifetime one-conditional guarantee. The condition is they tell us how to prevent their dissatisfaction in the future. That's it. They also don't have to contact some grower to get the guarantee. They bought the plant from us, and they will deal with us. I'll deal with the wholesale grower.