Call me naive, but today I learned something that saddened me. There is a certain thing called "Business Ethics" which, at least as construed by the local employees at Lowes, means that thousands of dollars of trees are intentionally destroyed...
I happened on this travesty when I decided to stop in at the garden center of the local Lowes.
One of my favorite challenges is buy the apparently dead flowering plants that are marked down to very low prices, take them home and nurture them back to health. I started this pastime after separating from my husband, two years ago. He had a ban on live plants in the house and even extended that ban to the front and back porches. Once he was out of the house, I took it upon myself to bring to life the porch, and these poor, left for dead specimens were just the right plants to do the trick. Certainly, I have had my failures, but for the most part, I have been rewarded for my efforts, the flowering plants responding so well, that when late fall temperatures made it impossible to allow the plants to remain outdoors, I had to bring them inside, where they "wintered over" in the sunny exercise room. This year's porch is graced by the success stories of the summers of 2008 and 2009.
So, this afternoon, I stopped in to see what dead plants were being offered. I was picking through the three towering shelves of dead or dying flowers, seeking those I wanted to start at the old farmhouse. I overheard a couple of boisterous employees as they were throwing something into a large cart. I looked over to see what they were doing and was surprised to see they were hurling lovely magnolia trees into the cart. I walked over to see what they were doing, and could not resist the urge to inquire. So I did.
"Are you throwing those trees away?"
"Yep," they replied, as they hurled another beautiful specimen.
"Why? What's wrong with them? Do they have a disease or something?"
"Nope! They've been cashed out."
Well, forgive me, but I fail to understand what that even means, but I get the gist that these lovely trees are destined to die. So I ask,
"Why aren't they just marking them down?" (I mean, these trees were not cheap $89-109)
They explained the obvious to me,
"The suppliers of these trees guarantee the sale at the price. If they don't sell, they cash us out. But the contract requires that we destroy the trees that have been cashed out."
I couldn't believe my ears. "So, you can't sell the trees to me at a reduced amount, or give them away?"
The self-appointed spokesman of the trio informed me, "No, that would be against business ethics..."
So, no matter that the 30-40 trees I saw them take to be destroyed could have been donated for a variety of good causes, forget the fact that there are many who would gladly work to plant those trees, if given an opportunity to acquire them for free, or at greatly reduced price, apparently, "business ethics" mandate the destruction of these lovely southern magnolia trees...
There is something very sad about that. And, even if I had wanted to pay FULL PRICE for one, I could not... they had already been "cashed out."