The Shopping Team

Holly needs care.

Based on a true story

Snooping through the garden plants on clearance is a little pastime of mine. Anticipation of a surprise builds – a good deal hidden at the back of the garden center.  A once healthy plant like the one I’m looking at, in need of a little care, put on clearance. For less than the usual, often high rate, I get a new plant for my yard.

I look at all the healthy plants at the front of the garden center. I check out names, price, and perennial vs annual, evergreen vs deciduous.  After my walk-through inspection of the healthy expensive specimens, I head for the back of the garden center.

Here clearance plants are grouped in several locations. No big signs. Yellow tags on the side of the containers let me know which ones are the potential deals.

This day, a tall woman with short blond hair and two playful grandsons, is also looking around the bargain area.

I eagerly search through the containers of plants. Options range from “not too bad” to “almost dead” to “why is this empty pot of dirt sitting here?”

The tall woman comes up beside me. “Sometimes you can find some really good bargains. Last time I was here I found pots of day lilies for a dollar each.”

“Yes,” I agree.  “I check in here once a week and…”

“See all they need is a little TLC’” she says, “and they look beautiful. I was looking at this disgusting plant – what do you think?”

“Well…” I say.

“See, it still looks green, just drooping. I know exactly where in my yard I’ll put it,” she says. “I have this cliff” she begins as lighthearted music plays from her purse. “And there’s lots of rocks thanks to my husband,” she continues while digging for her cell phone.

“My husband put them there and I…” she says frowning at her phone screen “don’t like it.” She pushes a button on the phone.

Hello,” she says into the phone. “Well, I’m here at the garden center talking to another customer.  We’re looking at the bargain…boys,“ she says to her grandsons. “Yes I’ve got my grandsons with me… let’s not be so rambunctious,” she tells them.

“What do you think of this evergreen here? “she says, looking at me with the phone still at her ear.

“I think …” I start to say, but she is back to her friend on the cell phone.  I smile and step over to the holly bush that caught my eye earlier.

“I’m planning to get some holly bushes,” she says in her cell phone, following me. “This one looks very healthy doesn’t it and it’s half price.”

I move on to look at other prospects. My tall friend, her phone and grandsons are right behind me. She comments to her cell phone friend and to me, I guess, about each plant as I look at or touch it.

Another customer joins in to look over the bargains. I finally decide I’ve seen everything available and am ready to circle back to the holly bush. I could use it in the back yard to help cover a fence.

As I head for it my friend on the cell phone is still right behind me talking now about that holly bush and how she plans to use it by her front door.  How does she know that’s where I’m going?

I’m almost there when a woman with dyed reddish hair cuts in front of me and grabs the holly bush. She looks at it with satisfaction, smiles at all of us and carries it away.

My tall friend and I look at each other while she tells her phone friend, “We just lost the holly bush to another customer. “

I smile, wave goodbye and walk toward the front of the store.  Better luck next time I think to myself.  Maybe I’ll be alone then.

I can still hear on her phone behind me.

“Come on boys…my grandsons are playing around…maybe I should get a rose…”


Copyright 2017 Juli Seyfried