Nearly everyone I know has wished at some point in the lives that they could be invisible.
Children dream of this as their superhero power. Imagine what you could get away with if no one saw you take the cookie from the jar, write on the wall, or drip fruit punch all the way from the fridge to the table? For those of us who wear a uniform day in and day out, the similarity our uniform provides also provides a certain level of anonymity. Take a group photo of most landscape companies staff members and you’ll have to zoom in to figure out who is who. As someone who always wants to be just a little but different, all this sameness can sometimes be a drag. The comfort of not having to think about what to wear is not always greater than the ability to be unique.
If you ever want to test out your incognito superhero powers, stop at a garden center or even your favorite box store on your way home from work while still in uniform. It doesn’t matter what color your shirt is or what the logo says, inevitably someone will think you work there. You could practically have an unpaid part-time job making this a habit! What would you do if someone stopped you with a couple of dwarf Alberta spruce on their cart and asked, ” will these look nice by my front door?”
But what about in the nursery? Here at Ruppert Nurseries we pride ourselves on each and every tree in the row being exactly the same. Being different in our nursery is not usually a good thing. Except of course….
A few days ago I was contacted by a customer looking for some trees. My answer was a bit complex, you see I have the trees the customer was looking for but my opinion of them was that they do not meet our high standards of quality and uniformity. Nevertheless, the customer insisted on coming out to take a look at the trees. Upon arrival the customer was met with what in their eyes were the most beautiful trees. I had already written off ever selling these trees this year but now they have a new owner who appreciates them for their unique differences. Don’t get me wrong, they are healthy, quality trees. We just didn’t feel they were ready for the marketplace. Yet now, those trees don’t need that cloak of invisibility as they will stand out and do so proudly.
So back to the question I posed a bit earlier. Will you help a customer in someone else’s garden center or find someone else to help them?
Me? As a former garden center employee, I’ll usually offer to share my knowledge. You’d be amazed at how appreciative most people are for the guidance you have given them. But back to that incognito part, when the advice has been given and the customer misguided no longer has the right plants for their project, I will wheel my cart up to the check out, pay for my plants and simply leave never to be seen or heard from again… in true incognito super hero fashion.
You? Well, if you do nothing else for goodness sake…. Don’t let that customer (yours or otherwise) buy those Dwarf Alberta Spruce!
Written By Ronda Roemmelt
(Ruppert’s Invisible Superhero!)