Thursday, August 26, 2010

Help! The rich need flowers!

As horticulturist, manager, HR 'specialist', PR and general dogsbody, I often get to handle oddities on the farm. Yesterday, I was asked for help in replying to a request for a donation of goods from... wait for it.... a multi-million rand, five-star golfing estate.

It wasn't because they'd become involved in a community greening initiative or anything - just a matter of tarting up the parking-lot so that their wealthy, golf-playing, five-star-hotel clients could see some flowers when they climbed out of their BMW's.

Everyone at the office was so horrified by the sheer chutzpah of the request, that they didn't have a clue what to do about it. Of course we donate products (or money), but then its to non-profit organizations, clinics, underfunded schools and the like - certainly not to five star recreational estates! They're clients. They're supposed to pay. Everyone knew this. No-one could work out how to say it politely.

I wrote a masterpiece of courteous refusal, of course. What else? Their request is the equivalent of me going to the supermarket and asking for the donation of a loaf of bread. Perhaps I should try that someday, just to see how they handle it! Of course, I should be as well-dressed as possible - borrow some gold jewelery, look affluent - who knows? They might even accede!

People. Go figure.

Oh: and the cream of the jest is the little 'concession' that I made them. The plants they want are currently on a 20% off special, so I added the following:

However, we would like to be of assistance, and therefore have obtained permission to offer you a 10% discount should you acquire funding from XYZ estate for completion of the project.

Heh heh heh.

Today's pic. A flower that millionaires will beg for....


  1. Seriously--a donation? What's their justification or concession to you? A sign at the entry that says "landscaping provided by..."?
    Perhaps you could show up at the club and ask for a donation of a golf lesson or a round or two?

  2. Well now, how do you think millionaires get all their money?
    Through unconventional means.
    Sadly, I'm not at all surprised.
    And I love the special you gave them! Well done!

  3. Hmmm... I think I would have reacted the same way. Should it not be the other way - donate to you or your project?

  4. sheeeeeesh.... the same people are not paying the nurses enough so they are striking & blocking the entrances to the hospitals making themselves look like the bad guys... while the country club wants free flowers & besides a few no one will care

    Funny story... I will end up telling half the population of this city this story

  5. Well, folks, its ended pretty badly, since saying 'no', even politely, sometimes gives offense. The client, fortunately not a large one for us, had their horticulturist phone back to say that she'd never buy from us again. We're fairly confident that she will, though. Tch!

    Anonymous: no concessions from them!
    Glad you liked my 'special' PAMO!
    Lancelonie: We wish! But we wouldn't even ask unless we were doing work for the under-privalaged (which we often do!)
    Karl: I KNEW you were going to like this one!