REPLY: [pbs] Buyer Beware -Part 2
Wed, 10 Sep 2003 11:36:15 PDT
In a message dated 10-Sep-03 7:46:52 AM Pacific Daylight Time, writes:

> I hear rumors about practices of wanton substitution and use of incorrect 
> names since American bulb buyers are not as discriminating or complain less 
> than others.  Well, I plan on complaining and will not order. I can't relate 
> any info on the quality or identity of bulbs they actually sell, but I sure do 
> not like this practice one bit. Enough to tell others Buyer Beware!

Jim ~

Hardly a rumor -- it happens often enough in the mass marketing daffodil 
world, as well -- caveat emptor is the operative word with these suppliers, many 
of them barely a step above the level of such reprehensible firms as Michigan 
Bulb Co.  You describe yourself as "a bit" of a Lycoris fancier.  In my case, 
as a daffodil nut, it would have to be much more than "a bit" over the top.  
Clearly, I fit the category that Murray Evans (an Oregon daffodil breeder/grower 
of some years ago) used to refer to as one of the "hopelessly bitten!"

It's certainly true that these businesses target the naive Joe and Jan 
Sixpaque types out there who really don't know one clone from another and are 
content with a line of daffodils planted along their driveway.  If a substitution 
has been made, they will never catch it as these suppliers are devious enough to 
substitute something with the same color combination and not tell the 
recipient.  That these suppliers continually get away with this sort of thing rankles 
me no end, as well.  As a daffodil judge, I often have to deal with the fall 
out from this practice.  With a bow to diplomacy, it has been a way to win 
friends and adherents to the genus, although not one that I prefer  . . . 

That whole business aside, for the moment, the thing that really infuriates 
me is the unsurpassed arrogance when I've written these people and been told 
(with the clear underlying inference) that, since I'm not Dutch, I can't 
possibly accurately know what I'm looking at or talking about!  It is the very reason 
I caution anyone who is thinking of buying from the Ohms/Scheepers 
conglomerate not to -- they don't deserve the business!

This does bring up an interesting observation, however.  The Dutch are past 
masters at the marketing and selling of daffodils (and all Spring-flowering 
bulbs) in the USA.  Each year the number of "Dutch" bulbs entering this country 
increases, even though they supply and sell pretty much the same things year 
after year.  Where is all of that stock going?  After JJS have purchased "King 
Alfred" or 'Ice Follies' for the third or fourth time, they are probably not 
going to do so again.  This is a huge market and one that is being inadequately 
serviced by the Dutch wholesalers, although, in recent years, there has been 
at least a trickle of new daffodils entering these channels.  On the other 
hand, this is a market that is neither recognized nor exploited by American 
daffodil interests or, in particular, the national daffodil organization.  
Understandably, like so many small horticultural businesses, American daffodil 
breeder/growers are of the "Mom and Pop" type and geared toward meeting the needs of a 
very small niche market and have neither the desire nor the capital to 
compete with the Dutch.  And the response by the national organization -- if it even 
recognizes or understands the issue -- is, at best, disjointed and feeble.  
Lest anyone think I've singled out daffodils here, one can substitute any 
Spring or Summer-flowering "bulb" and pretty much reach the same conclusions.  
Somehow, these affinity organizations dedicated to promotion (if they aren't 
focussed on doing so, they're missing the proverbial boat altogether) of their 
particular genus do a totally miserable job.  The end result is that this market 
has been conceded to the Dutch wholesalers without so much as a whimper!  Thus, 
based on results, we have what we deserve . . . 

Dave Karnstedt
Silverton, Oregon, USA  97381-0237
USDA Zone 7-8, winter wet, summer dry Mediterranean maritime climate

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