Addressing PBS BX concerns

Nhu Nguyen
Tue, 08 Oct 2019 12:00:42 PDT
Dear members of the PBS,

As President of the Society, I will address the concerns that some of our
members have, and it is my hope that they can be laid to rest.

A message came this morning with concerns about our current BX and its
Director, and although it was not meant to be sent to everyone, it
accidentally was. We have all been there, including myself, and these
messages can cause some stir. What the message said, in some ways reflect
certain concerns from our overall membership, so I will take the time to
address them here.

The message mentioned that I was not very concern with the overall
situation - and while it may seem so, I have worked with Al to address each
and everyone of them behind the scene. The reason that I appear to be
unconcerned is that I have determined that these situations do not withhold
criticism. There were two cases: The package to the Chinese non-member was
simply a miscommunication of whether he was a paid member or not. We call
both of our paid and unpaid members "members" so it can get confusing,
especially if English was not your first language. The second case of Al
sending a package to a person (who is not a friend) is a project that could
help the PBS get more material to offer to the membership. I see this as
within the responsibility of a forward-looking BX Director -- to find ways
to improve the offerings. It is a project within the power of a Director to

As to the claim of BX items being offered on eBay, it is an unsubstantiated
rumor. Al takes this conflict of interest very seriously and has tried very
hard to not list anything that might overlap with a BX offering. The
history of his listings shows that he rarely lists anything so this
conflict of interest can be mitigated. I would have very much preferred
that the person who went to the trouble of looking up Al's eBay account,
making a claim that he sold a BX item, contacted me directly. I would have
told them that Al has a fantastic collection of rare amaryllids and chances
are that he is selling is own material, some of which I don't even have in
my own collection. Folks, please make sure to carefully assess your claim
before making any accusations that might negatively affect someone and/or
your own society.

The concerns that the BX is slower than the monthly offerings that used to
happen is real. Gone are the days of the superhuman Dell Sherk, who with
his over a decade of running the BX, and what appeared to be limitless time
providing this valuable service. Being a BX director is equivalent to
running a small business. You send out a list, receive dozens to hundred of
emails requesting items, sort out those emails, check to see if they're
paid members, fill the orders, pack the items, add a slip for payment,
record the invoice, and mail the packages, and not to mention answering
emails from members -- this can take 20-30 hours a week. And, you are doing
this while you have a full time job, take care of family obligations, and
trying to live. This is the reason why when I asked for volunteers to
become the next BX Director, almost no one came forward who is willing to
handle these responsibilities. Al was generous enough to volunteer and it
is a heavy responsibility.

How do we move forward and solve these issues? I have worked with Al to
streamline the BX ordering process. You will see it in the next offering.
This electronic process will bypass many of the steps taken by a human to
process a BX order and will alleviate much of the Director's time, allowing
for more efficient processing of the orders. The Board of Directors are
coming up with ways to spread the workload so that it doesn't have to
depend on one volunteer. This is especially true if that volunteer has a
busy time, heavy situation at home, or simply sick. We hope that this will
speed up some of the process and provide a better service to our membership.

And lastly, please remember that the people running the PBS are volunteers.
We often devote a good part of our lives because we love the bulbs, to grow
them, appreciate them, and share them. That is why we do what we do. When
undesirable issues arrive, it is every member's responsibility to seek the
truth, help solve the problem, and provide an understanding that we do this
for you because we want to, not because we have to.

Nhu Nguyen
PBS President
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