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Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Seed Catalog Conspiracy

Have the spring garden catalogs caught your eye?  When they arrive, I pore over them for hours checking for old favorites and reading about new varieties. There’s a hidden problem in all this bounty; I think of it as the Great Seed Catalog Conspiracy.

            I sit with four catalogs and map my strategy to save money on shipping and handling charges. A gardener can’t find all the seeds they need from one company, so the shipping charges add up as folks seek the perfect seeds for the best garden ever.

            The dark green patty pan squash seeds are available solely from Company A. The variety grows best at HomePlace, so I will have them. Who in their right mind wants to pay $4.95 S&H for a $1.95 seed packet? I search through the pages and add three other packages of vegetable seeds. Why not get more? I need a pumpkin variety not carried by Company A.

             I want to get seeds for the “thin hulled seed” pumpkins we grew last year. Company B needs $5.95 for shipping on orders up to $9.95. Seed cost: $3.25. I am not paying the larger S&H without getting my money’s worth, so I carefully add extra packets I need to the order, not to exceed the order limit and pay extra charges.

 On to search the catalog from Company C; they have seeds for a tomato advertised to “…reach up to six pounds!” How can I pass that up! I probably need to add the book on growing giant tomatoes, too. I could get up to $24.99 in other merchandise for $4.95 shipping, but this company limits it selection, cutting out a lot of things I want.

            Catalog D hits the trashcan with a resounding clang! Do I want to shell out $7.50 this year to ship an order no matter how small? I don’t care about the insurance included. I’ve never lost an order in shipping. I’ve been a customer of this company for ten years, but they’ve developed a talent for discontinuing the seeds I like best. Add in the extra cost and I’m severely offended!

             I’ve racked up $15.85 in shipping and handling. The penny-pincher hiding in my heart wants to revolt. Why can’t a person order from a single catalog and get what they want?  I think seed companies conspire in planning their catalogs just to catch stubborn folk like me.