My last day at Bradford Greenhouses was on Sunday December 19, 2016. I have thoroughly enjoyed working at the greenhouse this season. It has been my first experience of working in retail and I must say it has been interesting.
For the most part I only encountered nice customers. When you enter the Greenhouse and see how beautiful everything is, it lifts your spirits. You would have to be a real grump to be miserable when you enter the Greenhouse. The staff who work on the designs and layout of the entrance to the greenhouse are amazing. Very talented staff – this was one of the many Christmas displays that they put together. The displays are constantly changing and they do an amazing job throughout the year.
They had used this truck only a few days earlier for the Halloween display – full of pumpkins and hay bales.
Working in the Greenhouse could be very physically demanding. There were times when I thought we were playing musical plants. It went hand in hand with the displays. “That looks good over there”, “now we will move them over there”, “they are looking a little sad, move them over there”. When the music stops – put them down and hope you find a place for them.
Then of course there were the plants that moved – I called them “gypsy plants”. The plants would be in their displays or beds and the next time you would check the areas, you would discover plants that had migrated to another bed or area. More often overnight or at the end of the day. I suggested it was management that moved them to see if we could recognize plants that were in the wrong bed. Of course, it was the customer who would pick them up, see something better and put them down somewhere else. I was guilty of doing this before I worked in retail, now I always return the items to the original shelf – it drives Ralf crazy.
I worked with some very hard working people and some lazy people. Working in the nursery, there were lots of places for the lazy ones to hide.
There were two times that the work became boring. The week before Halloween and two weeks before Christmas.
The week before Halloween, everybody had bought their pumpkins and decorations. Most of the perennials had been moved and the nursery was winding down. I spent a lot of time sweeping the beds and pricing Christmas stock.
The week before lay-off, I think I swept the whole of the nursery from front to back and back to front. The weather was cold and snowy. Most of the customers would take a cursory look at the remaining planters and greens that were “outside” and head inside to the warmth of the indoor greenhouse and the indoor Christmas displays.
I got two very pleasant surprises before leaving. We were allowed to have one transaction with 50% off. That means we could buy as many items as we wanted (excluding patio furniture) and get 50% off the whole transaction. I had my eye on a large patio planter, that would give us a little bit of privacy on our small patio but it was over $250.00. Guess what I bought as part of my transaction – a lovely patio planter that is 4 feet long about 2 ½ feet high and about 2 feet wide. It has four containers that I can fill with flowers or herbs.
The funny thing is it is made in Vietnam – it would be a bit difficult to carry on my bike, but probably less expensive. The 50% off coincided with receiving our accumulated vacation pay-out. I wonder how many people handed over their vacation pay!!
The second surprise was a bonus given to us after our last day. Totally unexpected and very much appreciated.
I am pleased to say that I will be hired back next year in the Spring and I am looking forward to working there again. I hope I will be able to work there every summer until I fully retire in six years time.
Wishing everyone a very Merry Christmas, and Happy Hanukkah – health, wealth and a safe New Year.