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February 02, 2005

Well, damn.

Damn, damn, damn. The bloody beasts of big-box retail have done it again. It started with Frank's -- a regional chain of gardening and craft stores -- which closed down late last summer, unable to compete any longer against the artificially low prices (and crappy merch, but I guess people would rather get it cheap than get quality) of the big box retailers like shit-ass WalMart, Home De(s)pot and Lowe's.

That was bad enough, but even at that, Frank's was a chain.

Now, it's personal.

Groby's -- a Kettering, Ohio company that's been in business for over half a century, currently employing three generations of the same family -- is closing. It was one of the better garden centers and retailers in the area -- reasonably priced, everybody but the high-school boy meat they hired to load mulch and topsoil bags back at the barn knew what the hell they were talking about, they could give you advice (even unsolicited advice) about products and compare the virtues of topsoil mixes.

Well, another one bites the dust. I mean, there are others around, but Groby's was close. If we needed two hundred pounds of topsoil for various projects, we could go in the RAV and load it in the back, and not worry about having to drive miles and miles because we were only six blocks from them.

At least I don't have to feel bad about not having given them my business, and that being the reason they closed. If everybody who gardens in Kettering had resisted the temptation to buy cheap shit from WalMart and Home De(s)pot, and spent even half their garden mucking money at Groby's, they'd still be in business.

Quality don't count for shit. Yeah, I'm angry -- I get angry any time a good, quality local retailer has to throw in the towel because they can't compete against international conglomerates who squeeze their suppliers to price things so low they can't provide decent quality. Screw idiots who won't pay for quality -- I'm not going to give in and go to Home De(s)pot for anything. If I have to mail order things, I'll mail order. If I have to pay a little more to get them from the other local garden center (which is, regrettably, five miles away and a pain in the ass to haul two hundred pounds of topsoil from), well, I guess I'll do it. I like Lowe's for things we can't get anywhere else, but I'm damned if I'll bleed money from the few local gardening stores we have left. Siebenthaler (the other local store) is more expensive than either big-box or Groby's was, but it's not so much more expensive that I'll give in and shop big-box just for a few cents on the dollar. Screw that.

Screw big-box gardening stores, especially WalMart. I haven't been in a WalMart in at least five years, and I don't mind a bit -- I don't feel like I've missed out on anything except squealing children and right-wing shillage. Whoop-de-do, I could do without the squealing children and the right-wing shillage anyway, and I certainly don't have to go out of my way to go to that hellhole to get it.

Internet gardening retailers, SpringHill (in Cincinnati, but still a local nursery and gardening supply center) and Siebenthaler, I'll be seeing you in about two months, if you don't get sucked into the shithole of black-box retail sludge lowball crappy quality pricing depression.

I like to get answers to my questions. I like a guarantee on a plant, and for it to look healthy. I haven't had much trouble with Lowe's, but I'd rather give them my money for things local stores don't carry, like garage door openers and specialty paint, and buy the stuff I can locally.

I'm pissed.

Posted by Melinda at February 2, 2005 09:50 PM


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