Saturday, June 04, 2011

Confusion and Disappointment

Before anybody gets really excited, this post is mainly about eBay purchases, and mainly purchases of plants.

And to answer an earlier question, the seller in Michigan was not the Michigan Bulb Company. This was someone on eBay, I'm guessing that they only or mainly sell from eBay. They have high positive marks, and have been in business for a while, though I've learned this doesn't always mean what it seems, as sellers can buy their high positive marks and such from someone else.

I don't know why that was such a surprise to me. People can buy and sell eBay businesses. Just as people buy and sell regular businesses.

Anyway, I have no reason to suspect that the business has been sold, and that I didn't buy my plants from the same person who actually received the high marks, just that it is possible.

Okay, so I ordered two Stella cherry trees, a 5-in-1 pear tree, and a 5-in-1 apple tree. I have always wanted a 5-in-1 pear tree, and when I saw one on eBay that no one else was bidding on, I bought it, maybe without really thinking it through. Having bought that tree, I thought I'd take advantage of the discounted postage and also buy the cherry trees (at the time I noticed them no one else was bidding, but I ended up paying five dollars), and then I noticed the 5-in-1 apple tree (people were bidding on them, so it took three tries and about twenty dollars for that). So instead of the one tree for ten dollars plus about twelve dollar postage, I bought four trees for about thirty-five dollars and another sixteen in postage.

Now, I have bought plants online before, mostly recent purchases from eBay, and they arrive in different conditions, mostly I think depending on the type of plant more than care given by the seller. I have had great success with daylilies from three different sellers, but I've had trouble with about half of the other plants I bought this year, mostly from the same people who sold me the daylilies. So I think that it's just that daylilies and other bulbs don't mind the shipping process and other non-bulb type flowers and such aren't too happy about it.

So I think that bare-root trees are one of the things that don't mind being sent through the mail, if it is the right time of year. But May and June probably aren't the right time of year, at least it doesn't sound like a good idea to ship something from here, as we should all be done with most of our planting here and a lot of the plants left in the stores are on clearance. But the seller was from Michigan, and I know that things start growing a lot later in the season there. So the seller claimed that the trees were sent still dormant, and I thought that it might be true, and if so it was probably okay for them to keep sending plants.

I also know that dormant bare root trees pretty much look like dead sticks. This has always been a bit of a problem for me. How do you know if you've bought a healthy plant or a dead stick, if they all equally look like dead sticks? For example, asparagus really looks dead right out of the package, but if you buy it at the right time it rarely is. Usually you follow the directions and plant them at the right time, and they emerge, though this is weeks or even months later. However, this year I bought two packages, maybe a bit too late (though not late enough that they were on clearance), and one package was fine and more than half of the other package was dead. I have no idea if they were dead when I bought them or if I did something wrong when planting or what. They all looked the same.

So the description says that what I will get in the mail will be dormant, and that it will look like a stick, but not to worry because it will sprout leaves after planting and will probably have fruit in two or three years. So I have a picture in my mind that I will be getting four sticks in the mail, and that maybe they will have some greenish buds on them, or that they might really look dead, or that they might have leaves already and that would probably be bad. And I thought that two of the sticks would be five-pronged at the top, because they were supposed to be grafted with five different varieties.

Well, I got a mixed bag (or rather the products in the box were mixed), and nothing was quite what I expected. They came Thursday afternoon, a day later than the predicted "between May 25 and June 1." Not sure why those dates were predicted, since I bought the items on May 17th, but they weren't sent out till May 28th. Obviously the package cannot be delivered on the 25th if it isn't sent out before then.

I was expecting the trees to be one or two feet long, which they were. I just didn't expect them to be so thin. The apple is the thickest, and almost what I expected, but not quite. The pear is much thinner than I expected, and the cherries are just little twigs.

However, the cherry twigs did arrive mostly dormant, and now that I've put them in pots one of them is starting to show signs of life. Or maybe it is just my imagination.

The apple tree has leaves coming out of the top of the tree in three places. Not five places like I would think. I suppose other leaves could appear later, as there are bumps lower where there could be growth, but I wouldn't think so, not if all five varieties are supposed to bloom together to cross-pollinate. I'm wondering if I got a 3-in-1 tree by mistake, but I didn't see any of those advertised.

The pear tree is just the opposite. Unfortunately, it has leaves growing almost the entire length of the tree, in about thirteen places. Not at all the five-pronged stick I was expecting. I suppose each variety could have been tiny little grafts two or three places each, but my first thought is that I got a single variety by mistake. If so I've paid way too much, and I don't even know what variety it is. And of course the leaves are dying, though I don't think the whole thing is dying, maybe just the leaves.

I've got all four in small pots in the living room, thinking that it is too hot for the poor trees to go outside after their traumatic trip.

Well, I don't quite know what to do. First, I think that I've spent my money unwisely. With shipping and everything, I spent less than fifty-five dollars, but I'm thinking I could have done better with it. I might have found something around here on clearance. Or, I might have saved the money til next year and ordered trees in March or something. I am worried that the pear tree was a bad idea. Half of the varieties are good for this area, but the other half will probably get blight. I don't know if the blight will just kill half of the pears or kill the whole tree. And that's if I actually have a 5-in-1 pear tree and not just a mystery one variety tree. The cherry trees are just tiny twigs, and I might have been better off buying one larger tree. And I didn't really need an apple tree, I hadn't originally planned on it, but it just suddenly seemed like a good idea after buying the other stuff and qualifying for the discounted shipping.

So I might just be having some regular buyer's remorse, and not really have a reason to complain. I don't want to complain. I don't want to give someone bad marks if they don't actually deserve bad marks. But I was supposed to get dormant 5-in-1 trees, and they were not dormant, and it now occurs to me that it will be years before I have any idea if they are actually 5-in-1 trees.

Anyway, I haven't yet contacted the seller, and I haven't yet left feedback.

In other news about eBay, I lucked into some dvds, and I'm now looking into buying more. No one was bidding on Surface, which wasn't my favorite show, but no one bidding and the starting bid was two dollars and the shipping was a reasonable three dollars. No one bid against me, so I paid a total of five dollars. After that, I decided to look at other dvds. While looking for Invasion of the Body Snatchers, I found Invasion the series (again not my favorite show, but a good deal) and the same seller had Invasion: Earth, which I did really like when I saw it the first time and I wouldn't mind seeing it again. The dvds were Buy Now under four dollars each, reasonable shipping, with discounts for multiple purchases. So I bought both for just under twelve dollars.

All three are coming media mail, which means that I might have to wait a while, but I noticed that both sellers sent the packages the next day, and there are tracking numbers. I am now worried that Surface is lost. Yesterday it said out for delivery, which could not have been possible, from Missouri. Today is says status not updated. I'm wondering if this is just what happens with media mail, or if maybe the shipping label was lost. If my address is lost and the seller's address is still readable, they should just send the package back to the seller to try again, and it should all be okay. If both addresses are missing, I don't know what happens. Should I try to contact the post office in Missouri, or should I ask the seller to do that, or is just hopeless? I have bought from this seller before, and I'm sure they would do something, but I think they'd just do the easy thing and refund some of my money, if not all. But I don't want the five dollars back (and I certainly don't want just the two dollars back), I want the dvds.

Anyway, is it stupid to think about doing anything so soon?

My other dvds are now being sorting in Greensboro and are probably fine.

Today is the day of our little election. We had some discussions about absentee voting, and we were told that we could not do that. There's an exception for the disabled, sort of, but the disabled still have to be in their homes at the time of the election. I'm told that we cannot have absentee voting because of a by-law that says you cannot vote by proxy or by email, though in some cases if the member is out of town a spouse can vote for him or her if the election officers are told in advance.

I am thinking that does not totally cancel out the possibility of absentee voting, and if arrangements are being made for the disabled a similar arrangement cold be made for other people who are going to be out of town. For the disabled person(s), a form is taken to the home and filled out, and the ballot is placed in a sealed envelope and taken by an office employee to the election officer and put in the ballot box. So it isn't a proxy, and it wasn't by US mail, and technically the disabled person wasn't absent on the day of the election, just unable to leave the home.

I would think that the same sort of thing could be done for people going out of town. Prior to the election, they could go to the office, vote, place the ballot in a sealed envelope, put the envelope in the locked ballot box, and put the ballot box in the safe. And that would not be a proxy or a ballot delivered by mail, and we could have absentee voting without changing the by-laws.

But no one listens to me now, and I doubt that my health is up to being on the board on top of dealing with my personal situation. Besides which, I never know when I might get the chance to go out of town, and would not like to take into account meetings and other board obligations when I go on trips.

I have received flyers from all nominees except D, one strange letter of general complaints about board members and nominees and pizza and too many kids at our one meeting which kids are invited to, and one additional flyer begging people to go out and vote (though the author neglected to mention if he or/she was for any particular nominees). Off the top of my head, I'm saying yes to A, will probably vote for R, and my third vote will probably go to that other guy's son, cause he did later come around and campaign for himself. My brother suggested the third vote go to the other R, who did later send out a small flyer (and with very small print to keep costs down, but at least it was sent out), because he was the least liked person mentioned in the complaint letter, and we don't agree with much said in the complaint letter.

We had a similar complaint letter last year, but we are not sure it was the same author (both were anonymous), because most of the complaints were about different people (unless maybe the author has switched sides?).

So voting for A, probably R, probably the other guy's son, or maybe J. Not D because he didn't send a flyer and I don't know him. Definitely not S, cause she needs to mind her own business. And definitely not T. Even if I liked T, it would probably be a wasted vote. She is odd, and I doubt she will get enough votes to be a serious threat to anyone else.

Really, I wish I could just somehow vote against S three times without having to think too hard about who to vote for.

Next year we get to vote again M.

1 comment:

Ananda girl said...

I hope your little trees all survive and do well. That selection will make a great fruit orchard for you.
I don't know anything about buying or growing trees that are not already in place. But I might try to plant some myself here eventually.

I think if you are not happy with the products, that you should say something and give them a chance to make it right for you. If you bought things from a store, you would take them back. The same should apply. But, I admit that I don't know much about buying on ebay. I tend to buy direct from manufacturers or plant companies.