So I went back to Shannon’s, my local garden supply store, because I needed to confirm the price of that dirt I’d been complaining about. Well, I was wrong – wouldn’t be the first time but it also means I need to make sure I always get an itemized receipt there. Not that I think anyone was intentionally trying to scam me but I do think I paid for a bag of soil I did not get. The way it works there is that they ring up your order, then you go and pick up the soil you want. Since I’m a regular there (or maybe they’re just trusting), they don’t usually closely examine the receipt that I hand to them – just a quick eyeball and they hand me my goods.
In their defense, it is a busy place and they’re quick with the transactions. Still, isn’t it just good business practice to give an itemized receipt? I remember when I was a kid in Beloit, Wisconsin. We’d go to Shopko with my dad nearly every weekend. He’d watch as the clerk entered each item in the register (yes, I think it was entering it, not scanning it back then), then when the total amount came up – cha-ching – he’d look at each item, counting them in his head, reviewing the receipt. Then, when we were out in the car, all our goodies packed up and ready to go, he’d look at the receipt again, counting each item thrice. If everything was right, he’d pull a Fred Sanford, “This is the big one, Elizabeth,” clutching his hand over his heart in homage to Redd Foxx, in mock protest. If he found something wrong, though, he’d go into mode, his voice dropping a couple octaves and his brow growing into a little furrow. More than once we kids found ourselves back in the store, with the manager standing next to Dad, reviewing the receipt again, and, almost inevitably, my dad would leave with his wallet just a little heavier than before.
All that aside, here’s a CORRECTION to my previous speculation that a bag of organic top soil at Shannon’s of Brooklyn costs $5.00. I inquired and found out the following: Fafard Premium Topsoil (Organic), 30 lbs. bag is $5.00 [no price listed on their site], and Hamptons Estate Topsoil (Organic), 30 lbs. bag is $6.00 [also not listing a price on its website - this product is made by the Long Island Compost Co.]. Please don’t take my word for it – go somewhere and confirm for yourself. I’m curious though, ….
QUESTION: What garden supply store do you recommend for a good deal on soil? Keeping in mind that many of us (namely me) live in urban areas and may not have a vehicle to drive to pick up a bag, is there a deal that may not be near by but is good enough to bother a friend for a ride, or pay a willing car service to do the dirty work with you? All of this leads me to another …
QUESTION: Can anyone tell me whether it’s standard business practice to give itemized versus non-itemized receipts? Why? Do businesses try to add products thinking the customer won’t notice? Does a lowly clerk not care enough to bother? What if it’s a ma and pop shop, and the clerk is the owner? Do you think people are inherently honest or apt to get away with as much as they can? Are they just sloppy? Am I just paranoid? Did I spend one too many days as a kid in a hot car while my dad counted and recounted our ShopKo supplies? Or is it that people are no longer careful enough to watch their money, count their change and review receipts? Have we become sloppy with our money, a hallmark of the credit card generation, and symptomatic of our debt acquiescence? Do you ask for an itemized receipt when you don’t get one? Do you ask for a receipt at all? All of this leads me to another …
QUESTION: Why is it my local garden supply store, Shannon’s, is named the David Shannon Nursery & Florist if it has, as its site says, “been a family operated business for over 30 years by Joseph Perrotta and family.” Joseph Perrotta, is there something you want to tell your customers? And, which is it: 30 or 40 years? Later the site says: David Shannon Florist and Nursery, is the leading florist, nursery and greenhouse in Brooklyn New York. Family owned and operated business for over 40 years by Joseph Perrotta and family.” David Shannon, whoever you are, wherever you are, how bout you? Do I smell a story here?
Go ahead … gimme the dirt.