[CH] Burpee Pepper seedlings packaging...

Porter, Jeff (jeff.porter@iga.com)
Tue, 28 Apr 1998 17:08:39 -0400

Hello all.  Its beginning to be that time of the year when we are
starting to get our gardens planned and get our inventory together for
another pepper garden in the NE US.  I wanted to share a very recent
experience with al of you so that you can be warned and know what to do
about it if it happens to you.

Sometime in February for each of the past few years I have placed an
order for pepper seedlings from Burpee Seeds.  In the past I've been
ordering something they call "sure start" plants.  The price is about
$33.50 for 48 plants including shipping and handling.  For those of you
that haven't seen these offered, they come in small funnel shapped cells
that need to be transplanted or planted very soon after you get them
since there is a very limited amount of soil mix for each seedling.  The
packaging material was always impressive in that it protected the
seedlings very well during shipment.  This year I also ordered something
they just call "plants".  These are a little older seedlings that come
in a more traditional nursery type of 3 plastic cell row pack.  I
received my order of 6 "Hot Lemmon Plants" ($12.90 incl S&H) from Burpee
last week and upon opening the package was very disappointed in the
attempt (or lack thereof) in the packaging used to protect my plants.
They were shipped in a box that was easily 5 times larger than it needed
to be and the plants were loose in the bottom of the box with crumpled
newspaper on top of them to take up the dead space.  Out of the 6 plants
that I ordered, 4 of them were damaged, the worst actually broken at the
soil level.  I promptly called Burpee Seeds and complained at the way
they were packaged and demanded a refund or replacement.  The woman I
spoke with seemed embarrassed about the situation and has placed a
replacement order for me.  Some might blame this on the shippers, but I
don't feel that Burpee or the Florida nursery(s) that they subcontract
with took even the least minimal efforts to protect the product they
were selling to their customers.  

I was amazed folks, that a large commercial business like Burpee that
always seemed to be concerned with quality in the past actually expects
to have satisfied customers when they ship their product like this.

I hope any of my fellow chile-heads who ordered from Burpee have a
better experience than I.

Happy growing.