A rant about show venders

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Mar 9, 2007
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Los Angeles, California
Alright, I apologize in advance for the rant but I need to get this out. I frequent as many orchid shows that I can, I take pictures and notes, I buy more then I should. My mother and I convene a few times a year to go to the larger ones. It drives me crazy though, when I am inspecting the spread on some Phrag or Paph and the vendor comes over and says something like, "Beautiful aren't they, I have some really pretty easy to grow orchids over here" then gesture to some unassuming 5 dollar Phal. This wouldn't bother me too much, except for when (AFTER I tell them I specialize in growing slipper orchids) ask a question they dumb down their answer or worse, they address it to my mother. I'm just about ready to point out the fact that she is not the one who asked the question and I am the one holding all the plants. This isn't some isolated occurrence, it's a quarter of the vendors.

I know a lot of people who frequent shows are not orchid enthusiasts, but I know that if I wasn't a scrawny twenty-one year old things might be a bit different, I hate being judged and it's sad but going to the shows usually beings my spirits down a bit.

I say "they" and I hate to categorize. There are a few vendors that know me and always say hello and want to chat, there are others that are all hard and cold right up until I mention that I bought one of their (x) a few years back and it is doing great and then they light up, there are the others that no matter how many times a year I talk to them and buy plants they still try to pass off that 5 dollar phal.

I guess that's why I am so thankful for this forum and everyone on it. Besides the fact that it's much harder to judge through the veil of cyberspace, people here are very helpful and supportive. It's a great resource to have and I really appreciate it. So, thank you everyone.
I have the same experience all the time, and it drives me crazy! And I'm not even a young woman... I can't imagine how much worse it must be. This happens to me even at the local DOS show, where many of the people know me (though granted, I'm pretty quiet down there). I chalk it up to the fact that I might look a bit younger than my years, and that even a lot of the umm.. "senior" DOS members really don't know much about orchids, they just seem to show up to the meetings so that they can put on silly hats and get out of the house.

Anyway, this forum is about the best thing that has happened to the internet :) Admins, you have my thanks too!

- Matthew Gore
You never have to worry about ranting around here. It's actually a hobby of mine. :evil: I refuse to support many orchid vendors because they just don't understand what good customer service is. I actually hope a couple of them go out of business. coughNorman'scough

On a lighter note, I almost forgot to post about this, but this thread reminded me of it. Andy's Orchids called me the other day to ask how some orchids I had ordered were doing!!! Do you believe that? Awesome. :)

Andy's Orchids
New World Orchids
Oak Hill Gardens
Orchids Limited (if I have the money : )
Santa Barbara Orchid Estate

That is my short list of trusted vendors.
I didn't include Matt on my list because he is not a vendor. He is a trusted friend. I also have a bit of a man crush on his boyish good looks.

No way did he hit on you Zach. I mean really, I've seen photos of you. Ruff Ruff.
I promise not to hit on any of you...

As to the original rant, I'm not sure how to respond. When I'm selling, I have no way of telling if somebody is an expert grower or a complete newbee (or wannabee). So I'll usually ask something like "What kind of orchids do you grow?" as an initial question if somebody is just looking. And believe it or not, I actually listen to the answer and if I don't have something on my table I'll direct them to the person who does... I probably sell more plants for other people than myself at some shows.

I don't care at all how old somebody is or how they look. In fact, we have two young boys in one of the local societies who drag their mother around to shows and know orchids better than most people four times their age. They are good customers, even if mom is the one writing the checks. My best customer is a wonderful elderly lady who can barely walk and her hands shake so bad she can't write her own checks. But she loves orchids and always buys a few from me at every show (she goes to all the shows).
littlefrog said:
My best customer is a wonderful elderly lady who can barely walk and her hands shake so bad she can't write her own checks. But she loves orchids and always buys a few from me at every show (she goes to all the shows).

The addiction knows no age limit. :) I hope I am still buying until the day I die.
I get this every time I go to a show with vendors I don't know...or that don't know me I should say :evil:

I've found the easiest way to avoid this is to say something to them right off the bat that only another orchid person could possibly understand. Apparently I look nothing like an orchid grower, so here's a few I've probably used before being pointed to a run of the mill Phal.

"I'm currently collecting Latourea section Dendrobiums, but I've been finding room for the occasional species Paph."

"I'm looking for a nice Scaphosepalum or Porroglossum, but if you've got a nice Paph...."

I'm sure I make a lot less sense in person when I get going on plants or coral, but that's the basic idea. Orchid people are hard to spot and don't follow any profiling I can recognize, so you gotta speak the lingo.

I finally figure it out after so many shows. I have a few suggestions for you.

-First, pick the worse, oldest dress, with holes in shoes (you have spent all your money all these years on orchids, the shabby clothes are actually the orchid world's medals)
-Do not comb your hair, let it all hang loose in all directions (remember, that you are so into orchid that you have no time for those trivia matters like combing your hair)
-Make up for lips, eyebrows should be out of line & zigzagy (you are in a hurry to get to the show)
-Walking for hours in the show (you can not tear yourself from the source of your addiction)
-Look at the plant you want to buy (in this case maybe a paph) as if you try to hypnotize it. Or is it the other way around.
I guaranty you that all the vendors worthy of their titles will look at you in a different eye ( or is it pity, I am not sure), you will get the most rare orchids, the latest hybrids still warm from those Taiwanese ovens.:p

-Oh I forget, the last tip, wet the corner of your mouth often, to simulate the image of a constantly drooling person.
NYEric said:
That's just what Hien does!
The funny thing is I wasn't pretending to look like that. The image is real.:rollhappy: :rollhappy:
Glen & Dennis gave me plants all the times, they must realize I wasn't faking.:wink:
I have that happen all the time. There are certain vendors that know my husband and me, and it's different. However, others just look at the young couple and try to steer us to the proverbial phal. I can understand that they are trying to find a match for a novice, and don't know if I'm an experienced grower, and that's ok, it's when I ask a specific question about something and I get a rude or snide answer that really annoys me.