My Phal bellina alba from Norman's

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I ordered this Phal bellina alba back in June from Norman's.
I was very happy when it arrived. It had large leaves 9-10" long and 4-5" wide, with 2 spikes.

I patiently waited about 2 months and it finally bloomed about 2 weeks ago.




But wait, you say, that's NOT an alba.... Well, about 2 days before it opened, I got nervous when I started to see pink developing on the underside of the bud. I called Norman's and they sent a replacement at no charge. They told I could keep the wrong plant like they were doing something nice for me. HA! Whole lotta good that does me - I already had a bellina. Although the shape on this one IS nicer...

Here's my rant: The plant they sent is fine, but it's getting to me late in the season at a time when it will probably not bloom this season. So besides wasting 2 months nurturing the wrong plant, I shelled out money for a plant that will now not bloom until next year. When, if they had sent me the right plant in the first place, I would be enjoying the blooms right now.
Furthermore, I have no way of knowing if this second plant is the right plant or some other mislabelled clusterpuck until it blooms next year. Damn you Norman's!! :fight:
Marcus, I know how you feel. But if your alba blooms correctly on the new plant, count yourself lucky.

I am glad I figured out how much of a ripoff it was to buy plants from Norman's before I bought a ton of plants from them. You got lucky getting the new plant like you did. Your story of getting a replacement plant is not a common one. Most people who get screwed by Norman's never get a resolution. I have heard a ton of stories about people getting the wrong plants from them.

If I ever get the chance to meet their customer service rep, I will have to try hard not to make him swallow his smarmy little teeth.
John - I don't think you'd have to worry to much about knocking out customer rep. Word like this gets around pretty quick. I don't know Norman's so this isn't a personal attack, nor have I bought from them. Just just my general opinion on this particular branch of a business. But customer relations is a serious link to keeping good business. The whole "give away free plants to make amends for mistakes" and bad customer service takes it's long term toll on businesses. Not saying that giving away free plants is bad because a little goodwill can always go a long way, if there's no mistakes in the order. It's gonna drill a serious hole into Norman's potential future revenue. For example, take the Paph. topperi v. album they had selling for "1,500.00" ( I dont think its in their inventory anymore) What if it bloomed and wasn't album and the buyer had pull on a good number of customers and potential customers? Well that's a hole that's going to be seriously difficult to fix and very expensive. Now if they paid just a bit more for better customer rep and better in house bookkeeping/inventory maintenance.......

...Ok well this can go on forever....

Sorry for the economic/accouting mental flatulence, it's the day job. :eek:

I'm gonna go back to my reading now.
I agree with Marco. While I personally haven't had a problem with Norman's, there's so much out there like this about them I do think twice about ordering now. Thankfully they haven't had anything in a long time that I couldn't live without.

I learned working for Williams-Sonoma (among others, but they were the best at this) that the customer really IS always right and needs to be treated as such, and I will take that lesson with me to my grave. Like some orchid vendors we all know, you may pay a bit more for the product at W-S, but for the service and lifetime guarantee on all products no questions asked, I think it's worth every penny and I'm happy to give my business to folks like that.

Sometimes I have also thought that Norman's in particular is just too big to run well. But what do I know?

Marcus - it's a very pretty bellina, perhaps you can sell your other and at least make it up. I truly hope your new one blooms true.
Marcus, if you want to sell that bellina and make out like a bandit, shoot me an email. I am always in the market for a nice bellina.
You can't beat a good free bellina Marcus.

Try out your mounting skills on the extra. Bellina grow down the mount instead of up the mount like fasciatas. And when mounted they generally set the flowers on top of the plant rather than under the leaves when potted.