Still Fertile After So Many Years

, , , , , | Right | January 28, 2020

I work in the nursery section of our local hardware store where we sell plants and everything you need to take care of them. I have worked there for four years and was a regular customer before that. Our store has a ninety-day return policy where you can have cash back with a receipt, store credit without. However, many people in our small town have personal charge accounts and returns can be credited to those accounts.

At the end of the day, just before closing, the employee who works at customer service runs all the non-defective returns and go-backs to their respective departments. She brings me one such, a five-pound cardboard box of fertilizer, and I take it from her and go to place it on the shelf where it belongs.

That’s when I notice something odd and begin to look it over a little closer. The packaging is in immaculate condition, especially considering it’s basically a cardboard cereal box, but the color is different from what’s on our shelf. While I recognize the color and didn’t question it before, I suddenly realize the box color changed about five years ago, before I started working there. The price sticker — which we don’t put on them anymore because we now have shelf tags — reads our SKU but shows a price of $4.99. Current retail is $8.99. So, I check the manufacture date and can barely make out the impression of numbers from fifteen years ago. Fertilizer is recommended to be used within two years of its manufacture date, and we sell so much of this product that we hardly ever have a box sit in stock for more than four months, even in the dead of winter, before being rotated through and sold.

I take it back up to customer service to share this gem with them and show them all the little details. I say, “So, basically, we just paid a guy $4 to store a box of fertilizer for fifteen years.”

The employee who processed the return is mortified. I laugh it off. After all, management would have done the return even if they had noticed the discrepancies.

I just can’t get over how good of a condition the box was in after all that time!

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