Dead PlantsMany of the stores in our company had a problem with live plants. They did not take care of them. Therefore, after a few days of having the plants delivered, the plants would start turning brown and dying. Problem was, the staff in these stores did not water the plants or take care of them in any way. It led to a lot of money lost due to dead plants. I did not have this problem in my store for two reasons:
- We took care of the plants daily.
- Because plants sold quickly in my store, they did not have time to die before they were purchased.
Martin, get rid of these live plants immediately. If I ever come back and see that you have live plants in the store, you will be fired.Well, he was direct! I didn’t want to get fired, but I also didn’t want to lose my nice profits that I was making with live plants. So, I thought about it and tried to figure out what I should do. I came up with a plan. The next day, I called the plant vendor and he already knew about the new policy. He was quite upset, as it would really take away a lot of business from his company, but there was nothing he could do. I asked him, “Do you have a nice sized trailer from one of your trucks, which you are not using on the weekends?” He said that he did. I told him to come and get the plants in my store and take them away. However, I told him that every weekend, I wanted him to bring his trailer to my parking lot and have it full of live plants, including a LOT of “Ivory.” I told him that I wanted that truckload of plants early every Saturday morning, but it had to be picked up on Sunday night. Whatever we sold on Saturday and Sunday he and I would both make profit on. No plant sales during the week, though, only on weekends. You see, the District Manager rarely came around on Saturdays or Sundays. If the district manager did come, though, I had a plan. For about 6 months everything went great. My customers knew that I had live plants on a truckload sale every weekend. They came on the weekends to buy plenty of live plants. I sold a lot of “Ivory” you can be sure of that. But then it happened. My district manager showed up on a Saturday afternoon, unexpectedly. I saw him when he drove up. He stood outside watching that truckload of plants for about 10 minutes. He then came into the store, and approached me, and said:
Martin, I should fire you right now. Remember, I told you that if I ever found you selling plants again you would be fired? Well, what do you have to say for yourself?My response?
You are exactly correct, sir. You did tell me that I would be fired. But, what you told me was that if you ever found live plants in my store again, I would be fired. Those plants are not in my store, they are outside!His face started turning red. I could almost see steam coming out from his ears! He was pissed. After a few minutes, he asked how long I had been doing this. I told him that I started the next weekend after he gave his instructions about live plants. He asked if I was making money, and I assured him that I was. I even showed him all of the facts and figures. His anger turned to happiness. I could tell that he was actually proud of me. I was making money for the company, and technically, I did not disobey what he instructed me to do! He never punished me for what I did. He told me it was OK to keep doing it, but he also told me to “never get caught.” I didn’t ever get caught by anybody else, and I kept making good money on the live plants!