Kenmare ND - Upside Down Under

Real People. Real Jobs. Real Adventures.

Upside Down Under

By Marvin Baker, a new weekly column in The Kenmare News


Damned if you do and.....

Posted 4/28/20 (Tue)

In December and January we get all our seed catalogs in the mail and some of us get around to ordering right away, while others, like myself, procrastinate.

But, before I get too busy in the greenhouse, I thought I’d better get this knocked out.

And just as many of you do, I order from numerous companies. Some have specific seeds I want, others have free shipping and still others have a personal representative call you and advise you on new varieties.

For me, it’s about the product and what has the most appeal at the farmers market, which brings me to the point of this op-ed.

There’s an organic radish I like called “German Giant” that is only available from one company and that’s Peaceful Valley in California.

I’ve ordered this radish from Peaceful Valley, as well as numerous other items for at least the past six years that I can remember.

So here I was, on the computer, punching in the credit card number and all that jazz, then the hard part, submit payment.

It’s immediately rejected because this is the message I saw: “We can’t verify this address. Try again.”

OK, I’ve gone through this before with this company and others in past years and It’s unbelievable they haven’t got it figured out by now.

As a result, since the address I live at apparently doesn’t exist, I’ll put in the post office box number where our mail comes.

Nope! “We can’t ship to post office boxes.”

What do I do now? They won’t accept my physical address, an address I’ve been living at for 14 years and they won’t ship to post office boxes when other companies do, what do I do, make up an address?

Well, I did one better. I tried to make this work the right way numerous times and it wouldn’t go through and I was beginning to think this company no longer wanted my business.

But, I got an idea and typed in “General Delivery” for the address and that was accepted.

Now, you can draw your own conclusion. I know my address and if nothing else, I’m verifying right now that I live there and have lived there 14 years. It’s a legitimate 911 address because I have checked with the 911 administrator in the county. If that’s not enough, we have friends in Australia who send us things all the time at our street address and it comes to the post office and is delivered, no problem.

So why does Peaceful Valley have this chip on its shoulder?

There was a spot to write notes before submitting payment and before I actually did pay for my order, I wrote in there what I just described. I hope they get the hint this time.

If only someone else sold that radish, I would drop Peaceful Valley like a rock. That’s the only product I really need from them. Anything else I can get from other companies.

And speaking of other companies, I ordered seed from a total of eight companies; two in California, two in Maine and one each in the following states; Vermont, Virginia, Iowa and North Dakota.

None of them had an issue with my address.

Just because I live in a small, remote town in North Dakota doesn’t mean my address doesn’t exist. I could see it if the 911 system didn’t recognize it, but I’ve never tried to alter that in any way. It’s a bona fide address in a bona fide city in North Dakota.

I can’t imagine the chaos with people living in obscure locations in interior Alaska or out in the Nevada desert. What if you live in Canada and have a United States address? You could be off the grid, but you like gardening. How are the Peaceful Valley seeds going to find you that way?

In this day and age, life is supposed to be simpler, not more difficult. And, these companies want to sell products to consumers yet, they are making it difficult for this gardener to buy those products.

I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention the issues with GPS and how I think that has something to do with this.

Fed Ex and UPS have both delivered products I’ve purchased to the wrong address. Sometimes it’s on the wrong street when the address is written on bold white letters on the side of our garage.

If I punch in my own address, it actually takes me about a block south of where I actually live, so if delivery drivers are relying solely on GPS, it’s no wonder they’re confused.

And more times than not, when I leave someplace for home, I use GPS and it leads me to the wrong address.