Years ago, any time I stopped by Rhythm and Blooms in Eugene, Oregon to get flowers, it was packed full of people. Beautiful, fresh flowers, put together for you, or in bouquets, and reasonably priced. In the last few years, however, I never see anyone in there. I finally figured out why. I haven’t been in for a long time because the last time I did so, I was made to understand in no uncertain terms that my patronage was getting in the way of the staff doing other things that they clearly felt were more important.

Well, today I decided to try again and stopped by to get a small bouquet for the table. After telling the staff member quite clearly that I wanted to spend $10.00, I asked her to put together a bunch for me with some colorful Gerber daisies in the bouquet. She proceeded to insist I buy a $17.00 bunch with other flowers in it. I tried to direct her attention to my original request but she was not swayed. When I finally realized she wasn’t going to take the trouble to put together a special bouquet for $10.00, I told her I’d have to think about it, and left.

“Patronize local businesses”? Not when they’re patronizing to their customers. Local businesses go out of business most often not because of The Evil from Afar, but because of their own actions.

The fault, dear florist, is not in our stars but in our selves.

Complacency, self-regard and wretched customer service does more to shut down a “local business” than a thousand Wal-Marts. If your dream is to open a florist shop, I think you could do worse than Eugene, Oregon. It’s not like there’s a lot of competition.