Feeding the need to shop | VailDaily.com

Feeding the need to shop

Tom Glass

Every year a significant number of homeowners step out into their yards for the first time since snow fell on it last fall, lean back to check out their roofline against the height of the mountains, and ask themselves what they can do to make their world more perfect.

Vaguely they know something is amiss. Nothing jumped-off-the-rails serious is staring them in the face. But, lacking artistic gifts, or a good sense for color or proportion, or simply the time to make a proper assessment, they often conclude some horticultural adornment is necessary to square up their view. So they head to the plant store to look for the missing piece of the puzzle. And, then, after they’ve wandered about appraising the goods at hand, they decide to nickel and dime their way to instant gratification.

We’re good at that ” nickel and diming. We know something’s not right so we change the radio station, stop and get a soda pop and a bag of something salty to counter the sweet, and resume rolling down the road toward the next place to shop, no better off and convinced that we’re all the better for the $5 dropped at the mini mart, and the prospects of buying something else new on sale further on down the road.

That’s cool, except sometimes you have to cook something up. Sometimes you have to make the time to get a real read on what’s amiss. Sometimes you have to make the grand gesture.

I’m a simple guy. I lead a simple life with the pretty simple mind I’ve been given. It just doesn’t enter my head to sell somebody up. Ask around. I’m not the type to push a customer toward the rare woodland orchid at $38.95 when what they want and need is the daisy at less than $10. But that’s what I’m doing here; I’m selling some of you up.

I began thinking about grand gestures this week when the powers that be at Vail Resorts International decided to get the attention of our world by dropping the bottom out of the price of a season-long ticket to ride. You must admit, it’s an interesting move with a myriad of potential motivations and consequences.

This will be an interesting year. In the physical world, for every action there is an opposite and equal reaction. That’s not the case in the business world. Nor is it the case in the business of real estate. Nor is it the case in your personal world.

Sometimes a soda pop is all you need to get happy. Other times, you have to sit and think about it before you can put your finger on what’s missing.

I’m suggesting you sit and think about what your world needs to get right. I’ll bet it’s quite straightforward, but you’ve been thinking of other things.

So what the heck am I talking about? Let me give you an example. I had a customer last summer I grew to admire. The first time she came in she asked me how to fix up a lawn area in front of her condominium that was used by kids as a playground in summer and for snow storage in winter. It was pretty much a dirt patch ” a big one.

She wanted to till in peat moss and reseed. Because the area had been used as snow storage, I suggested she have a soil test done before we began. Two weeks later she showed up, post soil test, and purchased a couple of pallets of composted spruce fines and a bag of lime dust. I delivered them. After tilling in the compost, two weeks later she ordered two pallets of sod. I delivered those too. She then ordered more sod. I had it delivered, but I stopped by to see how things were coming along.

I learned that by organizing the homeowners in her building and doing the leg work she had made a green oasis. The lawn was inviting. Her condominium building stood out among the others for their lack of lawns. I hoped her initiative was contagious.

But this column isn’t about lawns. It’s about looking at your entire landscape and home with a realistic eye. Get real. If you want and need flowers, buy flowers. But, if what your place truly needs is more, now is the time to make a plan for getting it done. Grand gestures require a little planning. The end result will likely have a bigger affect on you, your neighbors, and this valley rather than simply feeding the ambiguous need to shop.

Tom Glass writes a weekly garden column for the Vail Daily. E-mail comments or questions about this column to cschnell@vaildaily.com.

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