One of the most amazing stories in American business of the past 25 years or so has been the decline, merger, and continued decline of Sears and K-Mart. It’s easy to forget that there was a time not too long ago when Sears was such a powerhouse that it owned credit card companies, financial services, car repair shops, jewelry stores, and was the largest retail operation in the country. K-Mart was playing in the same league as Sears, and had a hundred-year corporate history of its own.

It’s incredible that two retailers this huge, this successful and this smart managed to lose their way so thoroughly that by 2005, one of them had gone bankrupt, and then the bankrupt one bought out the one that hadn’t gone bankrupt, and then the bankrupt one changed the name of the merged outfit to the match the name of the one that hadn’t gone bankrupt.

When you are in a mess like this, it’s easy to lose your way. When you lose your way, your buyers tend to make questionable decisions. And when  your buyers make questionable decisions, you wind up with scary plastic crud like these atrocities on your shelves:


They’re gimmicky, they’re cheesy, and they’re plastic.

Whatever you do, don’t sink to this level – don’t compromise the integrity of your merchandise assortment, and don’t put garbage on your shelves. Your garden center is better than this.

The point is not that it’s wrong to sell pots with birds sitting on the rims – Take a look at the great ones below that JoAnn Fabric has on their shelves right now – the key is to not cater to the lowest common denominator.