Ask Mr. Sage: How to Buy Salvia Alert Plants
Dear Mr. Sage,
I began receiving your Salvia Alert newsletter last summer. I especially enjoy receiving notice about new plants, because I collect sages. But I can’t seem to respond fast enough to get a Salvia Alert plant. Last time, I emailed you within an hour, yet they were all gone. What should I do?
I am sorry this happened. However, you are not the first of our customers to encounter this problem. I do have some tips to share, but first I better explain what the Salvia Alert is for anyone reading who doesn’t know about this email newsletter.
Flowers by the Sea Farm and Online Nursery offers a number of free email newsletters (you’ll find subscription sign-up on our homepage). These include the Salvia Alert, which reports on one plant per issue. It may be a new product, rare sage, or another special plant. Supply is always limited.
Early in the growing season when we send out the majority of our Salvia Alert emails, we post them once a week at the most. Later in the season, they slow to about once a month. The plants may be available for planting when we send out the email or for delivery at a specified pre-order date in the future.
When we first began promoting unique Salvias through alerts, we didn’t realize how wildly popular the offers would be. Often, our supply of the featured plant is wiped out within minutes of posting the newsletter. So, we’ve adopted a policy that customers should complete purchases of Salvia Alert plants within one hour of placing them in their shopping carts. We clear carts of Salvia Alert plants when customers exceed this time limit.
All too often, a customer who has responded quickly to a Salvia Alert yet missed out on the product will call and be terribly upset. Then, an hour later, plants will become available again due to having to negate Salvia Alert orders from customers who are slow to complete purchase. Yipes! This can be nerve wracking on our end as well as yours.
So, here are some tips regarding Salvia Alert purchases:
- Order as soon as you receive the email.
- If you are successful in placing a plant or two in your cart, complete your shopping trip within an hour.
- Persist and be patient! If you don’t get a plant, don’t give up. Check back periodically during the day to see if any are available again. Keep in mind that although we strive to adhere to our one-hour rule, the demands of farm work sometimes make it difficult for us to monitor the progress of Salvia Alert orders as closely as we would like.
- Be forgiving. If you miss out on the product or if we empty Salvia Alert plants from your shopping cart due to slow order placement, please understand our need to make the process as fair as possible.
- Use the “Notify Me” button. When a plant is out of stock, a button appears on its page that says “Please notify me when this plant is back in stock.” Click it, and we’ll let you know if and when the plant is available again.
- Share the love. We know that gardeners, and particularly our customers, generally are considerate folks who don’t want to hurt people or pollinators. So, if you place a Salvia Alert plant in your cart but can’t make up your mind about whether you really want to order it, please return it to us so another eager gardener may have it.
Finally, when all the inventory for a Salvia Alert is gone, one of three things may happen. First, it's likely we will set a later pre-order date and grow more of the plant. Second, the seasonality of the plant may not allow us to grow more until the next year. Third, and this is rare, it may be that no more alerts for a particular are possible due to FBTS not being able to offer more at this time.
Thank you for your question, because this information is likely to help a number of FBTS customers. I certainly hope it helps you.