Editor's Notebook

| January 2006

The Wisdom of Those Who Garden

On our first warm day last spring, I visited a nursery near my home in Kansas City, Mo. Lured by green, growing things, I loaded a few baby herbs and adolescent tomatoes in my wagon. But nowhere did I see my beloved Genovese basil. Without it, my summer would not be complete.

I approached a woman in a nursery apron and asked where I could find basil. She looked at me with knowing compassion, the way one friend looks at another who's about to go out with the wrong kind of man.

Placing her hand on my arm, she said, 'You don't want to do this yet. It's too early.' I looked back at her, my eyes gently pleading. She smiled kindly and shook her head. 'You'll just make yourself miserable,' she said. 'Come back in a couple of weeks.'

I yielded and planted only the hardier herbs that afternoon. When the weather turned nasty, I was grateful the nursery owner had talked me out of a mistake.

This is true customer service. I easily could have taken my business someplace where my impatience would have been indulged. Her manner was not only knowing, but wise and reassuring. The part of me that knew better than to jump the gun was forced to slow down and listen to her counsel.

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