An interesting time

So the past month has been SUPER interesting at Growseed. We have seen a boom in orders from customers thanks to COVID-19 and with that it’s brought in a new range of issues for us to deal with.

As we are a small family run business working within the recommended guidances of a 2metre distance, we have sent people home, family are no longer working together and so the job falls solely down on me.

I don’t sleep much thankfully but since the 15th of March I’ve been working flat out for 18 hours a day, 7 days a week and I’ll be honest, at this point it’s taking its toll.

I thank each and every one of you for your custom since the very start to our loyal customer base who purchase every year to our new found customers! But with that there is the bad side 🙁

The past 3 weeks alone:

I’ve been told I’ve killed someones children because I’ve not been able to post a packet of tomato seeds next day.

Some OAPs have invited me to their funeral because they are going to die without fresh vegetables.

Others want to cause physical harm on me and my family including coming to collect some seeds with a baseball bat – Did you know I’m a 4th dan in karate, am a non compliant self defence expert, practised in silat, systema and a qualified boxing instructor?

Polite emails asking people to wait 14 days and to check our COVID & delivery information page is met with being told I’m being hostile and should treat paying customers fairly.

3am, 4am, 5am phone calls abuse, shouting, swearing and even in some cases crying!

And many, many more…

A regular quote of mine “If Amazon can deliver next day so can you” if I had Amazon’s bank balance and delivery network I’d be enjoying time outside and not be doing this!

Once the post leaves my hands I can’t do anything about it. If I had my own delivery network I could get the compliant but EVERYTHING and EVERYONE is in this – you, me and the hard working people at Royal Mail.

Why do people think it’s acceptable to bash, swear, abuse and belittle small family run businesses?

Id love to spend my time with my wife and children but I can’t! Instead I’m making sure you can garden, use the allotment or plant on a windowsill 🙂 and what’s the cost of this?

Abuse.. and looking on twitter I can see 100s of other small businesses are in this as well. It’s sad. Very sad.

Buying them 10,000 pepper seeds is going to take time or those 30,000 beetroot seeds you must be a serious lover or beet.

I get it’s sunny and you want to plant, but it’s only April with a possible cold snap on the way.

Since the very beginning I started a COVID-19 page with full transparent information. Yes, I get you want your seeds, I’m doing the best I can do that.

Advice and tips on how to run my own business is not helpful!

Here at Growseed we anticipate the amount of stock we hope to sell that year and we pack all of our seeds +10% to allocate stock. As you can imagine as soon as “lockdown” started all of our allocated packed stock was cleared out.

It’s put me in the very awkward possition of having to test fresh seed and pack before dispatch. WHY am I testing the seed?

Well when I first started Growseed I wanted to be better, I wanted to be different part of that ethos was to search out what I consider to be the best vegetables that could be grown all year (almost) and by anyone! Provides a great taste, large crop and has a high germination rate.

I’m not going to change my position or the quality of my product because of a VIRUS I want all of our seed to grow and germinate, if there is a problem I fix it. I always have, always will. I’m not going to diminish the brand for anyone.

If all of this is the reason my business thrives or dies. At least I stand by what I believe in.

I explain this to everyone who wants to listen but still I get shot down over it, if you can find a better quality product than mine then I’m open to hearing more!

Don’t get this confused with not having stock, we have plenty! Once I remove from our cold store, it gets tested over 7-10 days. Once it passes we pack it for sale.

You try to explain all of this to customers, even explain that everyone is effected including Kings who closed it’s ordering system, Thompson & Morgan that stopped accepting calls for a little time (so we got told), Suttons who closed its doors to new orders for a limited time as well as all the other seed retails big and small… and the outcome? No one wants to know.

As I’ve said from the very start if no one wants to wait for the order the refund is there, we are all in the same boat big and small. I think all we ask for is a little understanding.

Tonight is my first night in 5 weeks where I won’t reply to an email after 8pm – I’m sitting in front of the fire, taking a sip of a beer and switching off. I’ll be back to normal posting orders tomorrow AND Sunday!

I don’t want sympathy, I, like many other small business would just like some respect. Treat others how you would like to be treated!

A very tired Gerry