The Garden Mums Mishap

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Lessons in Value Part 2

One of the basic philosophical questions of life concerns value-theory.  The question of course being:  What is value?  Value is defined as a property representing the importance or worth of something.

Even though I know and understand this definition, I am still a rookie when it comes to applying it to my life. You see, I am a sucker for a good deal.  And by that, I mean that I love to buy things for less money than they usually cost … whether I need them or not. I came by this characteristic honestly.  My Grandmother Randall, who passed away last year, was a master deal detector.  I remember one Christmas she placed three neatly wrapped boxes under the tree for my grandpa, each the same size and shape. On Christmas day he unwrapped three identical watches.  My grandma’s explanation?  “It was an awfully good deal.”
This is my legacy.
So about the first week of October we got a Lowe’s advertisement in our paper showing some beautiful garden mums on sale at a 67% savings.  So I ran down to Lowe’s and bought six pots of mums in orange and red.  I planted them the same day and was self-satisfied as to the great value I had acquired.
But a few days later, I happened to be at Lowe’s again.  As I strolled through the garden center, I saw the same garden mums I had purchased were now on sale at a 90% savings. My immediate response was horror.  The mums in my garden no longer seemed to be such a great value. And then I realized the reason the flowers were marked so low.  These particular mums were annuals … and they were at home already beginning to wilt from the cold. At this point, I began to recognize that their value was an illusion within my own mind.
The garden mum mishap helped me to define one characteristic of value:
Something of true value is lasting.
We can begin to understand the value of something by asking how long will this last? Or how long will the joy this brings into my life endure?
In the case of my garden mums, I am embarrassed to say that they were beautiful for two, short weeks.


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  1. Jennifer says

    Looking at this from another perspective–At 60% off of mums, you got 2 weeks of color. If you bought them today, at 90% off, you’d probably only get a few days before they died off in the next frost. So, next year, you can weigh the options, and make a more informed decision–and if you still choose to buy them again, you’ll know that they’re only annuals, so if you make a mistake on the color, you can always try a different color the following year! Or, you may decide to try bulbs instead.

    This is coming from the person who has planted and ripped out so many gardening projects, I no longer consider anything more than just an annual…who has a box of bulbs which has been sitting unopened for two weeks, in spite of the label to “open immediately.”

    • Shawna MorrisseyShawna Morrissey says

      I love this perspective! I will definitely have a better idea about what I am doing next year. I tend not to think in terms of what I really want. Instead, I just look for good deals. It turns out that this mind-set isn’t working so well for me. I neither get a good deal or something I really want. Haha! Thanks for your thoughts Jen!

  2. Jennifer says

    This goes right along with your original point about value, since “what I really want” is an element of value or worth.

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