Thursday, August 26, 2010

What Makes Something a Real Bargain?

I'm old school enough to believe that a bargain is not simply something you get for a cheaper price. That often means that you are getting

To me a bargain is paying less and getting more than you expected. Like finding a house that looks ordinary on the outside but is a treasure of handcrafted quality and exquisite design inside, and is priced to sell, too. Here's a smaller scale example: Last spring my husband and I went to the local Home Depot for something - don't remember what - and as we walked toward the entrance we saw a large group of hibiscus plants in black plastic tubs. Stacked higgledy-piggledy around a sign that said $8.97, it was clear they were there to be moved out quickly.

None of the plants had any blooms on them, though a few had small buds. One or two plants showed the remnants of a pale, peach-colored flower. A couple of years ago we had a hibiscus plant that we put out front for the pure pleasure of seeing the brilliant red blooms. Remember we are in Maryland where such plants don't survive the winter, and though we brought "Hortense" (yes, we named her) inside, she did not survive her second winter. Now here were dozens of potential replacements at less than half what the original Hortense had cost. What could we lose?

So Hortense the Second came home and took up her place by the front steps. Sure enough, she put out a peach colored bloom. But not just any flower - it was a double! Multiple layers of pale sunset-colored petals were so heavy that the slender stem could barely hold the flower up.

Then it happened. A few days later, a red flower, also a double. What? Red and peach on the same plant? Yes - and she has done it several times again throughout the summer. The pictures show two blooms that opened within three days of each other.

Peach colored double hibiscus flower Red double hibiscus flower

A plant that is healthy, puts out gorgeous double blooms in two colors, brightens our mornings, and came at an unexpectedly low price. Now THAT is a bargain!