So over the past couple weeks I've noticed the outer layers of my amaryllis bulb slowly dying off. They've been dying off in a way that looks necrotic (black and moist) rather than apoptotic (brown and dry) so I assume there is some sort of problem with a pest or disease. And there are tiny silver bugs on the plant and in the soil, which I think are thrips, so that's a good place to start. I really wanted the yellow strips of fly paper, but couldn't find them at Walmart last night. So today at lunch I went to the nursery next door to look instead. Still no fly paper, but I notice $4 bottles of insecticide that say they are appropriate for indoor and outdoor plants. The label says the pesticide is derived from chrysanthemum, which pleases the granola fluff-bunny in me, even if plant-derived toxins can be just as deadly as petroleum-derived toxins. I look more at the label and see a long list of outdoor plants that the insecticide is "ideal" for, but only a short list of indoor plants that does not include amaryllis. I go up to the only two people there and a college age girl wearing a Cornell t-shirt asks me if I have a question.
"I've got an amaryllis that I think has thrips, and I wanted to know if this would be appropriate to use." "Oh, so it's a different kind of bug?" "No, actually, thrips are listed on there, but amaryllis isn't." "Well, this bottle says HOUSEPLANT AND GARDEN. What kind of plant is it?" "It's an amaryllis." "Oh, I don't know what that is. Is is in a garden?" "No, it's a houseplant. It's a kind of bulb..." "Well, this says HOUSEPLANT AND GARDEN, so it should be okay."
So I bought it. If it kills my plant I will go back and cause a ruckus.
It's not her fault that she's not knowlegable. (This is a fairly common houseplant, but whatever.) That's the nursery's fault for hiring her and not training her or at least giving her a big book that she can look things up in. What I *do* blame her for is acting like the customer can't read, as well as not asking her superior when she does not know something.