There’s a new product in the works, and the makers have asked students at the University of St. Thomas (“one of the most highly renowned business schools in the globe,” they tell me) to research “the best way to get into our consumers minds and figure out what their priorities are.” Toward that end, they’re asking us to take a quick survey about the product – a spray-on mulch colerant called Hippie Mulch. Yes, I did ask if this was a joke and was told they’re “EXTREMELY SERIOUS” about this, and they really want our feedback about it, so let’s give ‘em some.
First, the product itself is one that many of us disapprove of on aesthetic grounds, and I’m in that camp myself. The Hippie Mulch website describes faded mulch as a problem that must be fixed, either by adding more mulch or using a colorant, but of course I disagree. From that mistaken assumption, they derive the whole tree-saving pitch – “One jar can save up to 8 trees” – because without their product, we’d be buying more mulch, and “New mulch involves cutting down trees, and burning diesel fuel during the grinding and transportation process. We felt that a hippie would probably choose to save a few trees, and avoid the additional exhaust from the diesel fuel.”
But actual gardeners know that mulch is about much more than aesthetics – we want the stuff to break down and improve the soil. Replacing mulch every year is the one big thing I do for my garden, besides water. I asked the Hippie Mulch team about this and was told that “Many horticulturists are proud of their gardens and keeping them looking “fresh” (in addition to healthy) is of the utmost importance.” Right.
Next, what’s in the stuff? Don’t look to the website for that answer, beyond the marketing language that it’s a “a unique blend of environmentally friendly additives and binders allow the color to penetrate the wood surface, lock on to the fibers, and adhere for long lasting beauty”.
Wouldn’t a good hippie want to see the ingredient list? This hippie sure would.
Yes, I happen to have been a ’60s hippie in good standing myself and have actual memories of using some of the language used on the Hippie Mulch website – “blow my mind,” “chill time,” “Peace, man.” Oh, yes, I did! And how about the colors this stuff comes in: beatnik brown, dig-it dark brown, bellbottom black, groovy gold, ringo red, and rush red.
Okay, I’ll admit it – the language is really annoying.
Take the Survey, or Leave a Comment
Again if you’re wondering if this is a late April Fool’s joke, I was told that that question is “slightly offensive” and that “The company we are working with has paid St. Thomas U. and the Small Business Institute for our consulting work and this is the equivalent of a Thesis for our major. We have poured countless hours into serving our client and the only thing we get out of this (other than real world experience) is a final college credit. Thus far, every single blog that we have reached out to has taken this seriously, as I believe you should too.”
So I guess I should just chill. Peace, man!Posted by Susan Harris on April 24, 2012 at 4:43 am, in the category Taking Your Gardening Dollar.