Thoughts on Tet : In the nick of flowers

Tet flower was no longer a one-off topic, on the contrary, it may become a perpetuated issue. While everything about Tet is now submerged since we are heading back to daily life, the story of Tet flowers deserves a chance to be retole. Though It is certainly not a good story, perhaps this time we should read it with some thoughts before its revisit next year.

On an appeal of “Do not wait until 30th of the final lunar month to buy flower!”

Recently the press and various social media platforms are “beaming” the tragedy of flower sellers, planters on the occasion of Tet. Hundreds of videos and pictures captured the scene of people smashing and breaking flower pots, shaking the audience right to the core on the misfortune of these flower sellers. While some lament the selfishness of the buyers and even urge an online-spread humanity call on this matter, the customers themselves have some good reasons behind their up-to-30th flower purchase.

From the 23rd of the end of the lunar month, the Tet flowers are transported to major markets and the so-called business itself these days is said to be pretty much a gamble. Day after day, the sellers persisted on crowded streets, disregarding the weather, not only to look after their flower pots but also to offer and please flower buyers in hopes of selling more Tet flowers. Unfortunately, many people would come just to attempt a bargain and quickly dash off, waiting until 30th for the cheapest deal on these flowers.This mindset thus made many gardeners fall into the bitter situation where they are forced to barter away the remaining flowers as an attempt to mop up everything before Giao Thua. Noticing this issue, the netizens have already expressed widespread opinions on how buyers should spare some burden of the gardeners by buying flowers before the 30th so they can soon reunite with their family in the very last day of the Lunar year. After all, isn’t that how Tet should be: Happiness for everyone, but ironically the debate is going on!

“Why only blame the buyers, while the sellers scream such ridiculous price!”- A Facebook user commented. Several lamentations have been made on the skyrocketing price of Tet flowers during this occasion. Some sellers in the market would price an orchid branch five times higher than its price at the garden. Therefore, it would be far-fetched for the majority of Vietnamese households to squander money on flowers at that price, given their modest income and other expenses during Tet. Besides, not everyone has the luxury of time for flower shopping before 30th. A lot of people are occupied with hectic working schedules, especially during the last days of the Lunar year when tasks are usually piled up before the big break. Before considering all of the above, some disgruntled netizen would comment your 30th Tet presence at some flower markets would be a schadenfreude towards the Tet florists.

However, looking from the lenses of the flower planters and traders, the high price of Tet flowers is always justifiable. From unpredictable weather condition to natural disaster, flowers planting has never been a bed of roses. The devastating impacts of Storm No.12 (Typhoon Damrey) pushed the price of chrysanthemum up significantly due to its scarce supply. Moreover, unusually cold weather makes the Lilies bloom prematurely, forcing the sellers to use electric lamps to stimulate the late-blooming, thus increasing the price from 35.000-40.000 VND to 60.000-70.000 VND. On top of that, the cost of transportation, maintenance and care fee for flowers can go up to millions VND during Tet, making the financial liability for each flower pots seems too big to carry by the sellers. Perhaps, next time we want to make a bargain, why not considering some hardships with which planters, sellers are confronting.

With that being said, calling people to buy Tet flowers to support florists before the 30th, if not unnecessary, is futile. The flower market where each purchase was consciously made by both of buyers and sellers based on sort of agreement on price, the relationship between two is, therefore, said equal. By the law of demand and supply, the premium price of Tet flowers is perpetuated for the collective need of flower-savvy customers who are willing to pay rather than bargain. Hence, the reverse holds true for the flood of people arrive at the flower market on the last day of the Lunar month, bargain over value.

In conclusion, as customers, we buy things based on multiple factors. If we bargain for our targeted value, that surely does not make us less than human. The grey area in the moral basis of buying Tet flowers continues looming, yet the customers exert their right to purchase and bargain. Unless there is control over the price of Tet flowers, 30th market perhaps is still crowded with customers while the sellers bitterly break their pot.
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