Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Are You Giving Thanks or Just Crap?

About four weeks ago, I received a Baudville catalog in the mail.

You have not had the pleasure of thumbing through a Baudville catalog? You are so deprived!

Please, take a look at their website at!

The catalog I received featured something really special on the cover. The item is too much for words to describe but I believe it really captures the essence – nay, the very soul of the American consumer, the growing concern over our environment and is economical.

On the cover of this catalog was a tin of grass. Yes! You read that right. Grass – sold in a tin.

Yep, can’t beat that!

Okay, I’m probably not being fair so below is a catalog description of this product:

“Bring some green inside with this easy-growing, organic wheat grass kit! Just add water to promote your message of going green, and watch the little seeds grow into hearty blades of grass. Cutting is easy, just use your favorite pair of scissors! Kit includes the 16oz tin container, organic wheat grass seeds, and soil.”

The above item is available for managers to purchase if they need an item to recognize and reward “green behavior” in the office. If you have a green initiative going on at your office, you might need this thing. It is made in the USA; it is recycled, recyclable or consumable and it is designed with the environment in mind.

You may sense I have a problem with this product. You would be right.

I know gifts are difficult to find. I also know that it is hard to recognize good behavior and reward it with a small budget. But grass in a tin?

Problem 1: Some people are not able to care for silk plants.

Problem 2: “Green behavior” takes time to cultivate with education AND reward.

The “GLASS & METAL” bin does not need much instruction but the bins marked “COMPOST” and “PAPER RECYCLING” are confusing. I am familiar with compost and paper recycling. I am not familiar with the terms “meal box” and “food box.” While the “meal box” should be added to the compost bin and the "food box" added to the paper recycling bin, I am not able to distinguish between the two boxes. My meal box has food in it and my food box has a meal in it so DAMMIT, I NEED SOME HELP!

Problem 3: To reward good behavior, people need to take their heads out of their collective ass.

Obviously this problem does not apply to everyone. There are many good people out there who recognize hard work or good effort. I should also say that on occasion, I too suffer from head-up-my-ass-itis. It’s embarrassing and difficult but I don’t believe grass in a tin will help solve this problem.

Problem 4: I found this product under “Gifts and Food” at the Baudville website.

I couldn’t help but notice the uncanny similarities between this product and the grass sold in the pet shops around town. From what I found, Bell Rock Growers Pet Greens offers the same benefits that the Baudville G*Thanks Seed Tin offers. Below is a product description I found at Petco:

* 100% certified organic wheatgrass seed and soil mixture
* Aids in digestion for all animals
* Provides natural hairball control
* Saves your houseplants
* High in calcium--great for reptiles
* Birds love to juice and prune

While I was impressed with the above list, I still had reservations regarding this product. I had to take a long look at the picture:

Hmmm…it is certified organic and it comes in a bag that can be used for other things once the grass is dead. Not bad! Of course I can’t help but wonder if there is an ulterior motive at work with the Baudville product. Am I really an office cat in need of a digestive aid? Should I increase my calcium intake?

I’m not sure if the grass in the tin represents a token of thanks or is an effort by HR to improve employee health. Incenting employees to think and act green might be a front to have them eat more roughage.

I should also mention that this will not quell my need to abuse and harass the leased office plants.

Problem 5: Instead of wasting money on something we don’t want, ask us what we would like to receive as a token of appreciation.

The element of surprise is not always pleasant…it's kind of like a wet hairball on the floor…that you step the middle of the night.


The Frog Queen said...

Even my house cats hate this stuff. So you can imagine my opinion. Cause you know me, I run everything by the fuzzy ones before I make a decision. :)

Babbling Banshee said...

Hmmm...yes, obey the fuzzy ones. This is VERY important! :)

dyi_success said...

I found your post very funny and thought-provoking.

As a Sales Manager here in North Carolina, I wanted to run this one by you, in the recognition category. This website (and others) are filled with so many great ideas and quotes, that I wanted to be able to share these with the employees at my company.

When it’s time to recognize someone for their performance, I take one of these quotes (I keep a long, ongoing list), and rather than giving them some grass in a tin(!),I put the quote on a DYI – Design Your Inspiration from Successories, customizable AND personalizable framed photos. They are handsomely framed and the photo choices are great. It’s made employee recognition much more meaningful AND appreciated.The website is

As the (very) old saying goes, "Litera Scripta Manet"-- The written word endures! Right?..

Thanks again. Anne

Babbling Banshee said...

All kidding aside, I know managers put effort into finding gifts that express their appreciation for their employees.
It may be difficult and it may require a great deal of effort but I believe one of the best expressions of appreciation is a hand written note presented to the employee by the manager (not by the manager's secretary). Another way a manager can express his or her appreciation is by recognizing an employee for a job well done in front of team members. This may or may not include an elaborate ceremony filled with lots of Mylar balloons.
Although some employees might enjoy receiving grass in a tin for their green efforts, I suspect that others might possibly be offended by such a product and consider it wasteful. I would hope a manager would first engage employees to find acceptable expressions of appreciation before spending.