Maybe I’m beating a dead horse. After all, Erica at Northwest Edible Life and Esperanza at Pluck and Feather have already covered it. But this totally makes me pants-on-head crazy so I have to say something.
Williams-Sonoma, the retailer of very high-end kitchen equipment, just released their new Agrarian line. It’s a gardening and DIY line that is aimed at the “high-end homesteader.” Apparently the high-end homesteader would rather throw away (a LOT of) money on worthless products that won’t do what they’re supposed to do or can be purchased other places for a fraction of the cost.
Copper garden tools? They make great wall art but have little functionality. I’ve destroyed expensive hardened steel garden tools with 50 year warranties during the first day of use (and we don’t have really heavy clay soil). I’ve snapped the handles off of more trowels than I would like to admit. My husband has the nickname “Shovel Slayer” because no shovel can stand up to his abuse. Considering steel is remarkably harder than copper (probably why we’ve never had a Copper Age), these tools at Williams-Sonoma are worthless for anything other than moving around feathers.
Or you can spend $70 on a fruit tree in a 1.65 gallon pot. It only stands 3′ tall. You can get a real deal on some raspberries that go for $50 for the same sized container. Nevermind that you can find bigger plants for much less. $30 can get you a 5-7′ tall bareroot fruit tree and 5 bareroot canes of raspberries from Peaceful Valley Farm Supply. Raspberry plants grow really fast and you’ll have a full size plant in one season. After the first season it begins to spread. The pea plant above? A steal at just $17 for one plant. Seriously, who grows just one pea plant? Trust me, a swatch of burlap isn’t what’s jacking up the price. I can get a full pallet of burlap bags for $0. They are so abundant you can literally get them for free. Peas are so ridiculously easy to plant, why not just spend the $2.50 on a packet of 100 seeds and direct sow them?
These are the gloves I like to use in the garden above all other gloves. They are cheap knit gloves that have the palms and fingers dipped in latex. I can purchase these at pretty much any hardware store for $3. Williams-Sonoma are charging 3x that. I guess the little print on the back is what jacks up the price.
Don’t get me started on their “custom” bee hives. By custom do they mean I can’t expand my hive I got through them without buying their frames and hive bodies/supers? Oh wait, they don’t offer those items separately. So I’d have to pay $340 for the first hive and if I want to expand it I’ll have to buy a second $340 hive (plus the $40 shipping fee). At Mann Lake you can get basically the same hive (their Garden Hivery) for much less. Well, that’s not fair. The Williams-Sonoma hive is made up of 3 medium supers. The Mann Lake hive that I priced was actually 2 deep hive bodies and 2 medium supers (everything else is the same). So you get a better hive that you can add to for nearly $100 less. And bonus is that Mann Lake offers free shipping on every order over $100.
Either Williams-Sonoma is incredibly out of touch with reality or they are trying to take advantage of people that are just starting out and don’t realize that there are better and much less expensive products out there. Or maybe they are mocking us? They think we’re a privileged lot (think Martha Stewart) that can afford their insane prices?
Unfortunately for Williams-Sonoma I think their Agrarian line may got the way of Smith & Hawken. That may not be a bad thing though for the DIY movement.
*All photos from http://www.williams-sonoma.com