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FAQ: Why was there a flask price increase in April of 2008, and how does it affect me?

Why was there a flask price increase in April of 2008, and how does it affect me?

We planned to increase the prices of most flasks, with a few exceptions, in April of 2008 because the orchid species conservation flasking program was again beginning to run at a loss. This was caused by a number of factors including virtually every material being more expensive, including fuel and electricity. In addition, we need to pay our valued employees more so that they can continue to afford to work in this program.

Only flasks originally priced at $29.50 are increased, to $32.50. Flasks that are already more than this are unchanged.

The exceptions to the price increase are these: existing proprietary flasks already in the works, and public program flasks, for the seed donor only, will have no price change. Public program items where we have received seed before April 6th 2008 will also have the old price of $29.50 per non-free flask (if applicable) "grandfathered-in" for the donor only even if the seed has not yet germinated. The intent of these exceptions are to ensure that we aren't changing the program for the donors after they have supplied seed.

Barring those exceptions, all existing flask reservations that were priced at $29.50 will be repriced to $32.50 per flask. New flask reservations will be $32.50 per flask unless it is one of the few species that we already charge more for. The number of plants per flask will vary depending on circumstances, just as before, that will not change.

For existing reservations you will receive or have received an email briefly explaining the situation and giving you 4 options.

Because we can't increase the price of your reservation without you agreeing, we must hear from you regarding which option you want:

  • To accept the new pricing for all of your existing reservations

  • To accept the new pricing, but by April 6th 2008 provide a list of TN numbers that you would like to cancel.

  • To reject the pricing for all of your existing reservations and have them be canceled

  • To reject the pricing for all of your existing reservations by zeroing the quantity of flasks requested, but leave them in place as "Notify Flask Recipient" requests, so that you will be notified about available seedlings later by us or other recipients.

You have until April 6th 2008 to respond. People who do not respond by then will have their existing reservations passed over.

About our financial situation

The goal of the public species flasking programs of Meyers Conservatory has always been to produce a large quantity of inexpensive laboratory-grown orchid species seedlings as an effort to make the sale of wild-collected plants less attractive.

To do this we've striven to have a diversity of offerings with all of the flasks priced as low as possible regardless of kind. Our price has always been our best guess at what our actual costs of labor and materials are for the average flask, and the steps leading up to it. Though not legally a nonprofit organization, this has been the concept that we've tried to pursue. In October of 2004 we adjusted our prices upward, but have not done so since then, until now, in the hope that the material, labor, and equipment costs would stabilize at about that level. Our established seedling program, a by-product of test flasks, has helped with some additional income, but increasing costs from many sources has made even this not enough.

Of course our employees are also feeling the increase in the cost of living as well. Most of the price increase will go directly to paying them a livable wage. They all have been with us for years and would be impossible to replace without great hardship to the program.


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