Buy­ers prick­led by un­scrupu­lous sellers

VIZ - - Viz Drought Special -


coun­try wilted in the scorch­ing tem­per­a­tures of the hottest sum­mer since 1976 since records be­gan, one ma­jor in­dus­try was slammed for cash­ing in and mak­ing a killing while the sun shone. Re­spond­ing to in­creased de­mand for their spiky, drought-lov­ing plants, Bri­tain’s cac­tus grow­ers stood ac­cused of more than DOU­BLING their prices, leav­ing des­per­ate cus­tomers fum­ing.

“A bar­rel cac­tus from my lo­cal gar­den cen­tre would have cost me £2.99 last year when I didn’t want one, but this sum­mer the price for that same cac­tus had gone up to more than a fiver,” fumed Sur­biton mum-of-three Au­drey Steam­ing. “They were rip­ping us off sim­ply be­cause there was no wa­ter to keep our other house­plants alive.”

“I had some ferns, but as soon as the taps in the house ran dry they just shriv­elled up and died,” Mrs Steam­ing con­tin­ued. “I went to buy some cac­tii to re­place them, but the rob­dogs had stuck the prices up on ac­count of the drought. And it was the same story with the prickly pears and all the other xe­ro­phytes.”

“It’s an ab­so­lute dis­grace,” she added.

But Digby Lithops, chair of cac­tus grow­ers’ trade body the UK Suc­cu­lents Guild, re­futed sug­ges­tions that his mem­bers had been cash­ing in on the cat­a­strophic, su­per­heated state of the planet’s climate. “Noth­ing could be fur­ther from the truth,” he told us. “The fact is, my mem­bers have a re­spon­si­bil­ity to their share­hold­ers to max­imise prof­its, and if that means cash­ing in on the cat­a­strophic, su­per­heated state of the planet’s climate, then so be it.”

How­ever, Mr Lithops promised that costs would re­main sta­ble for the fore­see­able fu­ture. “I can guar­an­tee that cac­tus plant prices will now re­main pegged at their present level on a per­ma­nent ba­sis,” he told us. “Un­less, of course, we have fur­ther droughts in forth­com­ing years, in which case we may have to, and in­deed will, in­crease them again and again.”

Sharp prac­tice: High prices for cacti is leav­ing con­sumers sore.

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