04 Feb I Got Orchid Scammed

I got scammed. Well and truly conned. Because I was a derwit. Lazy. And prideful. I’m sharing my scam story in all its lazy prideful derwitness because I care about you my fabulous three readers, and if you live in Samoa, then you will be warned and not get scammed yourself.

I was outside Lucky Foodtown when a woman with a bag full of plants approached me. Did I want to buy an orchid plant? For only ten tala? Twelve different amazing colors and kinds of orchid plants? She told me they were  easy to grow and keep alive. She told me they were splendid plants with splendid colors. She named them, pink, black, purple, yellow, red, tie-dye. Did you know there was an orchid that was color ‘tie dye’?? Me neither!! How cool was that?!!  and ONLY TEN TALA FOR ONE!!!

My first instinct was to say no thanks. Because as you all know, I have no gardening skills, I have nothing of worth growing in my front yard and I sort of don’t care that the outside of my house looks like a barren wasteland. Kind people who drive past our house every day keep offering to give us plants and making suggestions of what I can do to make our yard halfway decent. (So in other words, my yard looks awful and they’re  taking pity on me and trying to help save me from myself.)

But, instead of saying no thanks, I hesitated. A tempting thought seductively swayed into my mind. Imagine how stunning your garden would look like with lots of amazing orchids in it. People would drive by and see an array of colors and they would be so impressed with you. They would think WOW that Lani sure knows how to grow stuff. She’s so clever she grew a whole rainbow of exotic rare plants! Black orchids! Tie dye orchids even!! And then they would covet my garden and my orchid growing skills. I wouldn’t get the pitying looks anymore from the plant experts, oh no! I would be invited to join their gang. I would be known far and wide for my orchid garden. And without having to do any work at all!!! and for only ten tala each!!!

So I bought ten plants. With the Hot Man’s money that he gave me to go pay his  workshop water bill.  Sacrifices had to be made. I was sure he would understand. Especially once he too lived in a house with a garden that was famous for its orchids.

I was feeling pretty good about myself and my orchid garden until I got home and asked my brother for advice on how to plant them properly. When I started telling him about my purchase, he interrupted me and laughed. ‘a woman with plants in bags? And they all had labels on them? For only ten tala each? And she said one was black and one was tie-dye? But none of them had any flowers?  Umm, how did you know?

Turns out this woman is a regular around town, selling orchid cuttings to derwits. No, they aren’t an array of fabulous colors – they’re all the same plant. A common bush orchid plant that has tiny yellow flowers. Sort of like weeds. Nobody notices them. Nobody loves them. Nobody is in awe of them.  My brother said, “You derwit. An actual black orchid plant would never be ten tala. It would cost eighty or one hundred plus tala. Couldn’t you tell they were all the same plant by looking at the cuttings? If they were really different colored orchid plants, then the cuttings wouldn’t be all the same.” He told me he knows other derwit people who thought they were getting a great deal – but they weren’t. And he laughed some more.

Ha. Ha. Ha.

This is where I tell you that whoever all those OTHER derwits are out there who got scammed by this woman? They’re partly responsible for my situation. Dammit. They should have said something. Gone on Facebook like any other faikala ragey rant’y individual, and told everybody in the WORLD about this scammer. Written a letter to the newspaper. Or a blog. Eh.

But no, they kept quiet about it, probably because they didn’t want anyone to know they were derwits. Like me. See how much I care about you readers? I hope I get some blessings in heaven for this selfless act of service…Of course those of you who are wise in the ways of plants and orchids, and those of you are not lazy and prideful like me – you would never be conned by something like this.

But for those who are orchid-clueless? When a sly orchid seller approaches you outside Lucky Foodtown, you will know not to be tempted. Please yell at her. Real loud.

Because I’m sad. Because I  really wanted a tie-dye orchid in my garden.  (For only ten tala.)




  • H Walter Arp

    But you can have a tye-dye orchid for ten Tala…you’re just going to need to also spend $100 on multi-coloured paint and $70 on the best paint brushes in town…

    Kalofae e

    February 4, 2016 at 6:12 pm
  • Leah

    LOL. And the road to hell is paved with good intentions. So, is there room in the derwits colony for one more? Mine is the little Mexican lady who sold me 10 tamales for $20, and turned around and sold 10 for $10, to the white guy. I scratched my head thinking, did I hear her right…oh well. Ha! Sometimes we win, and sometimes we lose.

    I’ve been reading your blog for the last couple of months and enjoyed your takes on everyday life in Paradise. Fa’afetai tele for the smiles!!!

    February 4, 2016 at 10:24 pm
  • nola

    She sold me a couple in Savaii too so this lady does her rounds!!

    February 6, 2016 at 10:06 pm
    • Leah

      Please send her back to the Sears parking lot between Main and State, with some palusami from Savaii.

      February 8, 2016 at 4:38 pm
  • I was picturing Lani working away in her yard. “Yes, Samoa used to be a tropical island with lush vegetation. Then Lani decided to work in her garden and every plant on the island died.” 🙂

    I love the way you tell stories.

    February 8, 2016 at 9:16 pm

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