Friday, October 9, 2009

The Cilantro pot and the Russians

So on Wednesday our lady client says to me, Do you know where the little pot with the cilantro is?

I had noticed it the previous day, sitting in a patch of sun, when the Russians had been interviewing me for one of their rooftop garden programs. The reporter had noticed it and drawn my attention to the name stamped into the terra cotta: it was her last name. Sweet, I said. They took a picture of it. What is plant? she asked. Cilantro, I said. Oh! We eat this in Russia, she said.

I didn't think of it again.

Wednesday the pot is gone, the terrace scoured for it. I look at the clients and say, I think I know where it may be; I think the Russians may have it.

They raise their eyebrows.

At the office, I call the reporter. The pot, with your name stamped on it? - I know this is a silly question but is it possible, might you have...TAKEN it?

...Yes!, she said, But why would they miss such small [derisive voice] pot?

Bring it back, I said.

I called the woman who originally contacted me from RTVi, and explained what had happened, and said how upset I was. She took it, I said. And we left the terrace together: I did not see the pot, so it was hidden in a bag!

Disbelief from this Russian. Is nart parsseeble!

The nerve! said the client, when I explained what had happened. This after they had granted the crew access to terrace, to house, and even agreed to be on camera...

A little pot. But what the RTVi crew could not get. into. their. heads, was that what we do, design and plant gardens in homes, is based on trust. You touch nothing, you take nothing. EVER.

Instead of saying, We messed up, their apology (and never from the reporter herself) was accompanied by the defence that they though it was garbage. That they thought the gardeners would throw it away.

Yeah, right.

Would they not have asked..Um, is this trash? May we smuggle this out in our capacious bag?

The pot was returned.

We pulled the plug on any farther filming or dealings with RTVi. Our clients were amazed that the Russians actually begged them to be allowed to go on filming, this after they had been banned from the premises.

And me? Really pissed off. And surprised. And chagrined. And...indignant. And surprised. And...


  1. and grateful to have a great story about a purloined pot of coriander.
    it goes to seed real fast anyway, right ruskies?


  2. Astonishing. Pilfering, but with serious consequences for them; an apology could have made all the difference. People never cease to amaze, do they.

  3. It was theft.And made worse by trying to justify it.

  4. Oh dear, that was a bad move on their part, to say the very least.

  5. I've been dealing with inept, unpleasant, idiot, carpet installers this week...I feel the same..except more inclined to knock off some heads...

  6. The thing that surprises me most is that the reporter actually admitted it!

  7. Not to be a jerk (which means I'm about to say something jerky :-P), but I'm not surprised. My mom's family is Russian, so I feel entitled to criticize my own people. :-P

    My interactions with Russians have largely not been positive. In Russia, things are very corrupt and it seems that people learn a way of doing things that isn't what we'd call "acceptable." Just off the top of my head I personally know Russian expats who have been convicted of medicare fraud, who have stolen their own child's student loan money, who have started moving companies with the sole purpose of stealing from their clients...Of course one of the most ethical attorneys I know is from Russia and there are plenty of scumbag Americans. But unethical behavior is disproportionately high among Russian immigrants.


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