God is a Muskrat

January 15th, 2008

We have a policy at the garden center that states that if a tree or shrub dies in the first year after purchase, we will replace it for free.   

But the guarantee does not cover quite everything…

Customer – I bought a weeping willow here last year…
Me – Oh – what a nice tree!
Customer – Well… it died.
Me – Oh dear!
Customer – I have my receipt.
Me – Thank you.
Customer – So can I get my free tree now?
Me – First, can you tell me how your tree died?
Customer – It looks like a muskrat ate it.
Me – A muskrat?
Customer – Yes, it’s been chewed clean in half.
Me – Oh… Well I’m sorry to tell you that our guarantee does not cover acts of God.
Customer – It wasn’t an act of God… it was an act of a muskrat.
Me – Okay… But I am pretty sure that falls under the category of an “act of God.”
Customer – Are you saying that God is a muskrat?
Me – Uh… No… I am saying that when nature intervenes in the life of a plant… like an ice storm… or a lightning strike… you can’t say that the plant died because we sold you a bad plant…
Customer – So you are saying that God sent a muskrat to chew up my willow tree?
Me – No… not exactly… well sort of… but not really…
Customer – Why would God send a muskrat to eat my tree…?
Me – Uh… I don’t think God sent a muskrat to eat your tree… 
Customer – So then it wasn’t an act of God!
Me  - Not literally… no… probably not.  
Customer – So can I get my free tree now?
Me – No… I’m sorry…  
Customer – That’s alright.  I probably deserved that muskrat eating my tree for some reason.
Prolonged slightly uncomfortable silence.
Me – Um… Can I help you with anything else?
Customer – Have you got any of those burning bushes?
Originally published August 27, 2008


  • The Accidental Housewife:

    Hahhahaa! You made me spit Earl Grey all over my keyboard. Burning bush…I love it. You are keeping a journal of these idiots aren’t you? Take your camera and take their picture. Tell them it’s for posterity.

  • Mrs. Spit:

    I just fell off my chair laughing. Somewhere, there is a happy, full muskrat. Sniffing a burning bush.

  • Kim:

    I just found your site the other day and laughed through your THAT gardening store story! This one was great too!!!Kim in Japan

  • ann marie:

    You are a funny woman. Do you write for anything other than this blog? You should because you are talented, funny, entertaining and a good writer. Please say you have a book in the works!

  • Living on the Spit:

    I see your customer service skills are improving! I can not really believe this story, but having been a reader of yours for some time now…I know this is the absolute truth. Please do ever quite that job!

  • chocolatechic:

    **Have you got any of those burning bushes?**bwahahahahahaha!

  • Rachel:

    Please tell me you just made that story up…please..

  • Jess to the Lo:

    I have a hard time imagining the nerve of the person who came in and tried to get a new tree because of an animal eating it! HAHAHHAHAHAHAHA! There are idiots everywhere huh!?

  • Caution Flag:

    I’m pretty sure that customer was my dad. Sorry about that.

  • lailani:

    LOL – who would have guessed a garden center could have so many entertainers – that is a great story!

  • Baba:

    Giggle again and again. These stories are so funny. Thanks!

  • Jenni:

    Oh no…..the muskrat god might get eat the burning bush, next. Good one.

  • Snobound:

    Very cute and quite witty.

  • Jess B:

    LOL! I’m rolling. That was hilarious!

  • Annemarie:

    That is so great. She thought she deserved a muskrat. I, on the other hand, wouldn’t know a muskrat if it bit me on the toe.

  • Rachel C.:

    I had no idea that muskrats chewed on trees! Your stories are always so funny!!! I put you in my link round-up this week.

  • Deborah P:

    I’d like to think this is just a funny story you made up, but I’m pretty sure it happened. Truth IS truly stranger than fiction.I’ve never taken advantage of those 1 year guarantees because generally my things die, not by muskrats, but because I leave them on my driveway too long before setting them out and don’t water them sufficiently. Even if that is covered by the guarantee, that wouldn’t be quite cricket.

  • Rechelle:

    The story is of course NOT made up – but maybe a little embellished. Just a teensy weensy bit.

  • Andrea:

    Oh girl, most days you are so funny, but you outdid yourself this time. This is freaking hilarious! ROFLMAO

  • Alisa:

    I like the way you didn’t cave. The garden center should be happy they have such a conscientous employee. I’m glad I don’t have muskrats eating my trees.

  • Donna:

    So, the lesson I learn from this story is this: if my tree dies as a result of an act of God, I should lie. Who’s to know, right?Oh yeah… God. Never mind.

  • Sabrina:

    Oh, that’s classic. I have worked returns before and those make some of the best stories.

  • Pamelotta:

    Maybe you should start using some fuzzy logic when people start pulling that kind of crap. Something like this:The guarantee states that you can have a refund if we sold you a bad tree. Technically, if I had sold you a bad tree, the muskrat wouldn’t have eaten it. I assume they only eat “good” trees, right? If I was going to eat a tree, I would only eat a good tree. No one wants the bad ones, not even muskrats.

  • Rhea:

    You are so creative. That conversation was totally embellished. Hilarious!! Burning bushes. Muskrat from God to punish the man by eating his tree. heheYou’re hilarious.

  • anne:

    What a hilarious story, I love it!!! I am SO going to show it to my minister/friend, she’ll get such a kick out of it.This is my first visit to your blog, but think I better check back often! Too funny. (I linked here from kaleidoscope.)

  • noble pig:

    OMG, OMG I just peed a little. That is flippin’ hilarious Rechelle! Oh how I love your job.

  • Miss Lila in Atlanta:

    Thanks for leading me in the direction of Dunhaven Place. Now I spend half the morning reading yours and Pioneer Woman and now Dunhaven’s blogs. Your story was toooooo hilarious. I too have worked in a garden nursery. You didn’t need to embelish too much I’m sure.Miss Lila in AtlantaLila@MissLilasTeaRoom.com

  • Anonymous:

    Truth is stranger than ficton!!!! Too funnytheresa in alberta

  • Gossip Girl:

    OMG That post about the willow tree is hilarious. People kill me with the what they expect and have the nerve to ask for when they go into business. I wouldn’t have the nerve to go in anywhere after a year ask for a refund or exchange. Geesh!

  • Donna Boucher:

    *Rim shot*

  • Anonymous:

    God works in mysterious ways….

  • Mary:

    You crack me up!! Your blog almost never fails to make me smile and often laugh out loud. Thank you!

  • Anonymous:

    hahahaha! isaw the title and thought oh know, please, i just ran over a muskrat this weekend…hahahaha

  • Pamela-ATL:

    You are so funny. You should start doing stand-up. Pamela

  • Anonymous:


  • Anonymous:

    Just remember that “muskrat” spelled backwards is tarksum. Something to ponder…

  • Sally-Ann:

    Soon warranties will have to be as extremely to the point as some of the silly warnings that you find on some products now.Warranty does not cover muskrat chewing or being planted to close to a burning bush.Better make that all rodent chewing – cover the bases!Sallyhttp://wombatsinthebelfry.blogspot.com

  • pogonip:

    Love it! ROTFL–nice start to my weekend.

  • Christine:


  • LadyFi:

    I just love those customers of yours! Make sure you give each silly customer a gold star for the help they give you in writing some hilarious blog posts!http://ladyfi.wordpress.com/

  • Katherine:

    Another wonderful example of what I refer to as the “At least I tried” population. You know…people who know they are wrong but who try anyway.Funny but at the same time…sad.