BISMARCK, N.D. — The purveyor of a pop-up holiday tree dealership has sweetened his offer to customers this year, giving complimentary “pre-rolled” trees with every purchase of a classic fir or spruce.
The bonus tenenbaums come wrapped in paper with a star, balls and tinsel affixed, and are a first for many holiday shoppers.
“They’re wonderful for anyone like me who’s terrible at rolling their own trees,” said Ginger L’Agente, who uses Christmas trees around once per year recreationally. “They’re a little disappointing in terms of size, but they’ll help spark up come cheer in the bedroom or bathroom, and they’d be perfect if you needed to set up a tree real quick before watching ‘Elf.’ I’ll have to be careful around candles, though — I can see these would burn very inconsistently. Nobody wants a canoe on their hands.”
Economic woes have most consumers seeking maximum value, and as word has spread, the southwest corner of the Home Depot and Walmart Supercentre parking lot is one of the busiest in town, drawing hundreds of customers per day.
“That’s the good corner, with the most traffic coming off the highway and from the Costco lot,” said parking attendant Christopher Hills, who screens potential customers and ensures treetenders have ample backup. “The suits like putting their Winter Wonderland miniature village over there, but what do I get out of that? I give the tree guy the sweet spot, and he hooks me up real nice — now I got trees for me and my family, plus a little side hustle. It isn’t hard to flip pre-rolled trees in my neighborhood.”
As for Jon Collins, the enterprising pine-slinger himself, word of mouth is sending his already record profits into the stratosphere.
“People are always looking to save money without sacrificing quality,” said Collins, now in his 12th year of working the same corner. “Everyone is putting up trees now, even people you wouldn’t suspect, so I’ve got to get the word out if I’m going to stay competitive with Big Conifer. They have all the manufactured plastic nonsense they advertise in the magazines, but the quality is right here. You give a friend one of my pre-rolls, and they’ll be comin’ to see me, guaranteed.”
While experts report Christmas tree use in America has gone up 12% during President Trump’s “Everyone Must Celebrate Christmas or Die” campaign, most believe the best trees are still to be found in parking lots rather than at corporate chain retailers.
Kyle Stanley thinks hanging is too good for most ornaments. @KGordonStanley on Twitter.
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