Recycling by Returning a Tree from Whence it Came

Readying for a fundraising event for our public library, I need ten live Christmas trees.
Each year we offer a fresh wreath-making class. All supplies — wreath frames, bits and pieces of trees and other area indigenous bushes and decorative flora, and ribbon — are included in the nominal fee that goes toward library operations.
But, as always happens when working with the public, not everyone who signs up to take a class will show for the event. I’d guess the attrition rate to be around thirty percent, unless it rains. If it rains/snows/mists/clouds up, all bets are off. Call it a “snow day” and cancel the whole mother until next year, because no one will set foot outdoors.
To have enough tree parts for wreathing, I calculated that for each four wreaths, I need one seven-foot fir tree. (No pine, especially Loblolly pine. They are no good for our purposes, I’ve been told over and over, because they shed quickly. You don’t want your wreath to shed, you know.)
Math is not my strong suit, but with thirty attendees on the roster, I need seven and one half trees, which is not a likely prospect as Home Depot frowns upon selling only a portion of any previously acquired merchandise.
I feel that holds true for all items, not just sawed-off fresh greenery.
Still, I wasn’t certain. If I bought, say, ten trees, and cloud cover derailed my event, could I return the corpses to the store for a refund?
Management at the Depot said, “Yes, just bring your receipt and you have thirty days to return the tree.”
“Thirty days?” I asked.
“Yes,” she confirmed.
The date being December 8, I utilized my weak math ability to calculate that Christmas occurs in seventeen days.
Just to be certain, certain, I clarified. “So if I return the trees within thirty days…” Thinking, I have until the 38th of December, I continued, “Then I am refunded?”
“Yes,” she confirmed yet again, patiently and with no irony.
“Is there a restocking fee?” I asked, to which she replied no. “And is there a partial charge for cleanup, like removal of wayward tinsel or vestigial ornaments?”
I did not ask the last question, though it was very much on my mind. No one likes a smart aleck.
Except other smart alecks.


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