If you’re into plants and you have a Facebook account, chances are you have found your way into a plant purge group. Plant purges are the latest trend to hit the plant world. But what exactly is a plant purge?
The gist of it
It’s a new and exciting way for buyers and collectors to buy plants at a reasonable price, really fast. It’s also a new way for sellers to quickly make a lot of money, a new way for beginning collectors to sell, and a new way for nurseries to unload backstock.
Most selling platforms require an upfront fee or percentage of every sale. You may have noticed that plants on Etsy can be priced much higher than your local plant shop. That’s likely because Etsy takes a 5% cut of each sale.
Etsy also charges 0.20 cents each time you list something, and if you make any sales through Etsy Payments, you are feed even further.
Plants on Etsy are commonly sold at a premium to compensate for these fees.
eBay has a similar sales fee system that can reach up to 10%.
How it Works?
So basically, there are multiple plant purge groups on Facebook that anyone can join. Sellers advertise their purge with a date, time, and an enticing photo of available plants. Buyers can opt-in for post notifications and follow the comment thread.
When the event begins, the seller posts individual plants in the comments with a photo and price. The first to comment “sold,” or often, a close variation of the word “sold” (these things happen fast!) wins the plant. The purge is a live event.
These events create comment threads breaking the thousands, often full of GIFS, jokes, laughter, and tears. People often spend their time complaining about internet lag or joke about how empty their wallets are. It is an event in itself and can last hours. And people do show up and stick around for the show.
So once a plant is claimed at a purge, you screenshot your winning claim and send it to the seller. This serves as evidence that you were indeed the first person to comment “sold” and that you indeed won the plant. With this screenshot, you usually send the seller your email address. The seller then sends you an invoice via Paypal or requests payment be sent to them via Venmo or PayPal goods and services.
Paypal Friends & Family vs. Goods & Services
When you send someone money via PayPal, you have two options: friends and family, or send as goods and services. Payments to “friends and family” do not incur a service fee. While payments through “goods and services” involve the seller paying a small fee to receive your money, and Paypal’s purchase protection automatically protects your payment.
If you send somebody money through Paypal friends and family, you most likely cannot dispute the transaction since there is no protection between buyers and sellers.
So like any unprotected purchase on the internet, there can be a fair amount of scams. But usually, the purges in these groups have reputations and even host regular purges with regular clients.
When purchasing a plant on Facebook, asking for a Paypal invoice is usually the safest route. The seller is charged a small fee for the service, but each party is protected. Again, this service fee is generally factored into the price.
Personally, I think Facebook purges are fun to watch, especially when you are just relaxing watching Netflix without much else to do. Although purges can be frustrating, those with the fastest typing fingers and best internet connection have a massive advantage. There is also an element of trust involved when sending money to a stranger on Facebook.
As a trend, it is quite interesting to watch because there is such a large community with many rules. Each group has a set of admins, and each purge has a set of rules. If you break the rules or ghost the seller (comment “sold” but don’t go through with the transaction), you can be banned from future purges and from the group.
Be wary of posting GIFs in a purge that does not allow them; you will be ridiculed. Whether you partake or just watch from the sidelines, its sure to be a fun time.