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Stabroek News

Which is better: real, or artificial?
published: Tuesday | December 20, 2005

Robert Lalah, Staff Reporter

Blinford McDonald (left) makes a sale of one of his many Christmas trees on Constant Spring Road, St. Andrew last week. McDonald, 68, is from Penlite Castle in the Blue Mountains, St. Andrew. - NORMAN GRINDLEY/STAFF PHOTOGRAPHER

IT'S THE ongoing debate; are real ones better than fakes? Get your minds out of the gutter. We're talking about Christmas trees.

The battle of the Christmas trees is now in full effect, with the sale of both kinds now picking up steam.

But which is better? Artificial trees that you can use over and over again, or freshly-cut pine trees? We asked the experts.

"How you mean, man? Nothing beat a real pine tree, man. No plastic tree can test this," said Danny, a dreadlocked Christmas tree salesman on Constant Spring Road in St. Andrew. Danny is one of a handful of vendors who sell Christmas trees every year in that area. "The people dem prefer the real tree. Dem say they love the smell of the tree," he said.

But if you're looking for a long-lasting purchase, you might prefer an artificial tree. You can get artificial trees in a variety of sizes, shapes and styles. The Gleaner ventured to stores in Liguanea, Constant Spring and Cross Roads and found fake trees as small as three foot, and as tall as 10 feet. Some even come complete with fake pine cones.

But let's get to the meat of the matter. The price. In reality, we found no comparison. At a popular variety store in the Liguanea Plaza, there are seven-and-a-half feet artificial trees on sale for as much as $32,000.

But back on Constant Spring Road ... "Gimme $1,000 and gwaan with it," was Danny's sale pitch for a tree the same size.

Across all the places that The Gleaner visited, the average cost of a seven-foot tree was $20,000. The average tree on Constant Spring Road where Danny and others were selling costs only $1,000.

"Our trees are really $300 a foot. But you can always talk with us and get a special price," said Danny. His trees are grown in the Blue Mountains and he insists that they are far better than any artificial tree.

But business is slow for the vendors on Constant Spring Road. Despite their low prices, Danny and his colleagues say they are doing far less business than last year.

"People don't realise that our prices are so low. So most of them buy the fake ones. But if they check it out, we have the real deal," he said.

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