thanks, yea whenever i see Lowes plants in sordid conditions I usually think right away to myself "i can rear that back up." All those in that container were Lowes. I also find that if your sphagnum grows exceptionally well and lush, then it's a good chance your plants will do the same. In my experience, dying sphagnum = dying CPs.
As for asking Lowes to give me a discount or give me the dying plants for free, I tried it once. I waited and waited, manager came back and disappeared, then finally never got back to me..oh well.