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Been weighing on my mind
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bozistheboss
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Joined: 17 Jun 2004
Location: South Carolina

PostPosted: 2011.07.24(Sun)21:55    Post subject: Been weighing on my mind Reply with quote

So I got a job working for a chain pet store about a year ago. (Not necessarily because it what I wanted to do, because it wasn't, but when someone waves a job at you when you're unemployed, it's hard to be picky.) Having been an avid aquarist for years, I decided I wouldn't become that 'Fish Shop' guy. I spend hours lurking as many online resources as I can to become as knowledgeable as possible.

Any time I have a discussion with someone about their fish choices or their tank, I inevitably focus on that very goal - be helpful, be informative, sway them toward the correct decision, warn them against bad decisions.

And I've come to the conclusion that the vitriol directed toward uneducated 'fish shop' guys is pretty unfair. Out of 10 customers I help a day, only 1 is genuinely interested in help with their tank. The others go, "Okay, well, I want an Oscar for my 10 gallon anyway." Or, "Well, my son wants to get one neon tetra, one black skirt tetra, one lyretail molly, one tiger barb, and one Glofish (tm) for his 5-gallon and that's what I'm going to buy him."

You can't do that, I say. They need to be schooling fish, I say.

Let me talk to your manager, they say, because clearly I can't possibly be refusing them a sale. The next day, they're back for a return because all of their fish died. AND THEN it's my fault for not telling them otherwise.

You know those guys who sign up to these forums from time to time? The ones who are like, "Hey guys, I have 3 Jack Dempsey's, 2 Oscars, and a Pacu in my 30 gallon," and get a response like, "Uh, don't do that." And then they say something rude and leave, never to return. That's the kind of person I deal with all day, every day.

I just wanted to put it on record that there are those of us who try. And sometimes it's easier to sell an idiot the fish they want just so they don't have a hissy-fit in the middle of the sales floor because they can't put five 3-inch comet goldfish in their newly-purchased 1-gallon tank "that had goldfish on the box so obviously, it's okay to put them in." Because at the end of the day, they're going to buy them anyway.

Certainly very sorry if this post ruffles feathers as it's not meant to. I just can't help but feel guilty ever since I took this job of being "that fish shop guy" like I'm a traitor to a hobby I love. But at the same time, I've come to the realization that 90% of people don't know and don't care to know. (A trait which, regrettably, carries on to most other pets and pet-owners. I can't tell you how many people base their entire care regimen on a 10-minute discussion with a sales associate and a brief brochure, both of which remind people to please check the Internet to better educate themselves both before and after purchasing their pet.)
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diademhill
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Joined: 18 Apr 2007

PostPosted: 2011.07.25(Mon)2:26    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thank you for trying.

Unfortunately you are in the minority and if you check my posts my usual recommendation is to "find another fish store" when people have been repeatedly misinformed.
I know the type of customer you have to deal with and manufacturers don't help with their starter kits. I explain these as they are to teach how not to keep fish.
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unissuh
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Joined: 29 Mar 2005
Location: Melbourne, Australia

PostPosted: 2011.07.25(Mon)6:05    Post subject: Reply with quote

Ehh, been there done that...I know the feeling too. Wasn't at a chain store even but a major aquarium. It's true over here too, more than 9/10 people don't want to hear it & often will buy whatever catches their eye. Nice chatting to the few that care though.

I ended up using variations of the line:
"I'm happy to catch and sell you the fish, but I give you a 95% chance the fish will die in the next 3 days & if you ignore our staff recommendations refunds cannot be claimed."

Usually I'd pick the crappier stock from the tank for these people who go for it & spend every effort getting the healthier ones for people who care.
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bignellm
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Joined: 24 Jun 2011
Location: United States

PostPosted: 2011.07.25(Mon)11:00    Post subject: Reply with quote

unissuh wrote:

I ended up using variations of the line:
"I'm happy to catch and sell you the fish, but I give you a 95% chance the fish will die in the next 3 days & if you ignore our staff recommendations refunds cannot be claimed."


I love that line. I will certainly remember that, if I end up working for Petsmart or petco in the area... Seems no one else round me is hiring at the moment.
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bozistheboss
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Joined: 17 Jun 2004
Location: South Carolina

PostPosted: 2011.07.26(Tue)12:48    Post subject: Reply with quote

Fortunately, that's my saving grace. If someone gives me crap about buying a fish against my recommendation, I just write "non-refundable" on their receipt and tell them that I'll refuse to take the fish back. Though I'm not sure how long I'll be able to get away with this before someone complains to corporate and I get chewed out... even though it's against corporate policy to sell pets to people who aren't prepared to take care of them.

Also, I wanted to clarify that I wasn't being accusatory toward anyone specifically nor this forum specifically. I just noticed there's a major trend in the aquarium (or pet hobby in general for that matter) to completely trash big box retailers. I can tell you that at my store, there is an incredible amount of time, money, and effort invested into the pets we sell, as well as a lot of love and passion. I was one of those people as well... and I almost turned down the position I'm in out of principle. I just wanted to provide some perspective from the opposing side.

I'd also had a pretty bad day and one too many people in my face arguing with me about oscars in a 10g tank and multiple goldfish in a 5-gallon. Sad
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KhiaraFish
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Joined: 18 Aug 2010
Location: Saint Paul, MN

PostPosted: 2011.07.26(Tue)16:00    Post subject: Reply with quote

I agree that big box stores get a really bad rap. I have a few pet-cos here in Minnesota that have healthier fish, and more knowledgeable staff than some of the family owned stores that I know. For my part, when I shop and I here someone talking about a stocking plan that just isn't good for the fish I usually speak up and say something. I like to hope that I have saved at least a few fish Confused
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bignellm
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Joined: 24 Jun 2011
Location: United States

PostPosted: 2011.07.27(Wed)10:00    Post subject: Reply with quote

I Just figure each store is different. No prejudice from me, whatsoever. If I go in and see loads of dead fish, and what not, then I figure it's that store--not necessarily the chain.

I got a ma and pa shop chain over here. 3 out of the 5 are great. 1 is a trash hole and the other is just full of the rudest people ever.
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silent_rock_faery
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Joined: 26 Dec 2008
Location: Melbourne, Victoria, Australia

PostPosted: 2011.07.31(Sun)6:47    Post subject: Reply with quote

I feel your pain! It's awful sometimes...
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