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Don't Ask Me, I Just Work Here...


Guest emilai333

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Guest emilai333

The other day I stopped in at mmm to see if I could use a couple of coupons I had (found a couple of good deals on clearance items...). I have a 40g tub I set up that I was going to use for killifish fry grow out except they have once again mysteriously disappeared (I think this species of killie doesn't like my local water), and well long story short I'm not going to have killifish fry again for quite a while (like, at least a year... at which point I will have an entirely different non-dorm set-up). Oh, what to do with this extra space... Well... why not buy just one fish. Okay, two small ones. At least one slow-swimming half blind fish to tankmate Dog...

I went to ask the employee if they ever carry lionheads, or any other dorsal-less varieties.

"Um... sorry, I'm just starting to train with the fish," she said. "Is that the fins on the sides?"

Part of me wanted to die laughing at the thought of specifically requesting a goldfish with no pectoral fins. "Here, I'll show you," I said instead, and located a nice big oranda who could be used for a quick crash course in fish anatomy. "This is a dorsal... pectorals... pelvic... anal... the tail is officially a caudal, but most people will probably just say tail."

She was kind of amazed that goldfish come without dorsals. I told her about Paraoa and Dog. The other woman who was working in the fish area walked past and said, "I think you have this under control, if you need anything call me." This poor woman! As far as I know, the only thing she knows how to do is catch "that" fish... and match it to the picture on the price tag. She looked terrified. I inspected the moors, trying to decide between a black moor and this little calico moor, or both. I decided on both. She fished them out for me. When she was tying the bags, a man walked up with a box of filter inserts. "How often do I need to change these?" he asked. Terrified look from employee, and a quick apology about how she was just starting (I know the feeling... my entire training for my current job at a fabric store was "You know how to cut fabric, right?"). I smiled at the man and asked to see the box (employee looked very relieved and stuck around to hear my answer). They were your typical inserts stuffed with activated carbon. I assumed that if the guy was asking such a basic problem, he probably had very little information about such things, so I explained the purpose of activated carbon and that a lot of people don't use it because after a while it starts to release toxins back into the environment. I also explained about the bacteria that grow in filter inserts. He said that his wife's new goldfish was coming up to the surface a lot, like it couldn't breath, and someone suggested that it was probably because of ammonia. The tank was plenty big for the two goldfish he described, but he knew nothing about cycling, so I explained that, too, and recommended doing large daily water changes since he already has the fish. I forgot to suggest a water test kit... oops!

They both thanked me profusely. "I feel like I should hand you a nametag and run like mad," the employee suggested. She really was nice and wanted to learn - its not her fault the training is apparently lacking.

I'm going to simply update my "Meet my goldies" thread with my two new fishies!

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You know, I think PS has only asked my tank size once in all my trips. I really dont think that they care. Just scoop the fish in a bag an hand em over.

Emilai, That was really nice for you to orientate that new employee. Maybe the preceptor was telling that YOU have it handled so she could go take a break. Maybe she doesnt know much either......

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Good on you for helping out! My petsmert used to have a good fish manager who would ask tank size for goldfish, feed veggies, and used to QT the sick ones in the back. Unfortunately, she's gone. Now they know nothing and don't care.

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Guest 5ivedrops

ugh. You guys have made me a fish snob. But thanks. I finally found a great store even though it's miles and miles away. I like to go just to look at stuff, you know how it goes. So the last time I was there, I was looking at food. I had a can of dried krill in my hand and a salesperson came over and asked if I needed help (I didn't but thought I would humor him) "Can you feed these to goldfish?" I say. He frowns, and grabs a big can of flakes. "Goldfish?! aw, all you need for goldfish is these". The thing is, this place has a pretty good selection of fish and I hate to think that no one knows jack about goldies. I went back to look at the fish and discovered a Ryukin COVERED in white spots in a tank full of fish. I was so mad at the dude who tried to sell me flakes and the Ryukin with Ich, that I walked out scowling.

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Lots of times you see lots of sick fish because the system is VERY old. When I worked at a major chain I think the system was about 15 years old and had several fish sick often. I didn't work aquatics there, I was just a sales associate. At this place they had many free tanks hidden behind a giant board and only had ONE QT tank which fish that should never be together were and these fish were constantly stressed and nipped at. Major chain stores usually have one aquatics specialist while all the other people are just regular sales associates. Major stores really don't give a jack about their animals...I can tell you that from personal experience, because all they care about are the shelves being stocked!

Where I work now the system is about 5 years old and mostly salt water and lots of coral so the customers are great and I'm learning under someone that knows a ton. Best job ever~

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lol I love these threads they are always fun. I think the situation was handled well help the person out. Funny we are so quick on here to pass judgement on the pet stores and its employees. Not really all that understanding. So lets look at some of the reasons you may go to a fish store and experience some of the stories told above.

I know a lot of people have big plans for their futures lawyer doctors all kinds of things I don't know many who say Aquatics manager at petland. I know I know the horror of this not being a prestigious job bestowed only to those who dream and dedicate their lives to the occupation of pet store manager but rather a job for people who have another one already or kids in university who use most of their shift to study. Seems odd to expect this person to know a ton about fish or be as passionate as say someone sitting on a message board at work telling LFS horror stories. So fair to not expect your LFS employee to be super knowledgeable. Some kid working their doesn't care about fins they care about that new car they are saving up to buy. Don't begrudge them for it cause I am willing to bet that until most of you entered your chosen career you had a job or two in your lifes that you punched the clock 9-5 didn't take the time to educate yourself about the finer points of that job. Job is just a way to make money so you can get to your chosen career.

Also in a store with tons of fish from marine to cold water, cichlid to koi and everything else do you really expect the employees to know everything about every fish in there. I don't thats not even fair of me to ask of that person. Dude assumes that goldfish and goldfish flakes are all you should feed them seems pretty reasonable he isn't going to remember the dietary needs or ranges of the 50 different kinds of fish he has just not realistic. You find a guy who knows how to help manage your water than you go back to him.

Expecting them to ask tank size is kind of odd. Aren't you the person buying the fish? Shouldn't you be the one doing the research on what that fish needs? Is the expectation here that the LFS will baby people? I think that its your job to know what you are buying if your son wanted a dog you'd do research find a dog you can have and works in your house. No one ever says when selling you a dog "Do you have a large acreage cause these chocolate labs are real rambunctious. If not I can't really let you take one of these guys home" My sister was sold a cat from the SPCA it ended up living with us because she couldn't have animals in her apartment. She knew the risks if she got caught but the SPCA didn't say "gee just want to know are you allowed pets where you live....... no well then we can't sell him to you." The burden of care and knowledge is on the buyer.

Seeing sick fish no shock those fish experience a lot of stress and like human they get sick. Pet stores aren't going to be able to stop every disease that comes through they just have to do their best but they aren't going to kill their profit nor are they going to have eyes on every tank 24/7 to observe sickness its not realistic its not fair to ask this of them.

Yes pet stores just want to make sure their shelves are stocked and get stuff selling out the front that is why they are there. Like any good business they want to make money and as much as they can that is their job. They aren't there to make the perfect life for the fish or cry over every one that dies, they aren't there to make sure you are a responsible pet owner or making wise pet decisions. They are there for the green stuff why because thats why we all get up and go to work everyday we need money. Many people would never do anything if not for the need of money and pet store owners are making money their way. They aren't trying to make happy animals they are trying to make their kids and wives happy same thing you do every day. Take a look at the things you do in business and think is everything you do for pure quality of product. We work in a very custom market in my industry and guess what perfection is not our demand good hard work is but quality can't be at the cost of profit cause if it was we wouldn't be in business. All businesses are a balancing act between quality and profit and that is why your pet store really doesn't have time to make fish experts out of everyone. The burden is on you the pet owner to make sure you make good decisions "buyer beware"

Happy fish store shopping and remember your fish passion is not universal.

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I also explained about the bacteria that grow in filter inserts. He said that his wife's new goldfish was coming up to the surface a lot, like it couldn't breath, and someone suggested that it was probably because of ammonia. The tank was plenty big for the two goldfish he described, but he knew nothing about cycling, so I explained that, too, and recommended doing large daily water changes since he already has the fish. I forgot to suggest a water test kit... oops!

You're like a Goldfish Guardian Angel! Protecting fishies and spreading cycling knowledge everywhere you go! And think of how many problems you've probably saved those poor people from, just by talking them through how to use a filter.

Of course, in a way it's sort of sad because that means it's less likely they'll coincidentally end up here on the board, since most newbies show up due to OMG CRISIS in their tanks, myself included. ;)

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That was very nice of you!

It surely was nice of you...but it was even nicer on the employee's part to accept that she didnt know stuff and was ready to learn more...I find employees very arrogant, not ready to listen or even pay heed to "extra" info you have...

but tht sure was a wonderful gesture..At times I totally stop myself and not utter a word...but I think I should let ppl know and make them aware more often..neways..wonderful job and a nice funny story.. :)

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Hmm... I won't expose the store name but there are few stores that are big chain stores such as mmmm, nnnn, et CETERA, et CETERA. Anyways... in that store one hot lil teen told me I can put 29 goldfish in my 29 gallon tank so.... I stopped asking right there. But that store has 2 for 1 sale sometimes and they have fish that are hard to find in LFS such as real weather loach, female dwarf gourami, gold ram, bolivian ram, all kinds of tetras. So if you're lucky to be there during 2 for 1 sale time and find a clean tank, you just might get lucky with those fish.

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good for youuu!!! :)

i've got to say, i'm an employee at a large chain pet store. i work in "pet care" which is birds, reptiles, small animals, and of course, fish. i totally agree. most people that work there don't know anything. its sad, really. i don't know how many times i've had to correct other employees while they are talking to customers. i've had customers arguing with me that "that other guy told me i could have five goldfish in my ten gallon!" and it's actually really embarassing to have to correct them.

i love it when customers jump in and tell me things. i'll admit... i'm kind of the bird, small animals, and fish "expert" around there. i have sooo many customers coming in and asking for me because they know that i know my stuff. i'm still learning about the reptiles, and so when i have a customer who seems experience, i actually ask them questions to learn more. and if i don't know the answers to questions, i'll do some research. there are lots of information books there!

stevey87, it sounds crazy for someone to recommend that... but when that is our actual TRAINING..... its tough. the place i work at says 1 gallon per goldfish. then we have some little information pamphlets... they say a couple gallons for a small goldfish, and ten gallons for a full grown one. then we have bowls with little tags that say "Golden Goldfish Bowl" and stuff like that. ughhh. and those stupid little "goldfish starter kits" which is like... a 1.7 gallon "tank" with a stupid "filter" which is just a piece of sponge. i'll tell someone that they really shouldn't put a goldfish in that, and i explain it to them... and they're like *angry face* "well, then why would your store even sell this??!?!" and i tell them the truth. money.

and thennnnnn i get those customers who just DON'T CARE! (honestly, you guys know how annoying it is when employees don't know their stuff... think about how hard it is to try to get someone to care about something when they don't!!) i get the "my goldfish keep dying. what is wrong?" and i respond by asking what the tank size etc is. and the answer is so often "ohhh i have two of these *points at the 'feeders'* in a little bowl like this (about a gallon)" and i explain to them why their goldfish keep dying. i urge them to buy a bigger tank, or a fish more suitable to the tank size. "oh no, oh no, it's okay, i'll take two more goldfish please." AHHHHHHHH *pulls out hair!!!*

anywaysss, kind of a rant here. :)

oh, i also find it kind of ridiculous how the pet care manager doesn't really know much about goldfish. she could tell you everything about cichlids or tropicals... i wouldn't trust anything she says about goldfish though.

and... you're right about the really old filtration systems in the bigger stores. and yes, unfortunately that's what causes soooo many sick fish. plus the fact that when we get new fish, we have to put them directly in the tanks that already have fish in them. im sure you can imagine what kind of problems that can cause.

but a good thing! we now have two quarentine tanks in isolation. that's better than the one we had before.........

kayyy and last thing, i promise! if i get a customer who ever seems unsure, or seems like they really don't know much about fish, or if they're really keen on learning more... anything! i grab a piece of paper and give them the website for koko's :) and i also point them in the direction of the "goldfish discussion" and i give them my username so they can already feel like they know someone on here! most of them reaaallly appreciate it. ^______^

lol. thats just this discussion from an employee's point of view :)

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