LFS Tales (of Woe?) - The Planted Tank Forum
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post #1 of 10 (permalink) Old 04-13-2014, 08:03 AM Thread Starter
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LFS Tales (of Woe?)

hi everyone! my name's henri & I run the aquatics department at a local big-box pet store.

when I was put in charge of the department, the tanks were a hot mess. we only sell FW (thank the lord), but we had african cichlids with new world-ers, tetras with mollies, etc etc. anyway I spent a good 4-5 weeks re-organizing everything and trying to put tropicals on one sump, etc. doesn't help that our base pH is 8.2 a small miracle occurs & I get three entire whole days off in a row... made sure my coworkers knew to feed the fish, and I was out of there.

well I return on tuesday to.... three electric blue johanni in with a terrified peacock cichlid & four very confused and very fin-nipped green terrors. someone didn't show up to claim their special-ordered johanni so someone just dumped them in the first tank they saw that said cichlid....... then it took me another half hour to realize that a new shipment of chinese algae eaters had arrived but that they weren't in the tank they were supposed to be in....... instead these 3.5" little monsters were put in the tank with rainbow sharks and japanese algae eating shrimp.

needless to say I'm a little short on shrimp right now.

and one last tale (of absolute woe, kill me) that happened this week: a woman comes in and brings me a bag with a dead platy, a swordtail, and a guppy (???). I write a refund card and I'm asking her about her tank and she mentions that she """cycled""" the 10g tank like she was supposed to by filling it with water and letting it run for a few days, and then dumped 8 fish in it. (I felt so bad for her, she was a kindergarten teacher and was very sweet & was honestly trying to do it right).

me: um, that's your problem. you don't have any kind of waste conversion going on there. your fish are kind of choking on their own poo.

her: what? oh noooooooo! the guy didnt mention that. he just said let it run for a few days and then add an inch per fish per gallon of water.......


her: oh um, the general manager I think? [his name]?

i resisted the urge to violently facepalm and sent her off with a refund card & bottle of safestart

after she leaves, i'm up at the register covering a coworker's break and my GM comes up

him: you know not to sell fish to someone on the same day they buy the tank right

me: a-yup. though if they get plants and stock very lightly & dump in a bottle of safestart everything is usually okay.

him: well that's impossible

me: wHAT

him: well you'll see that customer's success rate goes up 50% if they wait to buy fish after letting the tank run for a few days. do you know why? because all tap water doesnt have oxygen in it. besides the oxygen in H2O, there's no oxygen in the water. it doesnt matter what kind of water. that's why you have to let it sit and oxygenate for at least 12 hours!

mind you he's giving me this lecture in front of customers and it's a miracle I didn't sass my boss......

anyways, enough of that. share some of your LFS stories?

Last edited by henrietta; 04-14-2014 at 08:29 AM. Reason: spelling/grammar. changed title.
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post #2 of 10 (permalink) Old 04-13-2014, 02:32 PM
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Wow!... I think I would of told him the customers success rate goes up at least 50% when that person gets THE CORRECT INFORMATION from the store manager! Then I would have taken my pet store t shirt, set it in the middle of the parking lot, do a burn out over the shirt and then pin what's left on the wall for everyone to see!
BTW that last part is a true story for the thread

Warranty not included

Last edited by houbanna; 04-14-2014 at 12:00 AM. Reason: added
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post #3 of 10 (permalink) Old 04-14-2014, 08:24 AM Thread Starter
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houbanna.... was that you or someone else? lmao

here's a few others that all happened in the same day (ugh!)

lady comes in requesting a return card for a fire eel, and hands me a bag of the most disgusting brown swamp water I've ever seen in my life. She promises me the eel is in the bag but the water is so rancid I can't see it and have to feel it through the plastic... ew. "Don't test the water...." she says. No s*** sherlock. I ask her if the water came straight outta the tank and she says yes and mentions that her husband and son were in the other day and got the eel instead of another fancy goldfish. Cringe. I then ask her how big her tank is, what is in it, etc.

"Oh, it's pretty big you know? Like 29 gallons? We have 8 of those fancy goldfish in there & one of the big comets. I thought eels liked that kinda thing."

Then I had a lady & this dude (her son? who knows) come in and talk to me about literally nothing that didn't aggravate me for almost 45 minutes straight. Lady tells me for 15 minutes straight how she doesnt """"believe in heaters"""" because all of them fried her fish always. Like five different heaters fried her fish. So she insisted that her new fish went without heaters and that it was tough love for them and they had to acclimatize... She also didnt believe water changes were important and couldnt figure out why her tank wiped out after going a year and a half without water changes, just topping off the water in the tank.

And to end my day I had a lady (& her toddler son) come in who wanted new fish for her old oscar tank (her oscar had recently died).

me: how big is your tank?
her: uh, i dunno.... big?
me: ........okay. tell me about your filter/heater?
her: a [some aqueon HOB] filter and I dont have a heater
me: wait what
her: well yeah the heater burned out like six months ago but I didnt want to get a new one but my oscar was doing fine he was just swimmin around and stuff. but then last week he died, well I don't know if he was dead but he was laying on his side in the tank so I took him out because either way I didn't really want him anymore because he was pretty boring.
me: .................................................. ....................... how long did you have him
her: dunno, like 8 or 9 years?

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post #4 of 10 (permalink) Old 04-15-2014, 01:08 AM
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That was in my younger days Henrietta! Lol the customers didn't really understand ( felt bad for them) but the store got the point. My boss was a jerk! It was my yearly review as a lower end manager, I had ( on paper ) my reports for sales which were up 112% just my first month for example. He gave me a 35 cent raise and told me he wasn't giving me 50 cent because there is always room for improvement. So I told him he was right about the improvement part and proceeded with the t shirt burn out in the post above and got a way better paying job the next day!

Warranty not included

Last edited by houbanna; 04-15-2014 at 01:10 AM. Reason: edit
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post #5 of 10 (permalink) Old 04-15-2014, 03:36 AM
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What store are you at henrietta? I've probably shopped there.

40 Breeder in progress...
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post #6 of 10 (permalink) Old 04-19-2014, 10:00 AM Thread Starter
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@ couesfanatic; I work at a chain petstore towards the south of the valley, little too far to be considered in the pdx metro area, I think.

today someone brought in/surrendered a massive (& gorgeous) sailfin pleco. (P. gibbiceps or possibly P. multiradiatus). I want it. I have nowhere to put it. it's currently serving as a good example of why you don't want a pl*co for your 10 gallon.

we got in a thai devil crab yesterday and after showing it to some kids & putting it in its tank.... I went to finish some paperwork in the office & when I came back to show the thing to my boss 15 minutes later, the crab was AWOL. so either someone swiped a gigantic crab (not unheard of), or this thing managed to crawl up some airline tubing and will, at some point over the next week, scare the living daylights outta somebody.

this gem happened a few days ago:

this annoying f****** idiot lady & her poor daughter came into my store to look at fish……. she had a 10 gallon and wanted to know what to put in it and I was like look lady there is no way on god’s green earth that I’m selling you a koi for that tank. so she throws a little fit and I suggest guppies and show them where the Wall Of Guppies is and the woman is like THERE IS WATER ON THE FLOOR HERE MY LITTLE GIRL COULD HAVE HIT HER HEAD OR TWISTED HER ANKLE

there is a 1x2in splash of water on the ground right in front of the tank. (her poor daughter (looked 14-15 maybe) looked like she was about to cry from embarrassment)

so I get the lady her f***ing guppies and while I’m bagging them, she asks “are piranhas legal to keep?!?! because I keep seeing people selling/trading them on cragislist!!!! and some of the ad is in spanish so I know it’s those mexicans!!! should I call the police?!?!"

me: uh yeah (red belly) piranhas are legal to keep in oregon…. and they aren’t scary man-eaters either, theyre actually omnivores……. and they don’t show any group hunting behavior, but they get shy when not in a shoal.....

her: ok okay really???!?!? I was just concerned because I know those mexicans at the fish store down the road had them, and I thought they were illegal and should be reported!

me: because they're mexican or because they're selling fish.

her: well, you know, you never know these days!! what is and isn't allowed into this country,,, you know what I mean? honestly I'd be concerned about both which...

me: woooow. weird. yup. here's your guppies. bye now.

there's no way I'm the only person here who works in a fish store that's continuously patronized by people who are completely insane right? anyone else have other stories??
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post #7 of 10 (permalink) Old 05-01-2014, 08:34 PM Thread Starter
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here's a crown gem that occurred yesterday:

yesterday i had two kids who were apparently aspiring to be eminem walk into the store and do that teen-boy thing where they look at something and giggle and you know it's trouble. they want the biggest koi in the tank and further questioning reveals they want it to go in with their 6-8inch bluegill who is currently inhabiting a 40B with no sight dividers and has inhabited this tank for over a year by itself. i tell them no, no way and leave to take care of something & was held up for about 10 minutes or so.

so they flooded my department. and the reptile department. we're talking like 2 inches of water... i had the siphon hooked up to the sink and they turned it on full blast and then just continued standing there looking pleased as punch with themselves.....
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post #8 of 10 (permalink) Old 05-01-2014, 11:50 PM
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That's horrible. Hope you are able to ID these 2 shots and have them arrested. They ruined your store ruine there lives.

Have a gniess day. -Scott

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post #9 of 10 (permalink) Old 05-02-2014, 01:53 PM
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You keep telling these stories about stupid customers and you're setting yourself up. Customers kill fish. Smug employees kill entire departments. Let me share ten or so years of my screw ups off the top of my head-

- I was rearranging the plant section of a closing shift because my (SO STUPID) coworkers put plants of differing price points in the wrong tanks. I ran out of time and I was opening the next day so I just dumped everything in the bottom most tank of the wall. I effectively clogged the sump return of an entire wall of aquariums. The sump ran low, the auto top off kicked on and stayed on for oh, ten hours or so. Water and fish flooded the entire store.

- I was planning to change water on a coral tank so I filled a 55 gallon trash can with freshwater, salt, and dechlor. Dropped a pump in the tank and let it mix for five or six hours. I siphoned out 55 gallons of old seawater and happily pumped 55 gallons of pure fresh water back in because I would NEVER forget to mix salt in the new tub. Some stuff survived. Most didn't.

- I was working for a distributor when the city's water supply switched from using straight chlorine to chloramine as its purifying chemical. Our dechlor treated chlorine only. That was about $125,000 worth of fish.

- I once ordered two dozen of "the largest plecos they could find". The largest they could find wound up being about 18".

- I dropped a rock that was about 20 lbs. or so on the bottom of a tank. Shattered bottom.
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post #10 of 10 (permalink) Old 05-02-2014, 05:41 PM Thread Starter
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@ Leaky Filter: I don't mean to come across as smug lol.... never said I was perfect or didn't make mistakes..... just sharing some stories about customers with um interesting personalities, if you will. because it's hard to deal with hundreds of these people a week and after a while you're just repeating yourself over and over, ya know?
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