Working at a Pet Shop - frustrating selling fish - The Planted Tank Forum
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post #1 of 57 (permalink) Old 08-27-2015, 06:21 PM Thread Starter
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Working at a Pet Shop - frustrating selling fish

I started working at a pet shop because I love animals.

I've only been there a month and am already frustrated with selling fish.

Last night I sold a neon and I'm sure it will probably not make it. It was a new tank (10) and I got her to buy the bio boost at least. It was her and her girls - first they wanted a pleco (before I realized new tank) so she got a pleco who will stay small because I steered her away from one who would get big.

Then had to steer her away from angels because of their potential size.

She got 2 of the neon glow fish, a striped gourami and she was going to get 3 neons but said one. I said they are better in schoals. She might get more if everything goes ok.

I feel bad for the neon. I do need to learn which fish are more hardy to suggest for beginners.

I have a lot to learn! A couple weeks ago a kid/dad got fish for a new aquarium and I forgot to suggest the bio boost (dad was being cheap so might not have gotten it anyways) and he said they were using distilled water. I thought that wasn't a good idea but I wasn't 100% so I didn't say anything. Sunday he came in with his grandparents and most of his fish had died. I feel really bad b/c I hadn't given great advice. People get determined to start with a lot of fish. I sold them the bio boost at that point, I hope it helps at that point.

Kind of venting to people who will understand! Most people just don't care b/c it's "just a fish" but I do.

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post #2 of 57 (permalink) Old 08-27-2015, 06:41 PM
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Kind of venting to people who will understand! Most people just don't care b/c it's "just a fish" but I do.
I find it REAL HARD to hold my piece when in the fish isle and oblivious people are discussing buying that oscar and 4 or 5 tiger barbs for their ten gallon kit tank they have in the basket with the pretty pink painted Chinese gravel.

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post #3 of 57 (permalink) Old 08-27-2015, 06:44 PM Thread Starter
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For sure. And why does everyone want a pleco in a brand new tank? I at least get them to buy Algae wafers. People don't know why they die.

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post #4 of 57 (permalink) Old 08-27-2015, 06:46 PM
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My god, poor oscar. I heard somebody buy a pair of baby angels... for their 29 gallon afrICAAN CICHLID TANK!!
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post #5 of 57 (permalink) Old 08-27-2015, 06:47 PM Thread Starter
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I think it is my responsibility to tell them it's a bad idea.

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post #6 of 57 (permalink) Old 08-27-2015, 07:09 PM
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I stepped in once when the staff went away to get some supplies to get the fish out of the tank.

The guys had no idea what they were doing, picking out cold water and tropical fish, things that get too big for their tank and tank mates that would end up being snacks. They were also picking this fish discussing how little they knew then changing their mind and picking that fish they didn't know about instead.

I nicely pointed out their mistakes, gave them the run down on cycling and waiting instead of wasting money (tank was 1 week old), and using my phone and some of what I know, helped them plan some stocking ideas that would work for them.

They left without any fish, and kept thanking me for the help. I hope they listened to at least some of it.

I would never be able to work in a pet/fish store. I'm not an expert, but even with my limited knowledge people drive me crazy when I go get aquarium stuff.
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post #7 of 57 (permalink) Old 08-27-2015, 07:09 PM
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I think it is my responsibility to tell them it's a bad idea.

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It is.

Don't let yourself believe otherwise.

LFS have gotten a bad rep. over the years for:

Selling unhealthy livestock
Poorly maintained livestock (deaf fish, etc.)
Price gouging (they really do mark them up THAT much)
Giving poor or unsound advice

That's just the short list. But if you are a hobbyist first, and have occasion to work within the hobby, the last one is inexcusable. That would just make you a part of the problem. There was a time when the entire hobby was laid out in a few books, TFH magazine, and word of mouth. I don't think there's a store of any sort out there without a computer in it with internet access. Nobody is a walking encyclopedia. But just about everybody can work the Google thing. So if you don't know or you aren't sure, you can offer to research quickly. But when someone insists on going against sound advice, there's really nothing you can do. That's why I stopped working retail when I was teenager. Listening......as an art form......died eons ago.

Angelo

"Why can't my wife see all of this stuff as an investment?"
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post #8 of 57 (permalink) Old 08-27-2015, 07:15 PM
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Listening......as an art form......died eons ago.
+1 on that. People listen to respond now-and-days, not to learn.

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post #9 of 57 (permalink) Old 08-27-2015, 07:22 PM
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+1 on that. People listen to respond now-and-days, not to learn.
+1..

Stock lightly and carry a big filter. - I don't have aquariums. I have ecosystems in a glass box. - Hygrophilaholic and hoarder of Anubias.
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post #10 of 57 (permalink) Old 08-27-2015, 07:31 PM
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+1..
Bet you were just waiting for someone to say that weren't you

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post #11 of 57 (permalink) Old 08-27-2015, 07:39 PM
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when someone insists on going against sound advice, there's really nothing you can do. That's why I stopped working retail when I was teenager. Listening......as an art form......died eons ago.
I stopped working retail last year after five years as wage worker and, the next five in management. I have noticed this trend over the last decade. Not only from customers but from employees as well. I do have to give credit to my LFS and the ONLY bigbox I patronize. The employer and, the employees at my LFS were both more than willing to listen to my advice AND, utilize the suggested resources to update their information and, practices. I actually saw a difference in everything at that LFS. Also, the bigbox I go to has a great staff! I befriended several Small Pets employees who although passionate about fishkeeping knew little more than what the brochures they offer at this store regarding husbandry. Well, after many visits and lessons(from me :-]) they literally started refusing to sell incompatible species and species inappropriate for small tanks, selling to customers with un-cycled tanks etc. This might sound like bad business on their part but, two of those employees are now middle-management in the company and, one a middle-manager for the particular store!

Stock lightly and carry a big filter. - I don't have aquariums. I have ecosystems in a glass box. - Hygrophilaholic and hoarder of Anubias.
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post #12 of 57 (permalink) Old 08-27-2015, 07:49 PM
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I stopped working retail last year after five years as wage worker and, the next five in management. I have noticed this trend over the last decade. Not only from customers but from employees as well. I do have to give credit to my LFS and the ONLY bigbox I patronize. The employer and, the employees at my LFS were both more than willing to listen to my advice AND, utilize the suggested resources to update their information and, practices. I actually saw a difference in everything at that LFS. Also, the bigbox I go to has a great staff! I befriended several Small Pets employees who although passionate about fishkeeping knew little more than what the brochures they offer at this store regarding husbandry. Well, after many visits and lessons(from me :-]) they literally started refusing to sell incompatible species and species inappropriate for small tanks, selling to customers with un-cycled tanks etc. This might sound like bad business on their part but, two of those employees are now middle-management in the company and, one a middle-manager for the particular store!
The hobby needs more success stories like that.

Angelo

"Why can't my wife see all of this stuff as an investment?"
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post #13 of 57 (permalink) Old 08-27-2015, 08:21 PM
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the hobby needs more success stories like that.
agreed!

Stock lightly and carry a big filter. - I don't have aquariums. I have ecosystems in a glass box. - Hygrophilaholic and hoarder of Anubias.
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post #14 of 57 (permalink) Old 08-27-2015, 08:41 PM Thread Starter
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that's a great story! One of my co-workers said she told a guy she wasn't going to sell him cichlids because he said they kept dying and he was only feeding flakes. he told her she couldn't do that and she said well then she won't honor our 14day guarantee. I don't really know if we could refuse to sell.

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post #15 of 57 (permalink) Old 08-27-2015, 08:51 PM
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Schnebbles, at least you know a little bit of what you're doing! Maybe you could suggest to the customers to join forums like this one? Additionally, there's always books out there that have good minimum tank size, such as the 101 series from Microcosm publishing. Another thing you can do is refuse to net the fish. If the customer objects, ask them if they're okay with throwing away their money, because that's essentially what they're doing.

So many fish to keep, not enough aquaria.
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