What do you like/dislike at a LFS? - The Planted Tank Forum
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post #1 of 24 (permalink) Old 08-23-2013, 04:36 PM Thread Starter
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What do you like/dislike at a LFS?

I visit stores all over Florida and here are some of my likes and dislikes from experiences around the State:

Every local store has its own flare. Some are geared more fresh or more salt, some are like a cave and you just have to find the treasure. Each one is a new experience.

You get a different selection of fish and products in each store.

Talking with owners who love the hobby.

Tanks with no labels or the wrong labels, I don't want to ask how much for each fish I am looking at.

Stores that look like nothing has been touched in 20 years. If there is thick a layer of dust on the products, I'm not buying them.

Weird hours like 2pm-6pm or "CLOSED" on certain days.
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post #2 of 24 (permalink) Old 08-23-2013, 04:48 PM
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dont like lfs that try to act like those shady auto mechanics

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post #3 of 24 (permalink) Old 08-23-2013, 07:42 PM
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I do like it when employees make conversation and ask about my tanks if I'm buying anything, and I understand they're probably also trying to make sure I'm not just buying fish to throw into a bowl or anything. But then don't try and get me to buy a bunch of products that I most likely will never need. I understand you have to run a business, but not everyone is going to buy into the opinion that you need to add this and that to have healthy fish/plants...

Poorly labeled tanks are a big one for me too. Not only is it misleading if the fish are no longer in there but it's a pain to have to ask about everything you're considering buying. A bunch of scribbled out writing on a tank doesn't make it look very attractive either. In addition, know your stock well enough to at least give me the idea you know what you're doing. I worked at a LFS for a short while and was completely out of my element sometimes when it came to saltwater, but I researched enough to get to the point where I could ID fish if I was the only one around to bag it for a customer (having it labeled properly helped). I recently went to a LFS, stood in front of a tank full of Vals and asked for some Vallisneria runners...the guy looked at me like the entire sentence was in Latin.

I also don't like messy stores in general. Most places tend to be "hole in the wall" stores which are cram packed and not very conducive for cleaning, but I don't want a stack of empty boxes blocking the aisle or product with 1" layer of dust on it that makes it look expired. Obviously keep the tanks free of dead or sick fish. All good stores should have separate QT facilities.

I think that quality LFS just have knowledgeable employees, a varied stock (or are at least willing to order specific things for you), and keep a good looking store. If you can do that then I have no issues.
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post #4 of 24 (permalink) Old 08-28-2013, 10:46 PM
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I have about the same likes and same dislikes as previous posts.

other likes - organized sections. Having things together is great. If im looking for fw items let them all be in one section and not mixed with sw stuff. It wastes my time looking.
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post #5 of 24 (permalink) Old 08-29-2013, 12:31 AM
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Reasonable prices.

I get it, you're trying to make a living... But why stock a bag of substrate at a 25% markup from what a customer would pay from an online retailer? 25% is too high a cost to support a LFS.
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post #6 of 24 (permalink) Old 08-29-2013, 01:09 AM
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Originally Posted by snake_doctor View Post
Reasonable prices.

I get it, you're trying to make a living... But why stock a bag of substrate at a 25% markup from what a customer would pay from an online retailer? 25% is too high a cost to support a LFS.
I don't mind paying more for stuff like substrate that would cost too much to ship anyway. If you don't support the LFS there won't be any to go to. You can buy all the fish you want on the internet, and thats fine for oddballs and such, but nothing beats going into a pet shop and hearing all those filters bubbling and the smell of fish water in the air.
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post #7 of 24 (permalink) Old 08-29-2013, 01:49 AM
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Bad advice. I am just starting out, and I usually research the heck out of anything I buy. When I do buy something on an employee's or owner's recommendation, I am super disappointed if it doesn't perform properly.

This leads me to have no qualms about buying online. Business I might otherwise give to the store may go to the cheapest source.

And I loooooove aquascaped display tanks! Especially if there is an equipment/flora/fauna/dosing list available.

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post #8 of 24 (permalink) Old 09-02-2013, 12:22 AM
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I think most LFS are good, not everyone has the budget to see their dream materialize until they've established themsleves and proven they have what it takes to keep such a delicate perishable product alive and presentable enough to make a sale. What people fail to realize is that for most owners it is a business and their livelihood so making money is important. Now the one thing I hate to see are dirty tanks and unhealthy livestock. There's no reason outside of laziness to see that in any shop. Lack of variety or equipment could just be low operating funds.
So support your local LFS! Put the money in their pockets.
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post #9 of 24 (permalink) Old 09-11-2013, 04:25 AM
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I support my LFS. Heck I even trade them my shrimps when they don't get shipments in. I did go to one store that was not very nice, after waiting for the TWO employes to finish talking to the ONLY other customer in the store for 20+ minutes about some trip he had. The worst part was after the other guy left I was like ok cool now I can ask for help and buy what I want.... Nope they just started working on the computer and the guy did not even look up at me when I asked a question.
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post #10 of 24 (permalink) Old 09-11-2013, 04:35 AM
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I support mine, after shipping it equals out and I get to chat with the owner. Store is clean, fish are top notch for being a hole in the wall.
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post #11 of 24 (permalink) Old 09-11-2013, 05:22 AM
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I'm having a hard time supporting my LFS after being sold RO water that is 200+ ppm in TDS. I've lived in an area without an LFS for miles and miles and it's a bit frustrating to be in a more populated area and get stuck with a lousy option.

Not too pleased with their plant stock either. Very wary of their fish stock, which isn't all that intriguing anyways. Might be ordering online and supporting some acquaintances I've dealt with in the past instead.
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post #12 of 24 (permalink) Old 09-11-2013, 05:25 AM
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I like finding stuff I want or need and then ordering it online at 50% of the price including 2 day shipping.
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post #13 of 24 (permalink) Old 09-11-2013, 02:45 PM
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My biggest pet peeve.....and I do understand why......is catering to saltwater. How many people keep salt compared to fresh?? I understand they're in it to make $$ and a single SW item makes more $$ than the same FW item (I guess), but IMO it would behoove them to build up a nice freshwater department with gorgeous display tanks. Maybe I don't know what I'm talking about, but it seems to me if stores would invest the time and energy they could make a heck of a lot more money in the long run doing this than they do with saltwater stuff.

Us FW planted people collect tanks like others collect shoes or knick knacks. I've spent a staggering amount of $$ over the years on my tanks and I don't see that ending any time soon. I had $1000 in my previous low tech 40b.

I used to visit a Petland in my previous town. They had a massive SW acrylic oval tank taking up about half the store, right down the middle....about 15,000 gallons. Every time I walked in I'd imagine it a FW biotope and how much more amazing and attention getting it would be.

For instance, every time I go into Bass Pro in every town I've ever been in people are crowded around those huge FW tanks they have. I've never seen people crowded around saltwater tanks like that. Ever.

Last edited by Seedreemer; 09-11-2013 at 02:48 PM. Reason: correction
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post #14 of 24 (permalink) Old 09-11-2013, 03:21 PM
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I can't stand to see a LFS with half dead plants. Come on, java fern isn't that hard to grow!
Plus seeing dead fish in tanks is never cool.

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post #15 of 24 (permalink) Old 09-11-2013, 06:10 PM
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Originally Posted by Nightspell View Post
I like finding stuff I want or need and then ordering it online at 50% of the price including 2 day shipping.
And when you have trouble with it where do you go to for advice? The LFS?
I've got 2 decent FSs within 45 minutes and I try to support them as much as I can. Most of the staff in either knows about most of their products. I personally hate buying online. I like the interaction. Plus if something goes awry I have some one I can talk to about it instead of an email that may, or may not get answered.

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