Does your LFS ever try to make you feel "guilty" when the know you go elsewhere? - The Planted Tank Forum
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post #1 of 16 (permalink) Old 02-24-2012, 08:51 PM Thread Starter
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Does your LFS ever try to make you feel "guilty" when the know you go elsewhere?

Their was a thread in the lounge about what you would like to see improved in your LFS. Though I have two great stores in driving distance from me (Albany Aquarium and Aqua Forest Aquarium), they are not exactly local. If I mention something about those stores, or especially Petco/Petsmart, both my truly local fish store employee's seem to take offense.

I never try to compare one store to the next. One store carries plants but they carry random plants and you never can expect them to have the same thing. Sometimes they are cheap, other times they may label them "fancy plants" and charge $15 per stem. I don't tell them they don't do a good job but if they don't have what I need, they say we can order it. I say "I know where I can get some locally". I have pissed the people off in that store, even though I usually buy something. In the second store, they tend to have a very good selection of hardware/equipment. I went in for something, found what I couldn't find elsewhere and told him I was really happy I stopped in as I couldn't find what I was looking for anyway. He told me I should have come in first and kind of gave me his sob story about how he doesn't know how much longer he will be around. However, I was also looking for some very common fish and he was out of all three. He was also out of most basic test kits. This is a major reason I don't go.

Needless to say, I feel bad in a sense but I have free will and if I need something today and can get it, I will do so. I never try to say anything negative, I just don't want to wait or have them order something I can easily get elsewhere. I am in no way complaining, I actually do feel kind of bad, but I do feel like they could do a better job, as well as be a bit more professional in conversation.

Anyone else feel the same way about their LFS?

-Matt

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post #2 of 16 (permalink) Old 02-24-2012, 08:53 PM
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I have gotten that kind of thing really bad from auto mechanics.
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post #3 of 16 (permalink) Old 02-24-2012, 09:43 PM
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I'll tell you the truth, I work in a local fish store, and I've been working in small pet stores for all of my adult life. I take offense to people telling me about something they purchased in a different shop. I think it shows that the employees care about where they work and what they do if they offense to something like that.


I know I get pretty annoyed when people tell me about other shops.
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post #4 of 16 (permalink) Old 02-24-2012, 10:17 PM
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If a shop wants to keep my business, giving me attitude isn't going to solve the problem. Perhaps the shops should be identifying what it is about other shops that makes people want to shop there....

You might get all butthurt about it, but you shouldn't make it apparent to the customer. You have control over what happens in your store and what is sold, so fix the problem or deal with it. It isn't the customers fault they can buy something cheaper at another store, or they can actually get what they want. If you don't have it, they are going to find it, not wait on some possible special order.

I'd use the information they tell you about other shops as an opportunity to fix your shop, not a time to get butthurt and upset.

This is one of the many reasons the local pet shop is quickly becoming something of the past. Good business is good business.
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post #5 of 16 (permalink) Old 02-24-2012, 10:29 PM
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i work in a small adult orientated store i never get get offended when people tell me they have shopped at a chain, i do question them as to why. it's a good way to determine if prices or stock or even visuals need to change. also realize that to have a diverse market we need to have different kinds of stores big chains are very different then mom and pops and each mom and pops is very different, we need this diversity for a community to thrive. my local LFS, whom i frequent enough to have earned a perminant 10% discount never freak out if i tell them I checked out another place or have ordered something. they've even offered advice on how to get certain plants to thrive even if i haven't purchased from them. they've also been around for 30 some odd years so there you have it.
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post #6 of 16 (permalink) Old 02-25-2012, 02:50 AM
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I stop by the LFS once a week to get $2.00 worth of live food when it comes in. Sometimes they have ok deals on equipment. Most of the time I see livestock and stuff like; type s crs going for $13.00 a piece. Blyxa japonica $4.99 a stem. I know they have to pay for overhead but "DANG!" Believe it or not, people will come in and buy these things.
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post #7 of 16 (permalink) Old 02-25-2012, 02:58 AM
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I felt terrible bringing back the Apisto Cacatuoides but I felt lied to that he said it was totally shrimp safe. :/ I've heard mixed stories though. I wish I could've kept mohawk fish...

And I dunno, I called around trying to find some CPDs. I won't complain about how much a price is compared to elsewhere, but I figure it's rude to take up someone's time then go 'Oh! I'll get it elsewhere'.
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post #8 of 16 (permalink) Old 02-25-2012, 03:22 AM
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There just no excuse to be disrespectful go one's customers.

There's also no excuse for walking into a store and talking about the store's competition unsolicited.

It's a good for a shop to remember how important the customer is.

It's good for the customer to remember the shop owner is not going to retire because they sold $9 worth of plants.
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post #9 of 16 (permalink) Old 02-25-2012, 03:24 AM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by F22 View Post
I'll tell you the truth, I work in a local fish store, and I've been working in small pet stores for all of my adult life. I take offense to people telling me about something they purchased in a different shop. I think it shows that the employees care about where they work and what they do if they offense to something like that.


I know I get pretty annoyed when people tell me about other shops.
I just want to say that I never "try" to tell any LFS that I go to somewhere else, it just comes up, or they want to order me something I know I can find elsewhere. When they want me to order, and I say I can find it without waiting, they tend to ask where. I am totally loyal to some stores that are close enough to drive to, they just are not my LFS. So, I do support my LFS instead of taking a long drive. I don't feel that is a bad thing.

Also, one of the two true LFS always tells me to call but puts me on hold for up to 20 min. I rarely stay on the phone that long but if they do that, I will only go if I will be out that way. The other tells me when they are restocking when they don't have something in stock, I go back, they didn't restock more than a few things they said they would.

I am not trying to complain about my LFS's, I am just saying, I will go elsewhere if I need to. I will also go elsewhere if they don't carry what I need. If I come in, make me feel valued, not outcast because you haven't seen me in a bit and ask why, I tell you, and get a guilt trip. Keeps me from coming back. One, in particular, tells me they "are still in business for now". As if me alone is the reason you are not surviving.

I do help all the LFS's in my area and have spent more there than any chain or store that isn't particularly local to me, I rarely buy online either. I am just saying.

-Matt

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post #10 of 16 (permalink) Old 02-25-2012, 04:41 AM
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I've seen this one from both sides of the fence. Obviously I shop at LFSs myself, as well as Petco and another local chain. Some have good people, some don't. Some have extensive stock, some don't. And it's not always the same store that falls down, I've had a bad initial experience at a place, then went back against my better judgment and got everything I wanted along with excellent service. And, sadly, found what I thought was an excellent place which later disappointed me.

I grew up in a small family business where the rule was "the customer's always right, even when he's wrong". It meant we were ALWAYS to show respect even when the customer was being an idiot! You don't see that attitude much anymore.

I also worked for a vet who wanted the staff to pour on the guilt trip for any client who didn't buy the expensive extras she'd recommend, the rationale being that you stayed in business by getting as much money as possible out of each and every customer. I couldn't handle that atmosphere for long, but surprisingly there were a lot of loyal clients.

And I worked for a mom & pop feed store where we all tried to be polite and pleasant, but it was really tough when some folks took up a lot of time with questions and then wanted to argue about the answers, or simply ripped into you about prices without knowing or caring that we were no higher than the competition nor were we making much profit.

My point is there's always more to the story than meets the eye, but it takes 2 to make a business deal go either good or bad. So don't generalize, just try to be a decent person and who knows, it might help the other person be one too!
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post #11 of 16 (permalink) Old 02-25-2012, 05:00 PM
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I never get outwardly offensive about people shopping in other stores, I understand that if you are into the hobby you look, but it bugs me when people buy stuff from other stores when I have it at a better price, thats what really gets me.
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post #12 of 16 (permalink) Old 02-25-2012, 06:13 PM
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My go-to store has an excellent selection but terrible customer service and fairly high prices. I buy a lot of stuff there, but I also shop online. In order to be offended by it, they would first have to notice me, so I don't think that's an issue. I never buy at Petco/Petsmart. They should stick to dog/cat/rodent stuff in my opinion.


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post #13 of 16 (permalink) Old 02-25-2012, 06:30 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by F22 View Post
I never get outwardly offensive about people shopping in other stores, I understand that if you are into the hobby you look, but it bugs me when people buy stuff from other stores when I have it at a better price, thats what really gets me.
Remember that sometimes service sells. People shop where they are comfortable. I'll pay more for good service, unfortunately petsmart has the best service out of any pet store in town for me. I won't even go in the "lfs". It is just a puppy mill with a store front.
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post #14 of 16 (permalink) Old 02-25-2012, 07:11 PM
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There are 6 LFS's in my area, and I really only shop at three of them, the others never have what I want, and cannot order what I might want unless I want to buy a whole bag of fish, or an entire plant shipment. The two that I do shop from can do custom orders, and have the attitude that if Someone asks for a specific item, others might want that item as well. So they will order the minimum amount and let me buy exactly what I want with no obligation to purchase. The customer service is top notch, they go out of their way to make sure they can get what I may be looking for, and seem to like the input I can provide to help them. The prices might be a bit higher than other LFS's in the area, but the customer service sure as heck makes the higher cost worth the purchase. There is one of the LFS's I cannot go into without devoting at least an hour to the trip lol, it is the smallest of the bunch but I can talk with the owner for a long time.

then there is the one I very rarely go to due to the service. They have a very good plant selection, but you are up the whim of what they order, they will not order ANY plant you may be interested in at all. I had asked about one plant when I was getting started in the hobby and as it ends up it is one of the noxious weeds which are federally banned. the rest of the time I was in the store they treated me like a criminal. followed me around, whispered between the other employees within earshot ect. (Even though they had some stems of Hygro. Polysperma 'sunset') in their display tank) They rarely have any fish I might be interested in, and the costs for the normally found fish are outrageous. So I would rather take my business to a place that treats me well, even thought he prices might be a tad higher.


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post #15 of 16 (permalink) Old 02-25-2012, 07:54 PM
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Warning: I am a small business owner. lol
I totally agree that a lack of professionalism abounds in some shops/stores in this industry as well as others. That is completely unacceptable and they don't deserve to be rewarded with purchases. The other side of it is that experience, expertise and convience all cost money, which I gladly pay for. In my experience, having quality people is the biggest expense and benefiet in running a business. I know that the P word (profit) is a bad thing in modern society but the real question is: who would work for the minimum wage (employee "for sale" price) offered? Answer: no one. Trust me, there is always someone who will do the same job for 10% less, the only question is what is the minimum acceptible standard? It seems that with people flocking to the big box stores, that minimum is pretty darn low and thats a shame.
Personally, I buy everything I can at my chosen LFS, they happen to be excellent (South Shore Tropicals, Lindy, NY). I, also, promote them and others I've done business with at every opportunity I get cause I want them to be there when I need them. The stuff I can't get through them, I usually buy through online vendors here and else where. My LFS owners readily listen when I have a complaint or suggestion. I really wonder why a small business owner wouldn't; big companies pay a fortune to find out what their customers think.
As far as the pet chains go, I avoid them like the plague; they bring little to the table. They generally have poorly paid & untrained people (cause) working in poorly maintained facilities (result). I certainly won't reward them with my hard earned money in order to get a dollar a gallon special. I have yet to find anything I absolutely have to have "right now" wrt my tanks so I wait & reward those that do "it" the best .
I, for one, am done with the home depoting and walmarting of America at the expense good service and expertise. I just try to find the best I can and support them to succeed.

Ok I'll just sit down and shut up, now.
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