LFS screening customers? - The Planted Tank Forum
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post #1 of 6 (permalink) Old 08-28-2014, 04:47 AM Thread Starter
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LFS screening customers?

There is a LFS in my city that usually carries a wide selection of plants and livestock, and they are usually good quality. The advice is sometimes suspect as one day he tried telling me that I needed to get rid of the pond snails in my tanks because they were going to eat all my plants! I politely declined his solutions.

When I've been in previously to buy plants the tanks are labelled with such things as, 'needs plant substrate,' 'high light needed,' 'CO2 injected tanks only.' Which can be good for newbies and such who don't know any better, except that most of the plants in those tanks do just fine in low tech setups with play sand. And then you ask to have a few plants yanked from the tanks and he makes sure that you are going to be planting in a tank that is exactly like he's scrawled on the glass. I'm not sure if he wouldn't actually sell a plant, I haven't tried telling him they are for a low tech tank.

I was in the store today and looking at the fish tanks I noticed on some of the apistogramma tanks (not all?) that he had written "high temps and RO water." I've never kept apistos so I don't really know, but I do know people who keep all kinds of apistos and I know they don't use RO water and the fish are perfectly happy. Curiously, he doesn't have anything written for any other fish that would be happier with softer water, including the discus.

I'm tempted to attempt to buy a pair of apistos and tell him that I'm not going to be messing with my tap water and see if he'll still sell them.

I just thought this was a curious situation.
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post #2 of 6 (permalink) Old 08-28-2014, 03:05 PM
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Some stores will screen customers and others will sell stuff willy-nilly. When it gets down to it, the best that a retailer can do is educate the customer and hope for the best.

Beyond that, it becomes a matter of money. What kind of guarantee does the retailer have on her fish and plants? Some stores offer a two week guarantee, which is pretty long if a person is wildly irresponsible. At that point, it becomes a revolving door of free stock.

For example, I had an older lady who would buy two neon tetras and exchange two neon tetras every week. It wasn't a big money fish so we weren't losing the shop, but it got pretty annoying that she'd buy two $0.99 fish and exchange two dead $0.99 fish in an indefinite loop. I advised her on routine maintenance (there was none) to try and get her to stop sending her fish to the grave, but she wasn't really interested in all of that. She just wanted to keep exchanging fish. Consequently, I ended up letting her know that we could no longer exchange fish for her. She was upset and she never returned.

Another powerful tool in the retailer's toolbox is the notes feature in a point of sale system. If used properly, it allows retailers to glance at what someone's set up may be. It could be as simple as noting that the customer has an AC20 when they're looking for filter pads and forgot what they had. It can also be a place to note that a particular customer is buying a mish-mash of livestock that doesn't go well together and providing a no-questions-asked guarantee may not be the best decision in the world.

Finally, and this may be the case here, the retailer may have made a special purchase or bought fish from someone that they had a special relationship with. Maybe the Apistos were part of an overseas purchase and the fish have greater potential than just being pretty things that are destined to die. By saying that the fish need RO water only, he's placing a baseline of competency on the customer. You may find that if you talk to him for a while, he'll sell you a pair. Or he may let you in on why he's so rigid on the setup for these fish.

Of course the other option is he's a jerk.
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post #3 of 6 (permalink) Old 08-28-2014, 03:47 PM
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I've overheard store sales people telling their customers that they "need" to get higher light when that customer said the plants were not growing as fast as they would like them to...without asking if any ferts were being used etc.
Thos were just sales pitches but if he didn't have that sign on all of the fish perhaps those particular ones came from a person who had them in RO water ?
There are all types/reasons that may apply.
Extreem people lurk in those places some ties also. One clerk and I were getting along fine over a few visits to her place of employment till I mentioned one day that I had
bought some Elatine Hydropiper but it had all died. The mistake was telling her I was leaving it in there to see if any of the roots might come back like Crypts.
She almost freaked out that I would leave decaying plant matter in my tank over
ammonia of course. Anyone who knows what that plant is also likely knows that "all of them" was about a 1/4 tsp of plant matter if that. I thought it best to not mention
the pile of mulm in the corner that is the shrimps favorite playground...LOL...

The shortest distance between any two points is a straight line...in the opposite direction...
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post #4 of 6 (permalink) Old 08-28-2014, 05:04 PM
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One of our LFS out in grandville did that to us when we were looking for plants. But instead of suggesting to buy something else, he refered us to similar looking plants that would grow in our setup (when we were just using one T8 bulb). In hindsight I actually really appreciated it. He did show us a few lights when we asked about it, and talked about what else would be involved in a high-tech tank. Talked about what he prefered (LEDs vs T5s), and also he talked about CO2 options (diy vs pressurized), and fertilizers too. He was very honest, and I thought it was pretty good that they did it that way.

We wanted fairly demanding HC in our tank, and instead he suggested hydrocotyle tripartita as a better plant choice. And also suggested a handful of stem plants that would be happy in our setup.
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post #5 of 6 (permalink) Old 08-29-2014, 01:07 AM
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There is a store sorta near me that wants you to bring a sample of your tank water before selling you fish.
I never did, just chatted with them (mom & pop store for sure). He sells fish to me, and seems to remember the customers really well.

Among my friends I joked about bringing a container and dipping up some of the water out of one of his tanks when he was busy with another customer.
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post #6 of 6 (permalink) Old 08-29-2014, 04:51 PM
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Originally Posted by Diana View Post
There is a store sorta near me that wants you to bring a sample of your tank water before selling you fish.
I never did, just chatted with them (mom & pop store for sure). He sells fish to me, and seems to remember the customers really well.

Among my friends I joked about bringing a container and dipping up some of the water out of one of his tanks when he was busy with another customer.

Now that is just evil....I like it!

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