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Old 01-28-2015, 01:19 PM   #1
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A word about pet stores from an employee

I've noticed on this website there's a lot of hate towards pet stores and the employees. I would like to clear a few things up. I work at a large chain pet store, and I can understand a lot of the complaints, but the employees are usually not to blame. The pet store does a terrible job training employees. They only give the very basic information about fish-keeping and expect you to know everything else on your own. They don't invest a lot of time training because most employees are part time and many only last a few months. So if an employee gives you false information, who's fault is it? Usually, it's the pet store's.

Sure, there are some employees who don't care at all and will make up answers if they don't know something, but most of us genuinely care about the fish and want to send them to proper homes. In fact, I have to fight with people to save a lot of fish from dying of ammonia poisoning. Most of the customers are complete idiots who don't care if their fish live or die. I often refuse to give people fish if their tank is too small or overpopulated with incompatible fish. Sometimes these people throw a fit and then the manager FORCES me to sell them the fish.

Sometimes experienced fish-keepers are rude to me when I ask them a question like "how big is your tank" before giving them a fish. I suspect those are the kind of people who badmouth pet store employees on these forums. The majority of these employees mean well but may be misinformed or not properly trained by the pet store. I'm not saying the pet stores are good, in a lot of ways they're not...their goal is to make money and satisfy customers, and that comes before sending the animals to good homes. But the employees like me usually care a lot about the animals and have good intentions. So next time you want to talk badly about an employee, consider that usually the pet store is to blame.
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Old 01-28-2015, 01:27 PM   #2
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Not so much hate.. more so.. "don't rely on the information from lfs employees because it s usually wrong" I understand most employees would rather be working elsewhere in the store or another store all together. It's just lazy on the consumers part to go into a store and but living creatures without doing research, no excuse this day and age. Smartphones will put you into anything you need to know in 10 seconds..

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Old 01-28-2015, 01:32 PM   #3
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A word about pet stores from an employee

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Originally Posted by Brookster123 View Post
Not so much hate.. more so.. "don't rely on the information from lfs employees because it s usually wrong" I understand most employees would rather be working elsewhere in the store or another store all together. It's just lazy on the consumers part to go into a store and but living creatures without doing research, no excuse this day and age. Smartphones will put you into anything you need to know in 10 seconds..

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+1. I believe it's the hobbyists responsibility to do the research themselves, and that's the advice i see given most of the time


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Old 01-28-2015, 01:34 PM   #4
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The fun thing is I applied to a pet smart and didn't get the job

But agreed, we don't "hate" the pet store employees but rather don't trust what they say.

Yes the pet store doesn't train for crap, but what's preventing the employees from going out and researching a little if they really cared? It's pretty simple to do.
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Old 01-28-2015, 01:50 PM   #5
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Actually I did a lot of research on my own about all the animals we sell and water quality etc. so I could give customers the right information, that's how I found this forum. Several of my coworkers have done the same because we DO care. You're right that customers should research on their own before getting any pet. Some people show up with an animal they JUST bought on impulse (like a rabbit, poor things) and ask me what they need. And usually they don't want to buy what they need because it's "too expensive."

Brookster123, you're right that most employees would rather work somewhere else in the store, and that's because the fish customers are the ABSOLUTE WORST. Sometimes the kids start crying because you tell them they can't add any more fish to their tank, and then the parents demand I give them whatever they want. Every day I get at least one person wanting a goldfish for their fish bowl. Sometimes they don't take no for an answer. I can't even imagine how many fish go home to their slow and painful deaths in ammonia-ridden water.

A lot of information given isn't incorrect but has multiple answers. When I researched certain things about fish online I found tons of conflicting information from experienced hobbyists. So you may hear an employee give information you don't agree with, but that doesn't make it wrong. But yes, some people are just blatantly wrong.
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Old 01-28-2015, 02:25 PM   #6
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A lot of information given isn't incorrect but has multiple answers. When I researched certain things about fish online I found tons of conflicting information from experienced hobbyists. So you may hear an employee give information you don't agree with, but that doesn't make it wrong. But yes, some people are just blatantly wrong.
That's when you start to realize that there is more than 1 way to skin a cat.
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Old 01-28-2015, 02:34 PM   #7
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This is a great thread! I 100% agree, the big chain pet stores do not train their employees with every single ounce of knowledge. It takes years to learn what skilled hobbyist's know! Unfortunately not everyone new to the aquarium world knows to research before hand, they expect the employees to know everything. It's a huge thing to expect, and expectations are way too high. They learn the hard way after they get misinformed, but everyone makes mistakes. Especially with this world. There is a lot to know. Most people consider a goldfish in a bowl wonderful, they have no clue. No one I talk to that hasn't owned an aquarium knows anything about water parameters, heaters, substrate, plants, cycling. It's not common knowledge.

I have a great LFS I trust. But that took a long time. I even avoid Specific employees because I know they blow smoke up people's ... Well you know lol I always go into a new LFS as a "newbie" and ask a bunch of questions, like a test. And see what they say haha if they pass all my questions we can get started with a real discussion. That's how I do it
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Old 01-28-2015, 03:08 PM   #8
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A word about pet stores from an employee

I was the Fish Nazi at my Petsmart. I was the Petcare Lead ( like an asst mngr).

I taught the other employees about fish and the other pets.

If I refused a fish sale, my store manager backed me up.

Yes, I had angry customers. But I had many more happy customers. One man called me Fish Dr. I helped save his 17yo Fancy Goldfish. I had a customer losing tank after tank of fish due to not cycling. I made him slow down and add some plants. He showed up one day with 30 Cherry Barb fry...so happy 👍

I'm an adult woman, I still learn new things every day. I will say, if you read Petsmart hand outs and training manuals, and follow them... They do get some things right. They do recommend 29g min tank size for a single Fancy Goldfish.

I stopped selling bowls mostly. I sold our 2.5g tanks for Bettas.

I stopped selling pH up/down products. But our repeat sales of other products went up. I had managers from competing stores, buying fish from me.

Training can be better. Associates and customers still need to read up and learn on their own as well.

The stories I could tell *shaking head*.


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Old 01-28-2015, 07:10 PM   #9
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Coursair, you're lucky your manager backed you up when refusing a sale. All my manager says is "just tell them they don't get a guarantee," meaning let the fish die but don't refund them. Even the manager in charge of fish will give customers whatever they want if they throw a fit. Extremely hypocritical. They say we care about pets...but we'll sell them to complete idiots who basically kill them.

I too could tell ridiculous stories about the idiot customers we get. One person poured bleach into her tank because it looked dirty, and she was surprised when all the fish died! I really wish the fish were more expensive so people would think twice before buying them. Everyone wants the 30 cent feeder goldfish for their fish bowl. I tell them the fish will die and they say that's ok.
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Old 01-28-2015, 10:39 PM   #10
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I agree. In a day with the internet in everyone's homes, phones, etc.......its the job of the pet owner to research the pet they are interested in taking care of. When I got back into fish, I researched everything as some things have changed since I used to have fish 15 years ago. I looked up everything I could find, and I benefited from it. People in general tend to be morons and like to place blame on others, instead of taking responsibility for themselves. Good post!
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