Funny A Day In The Life Of An Lfs Associate

  • #81
Well, even if you don't actually hate them me, after a short stint in a retail sales job you absolutely will.
Brittany Rismiller
  • #82
I wouldn’t last a single day at a pet store. The owners should give you the right to deny customers that know their doing wrong and even the ones that want to learn. I would have personally told the guy with the kids I’m not selling you the turtles end of story sorry just my opinion
That's EXACTLY what I would do. Even if that meant I got fired over it, which would mean the people running the store are completely heartless.
  • #83
Been working retail for 5 years. It has it moments, and you soon learn how to behave in a way with customers that you can put your opinion across without getting into trouble from management. Its very effective.

And you always have the right to refuse a sale in Australia!
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  • #84
I'm actually in the process of developing a type of care list/ Animal supplies training material for us (employees) to use - we sell a variety of animals and its impossible for us all to be on the same page in terms of who knows what's good for what animal. With a checklist, the information is always available and no animal gets left behind. After that, if that's successful in its objective (to help us sell more supplies - KEY: because all employees are aware of the necessary equipment [but also to save animal lives bec the caretakers will be more prepared to take care of said animals bec they've purchased the necessary equipment])...I'm HOPING to develop a customer care sheet series for all the departments in our store. THAT way, the employees will know what's right, but the customers will also have the opportunity to interact with our store via care information that we provide...but right now that's merely a pipe dream.

Working in pet retail isn't easy. Though, the more retailers who care enough about the animals to learn what they need and how to convince people to buy what they need...the better off both parties are (the retail side, and the animal conservation side). So...Pet retail is difficult. Yes there are some upsetting policies, but I believe its an education thing...For example, I've had difficult customers who don't want to learn, end up having problems with their tank and come back for advice. In essence, they learn the hard way, perhaps at an animals expense but they'll either decide to do the right thing, or back out altogether (I.E learning and taking care next time, or not keeping the animals anymore) Sometimes there are ones who just like wasting their money, but that's maybe 5 or 10% of customers that I help.

I wanted so badly to deny the sale, or recommend another, simpler option. But we all know that no animal care is necessarily simple, and he wanted turtles. Either way...I agree, but I understand why we can't deny sales, ultimately, it's ill-mannered of us as a business to tell a customer what they can or cannot purchase...its almost insulting, if they want it then they ultimately can purchase it.

I would never let a guinea pig go home like that. I've had 4 guinea pigs in the past. I know all about having multiples and it's never great to keep them together. The boys will fight with boys or mate with girls. and girls will fight with other girls. Regardless, I would've brought her over to our guinea pig cage section and showed her the appropriate size (36x24) for ONE guinea pig and I would've convinced her that that cage is what she needed. Furthermore, you never argue with a customer, or give up on them quite like that. I mean, kudo's to her for saving the guinea pig, and If the customer absolutely wasn't going to purchase what the animal needed then I understand why the sale was refused however....we're there to work with the customers, to educate them and give them what they need for the animals they want to keep. I've had many a customer who I wanted to throw my arms up and say 'I can't work with you' but unfortunately, it's my job to help them.

Ironically, I own hermit crabs too and most of the time the 'kits' that they sell are not anything near what a hermit crab actually requires. I actually, recently, had a customer purchase a hermit crab and they were going to put it in a plastic, 6in high container for 20.99. I told her how hermit crabs are arboreal and will actually burrow as well and had her buy a 10G tank instead (for 14.99 ), with a screen top and a small heat lamp for them along WITH some repti-soil and coco husk. . Hopefully her crab is doing well.

Had another customer come in awhile ago with a hermit crab in a cricket keeper. No substrate, no light, just a food and water dish inside the tank. The customer was looking to upgrade the enclosure (good thing) but they said that they'd gotten the hermy from a fair, and that the people there told her to feed it crushed cereal......Alright, but there are also, more targeted options for hermit crab dried fruits or egg...crushed cheereos though...?
  • #85
Pet retail is definitely not for me. Working at a veterinary clinic provides enough headbanging moments.
I have had two male guinea pigs together, but after proper introductions and in a six-foot cage. No problems. They do need a lot more room than people think.
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  • #86
When we had the four, we initially had them all together in a large, handmade run the size of a pool table. Once we learned enough about them (because we learned the hard way, but that's why I am where I am.) We knew we needed to separate male and female, so we had a middle divider with boys on one side and girls on the other. That didn't work out well either. We eventually ended up keeping everyone in their own separate cage. It seemed to work best for us that way.

I just want to mention if anyone is interested, I've posted two other posts very similar to this one and a lot longer in content. They're in this tab a-ways through the pages. I believe I'm maybe on page 5 or 6 now. If you enjoyed reading this, you'll probably get a kick out of those too.

Oops, Just realized the moderators have mushed my posts together into one thread. I suppose my stories will be living on this thread from now on. .
  • #87
I just wanted to post a few brief stories from an experience of mine from a few days ago. Please enjoy my venting.

Please, Please, Oh Pretty Pleeaasseeee.

A lady comes into the fish room and asks us what other fish we recommend to put in with a goldfish. I tell her other goldfish work best. She cries out "Noooo, I don't want to put other goldfish" (in a whiney, that's what everyone keeps saying and I don't wanna kinda tone).

She tells me she has a goldfish and a pleco. I tell her there are a variety of other, colorful and different looking goldfish that she could add (KEYWORDS) depending on the size of her tank. She CRINGES and then tells me in a quieter voice....10 Gallons.

She KNEW that the size of her tank was too small for what she already had. She KNEW she shouldnt be adding anything else. AND SHE KNEW she shouldnt put tropical fish in with goldfish but she STILL came into a fish specialty store to ask "what kind of fish do you recommend" Ultimately, it's her fish tank, and to be truthful, she can add whatever the heck she wants to. But I can't recommend something that shouldn't go in with something else. I can bag it and send it home, but I won't recommend it.

They'll Be Fine In 10G, Right?

On the same day, I had another gentleman come in with two boys asking about the smallest turtles we had. The smallest we CAN sell is 4IN, the ones we have in stock are about 5-6In long in diameter (yellow bellied sliders). As soon as he sees the turtles he tells me he wants two of them and asks how long they'll live in a smaller tank before they can go outside into the pond (red flag number one).

I say that depends on the tank and what they're eating and I ask what size tank they were going into. The guy says he's going to get 'one of those 10G that we have on sale over there'. I stop him right there and tell him that the two of them would do better in something like a 20L but a 40B would be ideal, then I mention filtration and basking/heating spots and the guy interrupts me and says "Well, I'm only looking to spend about 150$ on this, its just a little thing for my boys"....Well sir, you're also looking to care for 2 yellow bellied cooter turtles, do you even care that these are animals with care requirements? Not toys for your 2 boys? The turtles cost 39.99 ea, the tank costed 50$ (and he went with a 20L), the filter was 20$, you can imagine where that left him for all of the health related equipment for the turtles (like lighting, calcium, basking lamps...)

He purchased the filter, food, water conditioner, a 20L tank and some rocks.
He did not purchase a top for the tank, a lighting lamp OR a basking lamp.

Didn't care that without a basking spot, these turtles could get shell rot, didn't care about a pyramiding shell, didn't care about water quality. Didn't care. OH and to top it all off, at the end of the transaction as they were being rung out, the customer asks me "how long will the turtles be okay in the box for? my boys and I were going to go out to dinner"...(its bad enough they don't even have an enclosure yet) I looked at him dumbfounded and said 45minutes....

In Closing, These types of customers drive me absolutely bonkers. Do the research, and plan accordingly. Its always okay to make mistakes, its never okay to knowingly disregard the care requirements of fish or animals. Thanks for reading.
Sometimes I just want to pinch their nose and KICK their butts!
  • #88
Sad but true in many cases. It's weird you have some people that are so fiercely protective and loving with their pets and then others which don't seem to care at all. I saw a quote somewhere a while back that said something like "I don't care how rich, popular or important you are. How you treat animals tells me all I need to know about you"... Yup that about sums it up for me
I agree completely!
  • #89
Sometimes I don’t, even on here, there’s a certain point where people need to know how to do their own research before trying to explain more to them, otherwise it’s just frustrating. I’m not the type of person to snap or be rude though.
I wish I had your discipline. I'm working on it. Being an animal lover of all creatures, great and small (My fav book) sometimes I can't hold my tongue. But I keep trying. I don't want to be too offensive. But it'so hard!
  • #90
I would never last in any retail job or customer based job. I hate people. Lol. Well hate may be a little strong. I couldn't put up with them.
  • #91
I would never last in any retail job or customer based job. I hate people. Lol. Well hate may be a little strong. I couldn't put up with them.
If you don’t hate people yet, working retail or any kind of customer service will get you there in no time at all!
  • #92
I was a fleet mechanic. I went road service. I lasted a whole 8 months. Went back to fleet.
  • #93
At the veterinary clinic where I work, we literally have a client that we hide from. When she came in to pick up medication, everybody except the receptionist stayed in the back until she left. That was at least 20 minutes. She’s the runaway favorite to be the next client we fire, and it takes a lot to make us fire a client. We literally had a client who would fling fecal samples (in bags) at reception and didn’t get fired for that.
  • #94
this is why I don't want to work at a pet store or lfs as much as my mother says I should. no matter how much I would try to educate people, or just keep my mouth shut, in the end it's their choice and the ultimate goal is to make a sale. I would just feel awful about it. I don't want to go through that all the time.
The lfs that I work at allows you to refuse sales on any and all live animals including fish
(we also sell reptiles, amphibians, and arachnids)
  • #95
I found out the hard way Do your research first before you buy or change anything! I went from 55 gal to a 75 gal and had no idea about getting good bacteria in it first, lost 4 fish and my favourite upside down catfish I was heart broken and spent almost 2months getting it half way right. I will check all things needed from now on for sure and hope others do also. Good lesson but bad results.
Andy S
  • #96
It must be incredibly frustrating when you get (for example) somebody totally new to the hobby who decides they want to put 4 baby oscars in their newly acquired 10 gallon tank. You can tell them all day long why it's not going to work but some people just don't want to listen; they have already decided what they want and nothing will persuade them otherwise.
What do you do at this point? refuse the sale or let them get on with it in the absolute certain knowledge that you are sending 4 fish to their premature death? If you refuse the sale they are likely never to return to that shop and in any case if you refuse the sale you know full well that they will just go to another establishment who would have no qualms about it and they would get them there.
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  • #97
It must be incredibly frustrating when you get (for example) somebody totally new to the hobby who decides they want to put 4 baby oscars in their newly acquired 10 gallon tank. You can tell them all day long why it's not going to work but some people just don't want to listen; they have already decided what they want and nothing will persuade them otherwise.
What do you do at this point? refuse the sale or let them get on with it in the absolute certain knowledge that you are sending 4 fish to their premature death? If you refuse the sale they are likely never to return to that shop and in any case if you refuse the sale you know full well that they will just go to another establishment who would have no qualms about it and they would get them there.

This is exactly it, and is part of why I don't necessarily agree with refusing sales. Regardless, if the people have the money, who am I to tell them what they can and can not purchase. Its insulting, and most of the time doesn't actually stop the customer from getting what they want, it just negates sales for that particular establishment. In that situation I would elude to my oscar, and I would tell those people that "I purchased an oscar about a year ago (I might say 9 months to kind of, emphasize how fast they grow) and he went from 2In to 8 In in the matter of 6months. this 5G tank is only 8x10x10 ( or w/e dimensions the tank their looking to get is) and so, it really isn't a good idea to put 4 fish that'll be the size of this tank in 6 months. Its not a great idea to put 1 of them in there but as long as you know you'll HAVE to upgrade very soon, you could try it. If they asked about the whole 'size of the fish will grow only to the tank' (cuz I have people tell me this all the timeeee) I'd let them know it's half true in that yes, the fish will stop growing externally, but internally it's organs will still try to develop, eventually the fish will be stunted and will die due to space related complications.

Might be how I would handle that situation. If they were open to other options instead of 4 oscars, I'd recommend dwarf cichlids or scarlet badis..Id say the trick is to be honest and stern when explaining these things to newbie fish keepers.
  • #98
Funny anecdote. I have a lfs/Lps. You know the type, specializing in fish, reptiles, and amphibians with some snakes and spiders too! The owner makes a half joke anytime someone asks what he does for a living. He tells everyone that he sells crickets and he laughs.

This store will sell spiders, lizards, snakes, and frogs at near cost. They know you're going to buy the enclosure when you buy the animal, as well as plenty of peripherals like lights, water dishes, humidity and temperature monitors etc. They will even cut you a deal when you buy a lot of things together. Oh, and hey! If you prepay and buy a cricket card for 1000 crickets, you save 20 bucks! At this point, where are you buying your crickets from no matter what? This guy now has you and a few thousand other people buying crickets constantly from him because he cut you that deal on a setup and pet. He really does pretty much make rent on just crickets. Everything else is just a way to get you to buy something that requires you to keep coming back.
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  • #99
None of these next few instances are going to be very funny, but I feel they have great lessons behind them. These are going to be about public service work, and why it sucks.

I didn't actually witness this, but I was told (and have read) all about the situation. A younger gentleman came up to the register demanding a refund for fish that had died in his tank a week ago, we have a 3 day guarantee, so there was nothing we could do. He then began to bark on about how he purchased fish that were sick with ich, and they infected and killed about 400$ worth of his african cichlids. He demanded we compensate or 'do something about' that issue as well (lol)....I'm terribly sorry for this guy, because I would hate to have that happen to me....but if he's invested that much into his tank, and he knows so much about these specific cichlids, than why didn't he have a quarantine tank available, you can easily set them up for 30-40$$ or less and that action alone wouldve saved his fish. In his complaints about the situation, he solely blames us that HIS tank broke out in ich.

Lesson to learn here: When you have a tank that you've invested hundreds, even thousands of dollars into. Spend the 50$ on a 20G and a sponge filter and keep it on hand for whenever you add new fish. It doesn't matter where you get your fish from, whether you get em from petco or have em shipped disease is inevitable and if all you do is wait until it happens and then blame the lfs and stop shopping there, you're only going to limit your selection. Just buy a darn QT and be responsible and accountable for the big mistakes. We all make them.

EDIT: I want to note, had he had a quarantine tank, he would've QT'd them for the first 3 days, the ick would've presented itself, and he could've returned the fish (alive) and gotten a 100% credit. its unfortunate, the entire situation.

The next story I have, I did actually encounter. Yesterday, and I lost my cool over it, this one is about how not to treat a service worker, they're trying to help the customer, Why on earth would we want or try to screw someone over, its bad for business.

We were busy about an hour and a half before close, I walked up to a gentleman and asked him if he needed help, he said he'd like to get 24 of our blue tetra. I'm racking my brain about where blue tetra are located in our store, he stops at the neon tetra tank and says 'those' so I said " Oh, neons, There are blue tetra too" (I'm wondering if he took this comment as me being cocky rather than me just trying to be informative and conversational). So I start getting his 24 neon tetra, but I don't net those out of the tank and into the jar. Instead I herd a bunch into my jar (rectangular container about 8.5inx3.5in), and count them there, whittling through and releasing some using the suction from moving the jar up and down on the surface of the tank until I get the desired number, as I'm doing this, from behind me he says "You're going to count them Like That" I said "Yes, because when we net these guys out of their tank, they stress out real bad and play dead and I don't want to stress your fish out before you can get them into your tank". I count out his 24 three times. (I wasn't counting 23-25 either, I got 24 all three times). Set the jar down in front of him so he can get a look at the fish before I bag them.

Imma pause this story and mention how I've done two things FOR him as a sales associate that I do out of the kindness of my heart, I have taken the initiative to be careful about his fish and their stress levels, and now I've let him get a look at the jar to inspect his fish. I could've just netted the fish into the jar and ran off with it like we're supposed to do, but I care. (and it takes me about the same time to count them out this way as it does netting them so, its not a huge ordeal either, plus we were busy, its not like I was trying to take my time, I'm just careful.)

So, what does this customer do? with the jar in front of him. Of course he tries to count the 24 neons looking sideways through the jar. He tells me "Wellll, I'm only counting 19 soo....." This is where I lost my cool. I have been counting fish for 4 years and I take great pride in what I do....and you just accused me of being off in basic counting on STOCK fish by 5, I learned how to count in the 1st grade...I was Insulted, does he think I don't know how to count? I know don't look THAT young. Especially considering I've been doing it for literally years now. Alright, So I tell him I'll count them through a net. He THEN....reaches out and just pats me on the shoulder.

Didn't say anything that I can remember, just patted me on the shoulder. At no point, at any time during a service transaction, are you permitted to touch an associate, in any way, shape, or form. Its almost never perceived in a positive light. In the past I've had similar interactions where a customer has touched my shoulder or my back and it's always uncomfortable if they're doing it with intention, even if it's meant to be a nice gesture, I'm at work. To me, what that said to me, was "You're beneath me, just do what I say" and that's not okay, Its okay if he outright said "I don't want you to count them like that" then I will appease the customer because that is part of why I'm there too, but to treat me like that, when this job gives me genuine joy, is ridiculous. I deserve better and I cannot tolerate it after a 10hr shift.

They went through a net 3 times, not because I wanted to stress them out but they kept getting either stuck in my net or 2 would jump at once and I'd lose count. I don't count neon tetra like that anymore, rarely do I scoop and count stock fish to begin with like that, it stresses them out and can scratch them depending on the fish.

I feel absolutely terrible and am ashamed about how I reacted, I continued on and complained about the customer to a coworker, not realizing the customer was still in earshot. We all make mistakes. But I get walked on like this all the darn time, I'm super nice, and understanding. If I was taking too long and he had told me he was in a hurry, I wouldn't have been so meticulous. Regardless, He questioned my job (what I've been doing for awhile now, what I consider a skill), he insulted me, and then he demeaned me. Over some neon tetras. I hope they acclimated well, but if they didn't and he comes back to the store even more infuriated then he might've been to begin with, HAD HE JUST LET ME DO MY JOB. Everything would probably have been peachy keen.

Another instance I had not too long ago, and is related to trusting the service workers, at least in the basic essence that is their job, I.E counting fish. A coworker had bagged 50 neons for a customer, later that customer approached me and said something to the effect of "I don't want to be that guy, I've worked with fish for years now and I really hate to be that guy but this really doesn't look like there are 50 fish in that bag." So I took them back and counted them through a net, one by one. There were a total of 55 fish in the bag.

The coworker who bagged them walked up to me as I was counting and realized they were over by 5. I was going to leave them and give him the reassurance that, actually, there were 5 over. Have a nice day. But this particular coworker has a leading role, and policy is we don't give 'extra' fish. They more or less had me remove the extra 5, I still let him know it was over (didn't tell him we pulled them...)

I feel as though I'm quick to find mistakes in other peoples behavior better and more often than I do my own, The lesson I take away from each instance I've presented here be more like a leaf in the rain opposed to...a fly trap over a cest pool. As a person it's something I've always struggled with and when working with the public, I really need to stop taking everything to heart and so seriously. I've got too much passion that I waste on the little things and having anxiety about it all so much so to where I need to vent about it is sign enough that it takes a toll on me.
  • #100
The only thing I really ask as their catching fish is if I get a lot or bigger fish that they use a couple bags. I have an hour to travel to get home and I see it a reasonable request.
  • #101
The only thing I really ask as their catching fish is if I get a lot or bigger fish that they use a couple bags. I have an hour to travel to get home and I see it a reasonable request.
Even if they don't see it as reasonable, it doesn't matter to me. I have them keep numbers down even when I only have a 10 minute drive. They will be in that bag a minimum of 30 minutes, probably closer to an hour, but why let things accumulate? I've never had anyone balk when I ask a group split into 2 or 3 bags. Water is basically a write off and so are the bags and, if they use it, the o2 they add to the bag.

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