Accuracy in Information 2

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PetSmart has been the topic of discussion in other threads on this board.

The basic discussion is one that posits that “Accurate Information” should be provided, species by species, on Point-Of-Purchase Signs.  Inaccurate information leads to poor husbandry of fish.  Misinformation creates improper stocking of tanks.  Stunting, disease, death, and shortened life spans are all a direct result of misleading and false consumer advertising.

A couple of letters have been posted in the other threads detailing the information on just a few of the species.  The few examples are indicative of the problems on the vast majority of the in-store signs.

People have wondered if we have yet to receive a response.  The answer has been a consistent “not yet”.  And, when the reply comes it is expected to a non-responsive deflection of the issue.  Basically a “we will look into it” answer.

A reply did arrive.  It lived up to the expectation.  It was the perfunctory show of concern with the simple statement  “…your concerns…have been brought to the attention of our Management Team.  They periodically review our signage…and will make changes as appropriate on the next review”.

A Product Care Specialist sent the response.  The letters were addressed to several senior level managers.  PetSmart finds it more convenient to let low-level employees speak in answer to correspondence to corporate officers.  It makes one wonder just what will be “changes as appropriate”.

We need your help.  It is the request, once again, to send letters to PetSmart calling for an immediate review and revision of signage.  Fishkeepers cannot permit PetSmart to decide when to correct a problem.  We deserve honest advertising and technical information.  We do not deserve to be routinely misled until they find it convenient to change their business practice.  Unknowing hobbyists do not deserve to be deceived until PetSmart finds it fits their budget to make a change. 

Responsible fish care starts at the store.  Right now it starts with misinformation that only leads to irresponsible and inadequate care.  You can make a difference.  You can help create a change.  Send letters to PetSmart voicing your displeasure.

www.noclownsinacube.net is now on-line (at least partially).  We finalized a few of the pages and created a temporary welcome page in order to more fully discuss the reasoning behind the campaign, to share the full text of the response from PetSmart (not a whole lot there), display letters that have been sent, and provide a couple of sample formats if you do not have time to draft your own.

If you don’t make it to the site we ask you to include a couple of things in every letter.  First a topic line that reads RE:  POP Signage – Accuracy in Information.  And, if possible copy our avatar and place it in the upper right corner of the letter.  Those two simple steps will help PetSmart understand that fishkeepers are beginning to speak with a unified voice demanding a change and we won’t be easily deflected with the perfunctory PR Reply.

Follow the only active links at www.noclownsinacube.net.  Names of PetSmart Senior Management, as well as address info can be found there.  As the next couple of week’s progress the site will change—but we will strive to make it a quick, easy, and enlightening resource.

Thanks,
Sully
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Isabella

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Hi Sully, and thanks for this message I agree with you and with the no-clowns-in-a-cube.net website.

sully said:
www.noclownsinacube.net is now on-line (at least partially).  We finalized a few of the pages and created a temporary welcome page in order to more fully discuss the reasoning behind the campaign, to share the full text of the response from PetSmart (not a whole lot there), display letters that have been sent, and provide a couple of sample formats if you do not have time to draft your own.
I don't see any sample formats of the letters on this website, and I can't click on the options on the top. The option "Petsmart" doesn't work either.
 

JP

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Try it now. I was editing at the time and that may have messed things up for a bit.

Here's the page for sample letters:
 

Isabella

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Thank you, it works now I've one question though: since they'll get a lot of letters of the same theme (especially if we use templates), is it necessary for me to write my name and address down? Can I make my letters anonymous? I already know what the answer will be like, so I am not so much expecting the answer as I am expecting a collective act by as many people as possible to send the letters. The more of the letters are sent, the better the chances that the stores will actually try and effect some changes in the way they treat fish and provide information to the customers.
 

JP

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If you want to be anonymous that's fine. The only thing that matters is that letters actually get sent.
 

Isabella

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JP said:
The only thing that matters is that letters actually get sent.
Precisely my point.
 
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sully

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isabella,
i understand your concern. Maybe sign your name--and then withold any other identifying info. If everybody starts sending in anonymous letters it could be construed as nothing more than a spam event. And I never want them to be able to use that line. Because above all--this is not a spam event. Then keep a log of the letters you have sent. That way we don't look like people sending petitions with phony names.

just my thought--of course do what you think is best for you.
 

Tumbleweed

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i have found however that personal letters make for of an impact then a form letter. Another good idea could be to take a picture of the sign in the store with the incorrect info on it and then also attach a photocopy of the correct info as well as stayting the the source of the info. Specific examples give them something to go on. Just my opinion
 
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sully

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we accept all ideas--lol.

You will need to be careful taking photos of signs. Some stores may not allow it.

You are right--form letters are not always as effective. We have ben urging people to write from their own experience and knowledge for many weeks. The other side of the coin, however, is thta some people do not shop PetSmart--they go to another retailer--but they support the goal we are trying to achieve. The sample letters can be cut and pasted then edited to create uour own. Or a letter like #3 hits the topic from a more generic perspective. And, people may support the effort but not feel comfortable writing their own letter. We are trying to give people options so that the largest possible response occurs.
 

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completley understand
 

Jim W

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I envy your passion for the hobby.

I recently saw 2 strangely mis-labeled fish at Petsmart and just chuckeled about it with my wife and son. They had both small puffers and a species of polypterus labeled as "community fish".

Think of the surprise when someone took home that poly, proudly watching it grow only to wake one day and have it be the only fish reamaining in their tank. :-X


Jim
 
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sully

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i guess it is in part a passion for the hobby. And, in part compassion for hobbyists. i have spent years on-line. Most of that time spent trying to diagnose tank and fish problems through the computer. Many new and long time ,but inexperienced hobbyists, don't have any contact with fishkeeping except through the big boxes. The frustration and anger they develop trying to keep fish alive when working with inaccurate and frequently wrong information is almost painful to hear about. I have developed a mental image of a land fill somewhere in New Jersey completley covered by aquariums, filters and fish stuff piled to the sky.

Accurate information being provided by the retailers would end some of the problems for consumers that thought they wanted to keep fish. It might even let them find out they actually enjoy the hobby. Who knows, maybe they would even keep at it for longer than 6-12 months.

The other side of it is definitely the fish. the information about species and stocking is so ambiguous and often wrong that tanks are stocked with fish tearing chunks of fins and flesh from other fish once they make it to their new "home". Its almost like selling someone a lion and a lamb and telling them that it is okay to put them in the same cage together. If that happened people would line up in protest. animal control departments would be confiscating livestock and shutting down the store. It seems with fish the attitude is who really cares--they are just fish. I guess that is my biggest passion. the total diregard of fish as a legitimate life form with any use other than retail profit.
 

newbie101

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sully said:
I have developed a mental image of a land fill somewhere in New Jersey completley covered by aquariums, filters and fish stuff piled to the sky.
Wow where is that?  I've been wanting a new tank or 5!
JK ;D
 
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sully

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not sure where in jersey--but it has to be jersey--lol. maybe east undershirt.
 
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sully

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An interesting reaction has been voiced on other boards, in e.mails, and in chats.

Some people are not sure if they agree with the letter writing to PetSmart. Not because they disagree with accurate information concept. Rather as a matter of focus.

The people are asking why not the entire population of mass merchandisers, regional chains, and the mom and pops? Why limit it to POP Signage? Why not address Painted Fish, Hybrids, pH up and down products, the over use of meds created by easy availability, and the other "useless" products sold to new and less well informed hobbyists?

A couple of people, serious minded fishkeepers, have asked why not push for a much bigger goal, the elimination of mass merchandisers as resellers of fish?

The goal of the "Accuracy In Information" push, for me, goes well beyond POP Signage. My goal is that all retailers are required to provide accurate information about the fish and all the products they sell. But, to achieve success and attainment of goals you have to figure out the steps required to realize them.

A lot of us hear the rhetoric spouted by the sports rookies that are taken with early picks on "draft day" in professional sports. We hear one kid tell how he is not only going to take his team to the championship game, but he is going to score the winning points--usually in the last seconds of the game. Then we here other rookies say how grateful they are just to be drafted. Then express their commitment to just making the team and becoming a good team mate.

Almost overnight it seems the championship game is being played. Nowhere to be found is the guy with all the hype. Instead it is the guy that was drafted and just committed himself to the small first step scoring the winning points as the clock expires.

Both of the guys picked early in the draft had the same goal. Both had a big dream. One understood how to achieve it. Small steps at a time.

There could be a push to send letters to every retailer. With a lot of messages about how they sell to the public. That is what has been happening for years. Hobbyist's get ticked off, concerned, or upset. They pen a letter, vent theri frustration, and that is the last of it.

A lot of people have the goal.
A few have taken a step to realize that goal.
Very few will realize success.

The goal is "Accuracy In Information" at all retail locations. Letters to a single retailer is a tool to help achieve visibility hobby wide. It is a tool to gain the attention of the largest, most responsible, Pet retailer in the trade. Without someone paying attention, and then thinking about the issue--nothing will happen. We will have the same situation. This is not an attack on a retailer. This is an effort to help them see that there is a fundamental error in the materials they utilize. An error most likely shared across an industry.

If we can help the leader see the mistake--or share with us why it is not a mistake--then real change occurs. Once change is accomplished with a single retailer the others become easier to educate. Other retailers will be more open to making what fishkeepers see as required change. The push for sending letters to PetSmart is not an attack. It is a campaign to help an industry leader realize the concerns of its' customer base. And to realize the concerns of fishkeepers as an entire community.

Hopefully you will join a growing community of fishkeepers taking the first, small, step to the realization of of common goals.

Don't think that the letters to PetSmart are the last letters you will be asked to send. Think of them as the first of many as each of us in the hobby helps institute responsible retail trade practices.

Send a letter. Please.


Keep it positive. This is an effort to work with -- not against a company.
 

JP

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We've finished putting together an page with a list of all the sites that are up to this point involved in the Accuracy In Information campaign. It's a great list.

Right now we're putting together a discussion forum that will focus exclusively on retail trade practices relating to fish-keeping. We will be inviting all the retailers to join the forum so that it is an even-handed approach. Our goal is not to pillory retailers, especially PetSmart. PetSmart does so many positive things. Perhaps if we can get consumers and retailers together on neutral ground something good can come out of it. Not only in regard to POP signage, but to issues like appropriate community tank setups, staff education, hybrid and painted/dyed fish, over use and improper use of medications as a result of availability.....the list is long.

Accuracy in information is about fish welfare, appropriate treatment, and responsible husbandry. We hope PetSmart helps us by taking the lead in the retail market.

Please send a letter if you haven't, and if you have thank you, and keep sending them. :)
 
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sully

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have you sent a letter yet--lol.
 

JP

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The forum's now live. If you'd like to stop by and see what all is going on please do. Our on-line communities page is continuing to expand. Soon we'll have a club/association page up.

Don't forget to send a letter.
 
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sully

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Over 10,000 hits on this and similar threads during the past several weeks. People say they are even sending letters--lol. And, getting a standard reply. So, here is the letter of the week we are hoping people e.mail or send via snail mail.
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Mr. Kenneth T. Hall
Sr. Vice President, Merchandising
PetSmart, Inc.
19601 North 27th Avenue
Phoenix, AZ 85027

RE: Accuracy In Information

Dear Mr. Hall,
I am aware of the PetSmart reply to recent correspondence discussing Responsible Husbandry and Humane Treatment as they relate to fish. The reply is interesting:

“…your concerns have been brought to the attention of our Management Team. They periodically review our signage and care guide information and will make changes as appropriate on the next review.”

I have a several questions concerning the reply:

• Are these the same Managers that reviewed and approved existing signage?
• Will your company utilize new information that more accurately reflects the true nature and
characteristics of the fish you sell?
• When is the planned review?
• Would you welcome an outside review of your existing information prepared by individuals
concerned with the accuracy of what is currently provided?
• Is there a date to expect revised signage that may be shared with members of dozens of on-line
fishkeeping communities?

Mr. Hall, experienced fishkeepers would willingly work with PetSmart, in a cooperative spirit, to assist your company with the development of the appropriate information required for the responsible care and husbandry of Tropical Fish.

Thank you for your time and consideration.

Respectfully,





cc. Robert F. Moran
Barbara Fitzgerald
Mary Miller

-----------------------------------------------------------------------

Fish are not flushable. They are not consumables or disposables. Consumers deserve Accurate Information. Fish deserve Responsible Husbandry. Without the first the second simply won't happen.

Here is the e.mail address. corpcommunications@ssg.petsmart.com Postal address is above.

Join in and help the hobby.
 

JP

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There are things that you can work to change. POP signage is one of them. We need retailers to provide accurate information.

Have you sent your letter this week?

We have samples you can use as is or borrow bits and pieces from and then compose your own.

www.noclownsinacube.net
 
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