Giving Aquarium/fish Advise Nicely

Discussion in 'More Freshwater Aquarium Topics' started by Shiori, Apr 17, 2017.

  1. ShioriValued MemberMember

    I work at pet store and i find people very stubborn when it comes to advise on animals, particularly fish.
    I once, even after my recommendations and mh coworkers recommendation , had to sell a man
    Goldfish, angelfish, Chinese algae eater and other tropical fish. He put them together and came in consistently after that to replace those dead fish.
    But i cant refuse them the fish that they want.
    In short. I would help on how to advise them without being rude.
    Thank you.
  2. neongirlValued MemberMember

    can you refuse to sell someone fish? I thought that some stores reserved the right so refuse to sell someone fish if they knew that they would not be taken care of

  3. neongirlValued MemberMember

    in any case if the same man keeps coming in to replace the fish he is killing I would speak to a manager about refusing to sell him any more fish

  4. DiscusluvWell Known MemberMember

    I have seen some experienced fish keepers on here ( with a tremendous gift for tact) ask a poster who may be asking an unrelated question say "I see that there are some stock issues, temperature issues, compatibility issues, etc.... if you would like help with this I am here to assist." So smart and courteous!! You can offer your help where people are unaware and need to be educated. However, once educated, if they still continue to move forward on this disastrous course... sadly, as an employee at someone else's store, there isn't much else you can do. ****Maybe the experienced fish-keepers on this site can provide some more tactful approaches that will be helpful to you in your dealings with customers...

  5. ShioriValued MemberMember

    He hasnt come back jn a while so i assume she may have done that.
    I would love to refuse fish but they would complain that surely wouldnt be good for me.
    I have saved many plecos though.
    People get turned around when they realize just how big they can get. Haha
  6. KinsKicksFishlore VIPMember


    I'm very sorry about this, I know it's terrible when they're being stubborn. I used to be the leading/head aquatics specialist at my local fish store (before they went out of business) and what I found out that you have to be "kindly rude" to them. I became blunt about what they were buying and my advice. It always boiled down to emphasizing price (because that's what they care about... :/ ) I would tell them that (after a quick cycling discussion...whole other story) their incompatible choices would end up killing the fish and they would be wasting their money, plus all the equipment required. Even if we would replace them (had to :( ) they would continue wasting their money and killing these fish. In some ways, even if they bought them (behind my back) they would return and feel sheepish when I wa right.
    At the time, when I worked there I was 16-18, and I am a small female girl. Holding my own helped (being kindly blunt) and it only added insult to injury when they returned to find out that I was right. Usually then, they would listen and I offered more help for success.
    If you have any more questions, feel free to ask, I dealt with this for 2+ years and saved many fish. Just to note, I wasnrt mean/rude or anything, I was very kind. But I remained realistic.
    Last edited: Apr 17, 2017
  7. FashoogaFishlore VIPMember

    The best way to go around it is tell the guy that you noticed he's been here quite a bit. Find out why he's been here buying fish after fish and if there were any problems with the previous purchase of fish. He might start talking to you about his situation and than you can politely say that the fish he's purchased do not necessary will work with each other. I think it's a great time to ask him what his tank is like and what he really wants? Something colorful, something easy etc...

    The key is to listen to what he drops. The more you listen the more likely you'll figure out the situation.

    You can go up to him and say "Oh hey, welcome back. I noticed you've been buying more fish. Have the other fish worked out?"

    If you just come up to him nicely the customer will more likely open up.
  8. NavigatorBlackFishlore VIPMember

    A lot of stores will fire you for saying the right thing, and you have to protect yourself, too.
    I always took the price tack, followed by the visual approach, ie "Here is what you will see if you combine these fish" - then described what they would see. "Is that what you're ready for" was a good follow up. If they said yes, I had tried.
    If you suggest they not buy, then they often dig in and buy to spite you.
    But really, I see many threads here where well meaning, thought out advice is ignored. All those people who say "I know I'm overstocked so only answer my question about...." show up in stores too.
    Retail can be very frustrating.
  9. Bruxes and BubblesWell Known MemberMember

    Maybe something like -

    "Oh, you're so lucky to have such a big tank to get X fish that gets X inches long! I wish I had a tank that big!"
    "Oh, wow, you must have a lot of tanks to have all of these fish!"
    "Oh, I see you like this fish! I think these will get along better together; they like each other more."

    Things like that. If people don't want to listen, though...well, at least it's not just ignorance that drives the purchase.
  10. James17Well Known MemberMember

    A little off the subject: sorry
    Saturday I was at PetSmart and a very nice young lady informed me that the circulating pumps had been broke for two days, and told me not to buy the fish I wanted.
    I know she could probably get fired for that, but I really appreciated it. I also gave her a ten when I was ready to leave
  11. CarrieFisherWell Known MemberMember

    Sometimes my Petco has signs on the front of some tanks that says "These fish are under observation, and are not yet for sale".
    I'm not sure what exactly they are holding them for, but I feel like it's nice.

    As for tactfully offering advice,
    I think sometimes killing ppl with kindness (and facts) will do the trick.

    I used to say things like, "hey, do you have your phone? If you would like a second opinion about this advice, it should be a pretty fast google search, and I'm happy to give you some space until you have more questions or need help, afterall"
  12. fisshWell Known MemberMember

    As a LFS owner for 26 years, I would tell the customer my educated opinion on the fish they were mixing, and then let them do what they wanted. To my dismay some would come back and tell me how well they're choices worked out and my opinion was wrong! ( The fish don't always read the book) The post about being kindly rude and mentioning that the store went out of business makes you wonder? If you refuse to sell to a customer, they'll just go down the road and buy from your competitor and you'll never see them again! I finally closed my store, because I was burned out on dumb people doing dumb things!!!
  13. KinsKicksFishlore VIPMember

    I never refused to sell, I just made it clear what would happen. It was a corporation/chain pet store (and it wasn't just us, they had dropped the three of the four stores in my area) and they usually came back because the fish died so quickly and they knew we had a replacement policy :/. I guess I sounded a bit too harsh about the kindly rude thing in my comment; I hope I didn't make it sound like to act like a total jerk to the customer. I just really cared for my section and hated to see them (or any animal) get killed off by ignorant people. And I'm really sorry about your business, you were probably a wonderful owner who did your best in a world of ignorant people. So my apologies to all who misinterpreted me!
  14. CarrieFisherWell Known MemberMember

    Doesn't it just baffle you, the lengths one must go thru to adopt a dog or a cat, but anyone can walk in to a LPS with an ominous mix of fish on a shopping list and leave with their mayhem contained in a few water filled bags, and be on their merry way?
  15. ShioriValued MemberMember

    I try to do all things you guys are saying.
    I actually spent an hour with different people. Trying to pick out tanks and fish with them.
    Its fun when they listen, especially when you talk them out of buy 5 little commom plecos for their 55 gallon tank. (Just did this a few minutes ago actually))

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