How many petstores work - from the horse's mouth

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Rhan

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Hey guys, just thought I'd share my experience in a job interveiw for a petstore chain.

A few days ago, I saw a petstore advertising for 'fish geeks'. Well, pretty sure I fit into that cateogry So I emailed my resume with a coverletter, just for the heck of it, not expecting to get a callback at all. I already have a casual job, but another would be welcome. I wrote that coverletter like I've written no other, quite cocky and flashy I guess you could say. Well, I got a phone call the next day to arrange an interview! Anyway, I had that interview yesterday, and boy did it open my eyes.

The manager seemed like a nice enough guy at first, but he really pushed the point on making sales. He said he was sacking all the people that don't meet their sales targets, and hiring new ones. He also said that if an employee has spoken to a customer, and that customer walks out of the store without buying anything, the employee has failed to do their job. Oh, and that selling one product isn't good enough, you should sell at least one other product to go with the first product. And that fish are the products that need to be sold ASAP. This is all from the horse's mouth. I have a feeling many petstores would be telling their employees things like this.

I know retail can be a brutal industry, but wow. This guy just wants stuff sold, whether the customer needs or even wants it doesn't matter. Sure, it's a business, they need to make money, yadda yadda yadda. Well, it's funny how the LFS on the otherside of town can make profits AND do the right thing by the customers. Also, the animals lives are at stake here, they shouldn't be treated just as sales items.

If I do get a callback, I know what I'll be saying, 'No, thank you'. This experience has left me shaking my head and really made me think about where I'll be spending my money next time.
 

Shawnie

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its how MOST pet stores work you just got the inside setup of things... sad but true all over the world....private stores/family owned ones are better IMO
 
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Lucy

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That' why we all have a bottle of stress zyme, pH stuff etc hanging around.
We go in as newbies thinking they'll give good adivce and we left with things we didin't need!
 

Treefork

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Chain store?
 
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Rhan

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It just makes me sad *sigh*, not to mention angry.

Yes, the beginnings of a chain anyway, they have about 5 stores now in two states, and intend to buy more and rebadge them as their stores.
 
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ryanr

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I reckon I know which chain you're talking about BFP ?

I've worked in retail for over 10yrs, and know exactly what that manager was talking about. It's all about stock turns.

+1 on Lucy's comment, that's exactly why we have so many 'useless' products lying around, I actually went and tossed a lot of mine the other day.

Where possible, I always support my LFS, it's a little store, but I get whatever I can from them esp livestock. Anything they don't have, I tend to order online.

It is sad, and I struggle with the concept of add-on sales in pet-keeping. If I'm going in for food (be it dog or fish), why would I need to buy anything else at that same time?

edit: And if it is the chain I'm thinking of, they are very expensive too. Chains need higher profits to support the cost of larger buildings etc. When I was shopping for my canister (Eheim 2213), this one particular chain had it for [AUD] $259, going price at most LFS was $190-200, I got it online for $140.
 
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Rhan

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Spot on, Ryan! I have found some of their prices too high, but I got my first masterkit there for $20 cheaper than anywhere else (I didn't check online though). Thats probably the only thing though.

It just seems unfair that the retail 'rules' don't change when it comes to animals and their wellbeing.

I definetly will be supporting particular LFSs where possible
 

Jaysee

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I think we often make the mistake of assuming people that work in these stores actually care about animals. People need jobs, and managing a petstore probably isn't much different then managing anything else.....
 

Evan_Taber

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Good choice... I know people(sadly). That would be taken the job, as it represents money.
 

Butterfly

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Some times they will ask why you don't want the job. Offer a well thought out, short,respectful answer. They maynot/won't listen but you will feel better
Carol
 

navyscuba

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This is Great. Reminds me when I work as a Sporting Goods and Auto Department Manager at Kmart in Puerto Rico. In Puerto Rico Kmart is like Walmart here is the big chain store always clean and good prices. Walmart there is dirty and with poor lighting.(at that time. early 2000's) So I was looking for a different job and they called me to an interview and I went. It was in walmart. I was like ok lets see how this people react when I tell them my point of view of their store(i said in my mind) So I went to the interview. They put us in a room in the stockroom then was my turn. Straight up they asked me about past experiences and I told him did you see my resume? It prety much explains that. Then he asked me about my opinion about the store which I criticized from the floor to the roof. The guy was looking at me like I can't believe he just did that then I told him do you have any other questions on how to improve your store? The guy looked at me like are you nuts? Hehehe. I haven't been in walmart in PR for a long time but I love the ones here Except the fish dept.
 

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I, too, saw a sign that one of the chain petstores was hiring for the fish department and I thought about it as a fun PT gig but then thought I'd get fired rather quickly. I'd be telling customers about cycling and stopping them from walking out of the store with a brand new tank and fish. And I'd ask people what kind of setup they'd be putting their fish in and trying to advise them against an inappropriate choice.

But the manager's attitude is just a product of capitalism: money and profit margins are more important than quality or doing what's right by the customers, employees and the items being sold.

-Lisa
 

SFwriter

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I would have walked out on the guy without explanation.
 
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Rhan

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Thank you for the advice Carol I might just say straight out that I don't think the job is right for me. I've never had to do that before, so it's a little unnerving.

I actually had respect for this store before the interview. The staff were very friendly and nice, the place was always very clean, including the tanks. I did notice the knowledge of the staff was lacking though.

Kunsture: I had plans to do the same, I actually got a little excited at the prospect of informing people of the nitrogen cycle, as well as at least basic information on the fish they're interested in, as well as the products they sell. I wouldn't be able to lie and say 'oh, you must buy stresszyme!! As well as stresscoat, oh and you definetly need blah blah blah'.

It's such a shame, the money would have been nice and the hours would have suited me... But my personal ethics just don't fit in with how the place runs. They've just missed out on a hard worker
 

jclee

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I sometimes wonder if these chain stores even know how many of us feel this way. I know they're making money of the newbies, but loads of us who've been doing this for a while REFUSE to shop in chains, especially for our livestock. I have reptiles, amphibians, fish, and birds, and the ONLY thing I'll get from a chain are budgies from the budgie-bin (simply for lack of alternatives). The rest I buy from non-chain, local stores or else through online distributors. They might be making money from the newbies, but I spend AT LEAST $250 on my animals per year that they're losing.

I wonder if it would achieve anything if we started a letter-writing campaign to tell them, en mass, how we feel. I know at least a dozen other reptile/amphibian/bird/invert forums that might join us. What do you say? Do you think it would accomplish anything if we got thousands of people involved in an international, chain-store-reform campaign?
 

trailblazer295

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I get that they are trying to make money but if your going to give bad advice at least stick to supplies not livestock. It's like going for food for the new kitten and walking out with food, another kitten, bed, leash etc.
 

sjparker

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Ha! I take my two year old to the petsmart down the road just so he can look at all the fishies and kitties and birdies and the cool reptiles, without any intention of buying. I know alot of parents who do that. I wonder if that ever occurred to those managers. If i actually need livestock or supplies i go to this all aquarium family run business that has been in business since the seventies and will tell you to cycle and what fish get along with others etc. Silly chain stores. I personally hate big business and a big supporter of local business. Unfortunately letters no matter how many would get ignored all they see are dollar signs.
 

lorabell

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As a FORMER pet store owner....I say former because part of the reason we closed our store was because there were times I would refuse to sell an animal to inopropriate(?) customer......lol...and I would do every inch of it all over again the exact same way.....Good for u!!!!!!!.....Sometimes if theres something Ive come across, my favorite LFS will order anything she can get her hands on for me......they have never ever pushed anything on me.....that carries a ton of weight for me.....and with dogs,cats ,birds and fish all sharing my home.....I spend tons of $....so u guys know where I go....NO CHAINS for me!!!!!
 
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