Should I Work At Petsmart?

DixieFish

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Has anyone on here in the US ever worked at PetSmart? I'm looking for a job working with fish and PetSmart and Petco are about the only places close to me that I can work at. I'd LOVE to work at my local mom and pop fish place, but I wouldn't make any decent wage.

I've never worked at any pet store before and I kinda want an insider's opinion on whether its a good idea, or if I should try elsewhere. I already know I'll have my work cut out for me at first - they've been under staffed for awhile and their tanks show it. Nice fish, just grubby tanks.

All opinions welcome! Thank you!
 

Fisker

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I was actually just hired at Petsmart - in the process of actually starting, though.

So far, things seem okay. I'm at a smaller location, so things aren't too bad. Animals are pretty well taken care of, and there's usually not too much for everyone to care for in any of the live sections. Tanks are usually kinda dirty, but that's kind of inevitable with the amount of fish that are going through the tanks. The feeder tank is usually pretty bad, and that's something that I'm going to try and make sure gets better. Bettas seem to be doing well - not great, but they're better than a lot of places.
 

~Rayofsunshine~

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Honestly, I think it would be cool, because if something was out of line, or there are pets/fish not well taken care of, you could set a new standard for the place and help whatever needs to be helped. Also, just having lots of experience from cool different jobs is a nice thing to have. Hope you find something that works well for you!
 

MommaWilde

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I worked at a petsmart for almost 2 years. I met a lot of really awesome people and it's what started me in fish keeping. I was lucky that some of my coworkers were pretty knowledgeable. Even in big chain stores, each location might be better or worse than others. It all depends on the people. I worked at my lfs later which gave me a lot more insight.

I'd say go for it.
Tips:
1. Do your own research on animals and products.
2. Take any training offered but then double check what they teach with your own research.
3. Advise customers to the best of your knowledge but also encourage them to do their own research. It helps to offer your favorite sources to give them somewhere to start.
4. Know that you are bound to have difficult customers. Dont let it get to you. Dont take it personally.
5. Understand that pet care has changed a lot in the last 50 years so you may hear many different ways to care for certain pets. Different does not necessarily mean better or worse.

Good Luck!
 

Annie59

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Know that it won't only be the fish section. How are you with the reptiles and the little critters like rats? Or the spiders and other crawlies lol. And snakes I actually like the other creatures myself. But if your afraid of them, might look else where. Good luck with your job search.
 

The_fishy

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If you look at Petco, they hire aquatics specialists if you are looking to mainly work with fish.

I agree with what others above said. Personally, I really loved my job at Petco and it was great to be able to make an impact on the store and the community.

You should expect a pet job to be fairly fast-paced. The tasks of the day need to be done on schedule no mater how many customers come through or else they kind of back up on you, especially if your store has a large fish section or they keep all of the tanks right in front of a window. I managed 77 tanks by myself and 98% of those were in direct sunlight, so needed scrubbed every other day in order for algae to not look bad on my days off.

If you do decide to go through with this and get hired, a waterproof watch is a great investment!
 
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DixieFish

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I was actually just hired at Petsmart - in the process of actually starting, though.

So far, things seem okay. I'm at a smaller location, so things aren't too bad. Animals are pretty well taken care of, and there's usually not too much for everyone to care for in any of the live sections. Tanks are usually kinda dirty, but that's kind of inevitable with the amount of fish that are going through the tanks. The feeder tank is usually pretty bad, and that's something that I'm going to try and make sure gets better. Bettas seem to be doing well - not great, but they're better than a lot of places.
Awesome! If I get hired on, we can commiserate together, lol!
This store is pretty small, too, and has some stiff competition with the Petco across the street. Very small selection of pets, but the employees there seem alot friendlier and more laid back and I actually got to talk to the manager, which is always a good sign.

Honestly, I think it would be cool, because if something was out of line, or there are pets/fish not well taken care of, you could set a new standard for the place and help whatever needs to be helped. Also, just having lots of experience from cool different jobs is a nice thing to have. Hope you find something that works well for you!
Oh, man, I can't hardly keep track of all the different and crazy jobs I've had over my working career. I think if I consolidated my entire work history into one resume it'd be 8 pages long!

Unfortunately, being a Jack of all Trades is kind've a two-edged sword... Especially now that I'm older and don't have the stamina or free time that I used to have.

But I just LOVE people's reaction when I tell them I worked one summer at a goldfish farm! :emoji_grin: Most amusing job in my life!

Know that it won't only be the fish section. How are you with the reptiles and the little critters like rats? Or the spiders and other crawlies lol. And snakes I actually like the other creatures myself. But if your afraid of them, might look else where. Good luck with your job search.
I can't think of a single pet I wouldn't be willing to handle so long as I was shown the proper way to handle it and/or was given the chance to learn it's habits and attitude. I owned rats for years, hamsters when I was a kid, rabbits in college, and I adore any chance to wrap a snake around my neck, or hold a rose-hair tarantula. Learned how to handle birds from a pet store owner in Cali. LOL! I could go on, but I think I'm just "dating myself" if I do! :emoji_stuck_out_tongue_closed_eyes:
 

Annie59

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Awesome! If I get hired on, we can commiserate together, lol!
This store is pretty small, too, and has some stiff competition with the Petco across the street. Very small selection of pets, but the employees there seem alot friendlier and more laid back and I actually got to talk to the manager, which is always a good sign.



Oh, man, I can't hardly keep track of all the different and crazy jobs I've had over my working career. I think if I consolidated my entire work history into one resume it'd be 8 pages long!

Unfortunately, being a Jack of all Trades is kind've a two-edged sword... Especially now that I'm older and don't have the stamina or free time that I used to have.

But I just LOVE people's reaction when I tell them I worked one summer at a goldfish farm! :emoji_grin: Most amusing job in my life!



I can't think of a single pet I wouldn't be willing to handle so long as I was shown the proper way to handle it and/or was given the chance to learn it's habits and attitude. I owned rats for years, hamsters when I was a kid, rabbits in college, and I adore any chance to wrap a snake around my neck, or hold a rose-hair tarantula. Learned how to handle birds from a pet store owner in Cali. LOL! I could go on, but I think I'm just "dating myself" if I do! :emoji_stuck_out_tongue_closed_eyes:
Sound like me growing up well good luck, sounds like you would make a great pet store employee!
 

KaptainStache

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Ive had much better fish help from Petco. My local Petsmart people are more dog and cat knowledge. Good luck to you whichever you choose
 

bizaliz3

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Not to be a downer, but I wouldn't be able to do it simply because at chains like petsmart and petco...you often are not allowed to refuse a sale or talk people out of buying certain fish. And even when do you try and kindly encourage them to go a more appropriate direction...so many have their hearts set on what they want to get and will not listen to you.

There have been too many times where I have seen parents with their little kids....letting the kids pick out a bunch of different kinds of schooling fish for their little brand new 5-10 gallon because they are tiny fish. Not only is the tank too small, but they are schooling fish. Going for variety rather than appropriate schools bugs me a lot. Or letting the kids pick out a goldfish for their bowl or tiny tank. (sometimes I hear them saying that it is a replacement for the one that died!)
Also constantly seeing people buying common plecos to "clean" their tanks. Or clown loaches to eat their snails. (in tanks that are very small)
Also, Lots of brand new hobbyists with little to no knowledge....buying their very first tank that very day and ALSO buying all the fish that very same day.

I would love to be there to help people learn and encourage them to go certain directions....but I would get too frustrated with the large number of people who completely tune out the good advice and even get angry with you for trying to help. Its so discouraging to me.

Granted, there are also a lot of people who WILL listen to good advice and be open to learning and doing things the right way for the fish. So that could be rewarding. Saving people from making the beginner mistakes so many of us have made. But you'd have to be able to shake off all the ones who have no concern for the fish's well being. And for me personally, I wouldn't be able to do it. Its too discouraging.
 

MommaWilde

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Not to be a downer, but I wouldn't be able to do it simply because at chains like petsmart and petco...you often are not allowed to refuse a sale or talk people out of buying certain fish. And even when do you try and kindly encourage them to go a more appropriate direction...so many have their hearts set on what they want to get and will not listen to you.

There have been too many times where I have seen parents with their little kids....letting the kids pick out a bunch of different kinds of schooling fish for their little brand new 5-10 gallon because they are tiny fish. Not only is the tank too small, but they are schooling fish. Going for variety rather than appropriate schools bugs me a lot. Or letting the kids pick out a goldfish for their bowl or tiny tank. (sometimes I hear them saying that it is a replacement for the one that died!)
Also constantly seeing people buying common plecos to "clean" their tanks. Or clown loaches to eat their snails. (in tanks that are very small)
Also, Lots of brand new hobbyists with little to no knowledge....buying their very first tank that very day and ALSO buying all the fish that very same day.

I would love to be there to help people learn and encourage them to go certain directions....but I would get too frustrated with the large number of people who completely tune out the good advice and even get angry with you for trying to help. Its so discouraging to me.

Granted, there are also a lot of people who WILL listen to good advice and be open to learning and doing things the right way for the fish. So that could be rewarding. Saving people from making the beginner mistakes so many of us have made. But you'd have to be able to shake off all the ones who have no concern for the fish's well being. And for me personally, I wouldn't be able to do it. Its too discouraging.
I agree. That was hard to deal with. The customers but especially store policy. The reason I ended up quitting was because we got a new manager and it was clear that profit was more important than proper pet care. Collecting emails over answering questions. And I kept calling him out on it. Eventually I told him corporate wasn't for me and I left.

One of our previous managers was awesome. She was a mom and loved animals. She would stand up for us if a nasty customer complained that we told them they shouldn't do something. She let us do our job and made the store feel like an lfs.

I know I helped a lot of people, made friends and it's what got me into fish. So I'm thankful for the experience but I wouldn't go back for round 2.

Working at the lfs was totally different. Small privately owned. People who really cared about the animals and let us say no when we felt the need. I'm still great friends with those folks.
 

The_fishy

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Not to be a downer, but I wouldn't be able to do it simply because at chains like petsmart and petco...you often are not allowed to refuse a sale or talk people out of buying certain fish. And even when do you try and kindly encourage them to go a more appropriate direction...so many have their hearts set on what they want to get and will not listen to you.

There have been too many times where I have seen parents with their little kids....letting the kids pick out a bunch of different kinds of schooling fish for their little brand new 5-10 gallon because they are tiny fish. Not only is the tank too small, but they are schooling fish. Going for variety rather than appropriate schools bugs me a lot. Or letting the kids pick out a goldfish for their bowl or tiny tank. (sometimes I hear them saying that it is a replacement for the one that died!)
Also constantly seeing people buying common plecos to "clean" their tanks. Or clown loaches to eat their snails. (in tanks that are very small)
Also, Lots of brand new hobbyists with little to no knowledge....buying their very first tank that very day and ALSO buying all the fish that very same day.

I would love to be there to help people learn and encourage them to go certain directions....but I would get too frustrated with the large number of people who completely tune out the good advice and even get angry with you for trying to help. Its so discouraging to me.

Granted, there are also a lot of people who WILL listen to good advice and be open to learning and doing things the right way for the fish. So that could be rewarding. Saving people from making the beginner mistakes so many of us have made. But you'd have to be able to shake off all the ones who have no concern for the fish's well being. And for me personally, I wouldn't be able to do it. Its too discouraging.
At my petco we were legally allowed to refuse sales. This was in PA though, so it may vary district to district. I also had a really cool manager who let me set up a six gallon as an example betta display.
 

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I am going to follow this thread, as I am looking for a job within this field too, and it would be interesting to pick up any tips when possible.
 

CanadianFishFan

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To me I plan to start off a little more slow in my local PetValu. Then I can work up to Petsmart or Petland and eventually Big Als my local fish store. The guide lines all seem easy such as "you need to be able to life this much, work these hours and multitask". And if your me stocking shelves sounds like fun lol. All you gotta do is work your way up and who knows, maybe you can become manger lol.
 
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DixieFish

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I worked at a petsmart for almost 2 years. I met a lot of really awesome people and it's what started me in fish keeping. I was lucky that some of my coworkers were pretty knowledgeable. Even in big chain stores, each location might be better or worse than others. It all depends on the people. I worked at my lfs later which gave me a lot more insight.

I'd say go for it.
Tips:
1. Do your own research on animals and products.
2. Take any training offered but then double check what they teach with your own research.
3. Advise customers to the best of your knowledge but also encourage them to do their own research. It helps to offer your favorite sources to give them somewhere to start.
4. Know that you are bound to have difficult customers. Dont let it get to you. Dont take it personally.
5. Understand that pet care has changed a lot in the last 50 years so you may hear many different ways to care for certain pets. Different does not necessarily mean better or worse.

Good Luck!
I would add one more to that list:
Tip # 6: Always Listen to Momma! :emoji_heart:

You give wonderful advice and insight, @MommaWilde ! Tip 4 is the most important of all no matter where you work, tho its the most easily forgotten. And since I have the memory of a goldfish, I am bookmarking your post, lol. Thank you!

I know fish care has changed A TON in just the last 15 years, so it'll be interesting to find out how other pets might have changed.

I agree. That was hard to deal with. The customers but especially store policy. The reason I ended up quitting was because we got a new manager and it was clear that profit was more important than proper pet care. Collecting emails over answering questions. And I kept calling him out on it. Eventually I told him corporate wasn't for me and I left.

One of our previous managers was awesome. She was a mom and loved animals. She would stand up for us if a nasty customer complained that we told them they shouldn't do something. She let us do our job and made the store feel like an lfs.

I know I helped a lot of people, made friends and it's what got me into fish. So I'm thankful for the experience but I wouldn't go back for round 2.

Working at the lfs was totally different. Small privately owned. People who really cared about the animals and let us say no when we felt the need. I'm still great friends with those folks.
See, I, too have worked at a lot of corporate businesses and I'm worried this PetSmart might have that corporate mentality. (I'm judging it by the way the tanks have been loosely maintained over the last 3 months. Although, I'm hoping its instead a lazy employee thing.)

I've applied to both PetSmart and Petco, as well as a couple other jobs as well. Even if I do get one of these jobs, I've thought about volunteering at the local LFS, I just haven't figured out how to ask.

I'm expecting the gruff and\or impatient customer far more frequently than the knowledgeable one at this store. The real hobbyists either go to the LFS or petco. PetSmart customer service just seems friendlier and the staff more laid back. And part of me wants to desperately prove that cleaned, well-maintained tanks\cages = increased sales and customer satisfaction.

I just hope that if I do get the job that I can keep my mouth shut to the boss about them selling dracaena wendtii plants as "sub-aquatic" when it is actually a full terrestrial plant that HATES wet roots! (If the customer buys it, great, but I'm not selling it as a tank plant!)

There is still Petco, which recently upgraded their aquatics section. Just not sure they are hiring aquatics specialists now.
 
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