Funny The things I hear working at a pet store...

tapirtamer

If I didn't laugh, I'd cry in frustration. Here's one of the customer conversations I've had, and I'd be interested to hear some of yours from fellow pet care workers!

I have to do a water test for an older woman with a 55-gallon cichlid tank whose fish keep dying off, right? I do a test as best I can with how little water she brought in. The nitrates are off the charts, well over 200ppm, so I ask when she last did a water change. "A what?" A... A water change? Taking out some water, preferably gravel vacuuming a bit, adding dechlorinated water in? "I don't have to do that. I have three java ferns and an anubias in there!" When I try to explain that it doesn't work like that, she asks if adding another anubias will "balance" things. I spend half an hour trying to convince this lady that nothing but regular water changes will fix this.
"What about snails? Can buy some snails? They'll eat the nitrates." Nothing eats nitrates! They'll actually add to nitrates! You need water changes! It's not that hard! (Of course, being an employee, I have to word this all in a much nicer way with a big, friendly smile).
She claims that she needs a second opinion and leaves.
 

StarGirl

I have snickered at some of the questions asked at my lfs. People just don't know and just don't care to know.
 
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Sanderguy777

If I didn't laugh, I'd cry in frustration. Here's one of the customer conversations I've had, and I'd be interested to hear some of yours from fellow pet care workers!

I have to do a water test for an older woman with a 55-gallon cichlid tank whose fish keep dying off, right? I do a test as best I can with how little water she brought in. The nitrates are off the charts, well over 200ppm, so I ask when she last did a water change. "A what?" A... A water change? Taking out some water, preferably gravel vacuuming a bit, adding dechlorinated water in? "I don't have to do that. I have three java ferns and an anubias in there!" When I try to explain that it doesn't work like that, she asks if adding another anubias will "balance" things. I spend half an hour trying to convince this lady that nothing but regular water changes will fix this.
"What about snails? Can buy some snails? They'll eat the nitrates." Nothing eats nitrates! They'll actually add to nitrates! You need water changes! It's not that hard! (Of course, being an employee, I have to word this all in a much nicer way with a big, friendly smile).
She claims that she needs a second opinion and leaves.
I just saw this somewhere recently about snails helping ammonia spikes....
WHERE ON EARTH do they come up with these ideas?

I didn't work in the pet section, but I used to work near it in Walmart, and all the time, I'd have to explain that no, goldfish don't live in BOWLS. Even though the picture says so on the package

And no, that oscar, and that crowded, and that goldfish, could NOT, under any circumstances, live with each other. Yeas, you can put them in the same tank, but they won't LIVE in that tank...
NO! they can't go in the .25 gallon bowl on the shelf over there! No, not even with the photo shoeing all three in that bowl! :mad: o_O
 
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Animalfriend26

It may sound weird to say buy it's actually kinda nice to hear that the customers are the ones not having a clue or being misinformed about keeping pets. I mean, definitely not for their pet fish but at least you know your stuff and you'll give the right advice. I recently got the opportunity to work part time at a quite reputable pet shop in my town and I was so excited because I love animals and always imagined even volunteering at a pet shop. I just love the smell and the sounds and everything. It relaxes me! So when the manager told me during a conversation to "not read any forums about fish keeping because there's a lot of false information in there and that bettas don't need a 10 gallon, they can live fine in a small bowl" my first thought was "yeah, you can live in tiny one room apartment but you'll probably be miserable and die sooner"(I didn't say it out loud )and I was just dissapointed. And the thing is she wasn't clueless. She knew a lot of stuff about pet care. And I'm not one of those people that will "bully" anyone who decides to keep their fish in a bowl. But, now that I'm older and I've read a thing or two it just goes against my principles to deliberately advice someone to keep a fish in a bowl. And then I saw that they kept their turtles (maybe 10) in a tiny tank with barely any water and my heart broke for the little ones and at that point I decided I didn't ever want to make money out of animals like that, because it would make me sad aaaand I went back home and relaxed next to my betta in his 12 gallon mansion
Sorry for the rant! Keep doing your job as best you can and guiding people to the right way to fish keeping!
 
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veggieshark

I have snickered at some of the questions asked at my lfs. People just don't know and just don't care to know.
I think it is denial at first. They learn that they have to do more learning, they need to buy new things and there is an additional chore. they will come around.
I just saw this somewhere recently about snails helping ammonia spikes....
WHERE ON EARTH do they come up with these ideas?

I didn't work in the pet section, but I used to work near it in Walmart, and all the time, I'd have to explain that no, goldfish don't live in BOWLS. Even though the picture says so on the package

And no, that oscar, and that crowded, and that goldfish, could NOT, under any circumstances, live with each other. Yeas, you can put them in the same tank, but they won't LIVE in that tank...
NO! they can't go in the .25 gallon bowl on the shelf over there! No, not even with the photo shoeing all three in that bowl! :mad: o_O
I am not saying it is true, but the snail helping with nitrates may have originated form them eating rotting plants. An overrated benefit.
 
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Sanderguy777

I think it is denial at first. They learn that they have to do more learning, they need to buy new things and there is an additional chore. they will come around.

I am not saying it is true, but the snail helping with nitrates may have originated form them eating rotting plants. An overrated benefit.
That could be.
I wonder what the difference in ammonia, nitrite and nitrate is between a rotting plant leaf, and a snail...
I would guess that the snail puts out more, because of bodily functions, but I have no idea how it actually works out.

There is always the good old 1" per gallon rule! Lol "Can I have that little sturgeon in my 60 gallon? It says he only gets 59" long, so I want to put 2 neons in with him for company..."
 
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Leeman75

I just saw this somewhere recently about snails helping ammonia spikes....
WHERE ON EARTH do they come up with these ideas?

Snails do help ammonia spikes. They help in creating them when they die!
 
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RelaxingBettas

Snails do help ammonia spikes. They help in creating them when they die!
Wait, they're not immortal?
 
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RelaxingBettas

Only bladder snails.
I think I have seen an empty ramshorn shell come to think of it, but unlike the wretched ghost shrimp, when it passed on, it passed on quietly without crashing my tank! the funny thing is I had them (bladders) thaw from solid ice for a week after the last freeze in my pond and they're fine.
 
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Sanderguy777

I think I have seen an empty ramshorn shell come to think of it, but unlike the wretched ghost shrimp, when it passed on, it passed on quietly without crashing my tank! the funny thing is I had them (bladders) thaw from solid ice for a week after the last freeze in my pond and they're fine.
I had a crusty, dried out bladder snail on the OUTSIDE of my tank, and I tossed it back in the water just in case the guppies might get a dinner.... I just saw it crawling around yesterday!
 
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RelaxingBettas

They truly are immortal folks are breeding pretty isotope varieties, why not our poor much maligned, ubiquitous pond snails? If they were delicate, people would spend a fortune importing inbred ones with extra long antennae and fancy markings I don't despise them, but I could wish their occasional proliferation wasn't an unwanted reminder that I probably have more melted leaf mulm than I need lol.
 
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Alejandro

The pet game is often sad but if we want to change it we need to understand that it is driven by natural selection - some businesses will die (be selected out ) others will survive.

Why? Well assume everyone averages the same business skills (while not true it simplifies the thought process) then who survives? The pet shop that sells gives bad advice and provides bad experiences dies because people give up or stop coming. But the perfect pet shop that gives the best advice, only sells top notch stuff and makes sure customers are equipped before selling to them also fails because some won't buy because the buy-in cost is too high, and others buy and have long successful pets that don't need replacing.

So the shop that survives is just good enough to keep you all coming back but bad enough that you have to come back...

I found this out many years ago when we sold frogs. We gave printed care information with every one , gave support online, made sure people had suitable facilities and we sold the best frog tanks in town (made by us in house) . Sadly the frogs lived 20+ years so no one came back - well rarely for more frogs- now we only sell mail order frog food (live insects) and we still have customers feeding frogs they purchased from us in the late 1990s..
 
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AggressiveAquatics

One time i was at petco buying some fish food and I saw this guy and his daughter looking at the little feeder goldfish and he said and I quote “it’s almost time for your next weekly fish, do you see any you want?”
 
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Alejandro

One time i was at petco buying some fish food and I saw this guy and his daughter looking at the little feeder goldfish and he said and I quote “it’s almost time for your next weekly fish, do you see any you want?”
Maybe she's like my son - he gets at least one fish a week but just keeps them all - three years and 20+ tabks later he's probably got over 300 aquatic pets.
 
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fishbreeeder

Petco told my friend that oh you can keep 3 swordtails and platy in an unheated 5g and they will do GREAT. UGG
 
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FreshwaterCole

One time i was at petco buying some fish food and I saw this guy and his daughter looking at the little feeder goldfish and he said and I quote “it’s almost time for your next weekly fish, do you see any you want?”
 
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