Petsmart- why do I keep going there!? - Tropical Fish Keeping - Aquarium fish care and resources
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post #1 of 39 Old 06-21-2008, 02:18 PM Thread Starter
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Petsmart- why do I keep going there!?

Every once and a while I convince myself that maybe that new chain store isn't that bad and I should visit. A new PetSmart opened nearby and I thought I'd visit it. Well, it was that bad. It really, really was. Here's an email I sent to PetSmart today. I just don't feel OK visiting a store like that and keeping my mouth shut. I hope others will speak up with me.

I recently visited the Fish section of this store. I was excited to visit it because it is new and large and I was hopeful about the conditions the fish were kept in.

When I arrived, I was extremely disappointed. I saw two fish in particular that worried me- a fish with an extreme case of Ich and one with Fin Rot so bad that it no longer had any fins. Both of these were extremely far progressed and the fish had clearly had the condition for some time. These fish were clearly sick and contagious and should have been quarantined. The more reputable fish stores I visit refuse to sell any fish from a tank with a sick fish in it. However, the employees seemed to have no idea that these fish were sick and did were quite happy to sell those fish and others from the tank.

These fish are not only being improperly cared for, but you are doing a great disservice to all of your customers. Anyone who buys fish from these tanks runs the risk of infecting all of the healthy fish they have at home. I asked your employees if they had any training in fish health and they said yes, but the training must not have been very good. All that would be needed to train employees to identify these types of illnesses would be to simply show them a picture of a similarly infected fish.

I brought this subject up with the store manager and she said she would speak to the Fish Care manager the next day, as he was already gone for the night. However, I did not hold out much hope for the situation as these fish had been sick for a long time and the Fish Care manager was either uninformed or negligent enough to not remove them earlier. I do not see why someone like this would be appointed and maintained as the person in charge of the health of fish.

The obvious sickness of these fish depressed and disappointed me. Clearly I cannot purchase any of your fish as I run the risk of seriously infecting my current pet fish. I am a member of the Boston Aquarium Society and of a popular online fish forum and will be sure to warn every fish keeper I meet to buy their fish from a better kept store.

I'd certainly like to give your store a try again sometime, but right now I don't have the heart to return.

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post #2 of 39 Old 06-21-2008, 02:39 PM
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good going Maeve!
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post #3 of 39 Old 06-21-2008, 03:15 PM
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I've had mixed experiences with Petsmart. The store closest to my college is absolutely abysmal. In your letter, you cited one bad case of ich and a really bad case of fin rot. The store near campus ALWAYS has disease running rampant through their tanks. The cichlids are always covered in ich, every last one of them with a really bad case of it. There are dozens of dead fish in their tanks at any given time.

On the opposite end of the spectrum, another Petsmart near me actually has some fairly well-informed employees. I've been to this store several times now, and each time I've actually witness them refuse to sell fish to people for all sorts of reasons (incompatible fish, hard fish to keep for beginners, people who were buying tanks at the time so obviously hadn't cycled their tanks yet, etc). Additionally, someone actually removed a lot of the official Petsmart information labels from the tanks and has replaced them with hand-written cards with information that's actually accurate. Not to mention their prices on certain equipment are much cheaper than my other LFS's, though they're generally more expensive than online shops.

All in all, especially considering the anecdotes you read about Petsmart from other members of the forum, I'd say more often than not that Petsmart is a pretty crappy place to shop. I don't mind buying some supplies there (like fish food) but for fish, I definitely prefer my LFS and for supplies, I'll mostly stick to online supply shops.

Maeve, hopefully you'll actually get something accomplished with that letter. I haven't written to that one crummy Petsmart before, but I have had chats both with the store manager and the Fish section staff many times about the poor quality of their fish, and every single time they act like they've never heard complaints before and are completely surprised that they have diseased and dead/dying fish in their store.

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post #4 of 39 Old 06-21-2008, 04:31 PM
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i was never at petsmart but i was at walmart

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post #5 of 39 Old 06-21-2008, 06:47 PM Thread Starter
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Surprise was pretty much the response I got from the manager. I used those two fish as examples because they were so obvious, there were certainly other sick fish. I mean seriously, if you can't identify a fish as sick when it has NO FINS why are you selling fish!?

Luckily, I have a great LFS. I just always like to check out the new places, and every single time it depresses me. Mostly because if people didn't shop there they would have to shape up or go out of business.
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post #6 of 39 Old 06-22-2008, 12:37 AM
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Ya know, I'll be honest. I haven't had any issues with Petsmart. While they aren't as up to snuff as my LFS they aren't a little shop of horrors either. There are three within five miles of my home (I have no idea why) and I have never seen a dead fish in any tank or any sign of serious disease. Admittedly I've only been cruising them for about a month but I stop by usually at least once a week and they seem to do pretty well. While I'm going to buy my fish from my LFS (prices actually beat Petsmart most of the time) I wouldn't feel too nervous taking home a fish from any of the three.

Now the local Petco, I wouldn't touch them with a ten foot pole.

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post #7 of 39 Old 06-22-2008, 01:13 AM
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I've found Petco to generally be slightly higher-quality than Petsmart but with higher prices. I don't buy anything from Petco except for their driftwood. That's the one good thing about the place: the Petco closest to me always has one of their tanks filled to the brim with decent-sized chunks of driftwood with even the biggest pieces going for $10. I can't argue with that.

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post #8 of 39 Old 06-22-2008, 05:23 AM
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well done to you for sending that letter.
these people are so silly,they would make far more money
if they looked after their live stock,as we would frequent
them more often.
my LFS will not sell any infected fish,and nearly always place a sticker on the tank,informing people of it being medicated.
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post #9 of 39 Old 06-22-2008, 08:43 AM
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It's always hit-or-miss with these stores. My local Petco musta gotten their behinds handed to them because they started putting signs on the tanks with the sickies saying they weren't for sale, and last time I was in poking my nose around someone that actually knew what they were talking about was working, and when I asked about a fish that they didn't have they actually recommended looking at one of the one of the good LFS's. PetSmart's actually getting worse, I think. Only good for the plants.

This is the song that never ends...
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post #10 of 39 Old 06-22-2008, 10:09 AM Thread Starter
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Unfortunately around where I live, Petsmart is actually BETTER than Petco. Blegh.
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