We can force the LFS's to change, what are we waiting for??? - Page 2 - Tropical Fish Keeping - Aquarium fish care and resources
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post #11 of 12 Old 04-23-2008, 12:50 AM
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I would like to make a few points from an employee's point of view. I work in a fish store that is pretty well known. I won't name it because I would like to keep my job. A friend of mine and I have been pushing this issue where we work for a long time. We are among the peons of the store and our word doesn't really matter to the higher ups.

When you are a customer and you notice these things, telling a peon doesn't really do anything. If I report it to my higher ups they just ignore it like it never happened. You, as the customer, must find a way to tell the higher ups themselves.

Another issue at hand is not all customers get it. I'm assuming many of these people aren't actually on this forum but in case you are and you are reading this, here is a story that will explain it best. Today at work I helped a woman and her daughter. She had a 5 gallon tank newly set up. She bought 8 neon tetras, 8 glo-light tetras and 4 peppered corydorus catfish. Now I'm sure many of you out there are cringing right now just as I did. It didn't matter what I told her it didn't matter. She even understood that they would probably all be dead by morning. From an employees standpoint nothing is worse than not being able to refuse a sale. The reason I stated this is to point out not all employees in fish stores are against this and are just as concerned as you are.

As bettababy said, the consumer has the power. I know for a fact from working on the inside some of the stuff that goes on and its all I can do to keep from losing it on some of my managers. Honestly I hate my job and I can't wait till I can quit. I look forward to that day. I strongly urge everyone to start pushing the issue of fish health. It really is a need.

Thanks bettababy for bringing this issue to the public attention. I'm currently trying to acquire a supervisor position where I work so I can carry a little more weight with my store recommendations.


full time student
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post #12 of 12 Old 04-23-2008, 01:10 AM Thread Starter
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You're welcome, Ziek. It was my 6.5 yrs in the store that got me so fed up I had to quit or risk losing what sanity I had left. When I first started working there, it was all about the animals and we were allowed to refuse sales such as those. When the Nemo movie came out, we had to refuse customers who wanted to put nemo in a bowl. One woman got quite vulgar with me, claimed "its my money, I'll spend it how I want to and you can't stop me!" My answer to her was simple: "It may be your money, but at the moment it's MY fish, and if you want to do this, you'll have to go kill someone else's, cuz you can't have mine!" Then I showed her the door with the support of the rest of the store staff.

It isn't all on the employees... and all too often it's the employees who get stuck in the middle. The boss has the final say on what happens, and the customers can be relentless. The employee is stuck in the middle... the same employee who spends every day nurturing these animals... not the boss who sits at his desk, or the customer who comes in to browse... it's the employees who try to stop the abuse and neglect with education, but too often these employees have no way to get the education themselves. Most stores won't pay for that, and don't care if you have it or not. Anyone who spends 4 - 6 yrs in college to get educated, spends $30k on that education, can't afford to work for $7 - $8/hr with no benefits... and that's all these stores pay. A manager's position might pull you $9 - $10/hr if you're lucky and in the right place, but even still... you can't live on that, nor can you support a family on that.

Then there is the added problem that most people who learn this the hard way, by being an employee, are forced to quit their jobs to get away from it, because they soon realize they are fighting a losing battle. Too often those people just give up and go another direction, and very seldom do they take the time to come to places like this... offer their help, expertise, and advice to those who need it most. When I told coworkers about the customers having the power, they agreed with me, but also showed a huge lack of faith in reaching enough of those customers to make a difference.

That is the reason I came here, posted this thread. I won't give up... I will either change things or die trying... because if I don't, who will? These animals depend on us, its the least we can do.

I am still fond of wandering pet stores and warning customers as they come and look at something that is sick or mistreated. I will stand there all day until they ask me to leave, but I've noticed more often than not, instead of removing me, the peon employees tend to gravitate towards me, asking questions of their own, and actually try to make a difference. I have had a few managers do the same. 1 voice is all it takes to get things started, and 1 voice can keep it going... but it will take a lot more than that to actually resolve the problem, so everyone... jump on the bandwagon, be heard, be seen, and make a difference!

Dawn Moneyhan
Aquatics Specialist/Nutritionist
Juneau, WI
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