04-23-2008, 01:10 AM
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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!