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ozarks bullies 11-14-2012 07:42 PM

Coworker's bad advice killing customers' fish?
As some of you may or may not know, I work in the fish department of a large chain pet store. I'm aware that many aquarists are anti-pet store, but I try extremely hard to take very good care of "my" fish and give customers the best advice I can.

Lately I've had multiple customers coming in saying that another associate has been telling them to combat ammonia/nitrates/nitrites by removing the cartridges from their filters and adding nitrifying bacteria to their tanks... and all their fish are dying. Now I'm down with nitrifying bacteria and all, but all I really ever do is regular partial water changes and have no problems with water quality. I've been telling the poor confused customers to change part of their water and put their filter cartridges back in and viola... fish have stopped dying.

I do not understand why he's telling people what he's telling them. I know you take the carbon out when you're using certain medications to treat sick fish, but why with bacteria? Also, why not do regular partial water changes?

It's so frustrating because I'm afraid that things like this are going to damage the store's credibility. I work so hard for the company, but I realize that most customers are more likely to believe the word of a smooth-talking middle aged man than that of a socially awkward girl in her 20s... They just don't take me seriously...

I want to confront this associate but I was hoping for some help with thoughts and ideas here first. Thanks!

Romad 11-15-2012 04:32 AM

Maybe he's telling them to remove the filtration because there's carbon in them? It sounds to me like he's trying to do the right thing but doesn't fully understand the cycling process?

Is he the type of person who wouldn't be offended it you tried to explain something to him? It could make it an awkward work situation if he resents your advice. I guess I'm just trying to get a feel for the guy here.

How about printing out the nitrogen cycle process and leaving it at your station for reference?

1077 11-15-2012 07:09 AM

Sound's to me like the associate has the customer's right where he want's them either out of ignorance,or planned.:lol:
Fish are dying,,sell em more fish and bacterial supplement' s that may not be of any real benefit.
More fish die,,,sell em more fish,and possibly some medication's to then dump in the tank.
If the tank's where fish are dying are newly established,, then removing the filter material can often result in a good portion of beneficial bacteria that is slowly developing being removed as well.
Add to this the likelihood of over stocked tank's,overfeeding,and fishes are under considerable discomfort from too much waste ,food,entering the tank without sufficient biological filtration to handle it.
In addition to this,,,perhap's fish are not suited for particular tank due to water parameter's falling outside their preferred range(pH,GH.KH) or temperment's.
No problem,, He can then sell them potion's,powder's that will quickly adjust the water's parameter's and if fishes die,,,sell em more fish.
Some folk's travel on this merry go round for as long as their interest,determination,and dollar's hold out. Other's begin to question why,and at this time they finally begin their research which hopefully lead's them to search out sites like this for information that they may be lacking.
Yet another group of folk's don't care,, they are more interested in pretty color's of fish and will eventually have a cycled tank out of attrition.(lot's of dead fishes).
I shop for food's and supplies at the chain store's and often hear very poor advice being handed out, but I bite my tongue for most often,,,Offering perhap's differing advice, is akin to suggesting that their,child,dog,is ugly.
Bout as much as you can do and not create tension at the workplace, is suggest that maybe the person's might like to visit a popular fish forum like this one where they may be able to gain knowledge that doesn't cost em anything.
Nearly all folk's like free stuff:lol:

AbbeysDad 11-15-2012 08:02 AM

Ozarks Bullies is a socially awkward 20 something girl!?!?

Well, you have the disadvantage as most middle aged men are often a bit set in their ways and will think of you as child. Just maybe that's your leverage.
Tell him your still learning and ask him why he recommends removing the filter media and adding bacteria supplement. Whatever the reason, ask him, "won't removing the media remove the platform any existing bacteria is living in?"
Perhaps he mistakenly thinks carbon inhibits or removes bacteria, when in fact, it too is a great platform for bacteria due to the surface areas.

Perhaps innocent questions gain more ground than confrontation and coming off like an upstart know it all.

Good luck.

ozarks bullies 11-17-2012 07:37 AM

Thanks guys!

Yes, usually the tanks that customers are having trouble with are recently established and their cycle hasn't completed yet. I've tried talking to Mr. X but he is not receptive to anything I have to say. He claims he's been in the fish business for 30+ years etc, etc... He usually just goes around behind my back and talks bad about me. (One customer called the store manager and stated that he had told her that I think I know everything but I really don't... NICE!) He likes bimbo girls, not smart mean ones like me :-P He's found out he can't bullsh!t me. I think he is resentful of me because he's threatened by me. Why else would he have been trying to get me fired for the past year and a half?

I hear customer complaints about Mr. X on a weekly basis and I just have to bite my tongue and apologize because I don't want to make the company look bad. I declined a promotion to a management position, have even entertained the idea of transferring to a different store in another state, or finding a different job altogether... Not solely because of him, mind you, but he IS a factor...

Sorry if I'm a little rambly and incoherent... Brain function isn't 100% this early in the morning...

Shewbert 12-22-2012 12:16 PM

We ran 4 shops before taking over the quarantine/import center.
There was a big sign pointing to my daughter or to the expert of each shop clearly stating this was where you go for information.
The staff were trained, but each had different limitations on how much experience they have.
They had regular training courses to go on, plus on going in house training.
Her job was the regular upkeep of the tanks so moved regularly around the shop.
The staff knew that if they even had the slightest doubt about any question, the customer was referred to her.

It is this type of thing that puts off fish keepers from using large turnover shops with sparse overcrowded tanks, sometimes with a mixture of fish that should not be together.
The staff member then says look they all get on well together,,no they are stressed so they do not fight.,,,,rant over,,,,

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