We can force the LFS's to change, what are we waiting for???
I'm bringing you a copy of my yahoo blog entry from tonight because I think its important that everyone should know this information. Please pass this information on to everyone you know, even if they are not currently a pet owner. The more people who learn how to take control of the situation, the faster it will change for the better, for everyone.
We, the customers, have the power! Lets use it!
We are all customers at some time in our life, it's unavoidable in today's world. As customers people seem to think they are at the mercy of the retailer... well, good news for you... we're NOT! I have spent a lot of time lately answering questions about the terrible lack of care given to fish in pet stores. I have also read many posts about how someone has rescued one of these fish, and complains about having to rescue them.
Here's the problem:
Everytime we buy a sick or improperly cared for fish or animal to rescue it from a pet store, we contribute to the problem.
Unfortunately, this is something that most people don't understand or realize. Let me explain the concept so that everyone can now understand and help to FIX the problem instead of contributing.
A pet store's job is to make money. Stock in animals, care for the animals while in the store, and wages for people to provide this care all cost money. A store will provide the bare minimum in care to make the most profit. When we walk in and purchase that sick or imporperly cared for animal, it tells the store that what they are doing is working because they are making money at it... thus they will continue. Now, if we, as customers, complain about the lack of care, the unhealthy animals they offer us, and we walk away... what happens? The store gets stuck spending its money on longer term care, and then if/when that animal dies, all of that money and anything they spent to purchase it is gone. When a customer walks away it costs the store money, they get stuck with it... so what is their answer? The answer is to make the customer happy enough to buy the animals. If the customer makes the statement that they refuse to accept unhealthy or uncared for aniamls, then to stay in business, the store has to make the customer happy. If 1 store out of 5 in a city is selling healthy and well cared for animals, if people are willing to pay $1 more for something to ensure it is healthy and well cared for... then the other stores have to either raise their standards and meet these needs or watch all of their business go across town to the one place who does. A pet store won't stay in business for long if they have little to no business. Now, the same thing applies when buying your pet products. These products make money. When we stop spending any money at the stores who are lacking, then they have to fix their practices all around to bring us back or lose their business.
Not such a difficult concept, huh? So why are we still having the problems? Why have things not changed in our pet industry? From where I'm standing its more a matter that people don't understand the power they hold, and too many are afraid to complain. What is there to fear? In 2008 people are known for speaking their minds... openly... all around the world. So, everyone... SPEAK UP!!! Use the voice you're given to help those who don't have one.
When I walk into a store that carries live animals as part of their stock, I pay attention to what I am looking at. If there are sick or dead animals in a tank, I walk away... if the conditions are horrible, I also walk away. Yes, it is heart breaking to know that these animals are suffering, but... would you rather see 1 animal suffer to save thousands or would you rather see thousands suffer because you contributed to the problem? Ask yourself that question when you find it hard to walk away.... if I buy this animal will I contribute to the mistreatment of others? When you are at this crossroads get angry! Right then and there, get angry and open your mouth. Ask for a manager.... I have done this so many times I have lost count. In a Walmart I saw an entire shelf of bettas in bowls that were so dirty you could barely see the fish. I knew I had to walk away, but was so angry, I snatched a bowl off the shelf and went to the service counter. I demanded to see a manger in the pet dept. When this young man showed up, asked how he could help me, I stuffed the bowl in his face and asked him if he was responsible for "this"! Before giving him a chance to answer, I told him that all of his bettas looked like this and then asked if he and his staff had any humanity left in them. His reaction? He was totally blown away, stumbling to find an excuse to quiet me down. I let him know right there that the only thing that would make me happy was to see those fish in clean water and taken care of. His job as manager was to make the customer happy, so I followed and watched as he went back and began cleaning all of the bowls. Once he had started I was content to leave, and thanked him for doing a good job. With another situation, I saw a woman at a Walmart checkout counter, 3 kids and 3 big fancy goldfish in a bag... and a goldfish bowl. They were all excited, giving the fish names and getting attached. I stopped, went back to where they stood, said "excuse me, but do you know that if you put those fish into that bowl they will be dead by morning?" The woman looked up at me and said "who are you?"
My answer is "just someone who doesn't want to see you kill those poor fish, waste your hard earned money, and introduce your kids to animal abuse and its tradgedies." She paused a second, told the cashier to stop ringing up her items and then asked me, "why will they die in the bowl?" I then proceded to show her with my hands how big they grow to be, and gave a brief explaination about how they are dirty and pollute the water, which poisions them... and they run out of oxygen quick in a bowl." The next question she put to me is, "then why didn't the guy back there warn me about that?" I told her he problably didn't know, his job was to put them in a bag and make her happy. Those fish went back into a tank, the woman thanked me, and then I suggested she visit a pet store down the street for help in picking out a proper fish for her and her kids. I told her they had a lot more choices and would teach her all she needed to know to do it right and not waste her money. Where did I send her? To the store where I worked, of course. When she went in a week later, she went home with fish, and appropriate items to properly care for it. Everyone won out... except Walmart, who got stuck with those fish and lost someone's business and trust.
We can all do it.... it takes but a minute to say "you can't treat me like this, I deserve better!"
What's it going to take to wake people up???
Here, here, Dawn. This could be the start of a rebellion! All of the changes in the world started with one person, one idea, one voice.
This should not just be totally about just fish. I do not condone PETA, well, not the PETA you all know. (actually, PETA is anti-aquarium hobby) I have seen (and rescued) many animals that have been ill-kept, sometimes in squaller. Our 22 cats are all rescues. (now, will someone rescue me from them?) However, man was placed on the Earth and given the responsibilty of governing and ruling over the animals, great and small. Do we choose to be a tyrant or a benevolent ruler?
To also challenge each of you, in your own tanks, are you a haver or a keeper? I saw this on another forum and have been mulling it over for a a while. I think it is a great concept. Haver? Or keeper? Do you have fish or do you keep fish? Think about it. I hope that I am considered a keeper.
Dawn is correct in stating we can make a difference. One voice is the beginning.
You're a great person, Dawn
I have walked from a shop before due to the amount of dead fish,
and i have also advised people in a fish store that if they buy
those colourfull fish that they will probably not live long
as they have been dyed with colour,even though i received a
disgusted look from a sales person,and i have been met with
"don't care attitude" when i complained about how the Bettas
were kept,i dont shop there anymore,even when i have passed
by and really needed food.
Its not always the easiest to walk away, but everytime you do, pat yourself on the back and remember... you helped make a statement, you helped contribute to life instead of death.
When the sales people give you the dirty looks or approach you with the "i don't care" attitude... ask them questions...
Here are some questions that work well:
1. Can you tell me when to expect you to have healthy animals for me to purchase?
2. Are you offering a guaranty on the sick animals, my money back when they die? Or are you just trying to rip me off?
3. How do you make any money when you are so rude to the people who are spending it here?
4. Is your boss aware that you treat your customers poorly? Can I speak to your boss?
5. Is there someone available to help me who actually knows what they're talking about?
I ask these questions a lot, and I ask them loud enough for others to hear me... and I notice quite often that other people who are browsing will stop and wait to hear the answers. I have had days where I walk out, but I take most of the rest of the customers with me, also.
Another thing I've found effective is when I am listening to "advice" the employees give to other people, money that the staff is trying to steal on things not needed or things that can't work. I am bold enough to approach someone and tell them they are getting bad advice or ripped off, but for those who are a little more shy... try talking loudly to the person you are with, or just make a loud comment to yourself. Things like "oh man, they're taking that guy's wallet to the cleaners" or "those poor animals, what a waste!". Most people will hear these things and actually ask you what you mean, giving you a perfect opportunity to tell them. When you stand and listen to that advice a lot of staff will use the attention to try to sell you on something, also. Ask questions... "why would we need this?" Ask questions that make it clear to the other person that the staff memeber is steering them wrong. "If I put those animals together what is going to happen to the money I spent when one eats the other?"
I think you all get the idea... these are all ways to help alert the rest of the public to the foul play in so many pet stores. These are all ways to help to raise the standards in these places... to protect your own best interests, protect your money, and protect the innocent animals who need us.
Thanks everyone for your support!!! I don't know about the rest of you, but to me, it feels good to know I have control over my own situations, and its encouraging everytime I see someone else stand up for what's right too!
And herefishy, you are so right about the one person, one idea, and one voice. Dr Martin Luther King, Harriet Tubman, Oprah, Diane Fossey, Steve Irwin, Jack Hannah... the list goes on... but they're all out there, in all places... If they can do it we can do it too!!!
That works too!!! :D
Bump. Just keeping it on top of the pile.
I AGREE WHOLE-HEARTEDLY
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