PERFECT example of the point of this thread.
Originally Posted by MasterJedi
10 Gallon Beginner Tank... Journal
40 Gallon Breeder: ... Journal
29 Gallon: ... Journal
“If there are no dogs in Heaven, then when I die I want to go where they went” - Will Rogers
i used to frequent a LFS in the middle of san francisco, the store was a hole in the wall in a run down part of town owned by a nice older asian couple and a few of their kids or grandkids worked their.
the elderly couple spoke broken english and the kids would help but the older man wouldnt sell you a fish without knowing your tank inhabitants, water parameters, tank size ,filter system, if you didnt have a water sample you didnt get a fish.
every tank in his store was lightly stocked with fish and heavily planted. You could tell they really cared about the fish they kept and felt like they were adopting a child out everytime someone purchased a fish and they would take the time to answer any and all questions, very informative.
Having said that this store is definitely not the norm in the fish trade industry but i find that it is becoming more common than say 10 years ago.
when i go into a lfs and they cant answer basic questions or dont have time to i dont frequent that store, when i go to a LFS i expect that the person helping me knows what they are doing i find that those peoples fish are happier and healthier.
Having read this makes me really appreciate the store that I frequent! Though I do have to drive for a good 40 minutes there and back.
The store is called Pets for Africa with many sub-divisions depending on the type of pet. So for example, there's Snakes and Spiders for Africa and Fish for Africa. In each of these divisions is the standard cashier and one general purpose employee. However, each division will have at least one expert on duty at all times!
The person I deal with is called Peter. He has an incredible knowledge of the hobby and if he is not certain of something then out come the reference books (a rare occasion). He specifically uses the Aquarium Atlas series.
He is not concerned with "the customer is always right" policy and when I have made some (should we say dumb) suggestions about my plans for the tank he has to told me flat out that I am being a fool. Further more, he will not sell a fish unless he is confident that you know what you are doing and that it will be kept with suitable tank mates.
He keeps about 10 tanks personally and looks after around 50+ tanks at the store. I have never had snails on any of the plants I've purchased nor have any of his fish brought home a disease. The prices are lower than any of my truly local stores (who are over-priced, ignorant and arrogant) and he can offer good advice on almost anything relating to the hobby.
What not to expect? What can we help become the norm?
I understand where the arguments are coming from here, in theory the salesperson should have a good working knowledge with regards to the fish and products that they are selling but in reality, they often don't. There will be many who simply don't care about their job, but only want a paycheck. Believe me I know this attitude all too well from living in SA.
The point I really want to make is this: there are many on this forum that have incredible knowledge about the hobby, so when you go to the LFS and the kid working there hasn't a clue about what is going on, give him some simple tips or point him in the direction of the forum. I realize that many will simply ignore the advice but a fair number will heed it. I tutor privately whilst I am studying at university and something I have come to realize is this; yes, people can be lazy and deliberately ignorant but sometimes a nudge in the right direction (usually something to spark/create interest) can work wonders.
I definitely agree with both sides of the argument here. Employees at big box pet stores rarely know enough to help new hobbyists set up a tank efficiently and successfully. Being that I used to frequent the big name stores and test employees' knowledge, and being that I was a past employee at a big box pet store, I should know first hand. I always considered myself to be an exception to those employees. I have had 4 years of formal schooling in aquarium management along with about 10 years of personal experience, and now about 3 years of "professional" experience. I have always been one to learn as much as I can about a fish before purchasing it, and now working at a privately owned LFS, I make it a point to attempt to know at the very least the basics of every fish available in the store. Having been in both shoes, I definitely understand the frustration of dealing with employees who just want to make a sale. But it is also frustrating sometimes when people come in without doing even the slightest bit of research on what they intend to stock their new tank with. Either way, it is definitely a two-way street