A misunderstanding within stores based around pets not just fish.

Discussion in 'Reef Aquarium Discussion' started by Joeganja, Jan 9, 2017.

  1. Elegance Coral

    Elegance Coral Well-Known Member

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    I work in the industry as well. Earlier in the thread, someone said that if a retailer gets unhealthy fish from a wholesaler they should change wholesalers. Well, this happens all the time. The problem is that ALL wholesalers have unhealthy fish. The idea that we can take fish from all over the world, combine them in one large system, and expect none of them to get sick, is just ridiculous. Humans can't even fly on airliners together without getting sick. As the hobby and industry behind it, grows, the problem becomes worse. There is no real fix for the problem. Everyone in the chain of possession of livestock tries to minimize loss. Simple economics dictates that they must. However, they can not spend $10 to quarantine and feed a $5 fish and expect to stay in business.
    Someone else said something about gladly paying a little more for a better quality fish. Well, sadly, these people are in the minority. Most people can't even tell the difference between a healthy fish and a sickly fish. Even many "professionals" don't know the difference. Just look at the cover of Chris Brightwell's chemistry book, and you'll see what I'm talking about. Sadly, most hobbyists believe yellow tangs, and others, should be skinny. The vast majority of these fish in retail shops are under weight, so many hobbyists use this as their only form of reference, and form the opinion that healthy yellow tangs are simply skinny.
    Here's the brutal truth. The consumer drives the market. As long as the hobbyists are uneducated, and continue to buy poor quality, inexpensive livestock, the market will continue to provide it. Only when the consumer demands better quality livestock, even when it comes at a higher price, will the market change.
    Peace
    EC
     
  2. Water Dog

    Water Dog Well-Known Member

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  3. Water Dog

    Water Dog Well-Known Member

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    Spot on! Before we go pointing fingers, we should take a good look in the mirror.
     
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  4. saltyfilmfolks

    saltyfilmfolks Lights! Camera! Reef! R2R Supporter R2R Excellence Award Reef Squad

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    yup
    negative or honest in presenting the facts?
     
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  5. saltyfilmfolks

    saltyfilmfolks Lights! Camera! Reef! R2R Supporter R2R Excellence Award Reef Squad

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    good. you can create change.
     
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  6. Rick.45cal

    Rick.45cal Well-Known Member R2R Supporter R2R Excellence Award

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    I grew up working in the industry many many years ago, I worked in a small LFS that did things right. The owner traveled twice a week to the wholsalers and hand picked ALL the livestock. He then brought it back to us, and we loved each one like they were our own. Is this a recipe for success, yes. Is this feasible for a big box store not really.

    In your first post you exposed the true problem with box stores. PUSH ORDERING. While that works great for dry goods, push ordering livestock is a ridiculous, cruel practice for the exact reasons you state. You receive starved fish from your supplier. Guess who they know they can mass order for and pawn off malnourished mal treated fish, because your store doesn't care enough to have a representive (a buyer) who purchases your livestock first hand. If your stores sent all those sick, skinny fish back never bought them that way again, ONLY then will the practice change.

    If you buy your fish/supplies from stores that as a corportation treat animals (regardless of their height on the food chain) in deplorable/starving conditions then you also contribute to the problem. THAT is the reality of the situation.

    I agree with you Joe, I understand that the employees do not have enough power to stop what is happening, I also applaud you for talking about this in a public forum. I would NEVER fault someone who works there who obviously cares, if anything the aquarists should stand behind those people as they are the ones that management cannot ignore forever. I also understand that there is little that your store can do when they are sent sick/starving fish, it is the SYSTEM itself that is broken and needs fixing/ or done away with. I personally think the box stores need to leave fish to the professionals.

    (Falls off of soapbox)
     
  7. Valkyrie

    Valkyrie Salt, Mud and Fiber is my trinity! R2R Supporter

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    No, the fall of petstores selling puppies and kittens started in the 80s and stores like PetCo and PetSmart was pushed to stop. There are still some small businesses that sell puppies and kittens, there's one local here that supports Midwest puppy mills and idiots purchase these overpriced rejects and say, "I rescued it." No, you supported the practice of puppy mills. When people buy fish from PetCo and PetSmart they are supporting these suppliers. Just stop buying these fish and they'll stop selling them because it'll no longer be profitable. But that is never going to happen, because the majority of fish buyers don't bother with research and the life span of the hobby is short for them.
     
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  8. Uwharrie

    Uwharrie Well-Known Member

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    I am not saying rescue is not important and many folks do want that. But believe me there are still MANY folks out there that want purebreds or even designer mutts . Large scale commercial breeders are still out there. many do business behind a computer screen. The public was convinced ( and rightly so) that pet store puppies and kittens were bad. But those same folks will buy off the internet from a slick website the dogs coming from the very same commercial breeders.

    I have been involved in purebred dogs for over 30 years. Yes I breed occasionally. I also health test, know all the dogs behind my dogs for the last 30 yrs, I show, I do performance. I am involved in rescue of several breeds. Of course the AR folks would like nothing more than to shut down all breeders, stop pet ownership, no dogs, cats, fish or birds. The newest trend is what we call "retail rescue" these "rescue" import dogs and cats from all over the country and the world. No quarantine, often not vaccinated and pawn them off to the public. They also have been caught breeding dogs so they will have cute puppies in need of rescue.
    Off my soapbox
     
    Last edited: Jan 10, 2017
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  9. mdbannister

    mdbannister Ahh...the Reef Life Staff Member Team R2R R2R Excellence Award Partner Member Article Contributor SCMAS Member

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    I don't think most of us blame the employees in any big box store for the issues we often see in those types of stores. The sources of the issues are corporate policies (and the people behind those). I absolutely agree with those who have said that pretty much any wholesaler will send unhealthy fish at times, but that's not the same thing as continually buying from a wholesaler that routinely sends unhealthy fish in large quantities (or are we saying all wholesalers are equally low quality?). However, when corporate policy elevates cutting costs to top priority (over and above quality/health of livestock), there will always be an issue of substandard (which means "below the norm" established by other similar businesses) livestock being sold. Additionally, when those same corporate policy makers enact policies that restrict what a store can do to promote livestock health (i.e. at least one big box store apparently has a policy that doesn't permit isolated quarantine systems), it allows disease that is imported with new shipments to run rampant throughout the system so that all of the livestock is infected. These are just 2 points (there are plenty of others).

    To the point that big box stores have employees that don't have enough knowledge/experience to make better decisions, I would say that a multimillion dollar business ought to be able to employ experts in the field to run their divisions. For example, it doesn't make sense to me for someone to say Petco doesn't have the information available to its employees for them to provide valid/correct information. Who in the industry is more likely to have the budget for hiring experts to run the respective divisions and making sure they have at least a couple of knowledgeable hobbyists in each location...Petco or Joe's Awesome Fish and Corals on the corner? If we can agree that it should be the big box stores that have more resources, why is it that we routinely find better fish and corals (and advice) at the LFS?

    Now, I'm not trying to slam all big box stores...far from it. I certainly agree that it's not generally the employees' fault (or at least not solely their fault) at these locations when substandard livestock are kept or the advice given is awful. However, if there's a noticeable difference in quality between big box stores in general, isn't it valid to look at the reasons for the discrepancy? It certainly doesn't make sense to look at the problems big box stores routinely display and say that it isn't their fault when there are plenty of other stores not reflecting those same practices.

    I'm a fan of supporting quality and responsible treatment of livestock in businesses. That means that I'll do business with big box stores or LFS that demonstrate competence in their care of livestock. FWIW, I do NOT automatically support an LFS just because they're local. I've seen plenty of LFS that demonstrate many of the same poor habits and lack of competence when it comes to care of their stock. On the flip side, I've seen some stellar big box stores where livestock was well cared for (one of those locations actually got into trouble with corporate due to running a medicated quarantine system). So, my conclusion is that quality and competence matter whether talking about big box or locally owned pet stores.
     
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  10. GHsaltie

    GHsaltie Well-Known Member R2R Supporter

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    @mdbannister I've been reluctant in joining this thread but I thought I would expound on one thing you mentioned. On the point of big box stores financially being able to hire experts or at least those who have some know how, from what I have seen and personally experienced it comes down to pay. The box stores are certainly capable of hiring competent people, but they are chronic penny pinchers and the experts don't stay very long because the income is simply just not enough. Now this may vary between stores but I can say for myself that I am currently going through a struggle of staying at my job or moving on to something better. I love my job, I love my customers (most of them anyway), I love the opportunities this job has given me to learn, and I have great managers, but the pay is nowhere near enough to live off of. If box stores were more willing to give their employees a better wage, especially the ones that take care of an entire department by themselves, I don't doubt that the competent people would be a lot more willing to stay.
     
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  11. mdbannister

    mdbannister Ahh...the Reef Life Staff Member Team R2R R2R Excellence Award Partner Member Article Contributor SCMAS Member

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    I ABSOLUTELY agree, and I'll add that if they would do this, their regular customer base would grow exponentially. People recruit their friends by talking about their experiences. Having competent and knowledgeable employees means customers are likely to bring friends to the store rather than warn them away from it.
     
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  12. saltyfilmfolks

    saltyfilmfolks Lights! Camera! Reef! R2R Supporter R2R Excellence Award Reef Squad

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    +100000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000And
    +100000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000
    For Joe, for bringing up a great topic. We love the folks at the lfs(mostly, there IS always that ONE GUY)
    Our money is our Vote. And no I don't go to petco.
     
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