Home > Retail Store Shopping Rants > Its where the Pets Go…

Its where the Pets Go…

So this morning after a fun trip with the kids to do laundry, I thought I would run to Petco to pick up a few new fish for my new aquarium. I know I haven’t told you about the new aquarium, but I should because its just so amazing.

The aquarium is made by Marineland and is an Eclipse model holding 6 gallons. What makes this system so cool to me is that it contains the water filtration system directly into the overhead lighting hood. And its soooo quiet.

I decided I wanted to add a plecostomus (pleco) and maybe let Michael and Karigan both pick out a fish to call their own. This was my entire purpose on going to PetCo this morning…to spend money.

I was greeted by a sales”punk” as I will define it (flop mohawk, ponytail). He approached and asked if I needed any assistance.

I informed him that I was looking for a few new fish and advised that I knew for sure that I wanted a small plecostomus. This is when the whole experience went bad…

“You don’t want one of those.”

“I don’t? Why not?”

“What size tank  do you have?”

Now at this asking of this question I realized that my outward appearance to him was interpreted as being that I could not possbly own an aquarium that was considered of decent quality or size to justify the owning of a pleco.

“It’s a six gallon.”

“Yeah, definitely not big enough for a pleco. I don’t recommend a pleco for any aquarium under 55 gallons.”

I just stared at him. His facial hair, goatee, thing he was trying to grow, annoyed me more as I heard him. “I have had aquariums extensively in high school, and always a plecostomus, and never had an issue with them getting too big. I am looking for them as my algae, tank cleaner.”

“No, don’t recommend it. Get a Chinese Algae Eater, or just a small catfish. They’ll do the same job, and they are a little more hardy.”

More hardy, I think to myself. Pleco’s are the only fish that have retained their original appearance since the age of the dinosaurs millions of years ago. I don’t think catfish were around then. Nor were the Chinese. Hell, Algae was probably just beginning to be created that long ago. How much more proof of hardy do you need my friend?

So we digress from the conversation a bit and I am looking at the oscars. Another fish I am familiar with since high school.

“I wouldn’t get those. Too aggressive. Again, not for a six gallon tank. What fish do you have now?”

I walked him over to the tank where I bought my fish from last time. I pointed out a blue gourami.

“Ewww, a gourami. I hate gouramis. They are most likely to develop ick. Normally if people have an ick problem, they have gouramis.”

Yeah I can see the relevance of that….the tanks also normally have water in them too, but that doesn’t make the water a cuplrit, does it?

“Do you care about the gourami?”

“Well, yeah, because he is the only one that survived from the three fish I bought here last time.”  And because he is also a living creature…

“I like cichlids. I have a few that have grown pretty big. Again, not for a six gallon tank though.”

I begin to explain to him, “I have one of those Marineland Eclipse tanks. I just picked it up last week. If I like it, I’m – ”

“Oh,” he interrupts. “I don’t recommend those Eclipse tanks. The parts break, and the replacements can be hard to find. The filters almost impossible to find. I prefer the Whisper filtration systems.”

At this point I’m really not believing anything I am experiencing at the moment. “Actually I found the filters online. I can get 12 of them for about $25. All the parts are online as well. The fish however, I can’t get online.”

“Well, we have a deal right now on the larger tank setups if you want to consider getting a better and bigger tank.”

I pretty much just walked away from him at this point. I was so annoyed with everything that he told me, that I ended up leaving with two lava rocks for the tank and no fish at all. I was even hiding myself a bit while i looked at lava rocks and decor peices for fear that he would tell me that I sucked at picking out something so inanimate and stupid.

I was tempted him to tell him just for fun that I also use to have a piranha, but figured he would answer back that I wouldn’t want one because I would have to brush its teeth and should only be kept in 35 gallon designer toilet bowls.

If the guy would have thought this through better, there were a multitude of upsells he could have given me.

Rule Number 1:

Do not the make the customer feel like any of the following:

  • Idiot
  • Loser
  • Ass
  • Mentally Challenged

This guy immediately insulted my request for a pleco. Because they get to big too fast. Bullshit. They can get too big, eventually, but you know what? THAT’s OKAY! Do you know why? It will make me buy a bigger aquarium.

 Eclipse System 12 Aquarium Kit - 12  gallon

Which leads me to provide insight. When he interrupted me in my tank discussion, he would have learned that the 6 gallon was a trial basis to see if i liked the Eclipse system. If I did, I would be buying a 25 gallon for the living room later next year. Which I could move an aggressively growing pleco to if needed.

Rule 2

If the customer is arriving and telling you in different words that “I am here to spend some of my money.”    LET THEM. I was a retail manager for several years. If the customer is making poor choices in your opinion of previous purchases, you need to find a way to work with them. For example, my choice of having a gourami. I chose it because I wanted a pet after missing having my dog around. I also chose it because that day it was on sale and was kinda cool with its coloring. I was given a little 1.5 gallon setup from a friend and that is where the gourami lived as a sole survivor. Instead of insulting me on my choice of a gourami, maybe turn that into somethng along the lines of:

“The gouramis have a tendency to acquire ick. They are great fish and are fun to watch, but if you decide to get more of those, I would recommend you also pick up a bottle of this ick treatment. It will help get the tank healthy if they do happen to get an outbreak.” Wow. See that? $7 upsell. The customer feels like the sales person is on their side. And may sell more gouramis. Salesman has identified a potential future problem that is not even happening at that point, and is sending the customer home with a solution to a possible future problem. Customer doesn’t have to come back out in the snow later on to buy ick medicine.

“If you don’t take care of your customers the first time, somebody else will.” I believe that was Sam Walton that said that ironically. It’s still true no matter where you work. Its also true if you are an employer or a manager. Just insert the word employees where customer is and you will see what I mean…

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