Re: NANFA-- Petco Sucks

Ty Hall (
Thu, 10 Jul 2003 10:18:52 -0500

See my responses inserted below. I have deleted some text for brevity.

I think I heard a chorus of angels singing when I read this next statement. hahaha
This rings so true, you can't even imagine it. I can actually see people'e eyes
gloss over as I am describing the proper way to set up and maintain an aquarium
and hat is even when I try to keep it light and non-technical. All they are
thinking is, I can save $3 if I drive 30 miles over to Walmart and buy the system
thay have. The fact that it will cost then $5 in gas, doesn't seem to matter.

> Quite frankly, I think an ignorant customer is just as bad as an ignorant
> salesperson (note: the definition of "ignorant" is quite different than the
> definition for "stupid" :). Ignorant customers who nearly _demand_ to
> remain ignorant are twice as bad. Perhaps I live in a different demographic
> than some folks, but pretty much everyone I know has some way of getting to
> the Internet from home or work. Heck... My MOM even knows how to find info
> she wants now ;)

In reference to the following points, you are pretty close to spot on. We don't
make a dime on most of the animals we sell. However, Fish and Reptiles are usually
exceptions to that rule. While your point is accurate, if fish are properly cared
for and sold as healthy specimens, then you can realize a fair profit from them,
eventually. I do agree that the mass merchandisers, see them exactly as you
described. Besides, they also know that some people won't return the fish, with
the reciept, in the time alloted, so even if it dies, they made their money.

> And that leads me to my second point... Any type of chain store is _not_
> there to sell animals. Animals are a pain. They're dirty, they need fed,
> they die. A horrible thing to base a business on. However, they create a
> great market for dry goods (a tangible commodity in a business model). Even
> better, they are inexpensive enough to bring in as an investment to sell dry
> goods and completely kill every week. A sort of "operating expense".
> Anyone who's had a wholesale fish list in their hands knows you can stock a
> typical "Petco-ish" entire live inventory for less than $200. If they sell
> some of them, even better. The fish are only there to generate traffic to
> buy their dry goods.
> Don't be fooled the 15 day warranty is any type of generosity or integrity
> on the part of the business. They planned on them being dead anyway. And
> when you return, they just got you in the store one more time, and with
> that... The opportunity to sell some more of their dry goods to "treat" the
> problems that arise.
> Their markup ratios are, as best as I can gather... So no one gets
> suspicious. If it came down to it, and handing out free fish was a better
> way to sell dry goods... I think they'd do it.

The explanation is simple and it is also the main reason why mass merchandisers
are not a good place to buy lots of products. They hire inexperienced people and
pay them minimum wage. Their is no incentive for the employees to learn more
because they are not going to be there long enough for it to make a difference.
They also get shifted from department to department which again takes away from
the learning process. There are exceptions to this as one other poster already
stated, but they are few and far between. Face it. If you pay minimum wage you get
minimum effort and minimum experience. The fact that ANYONE would take advice on
ANYTHING from a department store employee, blows me away. Give someone $5 an hour
and a blue smock and everyone thinks their a genius. "This is the fish department,
so Skippy here must be a direct descendant of Jaques <sic> Freakin' Cousteau,

> I have no explanation for the guy who didn't sell the filters... He was
> failing his employer's business mission. But I'll give him the benefit of
> the doubt, and guess he'd been reading some marine technique, and just
> missed the point that there isn't a reliable "live rock" in freshwater
> systems. Either that, or he just assumed it worked because his only
> experience with aquaria was that deplorable "Feeder" system they had him
> clean out on his first day that had "more living than dead, and look how
> many fish are in there.... So it must be okay huh?"
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