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I agree that going by age ONLY is wrong.

However, I do think younger buyers are typically less informed. This is my own experience working in a large-chain pet store. But it's also true that the majority of buyers - all ages - are uninformed, and I question that way before I even think about their age.

Like I said, Oklahoma PetSmarts don't have an age policy on fish. But even if we did, I tend to find ways around those things for people who have proper set-ups :thumb: And, like I said, I gladly refuse fish to people who dont. It's unfortunate, age discrimination, but it has it's reasons. Personally I wish they'd only go by experience and current set-up for the desired fish - but since we all know the corporate end isn't willing to put employees through the training of recognizing what is good and what isn't, the age limits are their way of minimizing animal abuse.

In OK, we actually go through very rigorous training. But I know it wasn't always that way. Apparently before they hired me, the store was aquired by new management that put into motion the months-long training program and employee requirements (must own pets and for a certain amount of time). All the employees had never really been trained or cared to be, so a lot of them ended up leaving. Now we have newer people with a lot more knowledge and a lot more passion for our animals and customers. It's probably a rare case, but we are surprising NOT your typical Petco/PetSmart.

Again, I'm sorry that you were turned away. I do wish they would have looked into your individual situation rather than just shooing you away because of your age. I have met some 40 year olds who are just as clueless as a 12 year old. Age shouldn't be the first concern.
 

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Perhaps a questionaire of some sort to gage to customers knowledge would be a good way to go . Maybe a 20 question quiz over things like tank maintenence , water parameters , general compatability , filtration, ect. Something to give both parties an idea as to whether or not a purchase is advisable irregardless of age . Knowledge is the key in this hobby ,not age.
 

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Unfortunately, I don't think corporate is willing to implement anything like that. It would take so much time and turn so many customers away.. you know?

But in a perfect world, yes.

We DO make them sign contracts promising to do certain things/buy certain things, but no one reads or enforces the fine print.
 

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Im 16 and if they would have pulled that with me then I would have had a few strong words to say then told them I would go spend my money somewhere different!

And I like it when those idiots that work there tell somebody something like sure a 5gall is big enough for a 5" goldfish and I walk right behind them and tell the person otherwise!
The workers always look kind of p****d that they just lost a sale!

I never return to places like that because I been told I cant spend my money and feel disrespected!

Im 16 but I look like Im like 14 so people always treat me like I dont have a brain and IDK about you all but I dont like it! I like being treated like I know what I want and have only experienced actual respect at one LFS so I keep going back!

As I said it makes me feel Disrespected!

EDIT: I just read the one about the 'quiz' thing and again I would never go back. It would make me feel as though they suggested Im stupid when most adults that go in there are going to put zebras angels and neon tetras together! Again I would feel as though the staff think I dont know how to run my tanks!

It should be judged by knowledge!!! NOT AGE!!
 

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Our LFS policy had nothing to do with kids not knowing their stuff, after all I was 15 when I started in the fish room afterall.

It was becuase we were tired of parents bringing pets back and yelling at us for letting kids buy pets. Blaming us for their bad parenting. Unfortunately it happened enough that they just shut it down to all minors.

If they woulda told people it's becuase kiddies don't know their stuff I woulda walked! :lol:
 

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Good point. how hard can it be for a kid to come in the store with their parents and pick it up on the weekend? I know what it was like... my parents didn't mind me having fish, but I didn't want them to know how much I was spending on them, so I went by myself, or had them drop me off and go shopping somewhere else, also because I tended to look around in there for a couple hours :lol: . It just sucks when you want to have a hobby of your own, but mommy and daddy have to tag along to make sure you don't get hurt when you're going to buy your fish. If I always went to a store with policies like that as a kid, I probably wouldn't have had nearly as many fish, because my parents would only bring me there every so often, because it wasn't something that they were interested in or eager to go do, although they did enjoy looking at them once I had them in the tanks :) .
 

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My Mom hates it when I ask to go because I want to look around and talk to people and trade fish and get them to drop prices. The whole time shes walking behind me going "Can we go? Are you done yet? Why do we have to wait for help? That fish is pretty (a platy in a cichlid tank, ha, I can see it now)!" So one day I just told her to go shopping and she has never entered the store again!

I would hate if she would have to go with me!

My parents are the same way, hate the buying process, then sit there and watch them for hours! What the heck???!!!?!??!
 

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My local petsmart is the same why. i just dont understand it because I talk to some of the employees and they do not have any idea what they are talking about. I have no experience with this policy at my lfs stores. I wish my parents would just drop me off. Man i cant wait untill I can drive! But I also agree it should be on knowledge. I dont know how you would go about determining someones knowledge however. But even some of the people at the largest lfs are idiots. I talked to a guy who didnt even know that there were gobies in lake tanganyika. Oh well, just deal with it I guess :roll:
 

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:lol: its been so funny reaading this topic.. just for kicks i went with my friend who drives and i went to petco.. started to tell the guy if i can have some convicts.. ( was going to buy them for my friends new 45 gallon tank ) but i am 15 years old so he started to look at me wierd... when the manager started to talk to the guy and they finally came over and said " are your parents with you ?" man i just started to laugh.. i told them is it necessary for them to be here... they of course said that i need parents permission to buy a fish.. but my friend came and said that they were for him.. he is 20.. :lol: its funny i cant believe it they should be happy someone is actually trying to save their fish they are in a ugly 25 gallon all with algae like 50 plecos with 20 black convicts... and 3 feeders the size of a thumb... but i agree as "underaged" i cant buy a stinkin fish.. come on what has society come to.. first alcahol... then smoking.. now fish .. whats next.. cant buy candy without parents there? or cant go to the bathroom without being watched by an adult...
victor
 

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EDIT: I just read the one about the 'quiz' thing and again I would never go back. It would make me feel as though they suggested Im stupid when most adults that go in there are going to put zebras angels and neon tetras together! Again I would feel as though the staff think I dont know how to run my tanks!
The purpose of that quiz would be to alert an employee when they were dealing with someone that didn't know how to run their tanks, not the other way round. In any case it was simply a suggestion .
The fact that young hobbyists are being "carded" to buy fish is completely rediculous. All the more reason to support your LFS.
 

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Instead of a quiz how about some simple question like:
What fish do you have? (tell if they know about compatibility)
What are your parameters? (tell if they know check or even read pH ect.)

There are tons of other simple questions to ask (kindly) without a straight stupidity quiz! Get what Im saying? I would rather have a preson casually ask me questions in an interested way w/o handing me a pop quiz (I have enough of those in school thank you very much)!!
 

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Instead of a quiz how about some simple question like:
What fish do you have? (tell if they know about compatibility)
What are your parameters? (tell if they know check or even read pH ect.)

There are tons of other simple questions to ask (kindly) without a straight stupidity quiz! Get what Im saying? I would rather have a preson casually ask me questions in an interested way w/o handing me a pop quiz (I have enough of those in school thank you very much)!!
What you are suggesting here is the same thing I did Desi<3 , only verbal instead of written. :lol: Lots of LFS already do this and many chain stores try to do it as well , only the folks at the chains generaly don't know what their talking about IME. The Idea for a quiz was aimed towards the chain stores employies, and would naturaly involve some trianing on their part as well. Not that any of that matters much cause it's not like they'll do that sort of thing anyway. Besides even if they did I would be impressed that one of those big chains was making an effort to help insure the well being of the wet pets they sell. Any way you look at it though it's still better than having to prove your 18+ years old to buy a guppy for petes sake.
 

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LOL I was like, Umm if somebody handed me a quiz I would just tell them to shove it up their *beep* and walk out!

There was no way I would ever take the quiz. Like i said a few friendly questions are fine with me, you know, if you just sound interested then its fine w/ me!
 

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CDMOK said:
In OK, we actually go through very rigorous training. But I know it wasn't always that way. Apparently before they hired me, the store was aquired by new management that put into motion the months-long training program and employee requirements (must own pets and for a certain amount of time). All the employees had never really been trained or cared to be, so a lot of them ended up leaving. Now we have newer people with a lot more knowledge and a lot more passion for our animals and customers. It's probably a rare case, but we are surprising NOT your typical Petco/PetSmart.
Sorry to say this but I don't see how you can say you go through a rigorous training at petsmarts. The petsmart here in my area of Michigan have no clue of their animals. When I go in there and look at the 5 or 6 different cichlids that they carry which are Mbuna's mixed with Mbuna's or hormone peocks with different peacocks. They have no clue on the fish its self or the habitat or the diet. most of the time they ask me what the fish, habitat, and diets are. I don't think their asking because they think I don't know what I'm doing. I think their asking because they don't know what their doing. The petsmart in OK might be different but her in my area they suck. I would prefere to have someone to be able to answer my questions rather than ask me how to take care of the fish they have no clue about.
 

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12pointer said:
Sorry to say this but I don't see how you can say you go through a rigorous training at petsmarts.
I can say that, because we do. At least, I did. I won't argue that prior experience doesn't aid in my capability to help customers.

But, as I've come to notice lately, it doesn't matter how much training or how many years you've been with the company, knowledge is a choice and a lot of people are too lazy to take the steps to gather it.

Last week I had a woman come in to me and say, "I just bought these fish, and they just huddle together in the corner. Parrot somethings.."
"Blood parrots?"
"Cute ones, like red?"
"And, they're... in a 10 gallon, correct?"

Turns out, my manager had sold her a pair of blood parrots, knowing full well she had a 10 gallon. She was almost in tears when I told her the genuine needs of the fish. She had fallen in love, and just wanted them to be happy. Upgrading wasn't an option due to space, the biggest she could go was a 20 gl. I convinced the woman to return them for the sake of the fish and get some smaller, not-so-cute fish.

Unfortunately - and I regret this because I am not sure whether or not the parrots would have had a better life in the 10 gallon - our policy is that all live returns, regardless of health, must be quarantined for 14 days before being put back on the main floor. Our quarantine tank is also our sick tank - which they only allow us to treat with minimal medication. Basically, it's a cesspool, and even healthy fish that are returned to us like those beautiful blood parrots have to go in there. They were returned two days ago, and have died since then. I wonder if I should have just let her keep them.

It's a job that requires much passion and apathy, all at once. If you get emotional, you'll be a wreck.

There have been many instances like this lately though with the hiring of new, untrained employees. I will probably be putting my two-weeks in shortly.

I feel this conflict in a lot of areas in my life: Try and stay with (corporation/organization/situation) in order to promote change or be realistic and realize no one cares and throw in the towel.

I don't know, guys. I wish it were possible for all lovers of the hobby to be able to make a living from these jobs so that the positions could be filled with knowledgeable and passionate people - but it's not possible. You know as well as I do that the majority of retail is filled with college students needing to make an extra buck. It's inevitable that they will be clueless, careless, and only in it for their four hour shift. You know?
 

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I used to work for petsmart. there is no training at all. They told you to read the cards on the fish tags. They dont care if you know what you are talking about as long as you can sell there producta nd make the fat man rich.
 

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CDMOK You know as well as I do that the majority of retail is filled with college students needing to make an extra buck. It's inevitable that they will be clueless said:
Can't say I appreciate that comment too much at all. That's pretty much the same attitude everyone in this thread is speaking out against. I work at two different aquarium stores (one in my hometown and one in my college town) and I care more about the well-being of the fish and being informative to customers than most. I've had enough of ageism!
 

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fishoverlivingspace said:
Can't say I appreciate that comment too much at all. That's pretty much the same attitude everyone in this thread is speaking out against. I work at two different aquarium stores (one in my hometown and one in my college town) and I care more about the well-being of the fish and being informative to customers than most. I've had enough of ageism!
Don't get defensive - I'm a college student working at a pet store.

I am being realistic. Yes, you and I care - but the fact is that retail, regardless of what specialty, is geared towards younger people who need part-time work. There are always exceptions, but generally people just want some cash, even at specialty stores like PetSmart.
 

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Just because you're criticizing your own group doesn't mean that I can't defend my work ethic and knowledge. I understand that there are irresponsible people out there, but they are represented in every age group around, and there's no need to decide in which age group it occurs more. Why is it that racism, sexism, and all other forms of discrimination are looked down upon and condemned, but ageism is perfectly fine?
The point of this thread was to point out how ridiculous it is that large chain pet stores have ridiculous policies about age, and while it may seem that they are looking down on young kids as unknowledgeable(maybe that is true), but the main point of it is that they don't want to have to deal with the angry parents who didn't want their kids bringing home new pets or spending their money on "childish" hobbies.
Yes, kids often know more than their adult-hobbyist counterparts, and yes, kids and college students are often more immature and irresponsible than their adult counterparts, but it works both ways! Therefore, this discussion is pretty futile, considering age has very little correlation to responsibility.
 
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