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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
It seems every trip to the LFS in my area yields another bad experience. My latest occurred today. They finally got some plants in that were in decent shape. I waited about 10 minutes while the guys working there stared at me blankly, not offering me any assistance. Finally, I walked over to one of them and told them I needed a couple plants. The guy comes over and takes out one plant I need and then as I point him to the two kompact hygros I want, the last two left, another guy who works there grabs them and hands them to another patron, and an obese, poorly groomed one at that. As I voice my opinion that I wanted those and had been standing there for over 10 minutes waiting for them, the sales guy, a pot bellied, late thirties, sloth-from-the-goonies mannered putz, cracks a smile. My first reaction was to politely ask him to see me in the parking lot, and if he chose not to, that i would be there when the store closed, but my common sense and frustration took over. Instead of getting the rest of the things I needed, which would have totaled about $75, I took my one plant that I had, and a box of root tabs, to the front register. I muttered an obscenity to myself, and left, vowing never to shop there again. From now on Ill pay the shipping to give my money to a more deserving online vendor. This place has repeatedly let me down with poor customer service, deadbeat, clueless employees, and poor stock. Ill never shop there again. I wont name the store, nor will I publicly wish that it burns down and kills select employees in the blaze, as im sure it violates some type of forum rule. :(
 

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The pitiful thing is that those employees are just that - employees. They could probably care less who you give your money to, as long as they get their paycheck. The work ethic isn't what it used to be , neither is common decency. The best you can do is ask to speak to the manager, or call back and speak to the owner. They are the only ones that care about turning a profit....
 

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I have had similar experience in my town and also stopped going to that store for as long I could. But out of need I went back. Now I just don't hesitate to voice my displeasure when I see lousy business. I talked to the owner an explained that I think it sucks that he thinks it is ok to basically lie to people about things sold in his store that he either doesn't know about or just chooses to continue to spread incorrect info. This is my biggest peeve. I have had this particular owner stand in front of me and tell me that one of the plants in his tank would grow fine in my tank even though the label on the plant says terrarium plant. I currently try to share good info if I have it and correct bad info when I hear it. It is just my HO but if more of us would spend a little time to spread the great info shared here at APC to our local areas/LFS hopefully it will pay off with better stores and supplies locally for all.
 

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Ya i had constant problems at a LFS. When i tried pre order some GB rams, the owners son kept telling me they would be there in a week and after a month i gave up. The only problem is its the only place that carries the fertilizers i need. So my response is if the owner isnt there i just walk out.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
I had gone back out of need as well. I think your right about the employees not caring where I spend my money. I get the impression the managers dont really care either. Ive had it there though. Ill spend the extra money to ship it now, just to not give them the business.
 

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OK, the only way is take charge of the situation.

Sometimes you just can't wait for any service becasuse it just doesn't exist. Besides, the staff doesn't know how to spell the word much less what it means. The owner obliviously doesn't give a damn either. Why fight a losing battle.

Go in, survey what you want. Put your face into the face of one of the useless ones and TELL them what you want. Take the stuff, pay for it and leave. You've got what you want and the idiots will have not a clue nor will they care. No use in spending ten minutes walking around getting aggravated.

Case closed. How's that for being assertive!! :roll:
 

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Hey there, If your gonna get mad, you might as well get glad. My father use to tell me this all the time because he knew me well of course. I don't think one person on the APC can say they've never had a bum experience with their LFS at one point or another. For me, verbal confrontation seems to work best when the tone of voice is one of politeness and non threatening. It's tough to excercise in practice, however I've learned to do this well that it has a strong impact on the person I am speaking too. That person usually humbles themselves with a slight side-ways apology and now real communication can be engaged. It's the true jerk that I am better off with. Why? Because I have no quarrels or problems in handling myself in a physical confrontation either. So If you feel better after your fists have been made useful, than more power to you! If not then don't bother, more than likely you'll end up with an assault charge, which normally means criminal charges and lawyer fees and legal fines...:cool:

I hope this helps you...
 

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Some folks do have bad work ethics; other times, those employees are young, just entering the work force and learning. Or, they may be shy, and after a few incidents of customers asking too challenging a question may feel quite intimidated about approaching people. I am, of course, not condoning this type of business behavior! Just saying sometimes it is not all about you; sometimes there are other issues.

Picking up that I work in the retail trade? Yes, and I deal w/ a large, temporary seasonal staff. I cannot expect them to have the level of expertise that I or my regular full time staff do. I train two things from the get go. One.) how to properly answer the four most common questions. Two.) never 'wing it' or lie to the customer, if you aren't sure bring that customer to me - that's what I'm there for! I always remain super attentive to the customer (even when I am busy as all get-out,) and supportive of my co-worker. If my support staff know their "back-up" is two steps away; and if they see me modeling good customer care, they are much more inclined to reach out to help our customers.

It is not up to the peon, (mostly minimum $ per hour wage workers) to set the tone in the store. It is the owner/manager who sets the tone by displaying w/ their own actions, proper customer service and good salesman techniques. If the level of service is bad take it up w/ management. Do the managers care? Have they hired someone new and are uniformed of their lack of good customer service? Or, is this the all-pervasive mood in the store? If so, then yes: vote w/ your dollars! Don't give that business a penny. First, I would have immediately asked for the manager. Then, if they were not supportive of my complaint, I would have left everything at the cash register as I walked out.

Inb is right, too! If the staff is laid back - for what ever reason - a simple smile and direct request often works beautifully: "Hi, can you help me?" Or, "Hi, I'd really love some help, are you free?"
 

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Oh this is an easy one to solve. Do what I do!

If you stand there and a clueless moron doesn't show up. Take whatever you want. There's no price labels on fish or plants and it's their own fault for not providing better service.

Of course, if your guilty conscience gets to you...you can always pay at the register after you've serviced yourself.
 

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The easiest way to get "real" service is to ask for the employee's name, owner's name, and the owner's home or cell phone number. If the owner isn't in the store, call them - right there from your cell phone if you have to.

Kindly, politely, explain to the owner that "insert name of random, clueless employee here" isn't providing the sort of service that you're expecting. Keep a level head, be nice, present an acceptable solution and see if he bites.

Business owners are VERY aware of the people that drop $$ in their stores. They'll aim to take care of all of their customers. Try and understand though that the guy that comes in every week and spends $200 on his reef tank will get better service than the unknown person who is looking for a couple of guppies. It's just business.

Now, if the owner won't give you the time of day, vote with your feet and go somewhere else. Life is too short to waste time and energy on a hopeless LFS. Chances are, they won't last long. The turnover rate for poorly run LFS's is pretty high. Go somewhere else. Use the Internet.
 

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I agree with BryceM. Whenever I have received poor service I am sure to get the employee's name, the fish room manager's name, the general manager's name and then the Regional Manager's name and proceed to raise hell from there all the way up the chain. Works for me everywhere. Business Depot now gives me excellent service when ever I walk into the store and the Manager if he see's me is sure to make sure that all my needs are attended to at the store. Poor work ethics really tick me off, and on a few occasions (for the really lazy sods) I can testify that the employee that attempted to not serve me was subsequently fired. I am lucky in regards to LFS's. the best one in the city is down the street from me, as for the others, well I get to know the managers and as such the staff get to know that I am not one of the customers they can trifle with.

The only reason we get poor service is because we let it happen... Well I refuse to allow that to happen to me... after all it is my money, if they want it they HAVE to WORK for it!!
 

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It's worth mentioning that if you get really good service and feel that an employee or store in general has really gone above and beyond, say something then too. Voting with your wallet is often the most important thing, but saying something nice never hurts.
 

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Any LFS I have ever been in is so incredibly overpriced that ordering something online AND paying for shipping is still cheaper than buying it in the LFS. The only time you'll catch me in the LFS is if I have an emergency and need something immediately. Usually I keep a list of the things I need and put in an order every couple months to Big Al's.
 

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Any LFS I have ever been in is so incredibly overpriced that ordering something online AND paying for shipping is still cheaper than buying it in the LFS. The only time you'll catch me in the LFS is if I have an emergency and need something immediately. Usually I keep a list of the things I need and put in an order every couple months to Big Al's.
That's a bit of a separate issue, but yeah, I've often felt the same way. Still, the LFS does have an important role. Without them, very few of us would have ever gotten started in the hobby. If you're lucky enough to have a good LFS nearby, it can be a very, very nice to establish a relationship with the owners & managers. I have one not too far away that will call me whenever they get certain unusual or hard-to-find fish. They're also a good place to trade extra cuttings & unwanted fish.
 

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The closest LFS for me is a 45 minute drive. I call ahead to be sure they have what I need, most of the time this works. I've also learned to always get the name of the person I speak to.
Twice in row I've called in advance, was told what I needed was in stock, and arrived to find out they're out of it.
I explained to the manager politely, even tho I wasn't in a very polite mood, what had happen, how many times and the name of the employee I spoke to both times. He wasn't very friendly, but I haven't seen that B**** err employee again. :tape2:
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
Thats funny cause my girlfriend said to just grab the plants I need and bring them to the front all wet and dripping, and next time they will be quicker to help me. She was actually shocked that I handled it so well. I was genuinely disappointed at that point, and knew nothing i said was going to get me the plants i wanted, which was odd for me. My g/f expected me to cause a bigger scene and get loud with the guy, especially after he basically laughed in my face. He was a real nerd too, luckily I didnt see him laugh, and didnt realize that till after she told me. Looks like Im going to have to go back in there and eff with these freeks.

Oh this is an easy one to solve. Do what I do!

If you stand there and a clueless moron doesn't show up. Take whatever you want. There's no price labels on fish or plants and it's their own fault for not providing better service.

Of course, if your guilty conscience gets to you...you can always pay at the register after you've serviced yourself.
 

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Discussion Starter · #17 ·
This would drive me nuts. But like I said, although some people work there out of love, theres a reason most of these people are working in the pet store. This excludes specialty places, but the fact of the matter is most pet places do not pay employees too well. This opens up the field to a wide array of deadbeats.

The closest LFS for me is a 45 minute drive. I call ahead to be sure they have what I need, most of the time this works. I've also learned to always get the name of the person I speak to.
Twice in row I've called in advance, was told what I needed was in stock, and arrived to find out they're out of it.
I explained to the manager politely, even tho I wasn't in a very polite mood, what had happen, how many times and the name of the employee I spoke to both times. He wasn't very friendly, but I haven't seen that B**** err employee again. :tape2:
 

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The easiest way to get "real" service is to ask for the employee's name, owner's name, and the owner's home or cell phone number. If the owner isn't in the store, call them - right there from your cell phone if you have to.

Kindly, politely, explain to the owner that "insert name of random, clueless employee here" isn't providing the sort of service that you're expecting. Keep a level head, be nice, present an acceptable solution and see if he bites.

Business owners are VERY aware of the people that drop $$ in their stores. They'll aim to take care of all of their customers. Try and understand though that the guy that comes in every week and spends $200 on his reef tank will get better service than the unknown person who is looking for a couple of guppies. It's just business.

Now, if the owner won't give you the time of day, vote with your feet and go somewhere else. Life is too short to waste time and energy on a hopeless LFS. Chances are, they won't last long. The turnover rate for poorly run LFS's is pretty high. Go somewhere else. Use the Internet.
That is a great point Bryce, something I need to start doing, not just @ the LFS, but any store. People, me included tend to complain more, and folks never get the positive feedback they deserve for a job well done.
 

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Oookay! I confess my sin I work in a lfs here in the UK, not every assistant is bad and there are one or two of us who actually know what we're talking about. There are shops and assistants who give a bad service to their customers but that's not to say every lfs is the same, and likewise there are customers who can be awkward to deal with as well. At the very heart of this is knowledge and the ability to pass it on I got a real kick when a customer came and thanked me for the help and advice I gave her a few weeks before. She now understands how the filtratration works, why it needs to be cleaned and also why she can't grow plants successfully in her Bi-orb. There is always something new to learn when keeping fish even more when you include aquatic plants, and water chemistry. I enjoy helping customers, and I'm able to do this because I do my homework even the replies on this forum are useful at times. I understand that it must seem I am one of the ones from the darkside reading some of the comments on this thread, even so I think its interesting to see things from the customer point of view. Surely not every lfs in the US can be that bad, I don't really get this negative attitude on either side, a smile costs nothing and its also good for your facial muscles and helps with the wrinkles in the long term.
 

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footprint,

Good point. I think we would all be smart to remember the 95% of our interactions that go well at LFS's. Some of the most knowledgable employees in the world work very hard to help frustrated, clueless hobbyists with their problems. It's the bad experiences that stick with you though.
 
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