I feel I should be straight with you and start by letting you know that this is one of those “angry” letters. Because I’m kinda angry with you.
On Sunday, my husband and I ventured to your El Cerrito store (store 399) to buy his Christmas gift: an awesome fish tank. With lots of awesome décor and awesome fishies. Following the instructions on the wall, we picked out our tank first. We got a 29-gallon starter kit and tank. Then step 2: pick décor. I enjoyed the selection well enough to get a few pieces and did appreciate that there were a few different live plants to pick from. My only complaint about the tank and set up is that the tank we brought home didn’t really reflect what was on display, as it had strings of glue I needed to clean up. Also, two of the washers were stuck together (included in this envelope so you can wonder at them like I did….but knowing my luck they will have separated in the mail) and we had to go to Home Depot to buy replacements because we were hurrying to get the fish out of the bag (an effort and money we were soon to find out was wasted).
Now is where the anger comes. Grrr. The fishies. I went to your store (rather than buying a tank and supplies online) because I actually wanted help. We told the sales person that we didn’t know what we were doing and needed help. In fact I literally said, “We don’t know what we’re doing. We need help.” In my opinion, THAT is when the employee should have found someone else to help us, but I digress. The man helping us knew a LITTLE but I was kind of nervous he wasn’t too knowledgeable when we ended up having to use the chart on the wall to make sure what we were buying was compatible. I remember thinking “surely Petco wouldn’t have someone help us if they didn’t know what they were doing? Surely if this guy didn’t know, he would go get someone who did.” When we had a frog question, he went to ask someone else which made me feel better. He was nice and definitely patient with us, so part of me feels badly complaining. But really I blame Petco for not training him. Or maybe his coworkers get crabby when they are asked to help. Who knows. We left there with a new tank and 12 small fish, so you probably know where this is going.
We immediately start setting up the tank when we got home so the fish can leave the bag. He put all 12 fish in one bag, so I was feeling badly for them. When I read the tank instructions you can imagine I was surprised to read that you need to wait 24 HOURS before putting the fish in the set up tank. Twenty. Four. Hours. I was hoping there was a solution to the suddenly shortened life span of our 12 fish. Panic was clearly my reaction. So I called the store where I purchased them and explained to the woman what had happened and if I really needed the 24 hours to wait. The woman said “oh no, for that size you have to wait a week.” One. Week. She explained my only option was to return the fish. I was obviously very upset. WHY wasn’t I told this by the guy who sold us the fish AND was our cashier, seeing that we were buying the aquarium starting kit? I started doubting everything we purchased at that point. Did I get the right food? What about the plants? Etc, etc.
I then called a different Petco (Emeryville, store 1333) in hopes that maybe there was some sort of “ready to go” water I could get to last for a few days. Nope. The man who answered the phone was VERY nice. He apologized that we had not received the right information, which was very nice. But he confirmed the fish needed to come back. He allowed me to return the fish to his store, sensing I was very upset and knowing the store was near closing. I went in and he was very nice and gave me extra tips that were great to know (like you shouldn’t introduce so many fish at once). I believe his name was Grandy and his customer service recovery was excellent. He also seemed to really like fish, which I thought was cool.
So while I am very angry that I wasn’t given good information at the first store, I was relieved that the fish didn’t die before getting them to the second store. But honestly, I’m still really unhappy about not receiving actual help when I asked for it in the first place. I still don’t know if I have the right food. I have a tank with no fish. And I have a sad husband who just wants fishies.
I think you should follow up with your El Cerrito location on their training/knowing when to get a coworker and give kudos to Grandy at Emeryville. At Emeryville the new cashier was also very nice. I appreciated her patience processing the return.
Thank you for taking the time to read this rant. Hopefully you see room to prevent it from happening to someone else.