Blowing A Lid Over A Cichlid

| Right | June 5, 2014

(A customer comes up to me with a 20 gallon tank in her cart.)

Customer: “You got any of those ‘chicklid’ fish?”

Me: “You mean cichlids? Yes, ma’am, we do. Were you looking for a particular species?”

Customer: “D***, I don’t know… How about that one?”

(She points to our tank of juvenile tiger-oscars, a fish that can easily grow to a foot in length. Because of this, we do not allow them to be sold unless the person has or is buying a tank of at least 50 gallons.)

Me: “No problem, ma’am. If you’d like a tiger-oscar, you will have to buy a bigger tank, though, along with a heater and filter. These fish get very large.”

(I quickly explain the final size and tank requirements for the species.)

Customer: “S***! I’m not buying no 50 gallon for a stupid fish!”

Me: *ignoring her comment* “I’d be happy to show you other species that are perfect for the tank you’ve picked out.”

Customer: “No! I need something for my kids to look at TONIGHT! They won’t be able to see no pathetic little guppy! I want that ‘chicklid!'”

(She continues yelling at me to get her the fish while refusing to buy a filter, heater, or even gravel for the tank.)

Me: “Ma’am, I cannot sell you a fish that you’ll be putting into a bare tank of stagnant water.”

Customer: “You can’t deny me a sale! I am a customer and I deserve that fish!”

Me: “My job is to care for these animals first. You are wanting to buy a live animal and that comes with requirements and responsibilities. As I said before, I am more than happy to show you other species that are better suited to your tank size but I will not sell you a tiger-oscar.”

Customer: “I want to see your manager. You’re being mean to me!”

(I got my manager, who promptly agreed with my decision to not sell to her. She then asked to speak to the regional manager who also agreed with us. Furious, she stormed out of our store and vowed to never come back… not that we would have let her.)

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