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It Doesn’t Get Betta, Part 2

, , , , | Right | December 30, 2020

I am the manager of the animal department at a pet store. I am ordering animals when someone pages for help to the fish department.

One of the other managers has beaten me to it and I see him going to catch large feeder goldfish for a woman and a small child, probably around three.

I talk to him about what is going on and he admits to not talking to the lady about size requirements and how big these goldfish can get. We ask her what size tank she has and she says it is a two-gallon. The fish she asked him to catch are already about three inches long and would not even be able to move in a two-gallon tank.

Me: “Ma’am, goldfish require a minimum of a thirty—”

Customer: “Just give me the d*** fish.”

Me: “No, ma’am, I cannot do that. They cannot survive in a two-gallon tank.”

Customer: “They are just twenty-cent fish; just give them to me!”

Me: “No, ma’am, they would slowly suffocate and poison themselves with their waste in a slow, painful death. I am not doing that. I don’t generally recommend anything in that small a tank, but you could probably have a female betta in that tank.”

Customer: “My daughter does not want a betta; she wants a goldfish. Are you going to tell her why she can’t have a goldfish?”

Me: “If you really want me to get down on my knees at her level and tell her she can’t have a goldfish because your tank will slowly torture and kill the fish, I will. I don’t feel it is my place to say something like that to a child, but I will if you really want me to.”

Customer: “Are you the manager?”

Me: “I am the manager of this department.”

Customer: “Get me the store manager.”

Me: “Will do.”

As I was leaving, I heard the mom tell her daughter that we were mean and evil and wouldn’t let her have any fish because we were just so mean and wanted to see her cry. I resisted the urge to turn around and tell the little girl that no, her mom just wanted to torture animals and was too cheap to buy her what she needed. I went and got the store manager and told her what happened and what was said. She told me to stay away and calm down.

About ten minutes later, she came back. She refused the sale and had to argue that a twenty-cent life is still a life. The customer tried to say that anywhere else would sell her the fish. The manager told her that company policy for us is no. She left, vowing to call and complain.

My boss and I are sure we were not the first store to tell her no, based on her immediate response to my informing her of goldfish requirements.

It Doesn’t Get Betta

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