Who Is The Fish Out Of Water Here?

, , , , , | Right | June 9, 2020

I’m working in the aquatics department at a popular local pet store when a gentleman carrying a small container with a Betta fish comes up to me.

Customer: “Hi. This is my wife’s fish and she thinks there’s something wrong with it. She’s worried it may be sick.”

Me: “Oh, I’m sorry to hear that. Let me take a look.” 

I observe the fish which is alive but clearly inflicted with fin rot and is floating near the bottom of the container.

Me: “Well, it looks like he has some fin rot going on.”

Customer: “That doesn’t sound good. Is there any medicine I can buy for him?”

Me: “Yes, there is. It’s called [Brand]. It will really help with healing his fins and getting him healthy again. Let me get some for you.” 

I’m about to walk away when the man’s wife calls on his cell phone.

Customer: “Wait! I think you should speak with my wife, since this is her fish.”

Me: “Sure.”

I get on the phone.

Me: “Hello?”

Customer’s Wife: “Hello, my name is [Wife] and I want you to look at my fish and tell me what you think is wrong with him.”

Me: “Well, it looks like his fins are damaged by fin rot and—”

Customer’s Wife: “I don’t understand how he could have gotten that. I change his water all the time and I clean his gravel. I just don’t understand. I’ve had him for a year and he’s like a baby to me. Is there medicine for him?”

Me: “Yes, it’s called [Brand] and—”

Customer’s Wife: *Angrily* “No! No, I do not want to use that. I’m on your website right now and I’m reading reviews about it and it doesn’t seem like a good product. What about [Other Brand]? Would that work?”

Me: “[Other Brand] is for different types of fish. I wouldn’t recommend it. I think you should use [Brand] because it is specifically for the treatment of Betta fish.”

Customer’s Wife: “Okay, fine, whatever you think. You’re the expert!” *Hangs up*

Customer: “What did she say?”

Me: “Well, she is definitely concerned about her fish and she wants me to make sure it’s getting the right medicine. I suggested [Brand] and I think that’s our best option.”

Customer: “Okay, do you think you can treat it for me so I don’t mess it up?” 

Me: “Sure, it’s an easy procedure and I can show you step by step how to do everything.”

Customer: “Wonderful, that would be great.”

Then, his wife calls his cell phone again and asks to speak with me. I get on the phone.

Me: “Hello?”

Customer’s Wife: “So, did you figure out which medicine to give him?”

Me: “Yes, I think [Brand] will be the best medicine for your Betta. Your husband wants me to go ahead and treat him. I will show him the directions for the Betta’s treatment.”

Customer’s Wife: “Well, how much medicine do you have to give him? I’m looking online and I’m trying to figure out the dosage.”

Me: “The bottle for the medicine says twelve drops per pint. How big is the Betta’s container?”

Customer’s Wife: *Angrily* Oh, I don’t know! A gallon? A half-gallon? I don’t know!”

Me: “Unfortunately, I can’t treat him if I don’t know how much water is in his container.”

Customer’s Wife: *Getting frustrated* “Well, you have to treat him! You don’t understand. He is like a baby to me. I’ve lost a lot of loved ones these past couple months and I can not deal with losing my fish. You have to do something!”

Me: “Ma’am, I’m sorry for your losses and I understand your concern, but I am really limited with what I can do to help your fish since I don’t know how much water is in his container.”

Customer’s Wife: *Getting more frustrated* “Okay, well let’s say he is in a half-gallon container. How many drops would he need then?”

Me: “Umm…” *Trying to calculate*

Customer’s Wife: *Getting impatient* “How about this? How about you get someone else on the phone who is better at math, because I need to know so my fish survives. I don’t mean to insult you, honey, but clearly, you can’t figure it out. In fact, give me your fax number so I can send your manager the calculations.”

I do not know how to respond to the insult so I just politely give her the fax number.

Customer’s Wife: “Thank you. Hopefully, one of you over there can figure it out. This fish is important to me. I bought him at your other store across town, but I won’t hold them accountable for my fish getting sick. However, I am holding you responsible for my fish if he dies from improper medicine dosage.” *Hangs up*

I am in total shock and the man notices.

Customer: “Everything all right?”

Me: “To be honest, sir, I am a little afraid to treat your fish. Your wife was just telling me she is making me responsible if her fish dies. I can’t be held responsible for anything like that. We can try to figure out the dosage, but I can’t treat him for you.”

The customer puts his hand on my shoulder.

Customer: “I understand. I’ll buy the medicine and I’ll figure it out.”

Me: “Thanks, sir. I’m sorry I couldn’t help more. I wish you the best of luck.”

Customer: “It’s all right. You did fine. Have a good night.”

Me: “You, too.”

The man pays for the medicine at the register and comes back to the aquatics department. He is on his cell phone with his wife. And she asks to speak with me. I get on the phone. Again.

Customer’s Wife: “Okay, now I’m getting angry. I did not tell you I was holding you responsible. All I asked for was for you to calculate how many drops of medicine my Betta needed. I need to speak with your manager! Give me her office number immediately!” 

Although I was very confused, I did not argue with her, and I gave her my manager’s office number. She hung up and her husband walked out of the store. My managers never received a call from the man’s wife.

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