The Fish Fiasco: C’est Fin!

What an interesting few days . Before I dish, here is a video of Bean’s new favorite pastime. He has literally parked a stool in front of the aquarium and not moved for hours. It’s pretty clear he finds watching the liquid, silent movements of the fish calming and therapeutic, and that makes the chaos all worth it.

First, I acknowledge this is absurdly, entirely, a first-world problem. A tempest in a teacup, or whatever platitude spins your whirligig.

Now for the story, and I’ll keep it brief; I’m so done with crazy people. After I wrote the letter to Petco and published the blog post, The Consumerist (the blog arm of Consumer Reports) contacted me and asked if they could write about this, and follow up with Petco. The details were verified and they attempted to contact Petco themselves prior to writing Bean’s story. Petco had not yet responded to my letter.

The Consumerist gave Petco until late afternoon to reply, and when neither they nor I had received any answer, The Consumerist went ahead with the story. Within the hour of the article going live, Petco contacted me. Make of that what you will, but apparently the internet can be a great equalizer. Meanwhile, The Consumerist was getting angry emails from aquarists willing to make threats to me and Bean for our animal ‘abuse’. The Consumerist only shared one letter with me, but it was longer than my original letter to Petco. I’ll only say the idea that the life a feeder-fish— who was in all likelihood destined to be turtle food— is more valuable than me or my son is beyond comprehension. There are crazy folks out there. The Consumerist did not link to Dandelion because the writer is a wise woman, and she anticipated this reaction.

Last night, while my kids watched a Pixar movie, the president of Animal Care at Petco phoned us at home. She was gracious and kind, and spent a fair amount of time speaking with me, and then with Bean. She explained that while their goal is to educate customers on the proper care of animals, we should not have been denied the ability to purchase our fish. The employee was ‘over-zealous” in her position, and we were informed it has already been dealt with at a district level, and will be addressed in future training of employees. She gave me an example of a person wishing to purchase a large dragon lizard but only having a shoebox in which to keep it- in that case, they would have to deny that person. Yes, I agree- and had I shown up with a dixie cup and asked to buy a fish, that would make sense.

I had Bean join in via speakerphone at this point, and the VP said Petco wanted to help him in his love of animals, and asked if he would accept a gift card to take care of his fish needs, as well as a new aquarium. She also offered a private tour of the local store with the regional manager. Bean was quite pleased, and while the VP couldn’t see it, he rocked back and forth with delight, and gave her a honk.

So. Tempest in a fishbowl? Yeah. Not really a big deal in light of real problems in the world? Yeah. But a boy who is quite pleased with his fish, and who now can purchase a larger aquariuim if the fish grow big enough to need one? Yeah, that too.

I’m grateful to The Consumerist and their work on our behalf, and I’m grateful to Petco for being kind to my son and turning around a crappy situation.

Also, you can go buy goldfish now. And if you have any problems, give me a call. I know some people…



4 thoughts on “The Fish Fiasco: C’est Fin!

  1. I’ve stumbled across the crazies–I got a death threat for writing about a gopher in my yard, and I wrote back asking if he had read my post? I was on the gopher’s side.

    I am very glad Petco came around and made good on a situation they had originally made bad. I’m sorry that it took noise and pressure for them to take the time to do the right thing, but at least they did the right thing.

  2. Crazy situation. This is why when we used to go fish shopping as kids my dad would literally say, “We have 100, 200 galloon tanks, with varying temperatures of water and salt concentration, a full-time aquarium attendant and love in our hearts for fish.” Glad your son is enjoying his new experience. You BOTH deserve it.

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