Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Bad Customer Service Report #752: Petco

So last week I became bored with the interior decor of my aquarium and decided it was time to spiff it up a bit. I sashayed through breezeway of the Coeur d'Alene Petco, grabbed a red handcart and headed back to the fish corner to pick out some new excitement for the tank. Browsing through the aisles, I decided to go for a very natural motif, picking up a few bags of sand colored pebble and a couple of realistic-looking plastic plants.

While I was at it, I thought it would be nice to select a few new fish to join the family. It usually takes me a while to pick out ones I like, gazing in each tank, watching them do their thing and pondering their potential as well as how they might fit in with the rest of the fish. Oddly, there was a giant puddle of water on the floor right in the corner where people are checking out the tanks, and next to it sat an abandoned shop vac. Otherwise, nothing appeared to be amiss.

A little over 30 minutes later, I had finally decided on a small angelfish and a cute little blue gourami. I hadn't seen a customer service associate the entire time I'd been there, so I tracked one down near the front of the store and told him I wanted to get a couple of fish. "Uh...that's not my department," he mumbled, "but I'll call someone back there." Another ten minutes passed before a girl finally came to bag my two fish to go. The time issue wasn't a major big deal, I wasn't in a terrible hurry but I was kind of anxious to get home and start my project.

I pointed out my fish to her and she got the step ladder. She already had one fish in the bag when another red-aproned kid came marching over.

"Hey Amber, remember? No fish."

"Oh yeah," the girl sighed and looked at me with complete detachment. "I forgot, we're not selling any fish right now."

"Why not?" I inquired, puzzled.

"We just got in a big shipment," she offered, as if that actually explained anything.

"Yeah, so what?" I asked, swiftly losing my patience.

"We can't sell any for a while if we add new ones to the tanks. Gotta keep an eye on 'em first."

"Okay, how long is a while? An hour? A day?"

"I dunno. Just depends."

And with that she dumped the fish back into the tank and wandered off.

No apology. No apparent interest at all in the fact that I had completely wasted nearly an hour in their store only to be told that I couldn't purchase what I wanted. There were no signs up anywhere explaining the situation, warning people not to even bother looking. There was nobody to inform customers about what was going on and offer a "I'm sorry about that"and a real explanation.

I should have pretended to slip in the puddle of water and then sued their asses. I wasn't in the mood to throw a snit, so I simply left my handcart full of goods in the middle of the aisle and walked out, vowing never to return.

I ended up much happier by doing what I should have done in the first place. I found everything I needed AND some better looking fish at Duncan's Pet Store, a wonderful local establishment with super friendly service and good vibes all around. Moral of the story: don't support the fishy corporate ways of Petco, buy local instead.

Do you have local bad customer service stories you'd like to share here on Get Out? If so, please email them to and I'd be more than happy to share them here.

1 comment:

Melanie said...

The water is ALWAYS there and a hose strung across the floor. Many times I have tripped on it. Their fish are always under observation. Either that or lying dead at the bottom of the tank. I don't even know why they sell fish. Total Fish Fail.