I figured I’d write this as a little guide, because I see people every day who don’t know or understand these things that make my job really tough or frustrating. Maybe you already knew them, maybe you didn’t, either way I hope at least a few people will learn!
If someone is getting you fish, please stand off to the side (not behind them) and not in front of the tank your fish is in. I know you want to watch them catch the fish but employees need to stand right in front of the tank they’re getting into and probably need some big elbow room too. Stand back!
If you want a specific fish, absolutely say so . But! Remember that for some fish this will be impossible to do. Or, the fish are for all intents and purposes identical so don’t try to pick a specific one please. Or at least, don’t get mad or think the employee is incompetent because they tell you they can’t.
Do not ask for help with a fish problem, receive an answer, then tell the employee there is no problem and you did nothing wrong. Please, 99% of the time, you did something wrong. Just fix it.
Do NOT open lids or stick your hand into the tanks!! For any reason!
Do not put your hands near or into the cage. Just don’t! 90% of the time you are scaring the bird and giving them lifelong behavioral problems. Remember, they have had around a dozen people try to poke them, scare them, maybe even yell at them or hit their cage. The public is stupid, don’t be a part of that. Politely admire the birds from a distance unless the bird is asking for physical touch.
DO NOT TRY TO OPEN THE BIRD CAGES. I CAN’T BELIEVE I HAVE TO SAY THIS.
This includes going into any employees only areas related to cleaning cages.
Do NOT feed the birds ANYTHING!! PLEASE YOU COULD KILL THEM.
Do NOT open the cages.
Understand that you might not be able to handle the animal. This is, honestly, for the animals protection more than anything. Many people, including those who genuinely think they can competently hold the animal, cannot, and will drop or injure them. I’ve been doing this for 8 years. Chances are, you will drop that hamster so no, you can’t hold it.
If there is an open top type of enclosure, ASK if you may touch the animals inside.
Same as with mammals, you probably won’t be allowed to hold the animal. It’s just a safety thing, nothing personal. Please respect it and the animal.
Do not crowd the employee as they get you an animal. Lots of reptiles are fast and flighty and having you breathing down their neck will do one of a few things; distract them, make them uncomfortable, or get in their way.
Do not scream or jump if a reptile jumps or runs. I know this might be difficult, but try to expect it so it doesn’t startle you. If you react this way you can startle the employee, which may make them make mistakes or become nervous, which leads to more dropping/failure to catch the animal. Especially if they are new.
Do not take things from the top shelf! It’s dangerous, let an employee help you.
Please give your kids ground rules BEFORE taking them into the store. So many kids, every single day, come in and wreck the place or hit things because they had no idea they weren’t supposed to. If your child is old enough, before going into the store give the following rules
1. Do not touch the cages or tanks. (Look but don’t touch)
2. Stay with me/don’t walk away.
3. No running.
4. Put things back.
Will they listen? Maybe not, but you can’t get mad at them for getting excited to see a hamster and hitting the cage to get it’s attention because hey, no one said anything about that and you’re a kid so why would you think twice before doing it?
This is more for you than anyone but if you are STARTING to run out of cat/dog food, write down the brand/type (Or take a picture) and get some before you’re totally out. Many, many people actually forget what brand of food they feed and get frustrated when they can’t remember or I can’t figure it out (It’s a YELLOW bag. It’s chicken? Maybe beef. Small breed.). Having that picture will help you a lot! And employees. Heck, to save you even more trouble, call first and ask if they carry it and if it’s in stock!
If your dog is aggressive with strangers, small animals, or other dogs… Please do not bring them into a pet store.
On that note please do not bring animals to the pet store that would be in danger because of it. Like a bird without a harness, a hamster or mouse without a carrying case, or a baby ball python you got 3 days ago (please… stop).