Tuesday, April 27, 2010

How Hard Is It To Get Fish?

I’ve been working on my latest project called aquaponics. One of the components of aquaponics is fish. I’m making a small system with only a 10 gallon aquarium. I needed some goldfish because they’re cheap and I might not be very good at keeping fish alive. So how hard is it to get fish?

It was a bright, clear, beautiful day. I had my list of things to buy. I needed an aquarium, a pump, fish, and a plant. I had looked on Craigslist but no luck. I was going to have to rely on…the retail world.”

My first stop was Goodwill. I didn’t have any luck there and I noticed that they have gone way up in price. Things aren’t such a bargain there. I know this is not true at all Goodwill stores. Time to move on.

Next stop is Walmart. They have everything I need. However, the bargain hunting side of my personality kicked in and I just wanted to look at one more place. This is where the day goes downhill.

I went to PetSmart. Not smart. Oh, they have everything one needs to set up an aquarium and fish. But they won’t sell it to you. The prices were just about the same as Walmart and I decided to just get the stuff at Petsmart since I was there. I picked out the aquarium, pump, and fish food. Now I just needed to get the fish. I ask the girl for 20 goldfish. Her reply, “I can’t sell you fish if you’re just setting up a tank.” *silence* And she had that tone in her voice. The I’m-in-high-school-and-I-know-it-all tone. Did she ask if I had fish before? Did she ask if I had a pond? Did she ask if I had the dechlorinating drops that “makes the water safe for fish immediately?” No. She didn’t ask any background questions. She just assumed. They won’t be getting my business again. Thanks PetSmart, for not selling me a pet.

Good thing I didn’t tell her they weren’t going to be pets, but farm animals. I’m hungry. Think I’ll stop at Chik-fil-a. It’s a new one and I’ve never been there before…

First red flag. There’s workers standing beside the intercom to take your order in the drive-thru. I give my order to the girl and she professionally calls it in over her headset. I ask her if I can drive around the car in front me because I can see the person reading off a list of orders. She tells me, “No, they’ll be done is just a second.” O.k. I wait patiently. Another high-school student comes up to my car. “Can you please pull around this car in front of you.” “I asked the girl that and she told me no.” “Oh, it’s o.k. It’s all good.” No it’s not all good. In fact, it’s getting real not good.

The line is finally moving and I’m at the window now. First, they charge me the wrong amount. They have 2 more girls standing outside the drive-thru window to pass things to the car because…the person inside can’t reach out the window 2 feet? The girl says, “here’s your sweet tea.” “I didn’t order sweet tea.” “You didn’t order blah blah blah?” “No, I didn’t.” I can hear metal gears grinding to a halt in my head. I realize their smooth assembly line had just turned into a traffic jam with like ten cars tangled in a car wreck.

All of a sudden the girls are walking away from the window to other cars and the manager is screaming out the window at them and they aren’t listening. And he can’t hand me my food 2 feet away. Because that is thinking outside the box. Apparently, I was supposed to drive around that stupid car way back at ordering and now every order from that point on is messed up. I did ask.

I finally get my food. This is after I tell the girl that this is my first visit here. It’s made quite an impression and I’ll be sure to tell everyone I know. She hands me my food and coupons for some free food and says, “ok. Thank you.” It’s in that weird voice of “why are you still here?” I say, “drinks. Where’s my drinks? Y’all aren’t making this any better.” Got my drinks. Drive off shaking my head. Thanks Chik-fil-a.

Now I’m headed back to Walmart because I haven’t forgotten about the smug little twit at PetSmart. I’m going to go to Walmart, where they don’t care what you’re doing with fish as long as they can sell you something. And I’m going to show her. This will be quick. Run in. Get fish. Back in car. No, no, no.

“Can I get 20 goldfish please.” “Well, the vendor is putting fish in the tank right now and they will have to acclimate. So, I can’t sell you any fish right now.” *silence* “I can’t buy fish anywhere in this town.”

Back in the car. I’ll stop by the fancy pet shop. They’re out of goldfish. What a surprise. I’m depressed. I’m going home. Everyone is against me. Jace calls. He’s in town and will give Walmart another try. Here’s his version of the story.

“I want to get 20 goldfish.” Guy walks over to the tank, dumps the fish out of the bags, and puts 20 in a bag for him. No questions asked. No acclimating bull talk. Is this a guy thing? Ugh!

I’m back at the house getting the tank ready and my hero comes home having vanquished the enemies and brings me fish. I acclimate them and set them loose. And guess what? They didn’t die. They’ve been alive all weekend. So in your face PetSmart girl.

Next time I’ll tell you about the aquaponics setup.

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