Letter: A Horrible Experience

Hi, I wanted to bring attention to a despicable act of anti-Semitism that occurred to me this past Sunday.

I was in Petco in Brick NJ today. An associate asked me if I needed help and I asked to buy some aquarium fish. She asked if I have a water sample with me, and I said no,(for those that don’t know, a water sample to test your aquarium water, is helpful to determine if the fish can survive in your tank) as I have no issue with my tank. Then the associate told me that in order to buy fish I needed to provide a water sample. So I asked her when was this policy put in place. She told me, as of this morning. I said I didn’t see it online or get an email about it. So she said it should be updated by today on the website. Right after I spoke to her I noticed she went and whispered something to the associate who I would approach later.

I had a feeling something was odd. So I called the store from my cell phone and I asked the associate that picked up the phone if there is such a policy, She said there is no such policy. Then I approached another associate who identified herself as the manager. And I asked for help with fish. She repeated the same thing, that I needed a water sample in order to buy fish. So I asked her why other people ( of course that were not visibly Jewish) were being helped and buying fish without a water sample, and she said the associate that originally approached me, determined that I may not keep the fish in a suitable habitat, so therefore they needed a water sample in order to sell me fish. I asked her what made her decide that, so she said based on the answer that I gave of what size tank ill be putting the fish in. She said I gave 3 different answers. But, I was never ever asked what size tank I’ll be putting them in. She clearly lied to me. So she kept repeating to me that I gave 3 different answers to a question I was never asked. I kept pleading with her and telling her that I have a 1′ 40 gallon tank, and I know the exact measurements of my tank. She kept on repeating to me that they determined that I may be putting the fish at risk by putting them in an unsuitable tank. After going back and forth with her. I just left the store.

It seemed to me I was being discriminated against based upon being Jewish. she probably thought that people that look like me don’t know how to keep fish, and was afraid ill bring them back dead and ask for a refund. Clearly I know how to keep fish and I’ve been keeping fish for close to 3 years. And I have vast knowledge in fishkeeping. I was even telling the associate how much I know about fishkeeping but it apparently didn’t matter to her.

I emailed and called Petco corporate, who then forwarded my complaint to the general store manager. So Shannon, the general store manager, reached out to me and apologized and was very accomodating. But I have yet to hear from the associates whose names I found out later to be Sarah and Tee.

I’ve been to different Petcos many times and never ever had this happen to me. I’ve been a loyal Petco customer, but no more. This is unacceptable.

I was wondering if anyone else experienced similar incidents at this Petco.

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  1. To Petco Corporate, the store manager and Sarah and Tee personally. I’m sure any lawyer would be willing to draft the letter of intent with a response within 5 business days.

  2. Um compared to the anti Semitic incidents that have been occurring recently people being threated with there lives being sent to the hospital etc this story is pretty benign there are plenty of pet stores that would appreciate your business not every petty tyrants in retail is a anti Semite its very possible that the high iq person was just a plain old jerk

  3. It’s epis a cursed shopping center :
    Hobby Lobby is there, The Shop-Rite who ran away from Lakewood, Rickel’s (killed by Home Depot) whom didn’t welcome us before Succos etc,
    In 1987 after completing a 2,100 sq ft addition to my home I went with my wife and babies to a small window treatment store in that k-mart shopping center to order mini blinds, sun shades, verticals for 18 windows the first thing the store owner told us was “you’s people” we walked out.

  4. I went into Peto in Brick in chol hamoed and wanted to buy some Goldfish. I was questioned repeatedly about my tank size and it was clear that the associate did not want to sell me fish. I think they assume all Jewish people buy fish and put them in insufficient tanks and give them away by carnivals. In the end however they did sell us 20 guppies…

  5. As an American consumer you have every right to take legal action for discrimination. But not because you’re Jewish. Please don’t label everything as anti Semitic.
    On the other hand as a Jew you just got a strong reminder in a very benign way that we’re still in galus.
    If it were me, I’d be thanking Hashem for the GENTLE reminder

  6. I’ve bought fish several times in Petco in Brick and never had such incidents. But, I once was served by a worker who wouldn’t sell me 2 plecos because my tank wasn’t big enough and made me buy 3 barbs, instead of the 2 I wanted because they were schooling fish and needed at least 3 (when 2 of them died, the remaining fish seem just fine without his friends). She also wouldn’t allow me to buy 2 gouramis because they’re aggressive and I’ve had 2 before without any problems. The next time I went I didn’t have any such problems. But, I will be wary of shopping there in the future. I used to shop in Petco in Howell, but, they closed down.

  7. I had a similar experience in that store about 3 years ago. I am a teacher and wanted to buy a goldfish for my class. As I was asking to buy the fish, I was told that they can not sell me goldfish for “many people” just buy lots of them and give them out to children and don’t take care of them properly. I tried to explain to her that was not going to be the case, but she insisted that it was a “new policy” and she was not able to sell any to me unless I was able to bring her the water I would be keeping the fish in. (I should point out that the fish I was attempting to buy was the really cheap ones that are sold as feeding fish…)
    Whatever was said, she refused to sell me a fish.
    This does not seem to be a new problem, and there is clearly someone/or a few employees who are insistent on not selling to us….

  8. Just get the point they cannot fargin you! Yidden just keep on pouring in with more and more kindelach to buy fish they just wish they can have same fun!

  9. dont let them get away with it. speak to the store manager and demand (in a polite yet persistant manner) why and what happened so it should not happen again. disgusting.

  10. While there is definitely an uptick in Anti Semitism and people are hyper sensitive to this lately, please don’t take every incident as such. Do a quick google search and you’ll see this actually happens to many different people.

  11. I have a similar experience in that store on three separate occasions. I was refused fish due to tank size as well as plecos. Eventually I went to 88 Pet World and had no problems.

  12. Ask the associate who is refusing to sell you the fish “And what is your name? I am going to call corporate to confirm with them that what you said is the real policy so I know for next time.”

    Maybe under pressure for their name being told to corporate they will be more honest.

  13. To Goldfish writer: it could b that ur tank was too small, as goldfish need 20-30 gal each to thrive. Guppies are fine in a smaller tank & require much less room. I have gone to this store many times to buy fish & never had an issue. They do ask what size my tank is & if the tank has been nitrate cycled, to ensure that the fish is a good fit. I once was there while a frum lady tried buying a goldfish for her 10 (!) gal tank, which already had fish in it. A goldfish was clearly a bad choice & I helped direct her to a more suitable choice of fish. But this is what the workers see- a clueless Jew who will mistreat a fish out of ignorance or lack of research. This make a really bad impression & sets the stage regarding future interactions with other Jews…

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