im glad you took those two outta that situation. and i hope that the dumb employees stick to their cleaning of the water. i wish the companies would lose money for sick animals of any kind. not just fish but all of them. they need to stop looking at them as money and as another life and sinscerely take care of them or they need better employees that actually care for the animals well being
Please don't be too hard on the employees themselves. I know it hurts to see bettas (or any animal) in unsuitable conditions, but I know for a fact that most of the problem at any retail establishment is serious understaffing. The vast majority of employees, particularly the career full-timers/management, honestly do care about animals, but with corporations working the way they do and the economy being the way it is, hours have been scaled back to almost nothing. At my particular store, it isn't unusual for there to only be two employees, including the manager-on-duty, working at any time -- and the manager is often doing double-duty as cashier for at least part of the day! The aquatics department alone is enough to be a 24-hours-7-days-a-week job, but even when the aquatics specialist is there, he's often the only employee or one of only two on the floor helping customers, recieving animals/orders, caring for animals, putting up tags, answering the phone, getting crickets, doing price checks, etc. as the cashier is only allowed to go so far from the register. Please do let management and corporate know whenever there's a problem so they can get on it (a lot of times it's not laziness, it's just things getting lost in the midst of a never-ending to-do list that only gets longer with each passing minute), but try to be as nice about it as possible. We honestly appreciate customers who calmly and sincerely explain their concerns. People who scream and rant and rave or call us lazy or throw obscenities at us (yes, it happens far more often than you'd think) DO get their concerns addressed immediately, but consider this -- stressed unhappy employees are not good workers, and nothing makes a barely-over-minimum-wage slave more stressed and unhappy than being screamed at.
While the problem of man-hours isn't likely to change, I'd like to see things change on a company-wide level in regard to bettas. I'd love to see the store do away with the teeny-tiny bowls, push some proper education, etc. Bettas suffer a bit because they're considered a "starter" fish that are low-maintenance and get people into the aquarium hobby, and I imagine that corporate worries that they'll lose that angle if betta care starts looking more expensive to customers, but I think they can be convinced if enough people speak up strongly but politely with facts to back it up. I'm management in one of the major pet store chains, yes, but in the grooming salon so my contact with the aquatics customers is limited. I'm trying hard to educate my fellow employees, though, and talk to customers about the true needs of happy healthy bettas when I get the chance. If I can even just convince them to go for a Kritter Keeper and a heater, or a wee little mini-bow, over a tiny bowl or cube, I feel like I've made some real progress.
MrVamp, I think it's awesome that you're rescuing bettas in need, but as some have said, the stores you're buying from don't distinguish between bettas bought as pets, as rescues, or out of pity -- all corporate sees are numbers sold and how much profit it equals. The same dilemma is what keeps puppy mills and backyard breeders in operation -- every unhealthy puppy sold, even if it's only sold by someone taking pity on the poor little thing, is monetary encouragement for them to breed and sell more.
Someone suggested Craigslist, and I think that's a good option, as there are usually people trying to get rid of bettas on my local list. You could also always check and see if Petco has any adoption bettas available. It's a long-shot, but Petco DOES take in abandoned animals (that is animals that people want to just get rid of -- they aren't bought from the customer, they're just taken in and housed until someone adopts them) to adopt out when they have the space. Fish aren't as common as small furry animals, but they do get them from time to time.
Even with all that said, I know it's hard to resist rescuing a betta who's obviously suffering or close to death, so I certainly can't blame anyone for giving in and buying one. :(