I ran out of stresscoat, which I use in conjunction with prime to help clean my tanks, and since I live in a highly populated city with at least 3 pet stores within a three mile radius, I had three different places to choose from: a Petco, a Petsmart, and a Pet Extreme. Now for forum users not familiar with Pet Extreme, it's a pet store here in the Central Valley; I haven't seen it anywhere else but here. Anyway, as far as pet stores go with bettas, they're about the same in terms of treatment, only worse: they suck, to put it bluntly. Also, they lack the variety (color and tail types, and they only sell males) of more familiar franchises, so when I'm on the market for a new fishy friend, I do not usually head there. However, the closest store (Petsmart) was all out of API Stresscoat, so I headed to the next closest store, Pet Extreme. I found what I needed, and headed towards the cash register. When I was being rung up, I remembered that one of the cups I keep my guys in (temporarily while cleaning) cracked, so I asked the associate if I could have or possibly buy one of the plastic cups they keep their store bettas in, if they had any extras. "We don't have any extras, we recycle them."
I was shocked by this. They recycle them?! I realize that they are not a huge franchise, but they most certainly get customers, and they always have new shipments coming in.....by now, you probably understand the implications of the saleslady's statement. To add insult to (however unintended) injury, I noticed they had a betta (a halfmoon) with tattered fins, in an over-planted 1 gallon glass bowl, unheated, and in only 60% water. I turned back and said, "Excuse, but you should put more water in his bowl, and probably update him to a bigger space with a heater. His fins look terrible."
The lady looked shocked and overwhelmed by this, and quickly said that their fish specialist would be back soon to take care of his betta.
That did it for me. I walked out, flabbergasted at the thought that someone could be called a "Specialist," and yet be unaware of the most basic needs of a very popular fish.
I don't know what to think, to be honest. I'm not sure if I should be angry or just sigh and say, "What do you expect?"
All I know is that it really, truly disturbs me....and that my next betta is definitely going to be a Pet Extreme betta. I don't know the fate of the ones unlucky enough to not be sold, and I know I'm going to hear the argument that I'm only encouraging such policies, but-well, I've got to do something, even if it means only one fish can at least experience what life is like beyond a grimy cup on a cold, steel shelf.
My heart bleeds, my fellow fish enthusiasts. It bleeds.