The Walmart at Flanders, NJ, (store #3291) gave me a horrific experience today.
I was shopping in their pet department and stopped by the live fish tanks to show them to my toddler grandson.
It was a nightmare.
All of the tanks were without power. All filtration systems were removed. But the fish were left to die. Most were dead, and rotting in the tanks. Many were still swimming--starving, freezing, choking on foul water full of ammonia and algae.
Apparently this store no longer plans to sell live fish. Their perogative, but how cruel and inhumane to just let these creatures suffer. The management is tough enough to "pull the plug," literally, but not man enough to humanely kill the fish at the time. Much better would have been to give them to customers, or schools or hospitals that have aquaria. I am told that many Petco stores accept donated fish which they then adopt out for free. They would have been better off as feeder fish than left to freeze and starve and rot.
Several customers into the department while we were there. Most were distressed about the condition. A few had come to check the status of the tanks. They told us that the power had been turned off more than a week ago. The water temp was 64 degrees, and these are, or mostly were, tropical fish.
I cannot believe that Walmart, with its caring and community culture would permit such a practice.
We were told that the store manager was unavailable, out of the building. The employees were of no help: lying, covering for one another, giving us the runaround. We waited over an hour for help that was continually coming but never appeared.
Finally a lovely woman named Laura offered assistance. She came to help us even though she had been told not to by a supervisor, Jasmine (who kept telling us she was getting help for us but never did). We rescued--bought and paid full price for--the least sick fish. (Only the catfish were surviving).
My family and I are Walmart shoppers and Walmart stockholders. I defend Walmart to others in my socio-economic set who turn up their noses at the chain.
If I need something, I turn to Walmart first.
And now they have made me ashamed. I am appalled by their cruelty. I am embarrassed by their poor management in having persons like Ricky, the pet department manager who was "on break" for the full hour we were there and Jasmine in supervisory positions. I am also appalled bythe store manager, Wayne Inman who was also unavailable for the entire time we were in the store. I imagine it was his decision to turn the aquaria into chambers of slow death.
Shame on you. Shame on you all.