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I’ve Heard Aquariums are Soothing

by Roberta McReynolds

I was scanning through the stacks of sales inserts that come tucked inside the folds of the Sunday newspaper when my eyes zeroed in on an item of interest. I tracked Mike down within two minutes.

"Honey, remember that aquarium you liked so much? It’s on sale!" I held the advertisement out for my husband’s inspection.

We had scrutinized the fish tank during the pet store’s Grand Opening. It had a graceful bow front with a sleek, black stand. It was both spacious and expensive. Mike ran his hands over it with admiration. If it had been female, I would have felt the green twinges of jealousy.

My husband handed the circular back to me, "We agreed we might buy one after the birds are gone." True, the only possible space for a fish tank that size was presently occupied by a birdcage filled with half a dozen Zebra Finches. The cage sat on the tiled hearth of the fireplace, which had not been used for anything but a backdrop to an aviary in years.

"We can find a different location for the birds. The exact tank you admired is on sale for $92 off the original price. The store may be discontinuing that model and you won’t have another chance," I reasoned. Thus began our trek into the relaxing hobby of ‘The Tropical Aquarium Experience.’

The Zebra Finches were moved near the patio door, displacing the Rubber Tree in the process. I towed the 6’ tall plant to the other end of the house, situating it in front of the window in my sewing room.

"See?" I chirped, "That wasn’t so bad."

We had no problem locating the aquarium in the store, but it was on the wrong stand. The employee I herded into the fish department promptly, and accurately, proclaimed his ignorance in the matter. He scurried away to locate a supervisor. I pointed to the photograph in the advertisement to convince the supervisor what the matching stand looked like; it had a bow front to match the shape of the tank. He directed the employee into the warehouse to search for it, but he returned empty-handed. The coordinating stands hadn’t arrived with the shipment of aquariums and there was no guarantee when they would be delivered. The sale was for stock-on-hand, no rain checks.

Fortunately, a customer service call verified the complete setup was available at their location in the next city, nine miles away. That was a minor inconvenience, but Mike and I realized we had a ‘bigger’ problem. The 72-gallon fish tank was much larger than we had remembered. We drove home and Mike phoned a friend who owned a pickup truck, asking him to meet us there.

Store #2 also had the aquarium on the wrong stand. We identified ourselves as the couple from the other store and brought up the subject of the stand. The salesclerk assured us the stand was in the warehouse, but there was a problem. When he added up all the components in the package deal, it totaled $49 more than the sales price; it was a misprint. He explained we could speak to the manager about it the next day and believed the advertised price would be honored. He just didn’t have the authority to approve it himself.

We were faced with a dilemma: Jerry would be arriving in his truck any minute. We decided to make the purchase in good faith and discuss it with the manager after the fact.

The longer we waited for Jerry, the more items were piled next to the aquarium: 75-pounds of gravel, a filtration system, and a few artificial plants. A misunderstanding in directions sent Jerry to a different pet store chain with a similar name. Our trusty friend eventually located us by using process of elimination (thankfully before we cleared out all the store’s aquatic supplies).

Page Two of I've Heard Aquariums are Soothing>>


©2007 Roberta McReynolds for SeniorWomenWeb
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