In my area there are two LFSs: one that I frequent because it is truly outstanding, and an atrocious one that is much closer to my home but I rarely go into except when I need something quickly and don't want to drive across town.
The other day was just such an occasion, when I wandered in searching for a small piece of driftwood to placate my clown pleco. Of course they didn't have any, but as I wandered around looking at their half-empty tanks (by that I mean that half of their tanks were bone dry) my eye landed on a beautiful little juvenile botia kubotai, swimming around energetically in a small display tank full of common plecos (labelled as "algea eaters") and various mollys. No other loaches were present in his tank, but he seemed happy and healthy anyway as he swam around and poked at the gravel looking for tidbits. I think that only the people on this forum will understand this: I had to have that fish.
"What can you tell me about this little guy right here?" I asked the obviously oblivious young woman that came over to help me.
"Uh, I think that's an algea eater..."
Funny, I didn't see that much resemblance between the loach and the dozen or so plecos that were in the tank with him, but then I only have perfect vision so what do I know? Realizing that she was out of her league, she went and got the manager, who was also a young woman that appeared only slightly less oblivious.
"That's a yoyo loach, $4.99," She responded confidently after I pointed out to her which fish I was curious about. "See, there's another one there and another one there. They all came in the same shipment." Ever confident in her fish knowledge, she had indeed pointed to a yoyo loach (b. almorhae), and then to a golden zebra (b. histrionica). So far 1 out of 3 on species identification. Can you see why I don't usually shop at this store?
At this point my better judgment kicked in and I decided to leave without the fish. I did end up getting the driftwood I needed, at the other store of course. Over the next 2 days, I kept thinking of that little kubotai (ok, I'm a sucker for a pretty loach), and worrying about the poor conditions at that store - or even worse, where the poor thing might end up.
Today I had some errands to run, so I went back into the awful local LFS and looked for the little loach. To my great relief I saw that he was still there and still healthy looking. There were different employees in the store today, but I think that they were pulled from the same pool as the others. After waiting for 15 minutes for someone to approach me, I hobbled over to the counter and got their attention (this is after they had walked by me several times, doing their level best to ignore me while helping several other customers who had come in after me). Thanks for that, I appreciate the great service.
"I'd like the botia kubotai you have in the tank over there," I said, fully expecting the blank look that appeared on the young woman's face. "I'll point to it." Is it bad that I expect people to have at least a rudimentary idea of what they are selling?
Well, to make a long story slightly less long, the new kubotai seems to be making friends with all of my golden zebras and yoyos, and as far as I can tell so far is happy and healthy in his new home. Time will tell. For now, I feel like I've rescued him - I hope that I am right.