PetCo Conference Call Info

viper69

ArachnoGod
Old Timer
Joined
Dec 8, 2006
Messages
9,456
Hello All,

I had my conference call with three of Petco's employees yesterday. We spoke for about 35 mins.

Let me preface by saying the following: Don't go on about "corporate America" etc and all the typical rants many of us do here (myself included), save it for another thread.

My purpose of the phone call was to discuss the selling of OW Ts to the general public.

They were very cordial/friendly/respectful. They were very happy that I came to them with my concern about their news release (thanks @gypsy cola ).

Here's what I learned in no specific order, just from my notes.

They have not shipped out any OW species anywhere in the USA.

They felt I had "valid concerns", their in-house Vet approved the species in the press release.

They have a supplier who is going to provide all their Ts. I was told the supplier is a "large, well known breeder", but because of a NDA they contractually could not provide me who their vendor is. I also know that their vendor provided them input as to what species would/could be sold.

I asked them how they came to selecting various OW species, as certain OW species made sense to me from a business perspective why they would be chosen. For example, Pterinochilus murinus is easy to reproduce and brightly colored. A business needs a reasonable supply.

The answer I was provided was that Petco has sold OW Ts in the past, and they based the species offering on what species had sold well n the past, along with advice from their vendor who breeds them.

I spoke to them about the challenges of owning any OW T, and emphasized the medically significant venom as well. The clinical papers I have of people getting bit by an OW T. While I was told they have not ever received a report of an OW bite from a customer, they certainly wouldn't want that to happen, that's bad business, to which they all agreed.

I told them it's my opinion, that it isn't a question of IF Petco will have lawsuit on their hands, but a question of WHEN should they proceed with selling OWs, especially in this highly litigious country.

They said they are going to re-examine their species list and perhaps remove the OWs or some of them. I don't know if that will happen or not, time will tell. I hope they remove them, esp the Poki's.

I also suggested there are many NW species they could choose from. I specifically mentioned the Green-Bottle Blue if they were looking for a T that had bright color and is very hardy.
They are continuing to evaluate other NW species, such as the Costa Rican Tiger Rump.

In any event, Petco has a "tarantula project" I'll call it that (they didn't), and they see tarantulas as a growth segment of the pet market (it is), and any business is looking for new revenue streams. So for now, they are including Ts as a regular part of their offerings.

They said they want to help grow the hobby, ie expose Ts to more people in a responsible manner. We will see.

They welcomed any input I had to offer be it now, or down the road.

Later that evening one of the employees contacted me and they have found this forum (that's good).

It seems Petco is going to reach out to some members of the AB community. Below is a portion of the email that was sent to me.

"We received a few letters from others on that board and are hoping to have calls with them too. I want to make sure we ease their concerns as well. I believe our customer service team is reaching out to them to see if we can get their phone numbers to setup a call. I don’t know if they will want to talk to us or not. If not, could you at least let them know that we spoke to you and that their concerns have been heard and will be addressed? We’re here to promote their hobby, not hurt it."

So whether people like it or not, Petco is moving forward w/selling tarantulas. My take on it is here's an opportunity to make things better than they are on some level.

I propose people who are actually interested in effecting change, not complaining, provide their constructive criticism, as I did, to Petco in the areas you feel they need it.

For example, you think they need better care sheets or better care info on their website, let them know it, not by telling them this is wrong alone, but by providing the information so many of us have.

I do believe they took my seriously because these are professionals and they have better things to do with their time than call me and continue to foster a relationship with myself or others. Does that mean they will make all the changes we'd like to see, not necessarily, but they are receptive to hearing feedback, as any good company who is consumer-oriented NOT product-oriented should be. If they weren't prepared to at least consider making changes, they would not have even replied back to me. They didn't have to do this at all.

My personal opinion is Petco is going to sell tarantulas (for now at least) whether you provide input or not. If only 10-20% of the suggestions are taken, that is better than none.
 

Chris LXXIX

ArachnoGod
Joined
Dec 25, 2014
Messages
5,668
Top Notch, man. I completely agree with what you did (and this from a non US, not Petco & Co. such here in Italy, point of view).

What you did is a very important stand for everyone, in the US Theraphosidae keepers.

As you said, only time will tell, but someone warned them, and that's something important.

Now i can't think about a $80 cigar that not even Fidel Castro, 4K devices, fast as light Internet, class leather office chairs, a plant in a corner, and a blonde secretary named "Inge" with sexy glasses and Nicole Kidman hair style :)
 

Philth

N.Y.H.C.
Arachnosupporter
Joined
Jan 4, 2003
Messages
2,713
Their large well known "breeder" is Vista pet , which is a division of LLL Reptile.

Later, Tom
 

BorisTheSpider

Overly Complicated
Old Timer
Joined
May 26, 2009
Messages
489
I think that they may listen to an extent for the simple reason that we as tarantula keepers are they very customers that they are aiming for . They need us to come in a buy stuff . The input that they have been getting is from clinical experts and they want to know what the casual pet keeper thinks . It's good for business .
 

Thistles

Arachnobroad
Joined
Mar 21, 2012
Messages
619
Good job. I've worked for big box pet stores for... longer than I care to admit. I know how things work as far as acceptable pet loss and risk and signing paperwork releasing the corporation from liability should you get sick or injured as a result of a live pet purchase. They aren't going to discontinue selling something in such a fast-growing segment of the market. As I said in my post in the other thread, the best we can hope for is that they do it as responsibly as possible for both the animals and the hobby. They've been selling tarantulas, including OW species, for years. The only change I see here is that they're slings in premade crappy containers.
 

Lander9021

Arachnosquire
Joined
Apr 6, 2016
Messages
119
Hopefully that will all happen but thinking about it...in reality some big board of directors has told his customer service team to get in touch with tom, dick and harry from a forum that has no effect on sales, marketing or any other aspect of their business to keep a few hobbyists sweet.

I can't see it.
 

Thistles

Arachnobroad
Joined
Mar 21, 2012
Messages
619
Hopefully that will all happen but thinking about it...in reality some big board of directors has told his customer service team to get in touch with tom, dick and harry from a forum that has no effect on sales, marketing or any other aspect of their business to keep a few hobbyists sweet.

I can't see it.
I'm afraid you're right. That's been my experience with both Petco and PetSmart in the past. Smile and nod and send a gift card while things continue as usual.
 

Sana

Arachnoprince
Joined
Oct 26, 2014
Messages
1,147
If no one ever tries to bring about a change in a positive and well thought out manner then there won't be a change. Whether they are listening at this moment or patting folks on the head we should all keep trying. Maybe today isn't better but it won't ever be without effort.
 

Haksilence

Bad At Titles
Joined
Dec 6, 2015
Messages
405
I don't really see this as much of an issue if they heed the hobby's advice moving forward.

Let's be real, this is not a hobby that is easy to get into and is not very approachable to the complete novice.
If a big chain pet store can properly care for, and provide a variety of species to new hobbiests I'm all for it.
I don't think they should be carrying any pokies, and definitely not obts, their bright colors are sure to attract people and that's a disaster waiting to happen. Some mom goes in to buy her 10 year old a tarantula, picks the bright orange one, the kid wants to play with it, and why not? It's leggs are in the air waving at him waiting to be picked up. Kid gets bit, and at 10 I'm sure a P. Murinus bite is enough to cause some very serious problems, maybe even cardiac or respiratory failure.

If chain pet stores can provide passable care for their arachnids I'm all for making the hobby more approachable/accessible. But not at the risk of losing the hobby.

I don't see any problem with them offering a few species of:
Brachypelma
Aphonopelma
Grammostola
Lasyodora
Ectect
 

Toxoderidae

Arachnoprince
Joined
Nov 16, 2015
Messages
1,011
Well I'm supposed to get my conference call any day now. I'll also address these concerns, but by the sounds of it they may be listening. To an extent.
 

Haksilence

Bad At Titles
Joined
Dec 6, 2015
Messages
405
I just hope with their increased interest and energy into these animals a comparable increase in attention to care and husbandry will also be observed
 

Abyss

Arachnoknight
Joined
Apr 15, 2016
Messages
278
I would love the opportunity to speak to them as well and offer whatever i can to help them "do things safe/correct".

Anything i can do to help grow/protect the hobby i am in 100%
 

metaldad904

Arachnopeon
Joined
Dec 18, 2006
Messages
39
Good job trying to make a difference bud. I truly hope it helps but I have my concerns. Next Petco I'm near I'm going to swing by and see if anything has been made available and test their associates education. We shall see.
 

PanzoN88

Arachnodemon
Joined
Sep 15, 2014
Messages
675
As others have said that was a very good move on your part, and the fact that they may actually listen is very surprising. While they may not and likely will not stop the sale of tarantulas, it would be nice to see better conditions for the tarantulas they aquire. The more voices from the forum that are heard the better. I may enter the ring myself. After multiple calls and emails, the chance of them listening greatly increases. Imagine it, a petco with healthy (hopefully new world) tarantulas. If they refuse to stop selling OW tarantulas, a disclaimer would definitely improve the chances of some unknowing buyers avoiding what they can't handle.
 

Abyss

Arachnoknight
Joined
Apr 15, 2016
Messages
278
I googeld their # but it was nothing more then a recording.....
Whats best way to contact them reguarding this?
 

Walter1

Arachnosquire
Joined
Dec 8, 2013
Messages
102
Hello All,

I had my conference call with three of Petco's employees yesterday. We spoke for about 35 mins.

Let me preface by saying the following: Don't go on about "corporate America" etc and all the typical rants many of us do here (myself included), save it for another thread.

My purpose of the phone call was to discuss the selling of OW Ts to the general public.

They were very cordial/friendly/respectful. They were very happy that I came to them with my concern about their news release (thanks @gypsy cola ).

Here's what I learned in no specific order, just from my notes.

They have not shipped out any OW species anywhere in the USA.

They felt I had "valid concerns", their in-house Vet approved the species in the press release.

They have a supplier who is going to provide all their Ts. I was told the supplier is a "large, well known breeder", but because of a NDA they contractually could not provide me who their vendor is. I also know that their vendor provided them input as to what species would/could be sold.

I asked them how they came to selecting various OW species, as certain OW species made sense to me from a business perspective why they would be chosen. For example, Pterinochilus murinus is easy to reproduce and brightly colored. A business needs a reasonable supply.

The answer I was provided was that Petco has sold OW Ts in the past, and they based the species offering on what species had sold well n the past, along with advice from their vendor who breeds them.

I spoke to them about the challenges of owning any OW T, and emphasized the medically significant venom as well. The clinical papers I have of people getting bit by an OW T. While I was told they have not ever received a report of an OW bite from a customer, they certainly wouldn't want that to happen, that's bad business, to which they all agreed.

I told them it's my opinion, that it isn't a question of IF Petco will have lawsuit on their hands, but a question of WHEN should they proceed with selling OWs, especially in this highly litigious country.

They said they are going to re-examine their species list and perhaps remove the OWs or some of them. I don't know if that will happen or not, time will tell. I hope they remove them, esp the Poki's.

I also suggested there are many NW species they could choose from. I specifically mentioned the Green-Bottle Blue if they were looking for a T that had bright color and is very hardy.
They are continuing to evaluate other NW species, such as the Costa Rican Tiger Rump.

In any event, Petco has a "tarantula project" I'll call it that (they didn't), and they see tarantulas as a growth segment of the pet market (it is), and any business is looking for new revenue streams. So for now, they are including Ts as a regular part of their offerings.

They said they want to help grow the hobby, ie expose Ts to more people in a responsible manner. We will see.

They welcomed any input I had to offer be it now, or down the road.

Later that evening one of the employees contacted me and they have found this forum (that's good).

It seems Petco is going to reach out to some members of the AB community. Below is a portion of the email that was sent to me.

"We received a few letters from others on that board and are hoping to have calls with them too. I want to make sure we ease their concerns as well. I believe our customer service team is reaching out to them to see if we can get their phone numbers to setup a call. I don’t know if they will want to talk to us or not. If not, could you at least let them know that we spoke to you and that their concerns have been heard and will be addressed? We’re here to promote their hobby, not hurt it."

So whether people like it or not, Petco is moving forward w/selling tarantulas. My take on it is here's an opportunity to make things better than they are on some level.

I propose people who are actually interested in effecting change, not complaining, provide their constructive criticism, as I did, to Petco in the areas you feel they need it.

For example, you think they need better care sheets or better care info on their website, let them know it, not by telling them this is wrong alone, but by providing the information so many of us have.

I do believe they took my seriously because these are professionals and they have better things to do with their time than call me and continue to foster a relationship with myself or others. Does that mean they will make all the changes we'd like to see, not necessarily, but they are receptive to hearing feedback, as any good company who is consumer-oriented NOT product-oriented should be. If they weren't prepared to at least consider making changes, they would not have even replied back to me. They didn't have to do this at all.

My personal opinion is Petco is going to sell tarantulas (for now at least) whether you provide input or not. If only 10-20% of the suggestions are taken, that is better than none.
Thank you for making the call and sharing it.
 
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