Salty Q&A: Can We Do Better for Beginners than Caveat Emptor?

Hobby newcomers are often blissfully unaware of the challenges they may be putting themselves up againstQuestionI recently had a frustrating experience at a major chain pet store in my area. I watched as the aquarium department salesperson sold a type of butterflyfish that has a very specialized diet to a self-identified newbie, and he didn’t bother to tell this customer anything about it. The fish probably isn’t going to live very long for that person, so now I regret that I didn’t speak up at the time. Everyone says we hobbyists need to do prior research on all the animals we buy, but it seems to me the salesperson owed it to the customer to at least explain the fish’s feeding habits. What’s your take on this?” – Submitted by Veronica Answer Thanks for your question, Veronica! I’m afraid there’s no easy solution to this problem—or at least not one I’ve been able to brainstorm. While it is absolutely true that hobbyists should thoroughly research all of their livestock acquisitions, in my opinion, there’s a significant information gap for novices that’s extremely difficult to bridge. Why?