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Re: Sales/Marketing/Follow-through

I would have to agree with this.  At least in part.  There are some 'bad
eggs' out there.  There are however, some very dedicated people in to the
natives.  I would recommend you keep trying.  If you find someone who
doesn't deal fairly, let others know about it.

 If you live in Wichita, KS  drop me an e-mail.  I live in Topeka, Ks and
am always looking for people to go collecting with.  We could probably
find some very good species in the Wichita area...which aren't found
further north.  Let me know.

Luke McClurg

On Sat, 6 Jun 1998, Terry Mercer wrote:

> This is in response to the Herb Harris email concerning sales...in a sense....
> After some time keeping fancy goldfish and actively participating in several
> goldfish lists, I was becoming disenchanted with the "trophy" fish aspect
> of that part of the hobby and the "my dog's bigger than your dog" mentality
> that makes a $650 Hong Kong import a "better" goldfish than my lovingly
> raised and cared for Wal-Mart treasure.
> Inspired in large part by Robert Rice's FAMA article on the Flagfin Shiner,
> I began looking at native fishes, reading the NANFA web site extensively,
> and generally thinking about a shift in focus to native species. At the
> same time, I was exploring in the killiefish areas on the web, trying to
> decide which group I would be most comfortable with - which group of
> hobbyists I could be most comfortable with, and which group of fish would
> provide the greatest challenge and (intangible) reward.
> This is a process not unlike that which most prospective members of NFC (or
> converts to native fish keeping) might go through, and I offer three
> observations for what they're worth to this group.
> 1. As it happens, another Wichitan whom I have never met began exploring on
> the Killie list at the same time I was. When we expressed an interest in
> beginning to keep killiefish we were both inundated with offers of free
> (except for postage) fish (both eggs and fry). The killie folks are truly
> "evangelistic" about their hobby, and seem wildly willing to share more
> than advice. The other guy in Wichita chose to go the killie route, and he
> has already received eggs and fry and has three tanks of killies "up and
> running." Needless to say, he is a killie convert completely now, and we
> all know how three tanks leads to four tanks leads to five tanks...etc. I
> decided to concentrate on native fish (although I realize the two groups
> are not mutually exclusive), which leads me to point two.
> 2. I decided to get a "sample" group of what I believed to be one of the
> more common native fishes (not in my area, but in general): H. formosa. I
> looked through the NANFA Trading Post and picked out two breeders who
> advertised there. (Unfortunately, I didn't choose Robert Rice because his
> ad seemed to imply that his fish only went to those with "established
> breeding programs," and I didn't think I qualified - my experience might
> have been completely different had I chosen to deal with him!). One of the
> breeders to whom I sent a query ignored my email completely. This person is
> a "mover and shaker" in the native fish movement, but I don't think
> ignoring potential converts to native fish speaks to his moving and shaking
> for anything more than his personal aggrandisement. The other person
> responded with an offer of fish for sale, to which I responded immediately,
> with the check for said fish sent within two days. That was nearly five
> weeks ago and still have NO fish, nor even a subsequent email from this
> gentleman for over four weeks. Initially he said the weather was too cold
> to ship H. formosa, but that reason seems a bit thin as we suffered through
> 100 degree days last week - perhaps now it is too hot? I cannot believe
> that this gentleman is dishonest - anyone scamming would figure out a
> better way of doing so than selling "vapor" fish! It is difficult to figure
> out what his game is: do I not qualify somehow for keeping H. formosa? Does
> he doubt my qualifications (he never asked)? Is my set-up somehow not
> adequate for taking care of these fish (again, he never asked)? I've asked
> myself a lot of questions like that in the past four weeks, and not come up
> with any good answers. But you'd be right if you guessed that I wish I
> chosen killies like the other guy in Wichita who woke up this morning to a
> lively population of killiefish!
> 3. I am somewhat bewildered by the 12 fish minimum that seems most popular
> for NFC fish sales. For someone who wants to "test-drive" native fishes
> before plunging off the deep end, 12 fish of a particular species can be
> frightening. I wrote to Robert Rice awhile ago outlining my experience with
> White Clouds which I bought to "season" the tank which was waiting (and
> still is) for the H. formosa. I bought only 8 of them, and now I am
> practically run out of house and home with White Clouds! The idea of buying
> 12 of any species gives me nightmares of sleeping in the yard while the
> house fills up with new tanks full of more and more and more fry! Sell me
> three of something; let me play! As a teacher, I'm sure that play is the
> real way to learn; time enough for the work when the student is engaged and
> interested. The same method works with converts to the native fish
> movement: let us play with a smaller number of a species or two; get us
> hooked and we'll be moving out the kids to covert their bedrooms to fish
> rooms to hold the 12 fish minimums of our new interest!
> I'm writing to the gentleman who "sold" me the H. formosa this morning to
> tell him to forget the whole deal. It's not that I no longer want H.
> formosa, it's just that I no longer care to do business with him! Will I
> ever get H. formosa? Will I ever get any native fishes? The bigger and more
> important question is do I care? It does very little good for Robert Rice
> to convert ten-thousand FAMA (or TFH in the coming year) readers to the
> native fish movement if there is no follow-through. If six months later
> those converts are still watching empty tanks (or tanks full of White
> Clouds!) then 9,999 of them are going to find something else to do with
> their time!
> As I say, just my two cents worth. Your mileage may vary. Forgive the long
> posting.
> Terry Mercer