Have not been on her for ages....
Is there anything going on these days?
As i predicted the hobby has taken a thrashing from buying on line official reports are €10 million a day leaves Ireland via internet purchasing.......
Most of you will notice how many lfs have closed down over the last few years....the down side to this is the hobby is shrinking at an alarming rate......i say this because i talk to all my suppliers so this is first hand information and not biased as many would think.
Suppliers lists are getting smaller in the fish species content.....so less and less will be available right across the board....
Probably most of you will bring up the same tired old argument about value for money....etc.....i understand those points but we are an Island....we are held captive by Revenue and its many minions and mental costs....
But unless you are a business owner you may not understand....take us for instance we have an esb bill of aprrox €700-1000 per week.....that's every week.......rates €7000 per year that's only the start believe me.....
The worst part is convincing the public that they are the bringers of their own doom....without LFS there will be no one to promote the hobby......if we are going to rely on online forums etc then the hobby will just reach a point where it becomes obscure...one or two shops will not be able to keep it going no matter how good they are......when something shrinks month after month unabated there is something wrong........and i have been re-iterating this for the last 15 yrs....
Now suppliers rely on dog and cat to carry the show......so the smallest part of the pet trade is to become even more exposed....
You would not believe the amount of top companies that have gone bust....it is scary.....globalization is a term bandied around and is mere prattle for it cannot apply to an island cut off from the world.......we need to protect our selves......in real terms we still have 400,000 unemployed i know the official is 259k but taking into account the governments shameless abusing of stats and polls this is 100k short of the real reality.....
So nothing has improved in the last ten years i hope at least we are agreed on this point plus they have managed to introduce 50 new taxes.
So now we are becoming a nation of superstores that add little or nothing tangible to the hobby.....how is this okay?
How can we let this happen........convenience?
Look at the demise of this site......
Bustling to dead.......i used to spend my life on here.....and come on i have been warning everybody.......now Facebook forums are the new itfs.....
Are we all insane?
How do we reverse trends before trends reverse us.....?
Where will the revenue to invest in our future come from if people walking through the doors become a thing of the past......
I ask everyone about their business and habits , who they are and where do they come from.....i spoke to a girl ten minutes ago who works for O Brien's off license....she says she knows people with businesses in town that have no footfall anymore , this is not just about me.....outside Dublin the country is crumbling.....boarded up shops everywhere.....go see for yourself......and this is called progress.....
You spend your whole day looking at your mobile phone, jumping at notifications, texting whilst you drive, is any of this normal?
Now a forum run by a novice is more correct than me? I run 425 tanks successfully for over 20 yrs and now customers are telling me that they have got different advice on forums and me and my microscope are wrong.....my fish house is full of healthy fish and they are telling me .........how to keep fish.........don't be surprised if i give you a hard dose of reality.....political correctness belongs in the bin.....whatever fool thought up that idea deserves a swift kick in the nuts.....try that in person with me and i will shock you...........
The hobby is about passion and commitment....people do not know what they are actually missing out on....
Fish are aliens and the closest living thing to outer space as a creature can get and we get to care for them and enjoy the most fascinating of worlds that can not be out done by an App....nothing can replace the excitement one feels looking over the side of a bridge and spotting a movement or a gaping white mouth on a warm summers day.....or the excitement of seeing new additions in an LFS stock tank.....i still get excited unpacking fish every single week and i hope i never lose that feeling.......
The Hobby needs to reverse this appalling slide into decline....I have listened to the rip off misguided argument....it no longer holds water......Revenue and all its sneaky ways of fleecing you is the culprit here.....robbing people of their livelihoods will not change this glaring fact...people in Ireland have to make a living......all of us.....it is time that we realize that every time you send your money out of this country somebody on the Island is affected....Do not be surprised when you go to work one day and your job is the next to go....We do not need Ikea....Lidl...Aldi....fFacebook....Apple....Google....we are owed 180 billion in corporate tax.....that statement speaks for itself......
I think we should spend more time educating people......get the hobby back where it belongs before guppies and goldfish will be the only things left for you to buy......
Anyway just wanted to pop my head in and say a quick hello Ian style......
Hope you are all doing well......i would like to spend a little more time on here.....
If you are going to comment please refrain from the same tired arguments i have been saying this is our future from day one on this site now this time has arrived......
Thanks for not having resorted to the sorts of expletives passion such as yours can sometimes engender.
I agree with your points - some more fully than others - the lesser-known ones being largely due to my ignorance of running a retail business in Ireland.
I'm afraid, though, that you're speaking to a relatively small proportion of fishkeepers in Ireland by posting here. Most of the members have left us for pastures anew. So many have joined/formed their own groups on social media sites such as facebook and the like which they apparently prefer. Although some do pop back to advertise items they wish to sell or buy when they fail to get the responses they hope for on alternative sources.
I, too, fear for the future of our hobby in Ireland - we need more, not an ever-decreasing amount of, retail outlets run by dedicated people like yourself and Alan. Fortunately there are one or two more in the Country, but not many.
I have oft-quoted a statement you made many years ago that shops cannot survive on fish sales alone. In my opinion (a personal opinion - not necessarily that of the Forum) a proportion of the blame for the decline in sales of dry goods lies firmly at the doors of manufacturers, wholesalers and importers - how else do the garden-shed sellers get their goods to sell on sites such as eBay, Adverts.ie and DoneDeal? And, it isn't just dry goods either, some are offering livestock for sale too. There have been no end of them surreptitiously attempting to join Fora such as ours to try to use us as free advertising portals.. I - and Valerie before me - have done our utmost to not let this happen here and I think we have been pretty successful down the years - but I have digressed - the fact remains that someone is supplying these people at a sort of price which allows them to undercut retailers' prices. OK, so by selling from home they are cutting out the crippling overheads retailers HAVE to face but my guess is that they get their goods at a favourable rate too.
I do differ with one of your previously-made points, though. People who find themselves with spare fish after theirs have bred should be allowed to offer the offspring either free, or for a small cost, to other Forum members, but only within these conditions. It can sometimes be hard to know the difference between these and those who are importing for resale.
And one last point - although I do not consider I 'run' this Forum, merely try to oversee it - I personally would think of myself as maybe one or two rungs higher up the ladder than a 'novice' - although I do freely admit and have done so on several occasions here that the only thing I know about Marines is that they live in salty water...
We're just two lost souls swimming in a fish bowl - year after year.
It's a long way to Tipperary.
I'm afraid I'm having difficulty agreeing with much of what you say.
First of all, I really don't think that - after nearly a decade of recession, pay cuts, job losses and no pay rises for the last 9 or 10 years, average wages have not increased or improved since 2008, unless you're in public sector - I really don't think that your customers, or potential customers, want to be lectured on how tough a retailer is having it.
The "old argument" of value for money is not an old argument, it's a fact of life. Of course we are looking for value for money, are you telling me that you don't? That's the worst point you've made.
"The worst part is convincing the public that they are the bringers of their own doom....".
Really? Do you not see where the LFS' are the bringers of their own doom? What do you actually do to encourage customers to shop with you? You won't even answer emails! I haven't been a customer of yours, ever, simply because you won't answer emails. Do you honestly believe that behaving in that manner endears you to potential customers?
"when something shrinks month after month unabated there is something wrong........"
Yes, it's called lack of money.
You can't just sit at your PC and bemoan the fact that you have less and less custom because the customer is looking elsewhere for a better deal, then do absolutely nothing to encourage them to spend with you. You can't moan about people shipping in fish from the UK, where they are cheaper, yet import fish from abroad, yourself, because you can make a bigger profit margin. How often do you buy fish from customers? Good quality fish that have been well cared for and only travelled about an hour from their tanks to you, that alone makes the fish a better deal for you, they aren't knackered from 3 or 4 days international travel.
I've experienced dealing with LFS' since the 60s and also experienced their insulting behaviour. You think that looking for value is an old tired argument. We take really good quality fish to the LFS and get offered a euro for each, when asked for a reason for the low price the LFS use their own old tired argument about how they have overheads and feeding costs. Hey, guess what, we have the very same expenses, possibly relatively more because we don't get our food and equipment at wholesale prices like you do.
I'm just staggered by your arrogance.
How about the LFS' do something to get it all going? On the 7th Dec. 2016 you said you would make more effort to encourage using your site as a resource and posting on your blog, you then made two posts about stock you were expecting in then absolutely nothing since the 21st March!
How about I make a suggestion, see if you can pick up the gauntlet?
The hobby reached a peak during the 60s and 70s but in those days the LFS were a damn site more proactive than today. If you had a hobby membership card for the LFS area's fish clubs you got a 10% discount. They would buy fish from local breeders before importing, they sponsored local shows, They also attended the very same clubs their customers did to lecture or simply learn, no one is ever at a stage where they have nothing to learn and in those days the LFS new that, they did a lot.
Before you jump on me, I know you have been pretty good in the past supporting our photo comps by donating prizes, in fact my 12-year-old daughter won the comp which you had donated the little tank to, a very generous donation I add, and takes pride of place on the table beside her bed.
My argument would be that while these donations are valuable to the clubs/forums and the LFS, is it enough? That does nothing but keep everything in a clique. How about LFS' (not only Aquatic Village but all) get together with the Irish Fish Keepers and forums and do something sensible like have an annual or even bi-annual show organised somewhere central (Dublin isn't central, but it would do to start with). A place where we can put on a show, advertise it get the public in after judging; charge them an admission. That not only helps the fish clubs but the LFS'. The hobby increases due to more public exposure and also improves as people get more access - physically - to what they should and shouldn't do etc.
The hobby desperately needs a lot of proactivity, but not from your customers alone. You have to do your part.
The strange thing is you seem to recognise the problems. Redundancies, wage cuts etc. yet still think you can get blood out of a stone!
How about the LFS buy from breeders again, then buy their other fish requirements that the breeder can't fulfil elsewhere. If you don't support the hobby, the hobby won't support you. If you buy from hobbyists then you reduce the major expense of importing fish; the shipping costs, import duty, Vat and dying fish after traveling so far. A business with foresight is a business that supports his customers.
Keep your website up to date, stop letting it stagnate. Answer emails. Just to put it simply, let your customers know they are important to you. Quit moaning about how tough you're finding it, don't forget you have a job/business/income, a lot of your customers don't have those luxuries, it's damn insulting. When life is a bitch you sometimes have to just suck it up.
So, will you take up the gauntlet? Do you have an area in your shop that could host a show at least once a year? Would you be willing to discuss those things with fish keepers and clubs? I'm actually flabbergasted that no LFS has come up with something like this. One of your competitors does quite a few things like this now, lectures, demonstrations etc. and I, personally, don't have to wonder if they will reply to my emails, I know they will.
The hobby will stagnate completely unless hobbyists and LFS start working together.
It's unlikely I will become a customer of yours in the near future. I can't be bothered traveling two hours to visit you, nor pay shipping for purchases from you if you can't be bothered answering emails.
PS. Am I correct in thinking that ITFS are needing premises for meetings due to the loss of their previous meeting rooms? Perhaps Aquatic Village has a room they could use on a permanent or temporary basis.
You have said all of that without ever being here?
You know so little about us.....
I have 450 tanks of fish to look after........there are two of us.......if i don't answer emails it is probably that i am helping the person standing in front of me.....and its 8 o'clock at night because my stock and trade is helping people hence look at our Facebook reviews and you will read about the real Aquatic village ......
Anyway thank you for pointing tonnes of stuff out the points are not lost.......
And if ITFS want to meet up here that's fine by me....we offered in the past.....but hey lets not let that get in the way of a good rant....
Anyway in all seriousness the door is open i will help if i can.....
I've never spent massive amounts of money at Ian's but I've always been treated with respect and had a laugh and a good talk with him....and he's always treated me as if he see me every day
The basic fact is some things can be bought on line cheaper...but if we all buy stuff on line your lfs will go out of business...where do you buy your fish then??online??
Your not going to pick the one you want that way
And the big pet store chains ...you'll never get the same service that I've experienced from Ian
It's been hard times and it's credit to Ian that's he's managed to stay open....
If ya can support Ian or any other lfs..you should drop by
paulcavan wrote: Hello Ian unfortunately this forum which a lot of us used to enjoy has almost ceased to exist. It’s mad that anytime you voice your opinion on here you’ve always been almost crucified for it.Facebook groups is where everyone has gone? Really? I’m personally not on it so I wouldn’t know a good point bill made that I liked was the chance of lfs buying from local people breeding there own fish this seems to have become a thing of the past
There is making a point and having a rant
Regardless if your a single unemployed person single father single mother married with a job but still struggling or a business owner everyone in this country has had to deal with the recession in one way or another.
At the end of the day if equipment and fish were not so expensive in LFS people would still be shopping in them.
Absolutely noting wrong with trying to save a few euro.
I am from the dun l rathdown area and have 2 shops close by close in the last few years but I never seen them do much to get customers back in the door.
Yes shops have overheads ect
But the mark up on fish that in reality cost a few pence is day light robbery.
at the end of the day it becomes nite
paulcavan wrote: I am not going to try justify or criticize the price being charged for fish or equipment I personally know how hard it is to try make a few pound in this country by running a small business it’s next to impossible. We ave this notion that just because someone is running there own business that’s they are automatically loaded but this is more often that not the furthest thing from the truth. Enough on that but I think for this hobby to survive we need people like Ian
you are 100 % right the hobbie does need people like ian whos knowledge and passion for the hobbie is 2nd to none.
but the forum also needs people like ian
think about it how involved are sponsors on here these days how often do you see them online how often do we see them post special offers or fish lists
for this hobbie to work and for this forum to work we all need to band together
forum users the people who run the forum sponsors and especially people like ian.
but we need more then the few posts of rants then go off the radar for a few months.
at the end of the day it becomes nite
alan 64 wrote: Great post ian and i have enjoyed reading the many replys, the site needs good debates like this, a few years ago when i joined this site it was buzzing and i loved it but it has gone so quiet since then so its great to see a lad like u posting back on here
Well he is probably gone again for another few months that seems to be the trend.
at the end of the day it becomes nite
He posts rants is not heard from for months and does the same thing again it's not an insult it's 100% true fact.
So how to you is that being insulting
at the end of the day it becomes nite