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Etiquette in Buying Koi

by Elmer Epistola

Posted: September 15, 2004



I admit that I'm not a big spender on koi, no matter how big a fan of koi keeping I am.  I'd rather buy a small fish with potential, than a large one at its peak, especially if the latter costs a hundred times the former.  In short, I only buy the best fish that the money in my wallet can buy.  This is why I sometimes get bullied (for lack of a better term) by the big-time spenders in the store with me.  Here's what I mean...



About a year ago, I was browsing in this koi store, with the intent of buying an additional koi (that's right, just one fish) for my pond.    It was a Tuesday, so the store wasn't exactly brimming with people.  I was alone, in fact, casually conversing with the attendant while taking eternity to choose that single lucky koi out of hundreds in the pond - the one that I was taking home with me that day.


Now in comes a man, obviously well-acquainted with the attendant since they call each other by first names.  Immediately he announced to the attendant that he's buying 15 koi, as replacement for the ones he had lost the night before.  Apparently their pond lost aeration while they were asleep, and discovered to their horror that their large koi had perished due to lack of oxygen. 


This is a sure sale for the store, so I didn't mind the fact that the attendant immediately shifted his attention to the man even if he was still attending to my needs just 10 seconds earlier.  It was my fault even, since I didn't promptly inform the attendant that I'm buying one koi.  It was obviously too late for that now, given the lopsided score of potential sale: 15-to-1, in favor of the newcomer.


Well, it's still OK, I guess, since I was able to identify to the attendant the koi that I wanted to look at in detail.  Unfortunately, we didn't have time to net these fish out of the pond, since we were interrupted by the newcomer when we were about to.  


The newcomer probably sensed (and felt threatened) that I'm planning to buy koi (and even erroneously assumed that I'm buying many), so he told the attendant in a loud voice to put in an inspection vat every single koi that meets his criteria, which presumably was already known to the attendant.  The attendant started netting scores of fish into a vat at once, which made me wonder if every fish in the pond actually met this guy's criteria.  It seemed to me then that putting in a vat 'every single' koi he liked defeated the purpose of using a vat - he would have saved lots of time if he simply used the pond as his 'vat' instead. 



Into his vat went...surprise...surprise... my potential picks for the day: a shiro utsuri and two showas.  I could feel the attendant's hesitation in including my picks in the vat, but he was too intimidated by the newcomer that he simply chose to look away.  I don't blame him for the loss of my picks, of course, but he could have at least informed the buyer that I'm looking at those koi before he stepped in.  As for the newcomer, he should have at least showed some consideration for other buyers around him, especially since he was the Johnny-come-lately of the pack.



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