blog posted by: Dr. Mac September 27, 2011
The Autumn season is upon us again. This time of year always gives me cause to remember the fun we had with family and friends during the past summer and the dread of the long winter ahead. Having been born and raised in Chicago, winter was always a chore to deal with because of the extreme cold and winds. Now that we are located on Maryland's Eastern Shore the winters are mlder, but still the days are getting shorter and definitely the nights and bonfires at the beach are just a happy memory now.
Speaking of Chicago, during the recent MACNA event in Des Moines I had the chance to meet up with some friends that got me involved in this business some 45+ years ago. They drove down from the Chicago area and we spent part of a day remembering the old days back in the sixies and seventies when they had THE store, Marine World in Chicago. They got me involved in the hobby and business and the rest is history. They helped set within me the importance of caring about and for the animals, integrity, and customer service. It was a good foundation that I hope I have lived up to and expanded upon with Pacific East Aquaculture.
Meeting with them made me sad in that it reminded me of when this industry was different. Back then we would strive to educate every customer, I recall explaining the nitrogen cycle a few hundred times, and helped many hobbyists "do it right" instead of whatever sold the most. Today, there are so many ignorant stores when it comes to reef keeping that it is depressing. Almost every day we have customers coming into our store that got bad advice from a local store and we have to be the bearers of bad news in that all their equipment is junk and everything they were told is wrong. Back in the Marine World days it was a lot easier to educate folks and help them built beautiful aquariums. Now, with the Internet everyone thinks they are an expert just because they read something on a board or obscure article online, sometimes more inforntion is not better. With a slew of basement coral experts, hobbyists that become vendors overnight because some transshipper sends them a coral list, and all the self made experts more folks are confused and getting bad advice than ever.
A good indicator of this is the severe drop in book sales over the lat few years. I just heard this last weekend that one big online store will no longer sell reef related books due to poor sales. Now days most folks don't buy books and read about reef keeping, they simply go online and think everything they read there is correct. While it is a wonderful resource, the net is not the end all when it comes to reef keeping. Anybody can be an instant expert online.
Anyway, the season changes and so it goes.