It happened Friday and I’m still ticked off about it.
Mia and I were at Walmart, checking out the fish, her favorite section, when we came upon 2 Walmart employees just a-laughin about something over by a tank in the middle. So we had to look, and low and behold, there was a tank full of mostly white goldfish, about 20 of them, and each one was speckled with beautiful bright colors!
"Oh isn’t that cool?!" said one of the ladies.
"They must’ve done it last night," said the other.
"What in the world makes them that way?" I asked. "Is it some type of food they eat?"
"Oh, no, honey–that’s marker! Isn’t it hilarious?"
Marker? I thought. I looked closer. One fish was decorated with a rainbow. Another had a smiley face. Several had hearts and stars.
Marker? I stood there, my stomach just churning. You mean, someone actually took these fish out of the water, dried them to some degree so the ink wouldn’t come right off, and proceeded to draw on them, while they couldn’t breathe, with 3 colors or more?
"No…I guess it’s not very funny," I said as I walked off in a daze. I mean geez, why would someone do that to a poor fish? Was I the only person that thought it was a might bit cruel? Were they bored on the graveyard shift? Do you realize the amount of time it must’ve taken…and that someone was getting paid to torture fish…and that all they other employees thought it was cute…hilarious, even? These fish had no one. They were on their own in a store full of jerky fish-haters.
I know I was blowing it a little out of proportion, but just a little…and the more I thought about it, the worse my stomach felt…and my face was flushed red and I was mad. I threw my first official bitch-fit of 2007.
Poor Brandy. She was the manager I asked to speak to, the one who got an earful as I ranted and raved (in a nice way, with a smile on my face and a calm, pleasant voice. It was hard.) how no one would think twice about spray painting on puppies or kittens; why was it okay to suffocate and tatoo a fish? And what about the chemicals in the marker? Could that not hurt them even if the actual process didn’t?
Brandy assured me she would find out about this "weird" situation and have it taken care of immediately. And then she walked away.
Fine, I thought. I’ll just call and talk to another manager when I get home, just to make sure.
No such luck. Brandy was obviously the Walmart public relations guru of the day.
"Don’t worry, ma’m. We took care of it. We washed the fish off and cleaned out their tank and they’re fine. The marker didn’t hurt them." I think she thought I would be comforted.
"Well…as long as they’re okay. But did you find out who drew on them?" I asked, thinking that’s what I’d want to find out if I were the one in charge.
"Oh. No one knows. We called all the people who were working last night and they didn’t see anything."
The call ended shortly after it began, minus the 15 minutes spent listening to instrumental Bette Midler while I was on hold. Do they want me to be in a pissy mood? You’d think.
A friend of mine (yes, I called everyone I knew to get some sort of fish-sympathy) pointed out to me that in the time it took for me to get home and get on the phone, those fish most certainly were not "cleaned off" and put into a sparkling clean tank. At 28 cents a pop, they were most likely flushed, if anything, in order to avoid more complaints.
Anyway, I’m livid, LIVID, about this situation. This conspiracy. This cover-up. Now, I hate fish just as much as the next person. I don’t have a fish tank, I don’t want a fish tank, and a goldfish would last less than 24 hours around my house. But YOU DON’T DRAW ON FISH. My two year old knows that.
YOU DON’T DRAW ON FISH. And you don’t pay someone to draw on fish. Toni is now on her way to the Walmart website. I’m going to write a letter. And if you’re ever in the Norman, Oklahoma SuperWalmart, go check out the goldfish in the back of the store. You never know when the notorious fish-painter will strike. Because I’m sure they’re still working there.