Maidenhead Aquatics/Fishkeeper

Aqua360

Member
Joined
15 Feb 2016
Messages
1,423
Location
paisley
This is going to be a bit of a rant, but I have honestly never experienced a company quite like this, I wonder if anyone else has had the same?

1) 99% of staff I've encountered can't be bothered, rude, condescending. There are exceptions to this, and know of 1 extremely friendly and knowledgeable staff member, who I think they got rid of, naturally.

2) they will avoid price matching at all costs, even when meeting all criteria, quoting that they can refuse to honour it at anytime.

3) on point 2, I tried to ask if they'd price match their own website, was refused. This one is the most illogical of all.

4) Their customer service is utterly dire, don't care at all, tried to shuttle me like a ping pong between themselves and the store on chasing point 3.

5) They are ludicrously expensive

6) Have heard of managers gloating over customers paying above the odds for fish/shrimp

Apart from that, the tanks at my nearest Maidenheads seem ok, aside from the shrimp tanks which are perpetually full of death.

Anyway, I'll be avoiding these stores altogether now, so disappointing!
 

Tomp91

Member
Joined
4 May 2020
Messages
58
Location
Leeds
Being from Leeds - Maidenhead aquatics (Tong) is all I seem to have locally, I wouldn't mind an hours drive if anyone knows of anywhere really good! I did like the place. Staff we're nice but all just young people I didn't think any of them would be gurus but they could answer beginner basics.

Tanks and displays looked good.

I didn't mind paying the extra over buying online to get the shop experience, as said above nowt beats a trip out to buy fish, I make a day of it! Especially for live stock, posting them still doesn't seem right to me!

Suppose each location will be as good or bad as the people running it, cant tar them all with the rude staff brush.
 

milla

Member
Joined
3 Sep 2007
Messages
341
Location
Leeds
Unfortunatelly thats my experience too. Maybe its a north / south divide thing. They tend to be oj for first year of opening then go downhill rapidly. Leeds both, Tong bradford, York all meh and plants dont waste your money:(
 

mort

Member
Joined
15 Nov 2015
Messages
1,186
They work on the franchise system so it depends on who is running the individual store. Their prices are controlled to some degree by the head office, which is why they are higher for certain things, plus they are normally at garden centres that take a cut I believe. So my advice is to forget they are technically a chain and just treat them as you find them individually. There are some really good ones like Windsor (especially for marines) but others that are somewhat lacking.
 

milla

Member
Joined
3 Sep 2007
Messages
341
Location
Leeds
Maybe its the minimum wage thing coming into affect.
Being from Leeds - Maidenhead aquatics (Tong) is all I seem to have locally,
Not true for fish. You have QSS and pet city both within 1mile of tong Both far supperior to tgc. QSS for all your standard aquarium & pond fish & supplies. Pet city for oddball locally sourced fish.

Both open 30years plus
 

Aqua360

Member
Joined
15 Feb 2016
Messages
1,423
Location
paisley
Maybe I've just been unlucky guys, I'm going to be realistic and agree that not all of their stores/staff will be bad, but given my experience at two Scottish stores, combined with their customer services, they'll never see another penny from me! 😂
 

dw1305

Expert
Joined
7 Apr 2008
Messages
10,439
Location
nr Bath
Hi all,
They work on the franchise system so it depends on who is running the individual store.
I've found that as well. The local ones I've been in are all OK (Hick's Gate, Bristol, Leekes, Melksham and Dobbies, Swindon North).
Their prices are controlled to some degree by the head office,
Pricing is interesting, I'm amazed they ever sell anything.

cheers Darrel
 

LondonDragon

Administrator
Staff member
Joined
21 Feb 2008
Messages
10,910
Location
London
Maybe I've just been unlucky guys, I'm going to be realistic and agree that not all of their stores/staff will be bad, but given my experience at two Scottish stores, combined with their customer services, they'll never see another penny from me! 😂
Indeed not all the same guess just a bad bunch up there, I also only like them for fish, plant stocks are usually very limited in the ones I have been and only one seems to manage to keep them alive long enough. But for fish if you don't mind paying the extra buck and if they are local then why not!

Plant wise we have a couple of the best online plant retails as sponsors of this forum ;) can't go wrong with that!
 

Gill

Member
Joined
17 Mar 2008
Messages
3,217
Location
Stenson Fields South Derby
As an Ex Employee of LLP5 Derby up to Tong, the things I could say about the Stores and Managers would make your blood boil.
pricing is controlled by the store manager and area manager, so its up to them how much the mark up is.
 

hypnogogia

Member
Joined
6 Apr 2017
Messages
541
Location
Oxfordshire
I remember (showing y age now) when the very first MA opened up in Maidenhead. It was an ace store, and the first time that proper aquatic equipment and livestock was easily available. I then dropped out the hobby because of uni etc, and when I came back in they had grown and franchised. I dropped out again and returned 3 years ago...and again they had gone slightly downhill.
 

si walker

Member
Joined
30 Mar 2020
Messages
81
Location
uk
Ashtead Surrey was always good. Two younger guys there are really helpful.

Im used to shopping on line now due to commitments, so for bits and bobs it always feels pretty boring.
Constantly amazed at how rubbish the plant offerings are, unless they have changed recently? Hardscape too.

Fish is a whole different thing for me.
 

jarcher1390

Member
Joined
6 Aug 2012
Messages
127
This is going to be a bit of a rant, but I have honestly never experienced a company quite like this, I wonder if anyone else has had the same?

1) 99% of staff I've encountered can't be bothered, rude, condescending. There are exceptions to this, and know of 1 extremely friendly and knowledgeable staff member, who I think they got rid of, naturally.

2) they will avoid price matching at all costs, even when meeting all criteria, quoting that they can refuse to honour it at anytime.

3) on point 2, I tried to ask if they'd price match their own website, was refused. This one is the most illogical of all.

4) Their customer service is utterly dire, don't care at all, tried to shuttle me like a ping pong between themselves and the store on chasing point 3.

5) They are ludicrously expensive

6) Have heard of managers gloating over customers paying above the odds for fish/shrimp

Apart from that, the tanks at my nearest Maidenheads seem ok, aside from the shrimp tanks which are perpetually full of death.

Anyway, I'll be avoiding these stores altogether now, so disappointing!
Is brae head your local one aye?
 

Monkfish

Member
Joined
8 Mar 2019
Messages
168
Location
Basingstoke
Th pricing point I found very interesting. MA Reading (Winersh) are a great store, very friendly and helpful and their prices seem reasonable.

The Basingstoke store however is different story, most of the staff are grumpy and the prices are crazy on some of the livestock. Amano for example were £6.95 each in Basingstoke but 4 for £12 in Reading.
 

lazybones51

Member
Joined
18 May 2017
Messages
196
Location
Northamptonshire
I have no real complaints about my nearest MA stores. Some members of staff are more helpful/enthusiastic than others, but the tanks and livestock all seem to be well kept.
 
Joined
3 Jan 2016
Messages
360
Location
Woking, UK
I remember when Maidenhead Aquatics was just a single shop near the centre of Maidenhead. I’m probably going back to some time in the eighties. They were nothing short of a revelation; in those days, most aquatic shops were pretty dire, and MA were the first shop to have a pretty high-tech centralised filtration system serving the whole shop, and the quality and health of their fish was amazingly good.

Then a few years later they opened an outlet in Bourne End garden centre, which I presume was their first franchise. Again, the model was the same: a centralised filtration system with excellent health and quality. And the business has grown exponentially, to the point where it’s almost difficult to find an aquatic shop that isn’t a branch of MA.

I personally think it’s easy to forget how bad most aquatic shops were back in those early days, and I really believe that MA are responsible for revolutionising the quality that we now expect from all aquatic stores, who have had no choice but to up their game. It’s certainly true that there has been some dilution of the quality that defined those first few outlets, but I think that’s inevitable.

It’s easy to criticise, but I really believe we should thank MA for raising the standards and the expectations for aquatic shops in this country.
 
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