It has taken me some time to write this post. I’ve just been too tired this week. But since I finally wrote a lot of it down in my email to my fellow snail keeper friend Emily, I guess I can post some of the same here.
So. Monday was tank-cleaning day, a couple days late, because I wanted to wait until the arrival of the hypoaspis miles I ordered, which was happening Tuesday.
I originally ordered my hypoaspis miles from GardeningCenter.com. I chose them over naturesgoodguys on eBay/Amazon because the latter had poor reviews on both sites. They came in via FedEx at 10:30am on Tuesday and I promptly brought them in, ice pack still nice and cold.
I ordered my hypoaspis miles (for the purpose of eradicating the “bad” mites that are plaguing my poor snails –likely riccardoella).
Upon inspecting the container I could see no signs of life. Now, I know mites are very small. But they are not invisible to the eye of someone who knows what they are looking for. And I could see nothing.
I waited a few hours, just in case, before contacting the seller. While awaiting a response, some exploring led me to a realization: the product I received had the same branding of the product sold by naturesgoodguys! This was a company called Tiptopbiocontrol.com.
This company, unlike GardeningCenter.com, had a phone number you could call. And this company was located in Camarillo, California, the same city my hypoaspis miles came from. So I called them and asked if it was the same company. A kind warehouse lady gave me an answer that amounted to “not really, but sort of.” However, she said she could give my name and number to the same person that would be seeing the emails I sent. So that was a good sign that the companies were intertwined indeed.
A few hours later, still no call back. And still, I could see the bad mites on my poor snails, and I am so upset, as you can imagine. I want relief for my guys. So, I call again. This time a gentleman answers and I proceed to have the worst customer service experience ever (and please keep in mind I wasn’t being a Karen throughout this, I was mostly quiet, and had a conciliatory tone all along, because more than anything if I received dead hypoaspis miles I want a replacement, not to anger the guy into giving me a refund and not selling to me anymore. I don’t know where else to buy them!)
The conversation included gems such as:
🤡 “The mites should be crawling at the top, you just don’t know what to look for.”
🤡 “We sell millions of mites worth hundreds of thousands of dollars to major farmers all over the world including Saudi Arabia.” (???)
🤡 “We do not send people defective products!” (I never implied they did, and even asked, “Perhaps I did something wrong, could you guide me?” Only to be told something like “I do not have time for this.” Please bear in mind, with shipping, I paid close to $50 for my mites.)
🤡 “The mites are being sold at such large quantities right now that they haven’t had a chance to hatch.” (This after telling me I just wasn’t looking hard enough.)
🤡 “What do you want? A refund?” (Didn’t really give me time to answer)
🤡 “We do not have the time not the patience to deal with the end consumer.”
At this last remark, for the first time I said something less than conciliatory; I reminded him that I had not chosen to sell to the end consumer, he had. Not rudely, as politely as possible, and I even apologized for saying if. Still, bad choice! 🙃 He said he had chosen no such thing, that I ordered from GardeningCenter.com, NOT him (touché, I suppose) and he would direct my number to their customer service. Kinda desperately, again never raising my voice, I ask please, do you know when I can expect a call back? “NO”. Ok… 😭
I was pretty shaken up after the call, more than anything because I want my snails to be okay, and I had to stay so polite and calm being spoken to like this –and I was so mad! AND I was having cramps while talking to the guy, too, and just, UGH. He was the most mansplainy guy you can imagine, saying all of these rude things in a very condescending, fake-polite tone. It was so hard to stay quiet. 😠
Thankfully, less than half an hour later I got a call back from a GardeningCenter.com employee who was far more polite. He told me that Tiptopbiocontrol is just a drop shipper for them, so I guess they share a warehouse or something. I don’t know. They are clearly in the same place but they are not the same company. More like GardeningCenter.com is sort of a customer for them. This explains the other guy’s comment about not dealing with (implied unimportant) end consumers like myself.
This kinder gentleman also explained that what I was told about high volume sales due to the season was correct, and my mites would almost certainly emerge within a week and I would get a replacement or refund otherwise. So that was that and I felt better. Last night I finally spotted 2-4 hypoaspis miles in the baby tank. And you can certainly tell a difference. Longer legs for one. Had one not been staring up close at riccardoella on snails for weeks maybe it would be harder to tell though.
However this is all I have seen… 😟 I have yet to see them in the big snail tank. Or see anything close to the promised number of 12,500. Here’s hoping that they continue to appear.
My snails are still putting up that film, as in, sort of estivating. At least some of them are. I don’t like to see this. It’s the snails most upset by mites. But if I wake them up, they eat. So I have been waking them nightly. I need them to stay well fed if the mites are feeding in them, until the hypoaspis miles do their job. I’m still hoping it can all turn out okay.
I am better now, less tired, several onesie designs have been completed this week, for LittlesLab and for ODU, and I am currently working on one for Kiba. I’m expecting some exciting stuff in the mail: a present from my friend Emily, a package from LilComforts, my new Monchhichi, some stickers, a background for my new snail tank. Oh yes! I have a new snail tank, a 20 gallon one; this will get its own post. I’ve worked on some personal art. So the week is coming to a better end.
There’s going to be a whole bunch of posts soon, as I’ll be sharing art and also want some of these topics to have their own posts. So stay tuned!
And a big thanks to my Discord friends for keeping me cheerful this week. Love you guys!