OMG! Grab a chair because I'm about to rant!
I went to a local pet shop this morning to pick up some mice for my snakes, and I thought while there I might grab some meal worms for my Leopard Gecko. One would think this would be a simple enough task considering I have years of experience shopping for my pets. If only!
I entered the pet shop to the ear piercing shrieks of dozens of large birds. Immediate turn-off for someone with sensitive hearing. Personally, if I owned a pet shop that housed birds, I'd have them in their own room away from the entryway, but I digress. I was greeted by a gentleman I've met once before and who I mistakenly thought might know what he was doing. I told him that I needed mice and he questioned me about the sizes and eventually just gave in and allowed me to go into the feeder room to pick them out and that's when Holy Hell erupted.
We stepped past the woman who also works there and she immediately started to interrogate me with questions of what kind of snakes do I have? How big are they? Well then, you need this size mouse and this size rat and so forth. Excuse me, but I've done this a time or two and actually know what my snakes will eat, specifically, that Pepe' the Ball Python will not take pre-killed mice or rats and must have a live one. At some point past the arguing I managed to get some frozen mice and a live rat. But alas, the interrogation was far from over.
While the gentleman tried to ring me up on an aging computer, the woman asked me about my dogs, having noticed I grabbed a handful of sample sized 'Taste of the Wild' dog food packets. I have a Great Pyrenees, a Boxer mix (tripod,) and an American Eskimo dog.
"Well what do you feed them?"
" Iams Naturals."
"On no! You shouldn't be feeding them any of that, or Science Diet, or Eukanuba, or any of that stuff! It's made with chicken by-products and that's not good for them."
I attempted to remain composed. "I have plans to switch them to 'Taste of the Wild,' but I'm waiting for them to finish with the Iams Naturals."
"They don't need to be on Iams. That's the same as feeding them Road Kill. You don't eat road kill do you?"
"No, I don't, but I'm quite aware of what's in their dog food." I stopped her. "Before you go on, I'm a writer and I do quite a bit of research on the subject. We had a dog die from hemangio sarcoma that was most likely caused by ingredients in his dog food."
"You should feed them 'Chicken Soup for the Pet Lover's Soul.' Everything in it is natural and they don't use any by-products. It's better than 'Taste of the Wild.'"
"I'll probably buy 'Taste of the Wild' before I would buy 'Chicken Soup.'
"I don't like that brand."
"Why don't you like it?!"
"Because it's the brand name. I won't buy any of their products. Just like I don't like Wal-mart so I shop at Target."
"But why don't you like 'Chicken Soup?!'
I looked her dead in the eye, "Because it's too Christian."
"I'm not buying it."
"Well if you do some research on it you'll see that it's got everything that they need to be healthy. It's better for them than the other one."
By this point I just want to pay for my shit and leave. Then the guy behind the counter remembers that I have flying squirrels and mentions it.
"Are they flying squirrels are regular squirrels?"
"They're Flying squirrels."
"Oh, you should give them Monkey Biscuits."
"They have some. I'm actually very careful about what they eat. They're the reason I know so much about the dog food ingredients because they can't have anything with synthetic vitamin K in it."
"Because animals can't process it and it causes tumors."
"They need a calcium block for ferrets."
"I actually feed them a specially forumlated food that's just for squirrels called Henry's Healthy Blocks. It's got all their vitamins and minerals in it. And they have a deer antler to chew on."
"So, you have a boy and a girl then?"
"No, I decided to have two girls because I don't plan on breeding them."
"Oh, that's good because no one will buy them."
"What did you need the wax worms for?"
"My leopard gecko."
"What are wax worms?"
"They're a soft bodied grub."
"Why can't he have king meal worms?"
"Because I have to cut off the heads for him."
"No! You don't cut off their heads!"
"Yes, you do. If he doesn't kill it and swallows it alive it can tear up his intestines. I've been in herepetology for many years and it's happened to other gecko owners. That's why I like the wax worms."
I am never EVER going back. TAKE NOTE small pet shop owners - this is how you run off repeat customers. Don't talk to us like we're stupid and we've never owned a pet before. We will leave your shop, never return and right a blog entry about you so that no one else wanders into Everything Bird in Fort Walton Beach!