Let’s just ignore Flora and her
big lump of a love interest
and let our heartbeats get back to normal
for a couple days
In the meantime…
I have sold my soul to PETCO for the last time. I am tired of pretending, perjuring myself by signing statements I don’t mean, and proclaiming false qualifications as a responsible pet owner. I can no longer live a lie. I am coming out of the PETCO closet.
A change in corporate policy dawned during our snake era. I was in five-kid survival mode at the time and didn’t notice we had a snake until it was already a member of the family. Actually it was less work than the rest of the gang because it only ate once every two weeks.
Our first snake snack from PETCO was plucked by a tail from a glass cage labeled “Feeder mice”; a straightforward $2.99 transaction that was gobbled up as soon as it slid from the carton into the snake pit. Those were the days my friend, we thought they’d never end. But then the devil began to influence PETCO corporate policy. Free agency for humans had been rescinded, the natural order had been cancelled.
It happened in stages. One week the “Feeder mice” were gone, replaced by “regular mice” (white with pink eyes - $2.99) Uptown “fancy mice” were in the condo next door; (colored or spotted - $3.99). Our snake fancied a cheap mouse just much as he did a fancy mouse, as long as it was alive so he could kill it.
These were years of mild pretense.
PETCO guy: So do you need any food for your pet mouse?
Me: Oh I don’t think so (wink, wink). I’m pretty sure he’s not going to need any.
PETCO policy has continued to devolve. Last week I took my daughter and her friend Michelle to buy a live birthday present, something a girl would love and her parents would hate.
Apparently employment at PETCO now requires that an employee must meet four out of these five criteria:
a) Heavy black eyeliner
b) A shaved head
c) A minimum piercing of five vital body parts
d) Tattoos covering anything that isn’t pierced
e) Black clothing chained to the body for safety reasons
Girls: (pointing) We’ll take a fire bellied toad.
PETCO Punk: Which one?
Girl: It doesn’t matter, whatever.
P.P.: Well, which personality stands out to you?
Girls: (Exchanging puzzled glance) Uh, that one?
P.P.: Good choice, he’s our most dynamic amphibian.
Girls: Uh, yeah.
After P.P. scooped the toad into a Chinese takeout container, he tried the hard sell on a toad condo, toad tanning light, toad ergonomic furniture and a 3-toad Jacuzzi. We were unmoved. P.P. was obviously miffed at checkout.
P.P. (Pierced nose in the air) That will be $6.47.
Girls: Here you go.
P.P. (Two pierced eyebrows dive into a hostile embrace over angry eyes) How old are you girls? This purchase cannot be made by minors!
Me: Hand me the money, I’ll pay for it.
P.P.: (Gingerly takes money with black painted fingernails and shoves a 3 page form across the counter). Please fill the blanks in completely.
Me: (I begin filling out the form, writing down my name, address, phone number, and email address.) Wait a minute, why do you need the name of my gynecologist?
P.P.: We need to be sure you aren’t pregnant, since you could not properly care for this toad if you have another baby.
Me: Why do you need to know my annual income?
P.P.: (Scathingly) Organic crickets aren’t cheap. Now raise your right hand and repeat after me.
P.P.: Just do it! I solemnly swear that I commit to be a responsible pet owner and that I will provide a safe, appropriate and nurturing environment for my companion animal. I have received a PETCO care sheet for my companion animal and am aware of what is necessary to keep my pet happy and healthy.
Me: Mumble, mumble. Are we done here?
P.P.: Only if you have this psychological evaluation filled out, notarized and bring it back within 24 hours.
Me: Okay, okay. Girls, let’s go.
Filling out the psychological evaluation has revealed that I am unfit to be a companion to any animal other than a dead ant on a pile of poo.
Life is hard.
Life is hard.