Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Shame: a PETCO story

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 
shall we?

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 Free agency for humans had been rescinded, the natural order had been cancelled.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.

Me: What?

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. 


Lorena said...

Is it really that hard to buy a critter now? That is crazy:-) But I find life is getting more and more difficult at every turn! Bless you for voicing it so we can laugh about it.

maxwell said...

ya... during my snake days i learned to stare longingly into the mouse cage, "evaluating" which mouse i "loved" more. Then they don't ask as many questions. It also helps if they hear you name it before you buy it.

maxwell said...

ya... during my snake days i learned to stare longingly into the mouse cage, "evaluating" which mouse i "loved" more. Then they don't ask as many questions. It also helps if they hear you name it before you buy it.

Rachael Jill said...

take it as a compliment that he asked for the GYNO. You look young enough to have a another baby!!

dead ant on a pile of poo.

Chad and Mindy said...

I just recently found your blog and have been laughing for the last 30+ minutes while reading through your posts. I am looking forward to the rest of Flora's story.

Brooke said...

LOVE this post, so true!! I wanted to buy a lizard for Rhett's birthday and they wouldn't let me unless I bought a cage, warming lamp, and 50 other items. We settled for a Beta Fish.

Jennifer said...

Ok, this was funny, BUT I do believe that breeding animals or "critters" for sale to compulsive spenders leads to a lot of "critters" either being abused, forgotten and starved to death, or released into the Everglades when they get so big that one must re-mortgage their home to afford the 3 goats a day it takes to feed them. Petco is just covering their ass, they don't really care, if they did, they would stick to dog food and bird toys and not sell live animals.

I have a home full of rescued critters, that came from people who gave no thought to their purchases, and no thought to the commitment of being responsible for said purchase. I also grew up with 4 brothers who always had reptiles and other creepy crawlies, and I can tell you that very few of these animals are permanent pets, they usually die do to their owners ignorance in care or get traded off for some other commodity. I know the attitude is that it is "ONLY a toad" but is it right to let any creature suffer?

Lisa Ricard Claro said...

Dynamic amphibian! LOL There's a contradiction of terms if ever I've heard one. I cracked up at that one. Thanks for the laugh. Great post!