Join Date: Jun-2004
Location: Windsor, ON
"Cheap Animals" my article.
This is something I wrote when I came home one night, completely frustrated with people who walk into petstores. It's no secret that I detest people who put money above the animals they supposedly love. When will people learn they'll always earn more money... N e way, hope you enjoy my cynical article. If you like it, feel free to share it with anyone you want. If you don't like it, it's only my opinion, so feel free to give me yours in return.
It has long since plagued my days at the petstore, this question just makes my skin crawl. "What's the cheapest animal you've got?" Sometimes there's a variation to it like, "My kid wants something and I don't want to spend a lot". To both of these questions I just wish I could say something along the lines of, "Well if you want something inexpensive for your kid to play with, get him a toy at Wal-Mart, and if that's too expensive try the dollar store". They just don't realize that these $10 "cheap" animals need as much care and money put into their setups and diet as the expensive ones do. All too often people are told or figure on their own, why give a $10 animal a $200 setup? I've seen people keep anoles and house geckos in the smallest size Kritter Keeper for no other reason than to save a couple bucks. That makes me absolutely sick to my stomach.
Everyone claims to be an animal-lover and I'm not one to argue with that until I see something like that. I think everyone that claims to be an animal lover should stop counting the precious dollars they've saved by not providing the proper housing, lighting or food for their prisoner...oops, I meant pet. I detest people like that, they come in and want a cheap pet.They say, "I just want a pet, I don't want to spend a lot". I always wonder what will happen if their animal gets sick, is it doomed to suffer or will they be merciful enough to at least stick it in the freezer for a quicker death?
The thing I wish I could say most is, if you don't want to spend money don't get an animal. And if you happen to find a 'cheap pet' chances are there's a reason for it. Either the animal is untame or tiny and quick, regardless though will not be a 'good pet'. They also ask what the bare minimum setup you can get for it. ACK! Why do you want an animal? I really don't even know what anyone expects from an animal when you ask a question like that. When I mention that an anole is not a good pet for a 10 year old, parents always ask why and I have to go through the 'sure-you're-saving-money,-but-your-kid-will-get-bored-with- something-that-sits-there-and-does-absolutely-nothing,-and-so-you're-just-paying-on-a-weekly-basis-for-a-decoration-in-your-kids-room" speech, on top of the ususal "the-set-up-costs-a-lot-more-than-the-cheap-little-animal" speech.
That brings me to another point, many petstores will not mention the above fact, and really, they're just there to sell, it's their job. Your job as a customer is to ask questions and learn on your own for the details. If you don't get every detail from the salesperson it's YOUR job as the owner of that animal to research further. Impulse buys aren't as bad as people say, it's the customer not doing any reading when they get it home thats the problem. Misinformation can also be avoided by researching after the fact. No one can ever really blame the sales people or store unless they've blatently lied, because the fact of the matter is that no one has forced you to buy that animal instead of going home and researching before purchasing. Buying a book is what I always recommend whether buying the animal or not. It's better to spend $20 for a book and find out that animal isn't for you, than spending $400 on an animal you find out later isn't the animal for you. Also, regardless of what the salesperson tells you at the time of purchase a book will always have the right information, so why not pick one up? As a salesperson you forget certain facts that may be important, so I always try to sell a book with an animal, not for the money I make, but to take any blame off my shoulders for forgotten details.
Every person looking for a cheap animal also asks why these animals are so expensive, and the real reason I suppose is due to demand, availability, price that it was purchased from the wholesaler, etc. Now the reason I like best however is that it deters cheap people from acquiring an animal that demands more care, respect, space, supplies, and monitoring, than your average hamster, cat, or guinea pig. It really isn't a question of how much money you earn. I've seen successful doctors spend less on their animals than simple factory workers and single mothers. I think it's a question of who sees that animal as a living equal, a thing that's just as alive as they are and who see's it as a decoration or a 'thing' their kid thinks is cool looking.
Also as an after thought, if you're not willing to spend a couple more bucks for the animal you want, or that it's out of your budget for the tamer one, just don't get one at all. Don't 'settle' for the cheap one just because you've got only that much money at the time. Wait for the one you want, if you really are an animal lover, it'll be worth it. If your money is worth more than a pet, i'd suggest you don't get one, even a cheap one.
This is an article I found on a suppliers website, it sums up exactly what I feel:
"Whatís the cheapest snake you have?
Uh, well, none. None of our snakes are 'cheap'. All of our animals have great value.
Some of our more inexpensive colubrids may start at $15 or so, but if you are asking for simply the 'cheapest' snake we have, then perhaps ************ is not for you.
We want our customers to be reptile enthusiasts. We want our customers to make informed, intelligent choices with their reptiles. Simply buying the cheapest damned thing you can find from 'Stinky Butt Reptiles' is not exactly a smart strategy. Anyone asking such a question has obviously done very little homework, and is most likely not ready for a snake, or any reptile.
If you are on a budget, let me know, we can discuss the possibilities and alternatives. Letís talk snakes. But donít call us up and expect that we will sell you hard on a $15 cornsnake just because you happen to have the 15 bucks. We want each customer to get the best animal, and each animal to go to the best situation possible.
When anyone calls and asks for 'the cheapest snake you got', it always just so happens that we are 'all sold out.'"
Men never do evil so completely and cheerfully as when they do it from a religious conviction.