I feel I must reply to this post. As a single parent my pre-teen son desperately wanted to own a snake. We too went to a pet store looking for a cheap snake. We found one
(a corn snake) and bought it. The poor thing just would not eat. We had done our research and were amazed when she died.
Fortunately we knew somebody who was very knowledgable about snakes and he did a necropsy for us and found that the pet store had sold us a snake with mouth rot. Thankfully it was a reputable pet store and they replaced it with not one but two new and healthy snakes. These snakes grew to be healthy adults and my son's love for reptiles began. He did a project about snakes and won at our local school's science fair.... went on to the provincial level in fact.
Several years passed and he expressed an interest in owning a dog. In my wisdom I told him he had to sell his snakes if he wanted a dog. (his choice of dogs was a registered Doberman Pinscher). We paid dearly for this purebred dog. We took him to obedience school, he was the most sociable dog you could ask for. The whole town we lived in loved him. Unfortunately all the love and good care we gave him could not save him from his heart defect and he died a pre-mature death after only 5 short years.
Around this time my son finished college, obtained a good job, bought a house, adopted a Great Dane. The gal he adopted him from kept coming around to 'see the dog'.........but I knew.....
A short time later the dog had both of the ppl he loved living in the same house! What he didn't realize is that they both loved reptiles ......and VOILA...........SCALES ZOO was established.
So............for those of us who just can't afford the expensive, high end pets, some of us are responsible pet owners even if that first one we buy is a "cheap" one.
For you to turn some of these people away could be doing an injustice to the child the pet was intended for.
For the most part I suggest that people do not purchase pets from pet stores but instead try to get them from reputable breeders. The pet store stock is usually over-priced and not usually that healthy. But Hey........this is just my opinion!
I Want A Sensitive Man...One Who Will Cry When I Hit Him.