i say if you're making the effort to research and you want the animal for what you've read about it rather than it's price tag, even if its $15, thats still an awesome choice. its the people who come in and just want something that they don't know or care to know about ahead of time. they come in and are just determined to buy something but don't want to spend money or go home and research.
i was mostly appaled at HOW these 'cheap' animals are treated, not at the people who have no money, heck i find the people who love their animals the most are the people with no money(myself included).
i have a kid come into the store that tells me awesome facts i didnt even know about his anole. he's our 'anole expert', lol. he loves it sooo much and his family isnt very wealthy so once in a while i give him free crickets in exchange for a cool new fact. it keeps him reading about reptiles and he commits it to memory. and one week he told me he saved up all his paper money for a big aquarium for his anole (i gave him the 'experts discount' of course, lol). it warmed my heart to see him buy that instead of toys and other kid stuff.
i agree that petstores usually overcharge and the animals aren't that healthy (like one large petstore chain in London, ON... $800 for a sickly looking juvenile frilled dragon... i won't mention any names, lol). but i'm really trying to change that. i've lowered all of the prices in my store and have made a new return policy, a 6 month health guarantee on puppies and kittens, and if any animal is sick it either goes back to the supplier or to the vet (whichever is more suitable). i now only deal with suppliers that have a real 'health' and 'feeding' guarantee instead of just a 'death' guarantee. i just try to think as a consumer because i love these animals too, and as much as i love frilleds if they were $800 each i wouldn't have bought the 4 i have. so i'm trying to be hobbyist-friendly (they happen to know what everything is actually worth, which sucks for most stores)
n e way, i agree with you Minnow, and i wan't pointing fingers at people with no money, just people who have it but don't think animals are worth spending it on (not just for purchase, but for their care as well).
Men never do evil so completely and cheerfully as when they do it from a religious conviction.