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Pet Product News Editorial Blog:

July 1, 2011

Want Fries with That?

By Elizabeth Creith

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e have a store shirt, khaki button-down with the Animalia logo embroidered over the left pocket. The great thing about a store shirt is it lets people in the store identify employees immediately.

The bad thing, of course, is that it lets people outside of the store identify employees immediately.
I can't tell you how many times David and I have been trying to have a quiet dinner in a local restaurant after a long day, only to have someone say to us, “Hey, you guys own Animalia, right? Do you want to buy my iguana? It's really big and it whipped my kid with its tail last week, and I can't keep it.” Sometimes they actually sit down at the table before they say it.

It's questionable courtesy to interrupt someone's meal in order to attempt to sell them a giant lizard. I'm pretty sure that if I sat down and said, “You guys own that Neapolitan Mastiff, right? Would you like to buy a really big collar? Because I've got one in the store that I can't sell, and you people look like someone I might be able to sell it to,” they'd look at me like I'd grown an extra head. But, hey, we own a pet store, and we're fair game. I suppose if we wanted to go incognito, we could change our shirts before we left the store. I might put on a fake moustache and David could slouch and pretend he's not six-foot-two. (I don't know why we never think of this until after the fact. Low blood sugar, probably.)

The thing that really gets me is the unspoken assumption that we would be happy to have our dinner interrupted in order to buy a large, bad-tempered animal from someone to whom we didn't originally sell it. I mean, there are reasons we don't sell iguanas. They're cute at six inches long, but at six feet or even four, they're not so cute. They also reach sexual maturity, which means they have all the hormonal impulses of a teenage boy, without a teenage boy's comprehensive grasp and unfailing application of good social behaviour. That's when they start whipping people, scratching people and doing all those other things that 99 percent of them do.

I have a couple of customers who own large iguanas that are not bad-tempered. I'll admit there are some sweet-tempered big iguanas, but they're not the majority. I've yet to be approached by someone who wants to sell a big iguana that is really nice and easy to handle, either inside or outside of a restaurant.

Speaking of restaurants, we have a suggestion for the owners of those large, fat, well-nourished and foul-tempered critters. To date, we haven't made it, but every time I'm asked if I want to buy a Bad Iguana, I think of the line from “Mexican Radio.”

“I wish I was in Tijuana

Eating barbecued iguana”

They're vegetarian, they're all white meat, and they're called “Chicken of the Trees.” It's very tempting to suggest Iguana Cacciatore, or possibly Southern Fried Iguana as a solution.

So far we've been good. We've just smiled and said, “No, thank you.”

So far.

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