So you’ve finally given into your child’s pleas for a new pet, and you’re headed to the local pet store to pick out the new family member. You and your child aren’t exactly sure what kind of pet you want — perhaps a hamster, or maybe a parakeet — and you’re relying on the pet shop staff to tell you what you need to know to make an informed decision.
STOP! While many pet store employees are very knowledgeable and experienced, relying on them to tell you everything you need to know is not the best idea. That employee may have 10 years of personal and professional experience with a wide variety of animals, or they may have just started working at that store a week ago and have never owned more than a cat or dog. While most reputable pet stores do train their employees before allowing them to assist customers, there are still going to be individuals that don’t remember their training, didn’t pay attention to their training in the first place, or simply don’t care. We hope that these individuals are rare, and that businesses would be savvy enough not to hire these sorts of people in the first place. Unfortunately, there are more of these people working for otherwise reputable businesses than we’d like to believe, and you really don’t have any way of knowing unless you’re already well-informed on the animal you intend to buy.
This isn’t to say that there aren’t good pet store employees out there, because there are plenty of them. Businesses usually do their best to hire knowledgeable employees, and they’re often successful. However, even when the employees are experienced and knowledgeable, there’s a lot of information you need to know about caring for any animal — do you think you’ll remember everything the employee tells you after hearing it all for the first time?
Instead of heading to the pet store without any knowledge of which animal you intend to buy, go to a book store or hop on the internet and do some research first. Figure out which type of animal is a best match for your family, and then figure out what supplies it needs and what kind of care it requires. This way you’ll have all the information you need when you walk into the pet store, and you won’t have to learn the hard way later if the employee gave bad advice. “They didn’t tell me that when I bought him” is not a valid excuse for failing to properly care for your animal. Remember, it is your pet that you’re bringing home, so it is your responsibility to do the appropriate research beforehand.