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    Don’t Feed It Rock, Paper, Scissors Or Spock

    | OR, USA | Extra Stupid, Pets & Animals, Time

    (A customer comes in and explains that her daughter caught a lizard. People frequently come in for advice on their wild-caught animals, so I start explaining what proper care would be. Before this, she expressed general shock at several things, including having to provide heat and light for the lizard she wanted to shut in the dark of her garage.)

    Me: “And so you’ll want to primarily give them crickets and mealworms, occasionally waxworms.”

    Customer: “I see… And are green crickets okay too?”

    Me: “Er, that sounds like a grasshopper. I’m sure it would be fine; I’m not entirely sure how they compare with crickets.”

    Customer: “But if I catch them outside, I can use them?”

    Me: “I wouldn’t recommend it, you’re taking a risk that they could have sprays and toxins on them. Ours are only 10 cents each. I think it—”

    Customer: “So, how do I catch crickets?”

    Me: *pause* “I’m not entirely sure. I don’t know anyone who catches their own crickets from the wild. It would be much easier to just buy them.”

    Customer: “Well, how about if I just feed it dog food?”

    Me: “No. I would definitely not recommend you feed dog food to a lizard. They really should be eating crickets, at least, and mealworms.”

    Customer: “So, how long do they live without food?”

    Me: “Um. I would guess no longer than a week or so.”

    Customer: “So, when should I let it go if I can’t feed it?”

    Me: “If you can’t feed it, I would let it go immediately.”

    Customer: “But I want to try and catch crickets. How long should I wait? Like, when is the lizard’s expiration date?”

    Me: “I wouldn’t go for more than a couple of days without feeding it.”

    Customer: “But when should I let it go?”

    Me: “A couple of days.”

    Customer: “But what date is that?”

    Me: “The 15th.”

    Customer: “So, you’re telling me I can only wait a day, then I have to let it go?”

    Me: “Yes.”

    Customer: “Okay, thank you!”

    Hot Cross Bunny

    | Australia | Bizarre, Pets & Animals

    (The store’s co-owner and I are manning the till when a pair of customers arrive. They seem to be a married couple. There is no one else in the store.)

    Woman: “Oh, rabbits! Look at the rabbits. I want a rabbit.”

    Man: “No. You have guinea pigs already. You can’t have both, they’ll fight.”

    (She pouts, and he goes to the rodent aisle, leaving her behind. She stares at the rabbit cage for a few minutes.)

    Woman: “Is this a boy rabbit or a girl rabbit?”

    Me: “That one’s female, but we have another in a different cage which I don’t know the gender of. I can check if you want.”

    Woman: “Oh yes, please!”

    (I get the other rabbit, which is younger and fluffier than the one she was looking at before. The co-owner shows me how to sex it and we establish that it is male.)

    Woman: “He’s so pretty!”

    Me: “Yeah, he’s a cute little fella, isn’t he?”

    Woman: “I’ll take this rabbit!” *she holds out her arms for the rabbit*

    (I think she just wants to cuddle it for a little while, so I show her how to hold it properly and leave her to it. A few minutes later, the man comes back to the cashier and she runs over to him.)

    Man: “You can’t have that rabbit. Put it back.”

    Woman: “No, please! They no fight!”

    Man: “Yes, they will. You can’t have it.”

    Woman: “No, I want it!”

    (She clutches the poor rabbit tightly and buries her nose in its fur, stomping her feet like a child.)

    Man: “Put it back now.”

    (The woman walks away from him, burying her face even deeper into the fur. He trails after her, telling her sternly to put it back while she keeps her back to him, muttering ‘no, no, no’ over and over, eventually running out of the store and into the carpark.)

    Co-owner: “Excuse me, but could you please stay inside the store while handling our animals.”

    (She freezes, allowing the man to catch up and steer her back to the rabbit’s cage, which he opens.)

    Man: “Put it back in there now.”

    (At this point, she notices that we do have a male guinea pig housed in the same cage as the rabbit. It was fighting with the other male pigs, and there where no other cages available. She blows up again.)

    Woman: “See! See! I take this rabbit, they don’t fight! They don’t fight!”

    Man: “I don’t care. Put the bloody rabbit back right now or I will get rid of the guinea pigs and you will never have another pet!”

    (She whines, stomps her foot again, and then dumps the rabbit back into it’s cage while staring accusingly at the man.)

    Man: “There, done.”

    (She wails and stomps, her arms crossed over her chest. He says nothing and she runs to their car. The man then pays for his guinea pig food, and leaves with a look of sheer ‘please, kill me now’ plastered across his face.)

    Me: *to the co-owner* “Letting her hold that rabbit was a bad idea, wasn’t it?”

    Co-owner “Probably.”

    (For any concerned, the rabbit was fine, and it found a sane home later that week.)

    Delivered In A Dog Day Afternoon

    | Burbank, CA, USA | Crazy Requests, Pets & Animals, Time

    (A customer comes up to my register in the morning, a little bit after opening. The guy who does the ordering is standing next to me.)

    Customer: “I got a call that my dog food was here.”

    Me: “Sure thing. Did you know which food you ordered?”

    Customer: “It’s dog food.”

    Me: “Okay, can you describe the package?

    Customer: “It’s in a can.”

    Me: “Okay, about how long ago did you place the order?”

    Customer: “Two days ago. I was told it would be in seven days from now, but it came in yesterday. Why did it come in yesterday?”

    Me: “I’m sorry, sir. We really have no control when the orders come in. It’s up to the distributor.

    (At this poin,t my coworker has found his food and I ring him up.)

    Customer: “I really don’t understand why it would be here so soon when I was told seven days. It’s too soon for this to come in. Why would you say seven days? Oh, and can I get a discount for it being here so soon?”

    Me: “I’m sorry, sir. We can’t do that.”

    Customer: “Well, it shouldn’t have been here this soon!”

    Of Mice And Mental Regrets

    | Georgia, USA | Pets & Animals, Top

    (I’m helping a customer in the small animals area at our pet store.)

    Customer: “Hi, I’d like some feeder animals for my snake.”

    Me: “Certainly. Would you like mice or rats?”

    Customer: “I’m not sure.”

    Me: “Well, how big is your snake?”

    Customer: *holds hands a good distance apart* “He’s a ball python… pretty big.”

    Me: “Okay, so maybe a rat…”

    (I show him to our rats. Note that we have small and medium rats in different cages.)

    Customer: “Why are the ones on the bottom more expensive?”

    Me: “They’re just bigger than the ones on top.”

    Customer: “How long until they get that big?”

    Me: “I’m not sure. They’re at least a few months old when we get them.”

    Customer: “No, how long does it take them to grow from those?” *points to the mice*

    Me: “You mean the mice?”

    Customer: “Yeah, how long does it take them to grow into these guys?” *points back to the rats* “Like, what’s the difference between the rats and the mice?”

    Me: “Um, they don’t grow into rats. They’re two different species.”

    Customer: “So these guys aren’t big mice?”

    Me: “No, they’re rats.”

    Customer: “Oh… well, I feel like an idiot.”

    Me: *laughs* “It’s okay. It’s an easy mistake to make.’

    Customer: “…I worked at a pet store for three years.”

    Ferretting Out Falsehood Is A Full-Time Effort

    | USA | Bizarre, Pets & Animals, Top

    (I work in a pet store. I have a pet ferret that I bring to work with me on occasion. I put him on a leash and harness and walk him around the store when we aren’t busy.)

    Customer: “Godd***, that rat is huge!”

    Me: “He’s not a rat; he’s a ferret. They aren’t—”

    Customer: “F*** all that scientific bulls***! That’s a f***ing rat! That’s not your pet, is it?”

    Me: “Yes, he is. But ferrets are not rodents. They’re mustelids.”

    Customer: “A what?! Mustard lid?”

    Me: “No, mustelid. They’re in the same family as otters, badgers, and weasels.”

    Customer: “What’d you call it? A furret? My friend told me about those. They’ll f***ing bite your nose off!”

    Me: “Well, one might, if it feels threatened, but I assure you they are actually very tame and affectionate animals. Would you like to hold him and see?”

    (I pick my ferret up and cradle him in my arms like a baby. He immediately goes limp and nuzzles my shirt.)

    Customer: *hesitantly reaches out to pet him* “Uh… well, I guess it wouldn’t hurt to try—”

    (At that moment, my ferret opens his mouth wide for a particularly intense yawn, revealing his formidable canine teeth.)

    Customer: “S***! That rat ain’t tame! He just tried to take my f***ing hand off! Crazy b****es and their godd*** face-eating rats!” *bolts out the door*

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