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Not A Very Mice Thing To Do

, , , | Right | December 21, 2021

About an hour or so before we close, a girl comes in and starts looking at our small animals.

Me: “Do you need any help?”

She starts to tell me about her boyfriend’s snake.

Customer: “I need to buy feeder mice for it.”

We have mice in stock, but they aren’t intended as food; they’re being sold as pets. I explain this to her and suggest she try one of the larger retailers in the area or a rodent specialty store.

She looks at me blankly for a moment.

Customer: “Yeah, I just want to buy some of these mice here.”

The conversation just goes downhill from there.

Me: “I thought you were looking for feeder mice.”

Customer: “I am.”

Me: “Well, those aren’t food. They’re pets. You’ll have to go to another store to get feeder mice.”

Customer: “These are mice, aren’t they? Why can’t I just feed these to my snake?”

Me: “Because we don’t sell our small mammals for food.”

Customer: “Well, fine, then. I want to buy some of these mice as pets.”

Me: “Um, you already told me you’re planning on feeding them to your snake.”

Customer: “Yeah, but if I hadn’t told you that, you’d have just sold me the mice. So just forget I said that.”

Me: “Sorry. I’m not selling you any mice.”

I walk back up to the front and hang out where I have a clear view of her while I wait for more customers to come in. The assistant manager has heard part of the conversation and commends me for not selling her the mice.

I realize snakes have to eat, too, and some snakes eat mice. We just have a store policy that we don’t send any of our mammals home with a customer unless we feel like it’s the right home for them; a home where they’re going to be fed to another animal isn’t exactly a safe environment.

I keep watching this lady and she’s still hanging around the mice, watching my every move. Any time I turn my head to greet a customer and look back, she has her hands on the mouse cage and will pull them away when she sees me watching her. Great… another thief-to-be.

My awesome assistant manager has gone into the back to finish up the day’s paperwork before we close, so it’s just me and one of the new salesgirls. I pull her aside (where I can still see Snake Girl) and point her out, explaining the situation and my suspicions.

After that, either one or both of us have our eyes locked on her wherever she goes in the store. Finally, she ends up by the gerbils… which are in an open-top glass enclosure. She keeps reaching into the enclosure, “playing” with the gerbils, watching us closely.

After about ten minutes, she gives up and leaves, only to return with her boyfriend, who corners me and starts asking me if mice make good pets because he’s thinking of getting a couple.

I motion for the new salesgirl to keep an eye on Snake Girl, while I explain to this man:

Me: “Your girlfriend already told us that you are planning to feed the mice to your snake, and our mice are not food.”

Customer’s Boyfriend: “That’s not my girlfriend!”

I hear a commotion by the gerbils. Apparently, Snake Girl has picked one up and is yelling at the new salesgirl for telling her to put it down.

Me: “You’ll have to leave since we won’t be selling you anything tonight.”

And wouldn’t you know, she and her boyfriend came back the next day and tried to buy the mice from a couple of my coworkers. Fortunately, they’d already heard the story and a description of the couple, so she didn’t have any luck with them, either.

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