Tuesday, 3 April 2012

Are you looking to spoil them?

One sunny morning I went to the pet store in search of a bed for my cat.  A cardboard box with folded towel just wasn't going to cut the mustard any longer.  I just wanted something soft (okay, maybe a bit cuddly too) for her to sleep in.  After asking me what I was looking for, the the lady at the counter then unexpectedly shoots a follow up question at me, "Are you looking to spoil her?"...as if there is a pet owner on earth that would answer "No, I'm just looking to give her the bare essentials."  Yes, the lady at the counter had just used World War II style rhetoric on me.

The primary reason most adopt a pet is to save them from a life of hardship that stray animals suffer.  You also grow attached to them and as a consequence spoil them as best you can.  Like a parent who wants to send their kids to the best schools, give them the best nutrition and develop their kids' faculties to the maximum, it's no longer societal norm for pet owners to merely keep their furry children fed and warm.  Owners now want the best for their pets too: the best food, the best grooming parlour, the biggest kennels, the cutest toys and the warmest deluxe beds.  Pet stores know this, hence the proliferation of high end overpriced paraphernalia on their shelves.  They now sell the most superflous of items, like a double storey cat bed-cum-jungle gym - which I was offered when all I wanted was a bed - in the name of "spoiling" your furry friend.

Aware that the hard sell doesn't work any longer, salespeople have evolved to include rhetoric and guilt into their repertoires.  Commonly they can also ask you: "What's the occasion?"  After initially catching me off guard, I sidestepped the lady by answering: "Nah I just want something basic; she sleeps on our bed most of the time anyway, so a fancy bed would be a waste."


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