Pet shop horror stories told by their employees

There really is a subreddit for everything. I recently came across r/TalesFromThePetShop and delved into a very deep internet hole of pet shop stories told by employees ranging from the hilarious to the horrifying. And of course, this being the internet, I had to share, and so I decided to pull together the most interesting ones into a Wauf! post. Enjoy!

The essential oils pyramid scheme

EmptySighs66x shares the story of how he accidentally endorsed an essential oil pyramid scheme against his will and saw a dog get poisoned as a result.

A lady was having an issue with keeping her dog calm during trips to the vet or grooming appointments. She said her dog would get so nervous that it would get sick in it's carrier. I ended up suggesting a product that we sell that has a pet friendly use of lavender in it; it was a spray that you put on a toy/blanket to put with the dog during those trips. We sold other things such as chewables, or drops, but I had received a lot of feedback from the spray from customers so that was what I usually suggested if we had it in stock.

She looks like she's processing what I showed her for a second and then mentioned that a friend sold cough pyramid scheme cough essential oils and had been trying to get her to buy some. Her friend had already mentioned using the lavender one on the dog and apparently me suggesting a pet safe lavender product signed the deal for her. I tried my best to talk out how of buying the (overpriced) oil due to the amount of risks, but she waved me off and left the store thanking me for my help.

A little over a month later, she comes back in. Again, she's looking for a calming product and again, I try to help her. She looked distraught while talking to me and she began to explain that she had just got her dog back from the vet after it having to be monitored for a few days.

I, being concerned and remembering our former conversation, asked what had happened. She told me that she had been putting the lavender oil behind her dog's ears for a few weeks and she had noticed that the dog was scratching at them all the time, which later resulted in fur loss and serious irritation. Before she stopped putting the oil on (which I don't understand why you wouldn't since your dog is losing fur/has raw spots behind her ears) her dog started refusing food and began vomiting to the point where there was a dark reddish tint to it.

She mentioned to the vet about the oil and essentially (haha, get it, sorry) the dog had been licking the oil off its back paw after scratching its ears and upset her digestive system/started poisoning her. She spent a very high amount on that vet bill and now trusts when people tell her to only use pet friendly products.

They stole our ferret and had the balls to come back!

All retail suffers from shoplifting, but live animals is certainly the last thing you want unethical people making off with. Story via curdledmemes, who has been in the pet retail industry for two years.

I was stocking the cat food aisle on a very busy Sunday at the pet store where I worked in college. My manager walks up to me and asks, "hey, uh, did we sell a ferret today?"

I'm not sure how most pet stores do it, but our store required us to talk to the customer, give instructions, fill out a waiver, explain our adoption policy, etc etc -- so every time one of our animals was sold it was kind of an ordeal.

I tell her I would have noticed if we had. We walk over and 1 of the 2 ferrets we had in a large, tall glass enclosure was missing. My coworker speculated that it must have escaped, so we started looking.

I knew from the beginning it was probably taken because the walls to their habitat was at least 3 feet high. Also, ferrets are super friendly so if it had gotten out, I think it would probably come up to a person rather than hide in the store.

My manager looks on the security camera. A man and a woman with a baby walk into the store, directly to the ferrets, and casually lift the lid. The man reaches in and picks up the ferret, starts to walk around and casually look at our fish tanks. We see him SLIP THE FERRET INTO THEIR DIAPER BAG and quickly leave the store.

My manager panics, calls the police -- when the police arrive, I distinctly remember an officer snickering and saying, "um ok, did you want to....file a report? I don't really know what you're expecting us to do." Surprise, we still don't know what happened to the little guy, but a young couple came in to buy a ferret cage a week or so later. When I asked where they had gotten their ferret (because we were the only store with ferrets in town) they paused and told me the flea market. I dunno if it was them, but I hope they gave him a good home.

Many of us who love pets either have at some point worked in the pet industry or at least know somebody who does. Do you have any pet store stories to share?

If you don't let me rent your animals then I guess I can just kill them, right?

From ElsewhereDontCare comes this story of an exceptionally ignorant and callous customer.

I hate how goldfish are the token "beginner's fish". They produce a lot of waste which leads to more frequent filter changes, you can't put live plants in or they'll tear them to shreds, they require loads of space and are awful as tankmates.

Basically, for you(r kid's) first fish there are loads of other coldwater/temperate options in way cooler varieties and colours, and goldfish actually kinda suck.

At my store we always make sure to tell our customers all of the above and try urging them to go for something smaller instead, especially if they mention that they have a small tank. Today, this happened.

Customer: Okay so what if that does happen - I buy one and then it outgrows the tank? I have a 25 litre right now and it looks good on my kitchen table. I don't want to buy a specialised cabinet or anything.

Me: Then you'd need to buy a larger tank, which you'd save yourself both money and time by doing now. Or, you could just get danios or minnows now and they'll stay that size forever and you won't need to buy anything else.

Customer: I really want a goldfish though. Wait! What if I bought some today, and then in like a year when they get all big and not cute anymore, I just bring them back? And you could give me store credit or something and I can just exchange them for small cute ones again?

Me: Uhhh. We would not let you do that. Our value-in-return-for-animals policy only applies to rare ones we can resell, or if the owner physically cannot take care of them anymore. We don't just rent animals out.

(For example, people giving up the hobby we'll take their last ones off their hands for free, or if the animal is rare with a high resell price we might give them some money or credit back.

Or say someone bought fish from us and they're not compatible in their tank due to temperament, we'll let them exchange them for fish of an equal value, that kind of thing.)

Customer: Oh. Well, would you take them back if I came in and said I didn't want them anymore?

Me: If there was absolutely nowhere else you could put them, then yes. We couldn't really give you anything for goldfish though, sorry.

Customer: Oh. Well what if the alternate was to kill them? Like, I guess I'll buy them now and then once they get too big, if I'm not getting anything out of it I'll just flush them alive when I get bored of them. Because then if they don't die they'll just go back into the sea, right? And it would save me making the trip back here to drop them off, because it's not like I'm even getting paid. Yeah, I'll do that. Can I get five mini goldfish then please?

(She did not leave with any fish.)

The goat eaters

Let's end it on an upbeat note with this funny and wholesome kid story from Thepathgrinder.

So I work at a large chain pet store, and we have chinchillas in right now. I'm actually surprised at how many people we get in our doors that have no idea what they are.

Earlier today, right after I clocked on, a father and daughter (maybe 7ish?) Came in and went straight to the small animals to look at the guinea pigs, but we have the chinchillas in that display right now. I walk over and ask them if they need any help or have any questions. The little girl points at the chins and asks "what are those? They are really cute!" I tell her "those are chinchillas!"

At this point, the little girl jumps back from the enclosure with a horrified look and screams "THE THINGS THAT EAT GOATS!?"

Guys. I have never laughed so hard, involuntarily, while at work before. This girls dad lost it, I was wheezing, she was looking at us like we had grown second heads because she couldn't understand why we thought it was funny.

It took a bit to explain to her that no, they were not chupacabras.

Many of us have worked in the pet industry or know someone who does. What's your most horrifying or unusual story?

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  1. 2 years ago
    Karen H.

    Omg these stories are amazing

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