17 December 2012

Petsmart Petulance

Yesterday was the first time I visited a Petsmart store and am having a difficult time getting my mind around it. We followed a couple into the store who had a dog on a leash. I understand that Petsmart encourages people to shop with their pets. It was a surreal experience somewhat akin to being beamed into a Salvador Dali painting where things look familiar but are somehow askew. Several aisles were piled high with innumerable flavors of dog food, for various health benefits, and specific to different breeds of dogs. One variety of dog food in a rather diminutive bag was listed for $72. Unbelievable. There are more people than you can count here in the United States that do not have $72 to eat with for a month; and, we will buy a $72 bag of dog food so that the fur on our dog will be silkier or the dog may have an allergy! The shoppers in the store were decidedly not the super 1% rich as we read about. They were most certainly people who actually work for a living, paying mortgages, borrowing money to buy cars. But because Petsmart exists, one must go there and conform to the behavior expected, i.e., take your pet. Petsmart provides a shopping experience; an experience designed for the purpose of selling pet supplies at exorbitant prices. In that they have in stock 150 varieties of dog food and 75 varieties of cat food along with all the accoutrements such as every size and flavor of chewy, treat, toy conceivable, one is required to buy something. What I find troubling is that because something exists, one finds it necessary participate in its existence. Just because bungee jumping exists does not mean one is required to bungee jump. I made the mistake of making some disparaging remarks about the experience of Petsmart and met with actual hostility apparently with the opinion I was personally attacking those to whom I spoke and their animals. I have learned, and actually purposefully used, the method of alienating people by telling them that they have a really ugly pet-usually a dog. Apparently this was the thought of the people to whom I spoke; that I was attacking their beloved pets for which Petsmart and its ilk exist. Now that I have been chastised, I shall attempt to appreciate the pet mall as a necessary accoutrement of our modern, consumer world.