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Entitled Pet Store Custy Wants To Buy Gerbils As Snake Food and Gets Told

CarolballsYumYum gets a Retail Balls Award for this tale of not giving into an entitled shopper and saving the lives of a few gerbils:

Hi all!  YumYum again...

I posted a long time ago and thought I'd share another retailicious story from my days as a pet shop girl.

One night, about an hour or so before we closed, a girl came in and started looking at our small animals.  I went back and asked if she needed help.  She started to tell me about her boyfriend's snake and said that she needed to buy feeder mice for it.  Well, we had mice in stock, but they weren't intended as food; they were being sold as pets.  I explained this to her and suggested she try one of the larger retailers in the area or a rodent specialty store.  She looked at me blankly for a moment and then said, "Yeah, I just want to buy some of these mice here."  The conversation just went downhill from there.

Me: I thought you were looking for feeder mice.

Her: I am.

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

Her: 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.

Carolanne 009Her: 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.

Her: 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 walked back up to the front and hung out where I had a clear view of her while I waited for more customers to come in.  The assistant manager (Awesome Assistant) had heard part of the conversation and commended me for not selling her the mice. 

Now, don't get me wrong.  I realize snakes have to eat, too, and some snakes eat mice.  We just had a store policy that we didn't send any of our mammals home with a customer unless we felt like it was the right home for them.  A home where they were going to be fed to another animal wasn't exactly a safe environment.

So I keep watching this chick and she's still hanging around the mice, and watching my every move.  Any time I'd turn my head to greet a customer and look back, she had her hands on the mouse cage and would pull them away when she saw me watching her.  Great...another NAT-to-be.

My assistant manager had gone into the back to finish up the day's paperwork before we closed, so it was just me and one of the New Salesgirls.  I pulled her aside (where I could still see Snake Girl) and pointed her out, explaining the situation and my suspicions. 

Carolanne 033

After that, either one or both of us had our eyes locked on her wherever she went in the store.  Finally she ended up by the gerbils...which my Hosebeast Store Manager (not to be confused with Awesome Assistant) had decided to put in an open-top glass enclosure.  Sure enough, Snake Girl kept reaching into the enclosure and "playing" with the gerbils, watching us closely. 

After about 10 minutes she gave up and left...only to return with her boyfriend, who cornered me and started asking me if mice made good pets because he was thinking of getting a couple.

I motioned for New Salesgirl to keep an eye on Snake Girl while I explained to this man that his girlfriend already told us that they were planning to feed the mice to their snake and our mice were not food.  He started to deny that she was his girlfriend, when I heard a commotion by the gerbils. 

Apparently, Snake Girl had picked one up and was yelling at New Salesgirl for telling her to put it down.  I finally told her that she'd have to leave since we wouldn't be selling her anything that night.

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.

Until next time, fellow slaves...




Duke of URL

Why would they even want to buy pet mice in place of feeders? Aren't feeder mice cheaper?


Why didn't you tell her to leave? It was obvious that you weren't going to sell her anything and just as obvious that she was attempting to steal from you. Toss her out.

Retail Psycho

If they own a snake they should know where to buy feeder mice from anyway. They shouldn't be attempting to buy them from a pet store


Very few stores sell live feeder mice, and most people buy frozen ones anyway. Its cleaner, easier and safer for the reptiles. I own 2 large breed monitor lizards and I only feed frozen/thawed rats to them. I can't stomach feeding live animals. This girl should have known better, and her and her boyfriend probably shouldn't own a snake. Great job on refusing the sale, though I would have tossed her ass out right away.


Wow, it was really that hard of them to just go to a different place the second time around?

I dated a guy once who had a snake. He would feed him mice/rats, but I recall one mouse which the snake refused to eat. This looked more like a pet mouse to me (very friendly, quite the acrobat), and we think the snake was just too intimidated by the active mouse. So yeah, why not just stick to feeder mice/frozen mice?


I agree with AngelKitten, frozen is safer, cheaper, and better for the snakes. That sucks that she was stupid enough to not realize you weren't going to sell her the mice.

C Store Manager

Whats the big deal? I realize the store's "safe home" policy, but there is a food chain for a reason.

Its not like the couple planned on abusing the mice, or using them in a ritualistic sacrifice.

In the wild, the snake would have eaten the mice alive, thats how it works! This is just one more example of the weakening of our culture. The media has us trained to believe that killing an animal is worse than killing a human being.

Serious question: Do feeder mice know they are being bred for food? Do pet mice have higher self esteem because they know they wont be making the trip through some larger animal?


@C Store Manager -- Dude, what the fuck?

First off, the store's policy is to NOT SELL THEM FOR FOOD. PERIOD.

Secondly, uh, sure, food chain, right. Totally justifies breaking policy and selling PET mice to a clearly incompetent douchebag who intended to use them as food, and should have known where to buy frozen feeder mice.

I'm no ARA or PETA-phile, I just hate seeing animals mistreated. Buying live mice with the intention of feeding them -- LIVE -- to another animal? Not cool. Trying to steal other assorted small rodents, for the same purpose? Not cool. And lastly, intimidating (or trying to intimidate) the workers? WAY not cool.


I my country, the feeding of live mammals to reptiles is illegal, mostly because of its danger to the reptile. Live feeding of inverts is perfectly fine if your pet reptile eats them (reptiles that eat inverts typically will not eat something if it doesn't move), but frozen rats and mice for the snakes. The snake doesn't care whether the mouse or rat is wriggling or not, it will eat it.

A zoo I worked at was out of rats to feed a large bird, and had a rat enclosure that was overpopulated. Think we're going to release said bird in there because it is 'natural'? Really? We dispatched some rats and left them on the ground of her enclosure, she was more than glad to swoop down on them, squirming or not.

Sales Agent Guy

Good word, she was seriously thinking of buying animals made to be adopted as pets and feeding them to her snake? This world has hit a new low. Seriously, if I had my way, I'd feed HER to the snake for trying to do such a thing!

Oh, and did I mention I have a deathly fear of snakes? I can't even look at them behind glass...


Idiots, the both of them. Most pet snakes can't handle live food well. It increases the risk of injury to the snake. Small snakes need to eat pinkies anyways, which are newborn mice. They are smaller and hairless so they are easier to swallow.

I have to wonder where he got his snake. This guy sounds like he oozes stupid so I doubt a reputable breeder or store would have sold to him.


also snakes don't need to eat every day like mammals so there shouldn't have been an emergency to get food.

Lab Rat

Good on you for refusing! No matter what your beliefs are about live vs. frozen food for snakes, store policy is store policy (as most of us know all too well, I'm sure).

As for me, I think it's unfair to both mouse and snake to feed a snake live food. Why? I know there's the whole "food chain" argument, but in the wild, at least the mouse has a fair chance, which is not so in a glass cage. That alone puts a hole in the "it's natural" argument. And it's also dangerous for the snake- if the snake doesn't eat the mouse, there's a good chance the mouse will start chewing on the snake. Not fun. Anyway, IMHO as far as feeding goes: a live mouse is cruelty. A dead mouse is just steak.


I have a snake who eats frozen mice, he's a happy camper. The breeder I got him from was only feeding live so I figured I'd have a hard time switching him b/c some ball pythons are picky. He eats readily with no hesitation.

As for mice, there is definately a huge difference between a pet mouse and a feeder mouse. I used to breed pet mice, and they are totally different because they are socialized and spoiled from the get go. Not to say a feeder mouse can't be converted to a pet mouse, but many will be fearful of humans for a long time.

Queer Geek

Nice job sticking to your guns and not selling the mice as food. I agree the owners were stupid if they don't know where to get the snake's food supply from that is legal. Obviously, they don't deserve to take care of a pet snake.

Ted the 'Flayer

I am on the pro- side of the live-feeding debate (I own a tarantula, and a tarantula literally won't even SEE a frozen mouse or anything that doesn't move, their eyes are mostly to detect light and dark and only point straight up anyway), but I also take "no" for an answer. When they kept going back, it was a mounting behavior to show that they are the ones in charge, not you. People like that get on my last damn nerve.

Michael Chandra

@C Store Manager: Yup, it takes a manager to be perfectly willing to break store policy just because a customer keeps trying. The only spine they train you to have is against your employees.


I totally agree with your decision to stick to the store policy and not sell the live mice to creepy snake girlfriend, but I have to wonder why the live-food-appropriateness line is drawn at mice. I have a pet turtle and I buy him live worms and fish occasionally as a treat, and no store has ever questioned that purchase. In fact, if you go to most pet stores and ask for feeder fish, they give you a bag of the same guppies or small goldfish they sell as pets. No one's ever called me cruel for that. So why the distinction here? Is it just because mice are more lovable than fish, worms, crickets, etc.? That seems like a really stupid thing on which to base this decision. Any ideas anyone?


The issue is not on feeding live mice. The issue was that there is a clear policy stated that their rodents are sold as pets, and there is quite a difference between different breeds of rodents to begin with.

The store said "No." and that is the final say. It doesn't matter what anyone here feels about that answer, it was the final decision of the store and supported by those involved.

On top of trying to coerce employees, the woman was clearly attempting to steal.

Personally I do not have an issue at all with owners feeding live rodents to their slithering companions-but as someone who has owned mice many times in the past I am aware that not all mice are created equal! It would be like going to buy feeder gold fish and buying a clown fish in it's place.


It seems to me that with all the time they wasted trying to get the pet mice, they may as well have just gone elsewhere to get feeder mice...


I like that store policy! A few decades ago when I was a wee little retail slave, I had a summer job in a pet store. A guy came in looking for a rat to feed his very large snake (and frozen feeders were not around in those days). We had several rats, all intended to be pets, but no policy about the future lives of the animals we sold. The guy was genuinely sorry to be buying a potential pet, and even asked that I pick out the least friendly of the lot. It was the best solution we could make for an unfortunate situation.

For hellraiser, the difference between feeding with crickets, goldfish or mice? Did a cricket or goldfish ever run up onto your hand and snuggle down?


ive had to deal with retards like this multiple times. i finally got bored with simply refusing the sale and played along with the ones who tried to outsmart me by saying they were buying mice as pets (yes, those of us who have worked in a pet store for long enough can tell the difference between someone buying them as food and as a pet).Where i work we have to make them fill out a form before purchase and explain that its about the return policy and health hazards, when a situation like this arises i simply change it and say: "make sure the animal is in a cage that is secure because we give them a medication that is highly toxic and fatal to cats, dogs and reptiles if the animal gets out and is ingested by one of your other pets." its usually followed by a horrified look on the dumbass' face and a "actually you know what i think ive changed my mind"...problem solved.

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