Let me begin by telling you all how it works here at The Reptile Zoo and why Jay has done such an amazing job with regard to this business because it will in turn help you to understand this rant. As you reptile lover’s all know, it takes a whole lot more than just love to raise a reptile! It takes care, patience, time, food, electricity, and money to raise and keep up with the appetites of reptiles. We have lots of animals here, that’s why we are “The Reptile Zoo” and not your average pet shop. That being said Prehistoric Pets is our core shop, that is where we sell merchandise, feeders, pets, high end reptiles, cages, heater, lights and bulbs and give people help with their pets as well as taking in the pets people no longer want or want to care for. The Reptile Zoo is a complete and separate entity, it is where we house and display our larger, one of a kind, creatures that you would never be able to see anywhere else. Got it? Prehistoric Pets is the store, The Reptile Zoo is, well, The Reptile Zoo, kids can touch and hold and take pictures with the animals in the zoo, we pull eggs so kids can see and touch a real life snake egg, sometimes Jay even opens the clutches in front of the kids so they can see what a baby snake looks like when it first hatches. To come into the retail portion of our store there is no charge, to come into The Reptile Zoo there is a $5.00 donation for kids above the age of 4. The money from that most assuredly does not go into our pockets, it is used to care for, feed, water, clean, and treat animals.
So the other night a family came into our shop about 10 or so of them, the grandfather asked about the admission, I explained to them how things work, how much and why and he said ok. The family then walked around the retail portion of our shop, checked out the spiders, the scorpions, feed the turtles, watched some cool snakes and tegus get fed and had what seemed to be a fun time in the shop. The Grandfather then approached me a second time and said, it’s my grandson’s birthday, and can I take him into the Reptile Zoo to buy some crickets? I explained to him again how things worked and told him that if he needed crickets we have them right here at the counter and I asked him how many he needed and he very dismissively said never mind. And you know, we are good people here, and we always like for people to be happy so I thought maybe they didn’t have enough money to go back and that made me sad. I went and talked to Jay and he said that it would be ok for me to go and get a big snake and let the kid take some pictures with it for his birthday, again, something that is usually done in the Reptile Zoo, not the store. I took the bateater (of course) out from the back and let the kid hold the snake and let his family take a few pictures, but they did appear to be impressed or grateful at all. The family then bought some food to feed the fish and turtles and had a good time doing that, at least I thought, and then bought more food to feed the fish and turtles and let me add, they were quite rude at this point. I went to the back to put the snake away and when I came back they were all in the zoo… It came to pass that while I was away the family told another employee that they were going to buy a snake and that they needed to come back and look at something and that they would pick up the snake on their way out.
They had no intention of ever buying anything ever, and that’s ok, but don’t teach your kids or grandkids to lie and manipulate to get your way. We all, Jay included work really hard to keep this place afloat, to keep everything fed, to keep everything clean and watered and healthy and happy and believe me it is no easy task, we get bitten, pooped on, peed on, whipped with tails, cricket allergies. The family snuck out as quickly as they came in and believe me, I have no ill will towards them at all, I just can’t imagine a situation where I would ever want my son to behave that way. And the more I think about it, I’m not even sure that it was the kid’s birthday, no one said Happy Birthday to him while they were taking pictures. So, there ya go, love it or hate it, that’s my rant!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!