no, you don’t

i think one of the most obvious red flags that a salesperson is totally bullshitting you is when they tell you they actually own one of the very item they are trying to sell you, and that they love it. i first noticed this red flag when i was a teen or in my early 20’s, buying jeans from a hip shop in victoria. the salesperson there was trying to convince me to buy a particular pair of overpriced jeans, said they had the same pair at home, and they were soooo comfy, and they wore them all the time, and they were their FAVOURITE jeans. even that first time i heard this approach, i thought there was something a little weird about what they were saying. they appeared exceptionally enthusiastic but didn’t offer any specific details about the item — all their glowing comments were quite general and could be applied to any old pair of jeans. if they really had them and loved them so much, why weren’t they telling me about how those jeans hugged their upper thighs and had a nice, slight flare?

because they were lying through their¬†fucking teeth, that’s why.

i didn’t end up buying those jeans after all, and i’m very glad about that because it wasn’t long until i heard some other scam artist salesperson use the same approach, at which point i realized it was a routine sales pitch. now, whenever i hear someone attempt to sell me some crap with this technique, i usually run away screaming.

but the other day, i was surprised to encounter this very approach in a place i didn’t expect it: the local veterinary clinic. our vet, who i normally like quite a bit, suggested that i try feeding our dog some hill’s prescription dog food in order to help with her recovery from an ACL injury. i took a look at the ingredient list of the food and thought, “this doesn’t look like a high quality food.” then the vet used the dreaded line:

“i give it to my dog for his arthritis and it works great.”

my heart sunk. even the vet, the person we trust with our dog’s health and well-being, was lying to my god damn face because she gets a kickback from hill’s for selling their ‘exclusive vet food line.’ how thoroughly disappointing. i have since looked up reviews of hill’s prescription pet food and found mountains of complaints about it. i also double checked the ingredient list and confirmed that there is absolutely nothing ‘prescription’ about — it’s just low quality ingredients (a ton of grains, “chicken byproduct meal,” whatever that actually is, and some pork fat — just what every injured dog needs) and a smattering of vitamins and supplements.

of course, exclusive vet food doesn’t come cheap. it was $135 per 12.5 kg bag — almost double what actual high quality dog foods sell for.

i’m not going to write my vet off just yet because she has been very good to us over the years, but this is a big strike against her so i will remember it. i will, however, completely write off hill’s and their bullshit food. what a horrible, unscrupulous scam.

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do not buy this junk

huh. i veered way off topic here. i started with complaining about lame sales pitches, and ended up hating on a terrible dog food. well, two birds with one stone, i suppose. always look on the bright side, i say.

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to everything, an unavoidable and frustrating challenge

a few months ago, jenn and i decided to get a second dog to keep our first dog, stella, company. we decided we wanted a dog of a similar age, size, and temperament so that they would be more likely to get along well and play together when they are at home in the yard. we searched a lot and found a dog named laika that seemed like a good fit. we brought stella to meet laika and they got along great. we had a second meeting that also went well, so we took laika home.

then everything went to shit.

laika had never been walked off-leash so we had some significant challenges training her on that. then we found she was not socialized enough with groups of dogs and became aggressive in those situations. then we found that stella is actually very possessive of her home and she wound up attacking laika many times. then laika attacked one of our chickens. then, only two weeks after we got her, laika ruptured her ACL.

so here we are, 6 weeks into her recovery from the knee injury. it seems to be going well so far. the other issues have mostly been sorted out too — laika is now better about off leash walks, meeting groups of dogs, and her and stella rarely get on each others nerves. so it’s been a real pain in the ass but it’s getting better and will eventually be fine.

however, i can’t help but wonder sometimes how much easier things would have been if we picked one of the other dogs we had looked at. it’s so easy to think the grass looks greener on the other side. so i’m trying to remind myself when i do that, that stella would have been just as much of a bitch to any other dog, and if the other dog was not as easygoing as laika, we could have ended up with them actually hurting each other during their scraps instead of just posturing. that would have been really bad. or if we got a puppy, which maybe stella would have been less pushy and dominant with, we’d then be dealing with all the other bullshit that goes along with puppies: house training them, teaching them not to chew everything, starting all their basic obedience from scratch. that would be a huge and frustrating commitment too.

so i use this to remind myself that even though i’m annoyed with how things have gone with laika so far, it wouldn’t have necessarily been any better with any other dog. it may have been slightly better or worse, but it would most likely have been a comparably challenging experience. and i think that view applies to most things in life. everything presents its own unique challenges so it’s impossible to say — even with hindsight — that choosing one house, or partner, or career, or anything else, over any other options would have been any better. as long as i make careful decisions based on the best information i have available at the time, i can’t beat myself up over those decision when things don’t go perfectly. because that’s just life.

look at me, being so zen and buddha-like. how pretentious.

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