I went in on Friday, July 23, 2010 and purchased a baby bearded dragon, which I named Zeus, for just over $60. I also bought additional pet supplies such as food (meal-worms), a special kind of sand filled which has vitamins mixed in so that if they eat some by accident it is actually good for them, a heat light, as well as temperature and humidity gauges. Every thing I bought was approved by the guy who was helping me and telling me the supplies I needed.
Four days and three hours later, Zeus died. I had no idea what happened since I kept his cage conditions to what I was told in terms of temperature and humidity. I kept putting fresh worms in his cage and had a water bowl in addition to spraying the rocks lightly to simulate dew, which is how desert lizards drink in nature.
I went into the store roughly an hour and a half ago after talking to the manager on the phone unsure of whether or not they would give me a refund so I could get a new bearded dragon. They had me bring in the Zeus's body and after checking him over the manager said Zeus most likely died by ingesting a large grain of sand, the same sand which was recommended to me by an employee.Still, they offered to give me store credit, which I accepted, and despite having lost a pet, I was hopeful that my new one would would be with me for a long time.
This is where my shopping experience at Petco went from indifferent to down right pissed off. I was willing to get over the fact that an employee had recommended sand as bedding even though what he didn't know was that the sand was meant for slightly older bearded dragons and could be harmful or deadly to babies, which it was for Zeus.
I decided to buy an additional light and replace the sand with a mat which would run me about $50, but I was fine to pay for it. I was presented with a gift card by the manager after he "made a call to someone," and when I informed him I wanted another bearded dragon with this gift card, he informed me that I needed to buy a new terrarium so that he would be more comfortable.
I was keeping Zeus in a 5 gallon, plenty big for his size, and the display they kept 4-5 baby bearded dragons in could not have been bigger than 6 or 7 gallons. When I said maybe I would buy another a different lizard, the manager insisted I would still need to buy at least a 10 gallon tank ($44 + tax) so they would be sure he would be in a safe and loving environment, using this clearly rehearsed speech to hide behind while simultaneously trying to hit me up for more cash. In addition to the new light and mat, my total for the visit was now well over $100.
When it had become clear that in order to spend this $40 gift card I would have to spend over $100 of my own money in addition to all the stuff I had bought before, and considering the whole reason my buddy Zeus died is due to terrible and down right wrong advice from one of their own employees, I just simply walked out. It made me furious that after Petco essentially killed my pet, they refused to replace him without me spending a lot of money.
I am not saying all Petco stores are like this, but the one located at 1929 Old Gallows Road Vienna, VA, 22182 (Tyson's Corner) is certainly like this, since that is where all this happened. This could be even worse if you get a pet from them for your kid, they get attached to it, and it dies, especially if it is out of your control.
Product or Service Mentioned: Petco Manager.