Cat litter. That's what it's come to. Amazing isn't it? Fifty years old, a college degree, home ownership and it comes down to cat litter. Amazing and appropriate both.
Monday night I decided to forgo the supermarket trip in lieu of the pet store approach to buying cat litter. It's on the way home and the supermarket parking lot is a congested knot of clutter. Another executive decision executed. What I hadn't bargained on was the huge price mark-up for things in high-end pet stores. I wandered in thinking I was going to easily wander out.
Besides, it was cat litter, right? How much could it cost? Try twelve bucks. Twelve dollars made a tank of gasoline look like a bargain. At least the gas gets me someplace. This gets me nowhere except wandering the store in tiny circles looking ... there must be a two dollar bag of cat litter here someplace, right?
I found the eight dollar bag, which was actually a plastic container with a lid, as though I'm supposed to pour some out and cap it for later. What exactly do they think I'm doing with this stuff? After much circling and under-the-breath muttering I did manage to find a single three dollar bag of some generic clay litter that claimed to be both non-clumping and non-dust producing. My lucky day. Can't have dust and clumps, can I?
Quickly, I grabbed it and got out. I wanted to debate the store clerk as to the virtue of twelve dollar cat litter, (or even eight dollar litter) but I'm smart enough to know that not only don't they set the prices but they probably don't care, so I decided to keep my opinions to myself - for a while.
I think the high-end pet stores take advantage of pet owners' guilt. The guilt that their little companions are somehow worth the $30 bags of food and the $12 litter. Strange, how the $30 food eventually becomes $12 litter. I love my cat like a son, but I draw the line at food that by the ounce is more expensive than what I eat and litter that only a fool would scoop up and throw away.
He has lived more than 17 fruitful years on supermarket Purina One and two-dollar Tidy Cat litter, and something tells me that if I let him in on the high-end junk he'd tell me I was being a jackass for thinking that pet store food is any different - or better - than what he's been eating or crapping in.
I think the high-end pet stores are made for the Hummer-driving, plastic bag using, big house cooling gang who somehow thinks that more expensive equals better. There will always be a place for them. That's how Sharper Image can sell twenty dollar nose hair clippers.
Supermarket, I'll never stray again. And, for the record, I didn't put the bag of litter in a bag.