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Old 04-28-2014, 01:54 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Default Conflicting Food Information

Not sure what to title this, as it's much more just me ranting than anything productive, but this happened this morning and it's still really bugging me.

I had a job interview with a local pet store that's opening up near where my mother works. It's a locally owned string of stores, more "mom 'n pop" than a corporation like PetSmart, which had me initially thrilled! They're even the pet store I had had heard rumors about that occasionally they have hedgies for sale. I was reasonably impressed with their care guide online too, as the only thing they got a little off (in my opinion) was the statement that hedgies should be fed "hedgehog" food ONLY. But you know, different opinions, not a big deal, I certainly wasn't going to show up and tell a possible boss that they where doing it wrong!

I didn't expect half of my interview to turn into me defending why I feed my hogs cat food instead of their "correct" diet of hedgehog food. The store owner claimed that they need to be on specific food for their exotic needs-- Which would make sense if I didn't already know that most hedgehog foods are garbage! I mentioned that a lot are like most popular cat food brands, full of grains and additives and questionable ingredients, and that most people feed them a mix of high quality cat food for a reason.

I just felt talked down to the whole time, even though it was clear she hasn't owned one or done a lot of independent research. Ironically she had never heard of the names of the hedgehog foods I did know about, like Spike's Delight, and she never did mention the name of this magical perfect food that the breeder these babies come from uses. I don't claim to know everything, but I came there for a job interview, not to go on trial for the care of my hedgies. Her attitude is what really got me. There's a difference between agreeing to disagree and judging me for not having them on the "right" food. Maybe it was because I look a lot younger than I am (many mistake me for a high schooler when I'm 22 and a half!) but that's no excuse to be condescending.

Over all it was the most bizarre interview I've ever had. She made a face when I confirmed I lived half an hour away, though any job I could possibly get in my area requires a commute, and wondered why I wanted to work at a pet store when I was a creative writing major instead of finding a job that "made more sense" in connection to my major. (Yeah, like I can get a summer job in creative writing) She also questioned why I applied there instead of returning to my former employer of Walmart, and anyone who's ever held a retail cashier job will know exactly why that's my last resort.

Needless to say I'm not going to be too broken up about it if I don't get hired. I'm also going to do some reconnaissance and see if I can't find what food they sell for hogs and judge it's worthiness accordingly. I'd also love to know where their breeder is hiding; I couldn't find one in the Albany area to save my life, which is why Lia and Luna where both from a breeder in Long Island!
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Old 04-28-2014, 02:49 PM   #2 (permalink)
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Wow...that's ridiculous. The breeder they're getting their hogs from is very likely not a good one. No respected, responsible breeder would ever sell their hedgehogs to a pet store - they want to be able to meet and interview prospective owners and know their babies are going home with someone good. Guessing that's why you couldn't find them...they're likely not anyone who'd have a well-organized site, etc.

Generally I like the smaller mom-and-pop-like stores too, but it's a shame when you find the ones that are still no good. I hope if you DO end up hired, you can do some good for the store. But I definitely don't blame you for not being too invested in it...sounds like it could be difficult to work with an owner like that.
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Old 04-28-2014, 03:44 PM   #3 (permalink)
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Yeah, the more I mull it over, the less inclined I am to even take a job if it was offered. :/ It just seems very sketchy to me now, and hedgies are far from the only exotics they offer. This makes me question how much they really know about their reptiles and other animals! And it's sad because I do like to support local when I can, and working at a non-corporation business would be a dream. That being said, there are other local pet stores I already frequent. They can get my money instead.

My mom and I might actually head over to one of their other locations after she's done with work to check out this mysterious hedgehog food just to have peace of mind. I'd like to know either way, because if it's decent that's great and if not I can add it to my list of things to tell people to avoid.
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Old 04-28-2014, 04:10 PM   #4 (permalink)
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I just want to say, THANK YOU for being a responsible hedgie owner
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Old 04-28-2014, 11:46 PM   #5 (permalink)
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Aww, thank you! C: I don't know everything or have a ton of experience, but I do my very best to make sure they're happy and healthy. (and also spoiled rotten!) I'm so thankful for this forum too, I have no idea what I'd do without this wealth of knowledge!

We didn't get to the store tonight to check things out, but I might email them under an alias and ask for the ingredient list/guaranteed analysis. I'm really curious to see what's in it.
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Old 04-29-2014, 10:47 AM   #6 (permalink)
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I'm so angry right now. My mom actually stopped in on her way to work and texted me the brand names of the hedgehog foods they carry. They are Browns, Sunset, and Exotic Nutrition.

I know that the Browns is more than a little dangerous with its seeds as a choking hazard and raisins as an ingredient which are toxic. This is coupled with the fact it's mostly grains and fillers! I'm appalled that someone who grilled me about feeding my babies the "right" things could carry and promote this garbage.

I couldn't find the Sunset brand after googling it, though I did find the Exotic Nutrition one and I can't say I'm impressed by it. The first ingredients are blood meal, soybean meal, ground corn, corn gluten meal, whole roasted soy beans, tallow, cane molasses, dried beet pulp, then dried mealworms. It might have a bunch of added vitamin supplements, but those hardly make up for the fact it's mostly corn and soy. Because that's what I'd totally recommend for an omnivore.

I can't believe this. I just part of me was really hoping they would have decent stuff, but I guess that wasn't the case.
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Old 04-29-2014, 11:31 AM   #7 (permalink)
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Yeah...unfortunately none of the commercial hedgehog foods are any good, really. Honestly, Spike's really is the best one available & will continue to be unless a decent one comes out. And you can't get Spike's in a pet store, and it's still ridiculously expensive for the medium quality. Hedgehog food as a whole is pretty disappointing! It's such a shame that there are still pet stores and breeders (and vets!) that insist it's better for them than cat food.
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