A rather young man enters the store with a girl by his side. They look around and the signs above each aisle before being approached by a man in a dark blue vest.
“Hello and welcome to Peter’s fluffy emporium. I’m Peter, what can I do for you sir?”
The owner says in a cordial tone, putting on a warm smile for the customers
“Hi, I’m looking to buy a fluffy. It’s for my daughter’s birthday but i’m also looking for a pet for the family, working from home and all”
Peter nods in acknowledgment, ever since the pandemic started all sorts of pets were being adopted, only for a large chunk to be surrendered back in the case of cats and dogs.
“Of course sir, now i’ll need to ask you some questions to make sure we find the right fluffy for you. I assume this is your first time owning one”
The man seems a bit stunted by the question which elicits a questioning look from the little girl holding his hand before he blurts out a yes, seeming a bit uncomfortable.
“I see, well while you and I discuss the ‘formalities’ why doesn’t your daughter go over to our nursefluff pen?”
The little girl suddenly giddy with excitement tugged on her father’s pan leg before being given an approving smile and running off towards the glass-walled pen full of mares and foals.
The father let out a sigh and followed Peter through a set of heavy double doors.
“Right this way please, I keep my offices besides the kennels for safety reasons, I hope you don’t mind”
“Not at all, do stores usually make you go through an adoption process? I thought they were qualified as bio-toys not animals”
The man replied taking a seat in the chair opposite to Peter.
“Depends, on the shop. Usually not but we pride ourselves on customer satisfaction here and we believe that matching the right fluffy to the right person is essential for keeping our customers and fluffies off the street. Especially if our customer happens to be a child”
The man looked at Peter intrigued but did not interrupt or press him further.
“You see contrary to popular belief and Hasbio’s marketing, fluffies are actually terrible first pets for children, they’re actually more akin to kids than pets and since some humans in their 30s aren’t even mature enough for kids you can imagine what its like when a child has to become a parent without even being in high school”
The man nodded in understanding “While I say the fluffy is for her it’s more likely it’ll become the family pet more than her responsibility”
“Which is the ideal set up for a first fluffy but still, regardless of how good your parenting is and how many people are caring for it there are still a million things that could go wrong especially since its a fluffy”
“I know. They’re prone to injuring themselves and developing bratty attitudes” The father replied glancing all around the office.
“Well not just that some fluffies can become resentful or even depressed in certain conditions leading to all sorts of problems that make up the bulk of surrenders”
“So what do you suggest?”
“Has your daughter mentioned a preferred breed or color for the fluffy?”
“Not really a color she does love the unicorns though I’ve heard they tend to be one of the more high maintenance breeds”
Peter nodded and sighed
“Indeed, not only is the horn a liability since most unicorns think it’s made of Tungsten and try to use it like a Rhino, it’s also intrinsic to their identity. If it gets damaged or broken they will become inconsolable over its loss. Not to mention most think it makes them special and deserving of special treatment”
“Sounds like a lot of work”
“It is, even more than a regular fluffy not to mention the genetic pre-disposition to smarty syndrome and with this being your daughter’s first pet theres no doubt she’ll spoil it and guilt you into giving it what it wants…but if you’re not on board with the idea of your daughter getting a fluffy just yet, she’ll quickly get fed up with it. Though we do offer a behaviour training regimen if you still want the fluffy just a better behaved one”
The man didn’t say anything, thinking and weighing his options before he had a chance to make up his mind though Peter got up and ushered him back into the store
“Take some time to think about it, in the meanwhile how about we go see how she’s enjoying her time with the nurses”
The little girl was sat criss cross surrounded by nurse fluffs of all different colors and breeds, on her lap a light blue unicorn was cleaning and feeding a handful of foals much to the delight of the little girl.
Peter opened the while glass door and entered the clear room along with the girls father. She looked at him excitedly as if she was about to jump up but refrained as the light blue unicorn was still resting on her lap.
“Oh daddy I love them all so much! Can we take them all home pleaaaase?” She pleaded with that excited glint in her eyes all children had when they were enamoured with something.
“Now sweetie remember what we said, you can have one fluffy not the whole store. Plus I think Mr. Peter here needs these uhh-”
“Nurse fluffs” Peter completed the father sentence “and i’m afraid he’s right. These nurses are essential to my store, I can’t sell them, sorry”
The little girl’s wide enthusiastic smile dropped but she nodded in understanding.
“I never asked,” continued Peter “did you have a specific age in mind?”
The wide smile and shining eyes returned to the girl’s face as the father let out a long exasperated sigh “Yeah, a foal actually”