Why Isn't PetSmart the Happiest Place on Earth?
A shop filled with dogs somehow manages to bring me down. Maybe that's my fault?
Imagine the happiest place on earth. No, not Disney World, but what you personally envision. Are there dogs? Of course there are! Any place filled with joy and happiness has to include dogs.
So how is PetSmart not the greatest place in the world? It is filled with dogs and cute doggy things, and yet I never feel good when I am there.
Let's look at the name: PetSmart. You cannot get much simpler—you are, in fact, shopping at a pets mart. But wait, the "S" is capitalized! I see what you did there, you whimsical marketing geniuses.
Well, maybe that doesn't exactly get us off to a great start.
But that's OK because the store is packed to the brim with pet supplies, much of which are for dogs. There are cute and squeaky dog toys, colorful collars and leashes, a seemingly endless supply of dog food and a treat aisle that would be a dream buffet for just about any dog.
And the dogs, they are everywhere. Dogs of all shapes and sizes are walking around the aisles with their owners, playing in the doggy daycare and "PetsHotel," or patiently standing on a table waiting to be groomed. The store even encourages you to watch the adorable dogs by putting everything behind glass for easy viewing.
There are often even dogs outside, brought in from local animal rescue organizations like Lucky Dog Animal Rescue, allowing you to take some of the cute cuddliness home.
I also enjoy taking a detour from my focus on dogs to step into the Cat Center and fantasize about rescuing one of these mysterious creatures that I have heard so much about. (The cats there every day are from Last Chance Animal Rescue in Waldorf, Md.)
Our local PetSmart in Potomac Yard Center is particularly well taken care of. The store is always clean, the shelves are organized, and I have found the staff to always be friendly and helpful.
It all sounds like so much fun. Yet, whenever I am at PetSmart, I feel like Superman wearing necklace of Kryptonite. I dread walking through those doors and I can feel my energy draining the longer I shop.
Is it the giant box-store feel? Or the craziness of dealing with Potomac Yard in general? Maybe I feel guilty for not buying everything from our wonderful local stores on Mt. Vernon Avenue? But sometimes it is just impossible to beat the convenience and options available at PetSmart.
Perhaps my expectations are too high. This isn't an amusement park for dogs and their owners, as much as I would like it to be. It is just a pets mart, after all. And that is something they are quite good at being.