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There’s no good reason

Driving to Trader Joe’s for milk, cheese, and ill-gotten sample food, I noticed that they’ve torn down the Fin and Feather store, on 45th a few blocks east of Petco. Inexplicably, this made me sad. Allow me to explain.

Fin and Feather was, without a doubt, the skeeziest pet supply store ever conceived by man. Everything about the storefront was garish, tacky, or hopelessly offensive: the brick facade and day-glo painted sign leered out at the sidewalk like a homeless person with syphilis; their most loathsome pets, like the giant stick bugs, tarantulas, Egyptian terror skink, etc. were proudly displayed in the front windows under enormous, sickly red heat lamps; the twin doors were both hidden in dark recesses, so that one felt upon entering that they were heading down a dark alley in a bad part of town. In a town full of pet stores, Fin and Feather would be the wrong side of the tracks. In pet-store town, if you were an upstanding citizen in search of a scone and a nice, hot cup of tea, you would head for Petco; if you were somewhat below the upper crust and looking for a hooker or a good batch of crystal meth, you would point your Payless shoes towards Fin and Feather.

The inside of the store was even worse. The whole place was filled with the unmistakable stink of lizards in very old wood shavings, and most of the products, stacked on ancient, rickety shelves, were coated with unwholesome dust of unknown origin. The help, although well meaning, were clearly the sort of people who keep large numbers of reptiles in their homes and think nothing of it. They were covered in tattoos and dreadlocks, and always seemed to be busy with something in the back room that invariably caused them to emerge wiping their hands. They would ring up my sale, and I’d catch myself scrubbing off my debit card with my t-shirt before returning it to my wallet.

In spite of these “quirks”, I loved the shop, and always checked for fish-supply stuff there before Petco. However, they didn’t always work out for me, for reasons which should be obvious unless my powers of description have failed you. For example, it was possible to purchase there a gaping skull for one’s fish to cower within, but not the stately, ivy-covered Doric columns my betta loves so dearly. In fact, I don’t think they sold fish as mundane as bettas, and likewise any accessories for the type of person who would care to own one. Despite this, I always bought colored gravel there – it was simply of a superior grade, don’t ask me what metric I use – and their aquatic plant selection was second to none. But really, my preference had more to do with the store’s unpopularity than its capacity to meet my fish-accessory needs. Unpopularity is totally indie, as you’d know if you’d read page 106 of the Handbook.

I really hope that their most unsavory ex-employees managed to find a job at Petco, so that the store’s legacy can live on. Maybe they can work the skink section.

Posted in Musings.

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