Shakespeare’s quote from the 17th century tragedy Hamlet “To be or not to be, that is the question” is a well known one. An adaptation for 21st century pet owners could be “To bring or not to bring your pet, that is the question.”
Given that “No pets” signs have become ubiquitous at stores and restaurants in major cities nowadays, is it really impossible to take your pet shopping or dining? Not necessarily. One store chain that specializes in home decor merchandise has never banned pets from entering in the company of their owners since its founding 15 years ago. Furthermore, four to five years ago, it took another step toward welcoming four-legged furry friends with open arms by providing pets-only shopping carts for pet owners to spend quality time shopping with their pets.
None of us likes monotony, and the same applies to our furry friends. In addition to the same old paths along which pet owners walk their canine buddies or feline pals as part of the daily routine, our pets also want to go somewhere different to satisfy their curious minds. Vivi Chen, a public relations officer of the store chain told the Taipei Times that the purpose of designing the pets-only shopping carts was to allow customers to shop with ease. Each cart is covered with a sheet of white newspaper before use and it is cleaned and disinfected after use.
Surveys over the past few years show that many consumers like the pet-shopping cart service because it is different from the services offered by other stores, said Chen. The service was originally inspired by the company’s pet-owning manager and employees, who exercised their ingenuity to come up with this unique service, which cannot be found in any other similar establishment. The service has now been extended to a major home improvement store chain, which belongs to the same corporation as the home decor store chain.
When asked whether any conservative customers have opposed the service, Chen said that as of today, there have not been any complaints about the service, which is widely accepted by customers. Occasionally, the store finds that the service encourages positive interaction among customers since pets are a great reason for starting up a conversation. Use of the pet cart service is high, and there are frequently no vacant carts during weekends and holidays, said Chen.
With animal rights being a popular topic these days and many pet owners considering their pets to be a part of the family, it seems that creating a pet-friendly environment seems inevitable in civilized societies. No matter how long the process of reaching that pet-friendly state is, now at least one store chain has taken the initiative to embrace pets of all shapes and sizes in the same way as it welcomes its human customers. Pet owners can now enjoy a day of shopping at the store without having to wonder whether “to bring or not to bring” their pet.
(Lin Ya-ti, Taipei Times)