How much is that doggie (hic) in the window (hic, hic)?
We all know that drunk driving is illegal (and a totally awful thing to do).
We all know that drunken dialing, and – more recently – texting and Facebooking, can get you into big, stupid trouble.
And we all know that drunk-at-a-company function can be career limiting. I was once at a company event – held in a local bar – in which the out of town, absentee president, who a few months earlier had been brought in to run our division, pretended that he was interested in getting to know us all better.
He had earlier addressed a company meeting, which got off to an excellent start when one of the techies interrupted his opening remarks and asked him to identify himself.
“Our” president gave his name, and the techie nodded his head in satisfaction and said, “I thought so.”
Anyway, Mr. President clearly wanted nothing more than to get away from us, but he was suffering – at HR’s insistence – through the off-site, open-bar meet and greet.
At one point, an admin got in his face, blathering, “You don’t know who the fuck I am, do you?”
Mr. President admitted that she was correct, at which point Denise pointed at me – who was standing about 10 feet away trying to figure out which of the two of them needed more rescuing – and said, “I bet you know who she is.” Clearly Denise was trying to prove some classist assumption she had that Mr. President would know a senior, important personage like myself, while completely ignoring a lowly administrative assistant.
Mr. President looked over to where Denise was pointing and said, “I have absolutely no idea who she is.”
Denise, I’m sorry to report, was on the next lay-off list.
This is not, of course, the only drunk-at-a-company-function incident I witnessed, but it was one of the more fun and memorable ones. (How is it that there are still people out there who haven’t yet figured out that drinking and company function don’t mix.)
But drunken puppy purchasing was a new one on me.
It’s coming to light now because a couple of NYC pet stores have banned the practice.
Le Petit Puppy and Citipups, both located in bar-central in The Village, have official policies banning the sale of a pooch to someone who’s been at the hooch.
Who'd a thunk that this was enough of a problem that you’d need to establish a policy about it?
Inebriated passers-by are falling in love with playful pooches frolicking in the window of a West Village pet store, and the problem has become so bad the owner has banned them from taking the pets home.
"I feel like they always come in drunk," said Fernanda Moritz, the manager of Le Petite (sic) Puppy at 18 Christopher St. which has implemented a policy against letting customers buy -- or even hold -- animals if they've been drinking.
At neighboring Citipups, a drunk woman bought a Chihuahua, only to return it half-dead (the dog, not the woman) the next day, at which point the poor pooch had ingested a bunch of pills and had to have his tiny little stomach pumped. Now I hope I don’t offend the Chihuahua fans out there, but I must say I would have to be hammered to get me one of them. Antipathy towards small yappy dogs aside, no pup deserves this treatment.
St. Patrick’s Day is apparently one of those days when a young drunk’s fancy turns to dog-love. One drunk couple charged $3,500 worth of dog – in NYC, that’ll get you an English Bulldog and a Miniature Pinscher. (What? No Irish Setter, Kerry Blue, or Irish Wolfhound? Sheesh. Who buys an English Bulldog on St. Patrick’s Day?)
Buyers’ remorse set in the next morning, and the dogs were returned. At least they weren’t drugged… Still, being taken home by a trashed new mommy and daddy has to be really terrible for a dog’s psyche.
So I’m totally on board the no dogs to drunks policy.
The New York Times blog also picked up on the story – a shake of the dog-collar to my brother-in-law Rick for pointing it out to me; I will ignore his entirely gratuitous swipe at my late, great and greatly-lamented dog, Grimbald.
They quoted Dana Derraugh, of Le Petit Puppy, on how they deal with the problem. The solution: command the drunks to Sit.
“We have a chair if we’re unsure of someone,” she said. “We make them sit down, just to make sure they won’t fall on a dog.”
During one such sobriety test, Ms. Derraugh said, a customer fell asleep, credit card in hand, near the register.
They also don’t keep the store open on those evenings when they know that there’ll be a lot of drunks marauding the area. But bad things can happen to good dogs, even on non-special occasions:
Last weekend, an apparently intoxicated woman attempted to open the display window, where puppies frolic among bits of shredded paper, and scoop up the animals.
“She wanted to hand them around to people in the store,” recalled Andrea Crocitto, an employee.
Personally, I can’t imagine buying a dog in a store, drunk or sober. (That’s me, not the dog or the store I’m talking about.) I’m sure that there are up-and-up pet stores, but I would totally have “puppy mill horror show” on my mind, cute and enticing as those little critters on offer may be.
Many years ago, a woman I worked with bought a Golden Retriever at a pet store. Now when I think Golden, I think mellow, but my colleague (8 months pregnant at the time) was cornered by her snarling, saliva dripping, menacing pet and had to be rescued by her husband.
No, if I were going to the dog, I’d look for a pound puppy, or a back yard breeder (which is where the noble Grimbald came from).
Alas, I am not in the market for a dog at present.
Un-alas, I have my wonderful dog nephew Jack to dote on.
As for the pet stores plagued by drunken customers, how about installing a breathalyzer at the door?