The Girl Who Loved A Crab – An Open Letter To Pet Supplies Plus


To Whom It May Concern,

On the evening of October 17, 2013 my 9-year-old daughter and I showed up at Pet Supplies Plus in Adrian, MI about 45 minutes before closing.  She had pulled together all of her recent birthday money and savings and had about $36 with her. She was a girl on a mission to buy a hermit crab.

I have no idea how she became so fascinated with hermit crabs or why she wanted one so badly, but she’s talked about it for years.  When the time arrived she was beside herself! It was important to her that everything be just right…

There were 3 people working (that we saw) during the time we were there.  They were helping the other customers with their expensive purchases of exotic reptiles and massive bags of specialty dog food. They were cleaning up and feeding the animals and generally getting ready to close up shop for the night.


Look closely! There’s the crab… right behind the tiny bulldozer.

Despite the late hour and their obvious busy-ness each of the three took the time to say hello, ask us if we needed anything, answer our questions and – most important – smile at my little girl who was near-bursting with joy.

My girl had to examine every crab. Every. Single. Crab. Then she had to go see which extra shells were available. Then she was back to examining the crabs again so she could compare which crabs “matched” the extra shells.  It was crucial that she choose exactly the right one, you know!

Once she picked out her favorite we needed food and salt water conditioner and a heat lamp and all the things you need to provide comfort to the Most Important Crab In The Universe.

The employees at the store answered every question with patience and kindness. They explained about being aware of cold air vents and windows that are too sunny. They showed all the different kinds of food and provided a print-out of what kind of treats my daughter could give her pet.  They offered their advice on which products and brands were superior, which items could be skipped over by a child with limited funds and suggested that some things would be nice for her crab to have (including a crabby friend or two) but that those could wait a while until she had earned some more money.

They never rushed her. They never spoke down to her. They understood that she (not I) was the customer and they treated her with the utmost respect, never once giving any indication that they were annoyed to be helping a (child) customer at such a late hour who was, obviously, not going to be a big spender.

They earned our loyalty!

Thank you for hiring men and women of such character. They helped the most precious person in my world find her new special friend and I can promise you that no crustacean in the world will be more loved or better cared for than Henry The Crab!



A Mama in Michigan

This experience ties in beautifully with today’s October Daily:

Day 19: “Write about something you believe in. It can be anything at all!”

I believe in the importance of recognizing a job well done! I think there is something in human nature that is quick to complain when things go wrong but, when everything goes right, we don’t notice because, “that’s the way it’s supposed to be.”

But the reality is that things don’t go right unless everyone is playing their part to the best of their ability.  When we are treating one another with respect and love, working hard, acting in an honest and worthy manner… then everything goes right (usually).  It doesn’t “just happen.”

So when things work out beautifully; whether it’s a fantastic meal at a restaurant, good service in a store, a class that is productive and educational, a lecture that is inspiring….  the person or people who made that happen should be thanked and rewarded for a job well done.

Are you, too, seeking to save the earth, promote world peace and raise productive citizens without expending too much effort?

Why not follow LazyHippieMama on WordPress, by email, Facebook or Twitter to get all the updates.

If we work on our goals together, they may be a little easier to achieve!  


7 responses »

  1. She looks so proud of her hermit crab! Great story. Always nice to hear when store people take the time to be patient with kids. 🙂

  2. How cute! I own hermies as well and have loved having them as pets for over the past two years. I am very happy to hear PSP did well informing you guys and providing their caresheet. ( They have a very good care sheet where as some other pet stores are not up to date.

    I love all the decor and things to climb on! I know my hermies loooove climbing on things 🙂

    I did notice the substrate looks dry and that there does not appear to be any gauges to monitor the humidity or temperature. Humidity is very important to hermit crabs because they use gills for breathing and if the air does not stay moist, will damage the gills over time. Moistening the substrate to sand castle consistency will help the humidity and ensure the proper substrate to hold tunnels/caves when a crab needs to tunnel down to molt safely. I use a substrate mix of playsand (from hardware store) and EcoEarth, but you may also use either or. To also help keep humidity in, you can use a glass lid or if using a screen lid (I do), cover most of it with plastic or with a glass sheet to help hold in humidity. As well as spray the tank/decor with fresh water. To prevent mold while keeping a good humidity in the tank, when first moistening the substrate, use salt water (usual mixture for the salt water you provide the hermie). after the initial time, use fresh water, as a build up of too much salt in the substrate can become harmful to molting crabs. If any mold outbreaks do arise, spray a little bit of salt where the outbreak is located and/or remove the mold.

    I would also recommend increasing the substrate to at least 2x the height of your largest hermie for molting purposes. Hermit crabs need to be able to tunnel in the substrate and create caves for privacy and protection during molting, where they shed their exoskeletons and during this time are very fragile because they are so soft and vulnerable. They also release a chemical while molting that other hermit crabs find very yummy, so cannibalism is a greater chance if less substrate is offered. There has also been evidence that crabs without the proper substrate may sometimes hold off molting (when they do and can’t tunnel, it is called a surface molt which can be dangerous for the molting crab and the survival rate is a lot lower than regular molts) by producing more of a certain chemical which is not healthy for them.

    I have been a member of since I started crabbing and, especially while starting out, if really helped me. It is a very welcoming, knowledgeable, and family friendly site. I encourage you to check it out, since they stay very up to date and are always updating new information.

    I hope you guys get a friend for the hermie. Despite their name, hermit crabs are social and do best with other hermit crabs. 😀

    P.S. When my crabs were a small size like the one your daughter has, I bought shell packs at Micheals. Especially using their 40-50% off regular price coupons in the weekly ad papers. You have a purple pincher which seem to love green turbo shells the best! (The shell to the left is a type of turbo, so you know what they look like, just green!) At Micheals they sell some bag shells that have a lot of green turbos in them and you get a lot more than the pet store. For the price of a bag with many usable shells, you would be buying two shells from the pet store. 🙂

  3. Lovely story but i would add a bit more substrate to the tank for the crab to molt. The substrate has to be 3 times as tall as the crab. Since your girl is on a budget I would suggest going to HomeDepo. You can get a 50 pound bag of play sand for less than 5 dollars. That should be more than enough to get your daughter started

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