I was unavoidably in the local shopping mall recently. Believe me, it isn't an experience I usually enjoy (especially since the branch of Borders there closed down). Whilst I was in there I saw something astonishing - a large display advertising bottled water for dogs.
One of the people paid to market this stuff saw me looking and must have mistaken my amazement for interest because she came over and started talking to me about the product. I couldn't resist it. I stood in the middle of the shopping mall and argued with her.
I know. She probably didn't really have any interest in the product at all. She was just paid a paltry amount to stand in a shopping mall all day and try to sell people bottled water for dogs. But to give her credit, she really did her best to persuade me this was a wonderful product and I should buy it.
She told me that she gave this water to her dog because her previous dog had died of kidney failure. She didn't directly answer my question about whether the vet had told her that the dog's kidney failure was caused by drinking tap water. She did respond to my assertion that dogs will drink out of the toilet bowl by claiming they only do this because tap water is so repellent to them. When I said that the toilet bowl is filled with tap water she changed the subject onto all the nasty chlorine in mains water. So I asked her how come this nasty chlorine is OK for humans and not for dogs and she told me humans are "more robust" than dogs. She was getting a bit cross at this point and she began to say "If you..." and I felt sure she was about to say "If you loved your pet you'd want to give them bottled water", but at that very moment our discussion was cut short.
Whilst we had been locked in debate, my kids had been entertaining themselves playing with the fountain which was part of the promotional display. A six-foot replica of the product carton was spewing distinctly chlorine-scented water into a huge dog bowl. A perspex guard surrounded the bowl to prevent small children falling in, and my children had been leaning on this to splash their hands in the water. Just as the dog-water-lady was saying "If you..." the perspex guard broke with a loud "Crack!"
I apologised and offered to pay for the damage. Actually she was gracious about it. But I was forced to beat a hasty retreat.