I've done it. Have you done it?
Here is a story (click here) on a pet store pity buy.
There is only one solution to the pity buy, and that's never to go into a pet store at all. I used to go in to "check them out" and "be educated."
About (good God) at least 20 years ago, I stopped into a pet store one morning in Cortland (since defunct, thank goodness). I happened to be driving through. I was primarily checking out fish--I was big into fish tanks then. In the back was an old wire dog crate with a very scrawny lonely black kitten. Well, he was supposed to be black, but he was so malnourished his fur was rusty brown. He was absolutely emaciated. He had grade-level dry cat food (not kitten chow) and newspaper to lay on, and he was reaching desperately out the bars toward me.
You guessed it. I bought him. Fifteen bucks. No shots. The owner proudly mentioned he had been wormed. I'm ashamed to say that at the time I was not brave enough, after I handed over my cash and the kitten was safely mine, to give him more than a glare. I took him straight to the veterinarian on the corner, certain he would be FeLV positive since he looked so ill. When they learned where I gotten the kitten (I was not a client) they fit me in immediately. He was negative--surprise! I then went to the Cortland County SPCA and sat in their parking lot until they opened. I knew there could be no charges--the kitten had food and water, and that's all the law required. The pet store guy could easily have said he "rescued" the kitten (however the kitten should have been made healthy before being put up for sale). But I wanted them to see the kitten first hand. They were very nice. They said they'd had a lot of complaints, but nothing that would enable them to charge the place. I let them know they had one more.
I named him Moghi (for Moghadishu, where people were starving--probably not my most politically correct naming), and he was the fastest kitten I'd ever adopted out. One my way home with the kitten on my shoulder, I cut through Ithaca College and passed a security officer, who stopped when I stuck my hand out. She had previously mentioned she wanted a black kitten. She petted the rail-thin kitten through the window and promised it was "a go." So Moghi had a new home once he was healthy.
He got horribly constipated the new few days. I was sure I'd lose him. It's possible that in another person's care--who didn't realize what the problem was and what to do--he might have died. But he made it, and Moghi got his forever home.
A lot of pet-store purchases are pity buys. No caring person can easily turn their back on a pet in need, and that's what you are going to find in a pet-selling pet store.
So there's only one option.
Don't go in.
Have you done a pity buy (or pity adoption?) when you didn't intend to?