Basic retail knowledge. I feel like all my "bang my head against the wall" conversations with people who defend them dont understand the first thing about how retail works. Money is always made on peripherals and attached product, they generally have a small if not zero profit margin on the main product. Worked at Best Buy for years, its the same idea.I'm just going take a moment here.
Stop buying stuff from the big box stores. Period.
Support your local independent pet store, your feed and grain stores, and others that sell the basics you need. Hell, buy online if you have to. The vast majority of breeders sell online as well.
When you support a business that has become to huge to listen to it's customers, that has no conscious either, you are part of the issue whether or not you want to hear it.
I DO practice what I preach. I buy all my regular pet supplies from a little store. For the reptile stuff I either visit my local herp store or buy online. I have not set foot in a petco or a petsmart in almost ten years. It would be convienent to do that for dog food, but, when you walk in for dog food you as a reptile keeper eventually walk over to their reptiles. They plan on you doing that, seriously.
Each live animal is called a 'lost leader'. That is to say the company expects to lose money on the animal but make up for it and make a profit when you buy the dry goods to go with it. If the animal dies, or is sold, either way they don't profit. They profit when you buy all the stuff to go with it.