I agree- I have fish because it's fun for me to take care of them and try to figure out how to make them happy.
I just think, if a teeny tiny bowl is the best you can do (I'm saying something under a gallon, you know, the really crappy small ones they sell, like you said, right next to the bettas) .. uh .. don't get a living thing to take care of.
I guess the thing is that it is marketed to irresponsible or lazy people, parents who prefer to shut their kid up by getting them a pet , but getting them a pet they think will be fine to neglect and spend no money on .. etc.
(And idiots like me who were told bettas don't need room .. but at least my idiocy only lasted a day )
I guess all we can do is complain, sign or write letters, emails, petitions, etc. I haven't done much, just commented on a review I wrote for a petco tank, and signed someone's petition here once. I'll try to do more, especially if an opportunity presents itself.
(On the Petco website, if you review an item, a window pops up and says something like "Do you have anything to say about how Petco could improve ?" . . so I wrote a little complaint about the tiny bettas homes they sell .. .blah blah blah. Maybe Walmart has that. Also, a lot of times you can review an item even if you didn't buy it and I did see on some websites like Walmart that someone had gone and written a lot of reviews that said these tiny homes were pieces of $&*@# not suitable for any betta.
You could always write some reviews online .. when inspiration strikes. I actually took the cue from that person and wrote one myself. And I write about it under terrible betta bowls on Pinterest.com when people upload horrible betta set-ups.
Sad thing is, most people who are clueless and only go by what the highschool teenager tells them, doesn't do any research after that. I am a 3 day new beta owner. Yes, I realized a few things "wrong" that I have learned from (my 2.5 gal tank.....yes it's sutible, but I, too, thought at the time it was a mansion for him, now I want a 10gal.) We, and a lot others on here, did get the fish cause they WANTED a beta, even tho they were clueless, bought it on a whim so to speak and after purchase came home to research and learn from then on out, and if like me, feel like I'm already the worse beta mamma around!
That being said, they sell, they always have sold, and they will continue to sell because it's making money. Sad but true. And worse of all, this senerio....
mom buys little Billy a pretty betta and a small bowl to put on Billys night stand. Billys fish dies in a couple weeks, mom replaces betta for new betta, and that dies. Mom doesn't go online to research what could be the cause, mom just keeps replacing, figuring they are cheap little things anyway (this goes more so for goldfish which you always see on TV being in a bowl, when they need 20+ gallons and, yes, are more upkeep)