IMO yes it is cruel, but tons of pet stores keep them in the small cups and vases and I doubt it'll change. We can't tell them how to run their business, but we can speak to the managers and e-mail people and give them tips. A lot of people on here have complained about things like dirty water in the cups, dead fish left on the counters, only a couple inches of water in the cups etc. I personally like getting fish who don't look so good and after I put them in a much bigger tank, I can tell they're in heaven. They look at me like they're saying "thank you".
I got Jasper at Walmart and he looked so sick and unhappy. Not even a day had passed and he colored up almost immediately. I knew that he was going to die if I didn't save him. I hope you don't mind, I'm going to show you pictures of him when I got him and a couple days later. He's my little special boy.lol