Sounds a bit like the way mu new European Fire Salamander snared me, minus the holding thing and the nice talky merchant. My macho chunk of black and yellow caught me with the not blinking thing too.. And being big.
I have to admit, the guy selling him was a good salesman. He was friendly, and not overbearingly "you gotta buy my stuff"ish. He answered every question I had without hesitation and he recognized me when I came back around a half hour later to pick the little (er, big) guy up.