So we talked about this a bit, and she asked if they were chewers. I explained, I'd had many cages similar to hers, brought in over the years, with actual HOLES chewed in the sides, where the chinchilla didn't have anything else in the cage to chew on (well, sometimes they did, but regardless), they decided to chew out.
So she asked, could chins be trained not to chew. Sorry, but no. They are chewers by nature, they need to chew to wear down their teeth and keep them in good shape, and there's no way to "train" then not to chew.
So the lady goes on to tell me that she had a rabbit that, when they would come home, they would open the door to the cage and the rabbit was basically a house rabbit. Didn't chew electrical cords, was potty trained, didn't chew anything. I explained to her, rabbits can be like that (keyword: can... not all are), but chinchillas will chew everything and especially seem fond of electrical cords and woodwork and things that shouldn't be chewed.
I told her, maybe another rabbit would be good for her. She said she really didn't want to get another rabbit, she wanted to get a chinchilla, but after hearing what I was saying, it didn't sound like it would work out for her. So I told her, well, rabbits and ferrets are the two small animals that sometimes (keyword) can be trained to have the run of the house. She proceeded to tell me that they used to have a hamster that had the run of their house, and according to her, never got stepped on or got into the walls. Great for her, but I explained, I get calls all the time asking about how to get a rat / gerbil / hamster / etc out of under the fridge, or out of the heating vents, or out of the walls....
Long story short, she thanked me for my help... hopefully she will get a rabbit.
Now, I appreciate that she called and asked questions, BEFORE going out and buying a chinchilla and then finding out that it wasn't the pet for her. But.... there's always a but... had I not mentioned that a chinchilla might chew out of her cage, she totally had plans to have a free-roaming chinchilla.
When I say in these blogs that I wish people would do research, this is what I'm talking about. I'm not saying you have to know each and every safe wood for chins. You don't. Heck, I know the major ones that are commonly used, but I can't tell you every single one out there. But this sort of stuff is basic. Had this person done basic research, they'd know that chins chew and that you're not going to be able to have one permanently running around your house. Oh, the benefits of actually taking time to research...