Tuesday, August 9, 2016

No Wands for You!

A British witchcraft shop that sells magical wands has announced that it will not sell wands to Harry Potter fans, because they are for real magical practitioners and not fantasy enthusiasts. The owner of the shop, Richard Carter, creates each wand by hand and makes little money on them because he wants them to be available to spiritual seekers.

But Richard says he only wants to attract true believers in magic and can detect Hogwarts fans wanting his wands for their collections of memorabilia by their aura. He said: "JK Rowling has obviously done her research but Harry Potter is for children. It has done nothing for business.

"You wouldn't believe how many real witches and wizards there are knocking about. You would be amazed. They know they can come here in reveal themselves without people thinking they're mental.

"I don't have customers who have been Harry Potterfied. If I had someone come in wanting a wand just because they liked Harry Potter I would not sell them one, not matter how much money they were offering.

"I can tell what people are like when they walk in by their aura." He would also spot dark wizards and witches the same way and will not sell wands to those wanting to hex other people or perform curses.

Former textile worker Mr Carter, opened the shop in April with partner and fellow spiritualist Jackie Restall, 43. He claims he does not make a penny out the wants, costing £15 to £25, which he uses to spread the spiritual message.

While I sympathize with Carter to the extent that people who conflate Harry Potter with real magick are pretty annoying, it seems to me that there are a number of other ways he could go about this which would work out better in the long run and spare him a lot of bad press.

First off, I would be very interested to see if Richard really can detect auras as he claims in some sort of double-blind setting. I'm not saying that I think it's impossible, but rather that it's easy to get wrong. I can generally sense people who are real magical practitioners, but I don't know that I would be a total jerk to somebody based on just that impression.

Second, there are much easier ways to deal with this. Find a source for pretty wands that you can buy from a wholesaler and sell at a huge mark-up. Then give them descriptions that sound impressive but are obviously fake - like "Core Enchantment - Hippogriff Feather." There was a wand-maker here in the Twin Cities who did that and sold the wands at pagan festivals. Real magicians wouldn't touch them because even though they were well-made, they were clearly Harry Potter bullshit.

In business, this is called "price discrimination." You sell massively over-hyped Harry Potter wands to the folks who want those, and real ones for less money to actual practitioners. And it's the hype that does it. Any practitioner will know that a wand with fantasy components can't be real, and the Potter fans will shell out for them in a heartbeat. Everybody comes out ahead, including Carter's bottom line.

Third, if you really want to spread your spiritual message, you could always perform a general spell on every wand that will bring magical forces into the life of whoever wields it, granting them awareness of said forces and bringing them to the path of magical practice. Sure, such a spell might totally mess up the lives of Potter fans who buy the wands, but the few for whom it worked would be totally new practitioners who might never have come to the path any other way.

Now that's what I would call evangelizing.

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