Friday, May 4, 2012

Tips On Shopping At Hoodoo Shops, Botanicas, Yerberias, Wiccan, Occult, New-Age & Metaphysical Shops

Below are listed some good tips for people who are interested in shopping at these stores, especially people who have never visited stores like these before. This information will help give potential customers an idea of what to expect as well as basic knowledge of when they need to take their money elsewhere.

- Most large cities have one or more of these shops. One can find these listed in the yellow pages under such things as candle shops, botanicas, spiritual supplies, religious items, curios, metaphysical, new-age, herbs, etc. Also check out your local flea markets as often there will be one or more of these types of booths set up.

- The owners and employees of these shops will usually put spells on their customers. The spells are money-drawing spells and can be either general or specific in nature. General money-drawing spells are designed to attract money while more specific spells might be to separate customers from their cash or to get them to purchase more items than they should, and with a smile on their face! A frequently heard saying is, "I went in there to only get such-and-such, but left with all kinds of things." Online stores do the same thing. If you order from an online store, you will normally receive an invoice, insert, or flier with your package. These papers may have been fixed by being dressed with powders and oils, again to keep you spending and to purchase things one may not need. One may want to do a little ritual before visiting these shops in order not to be influenced by these spells. A good simple trick to use would be to put a pinch of salt in one's palm, tell it that you want it to allow you to walk shielded from the spells put on you when visiting these shops and that you will only buy what you either go their to purchase or what you need. Make the sign of an "x" and sprinkle it in your shoes. In the case of online shops, when the package arrives do not immediately bring it in the house. Instead, open it up on the porch and sprinkle salt into the box.

- So you find the shop and you decide to visit. Upon entering one should be greeted and asked if they require help. Keep in mind that in some shops one can browse and gather what they need themselves, while in other shops the products and items for sale are behind glass or on shelves and one has to either ask for them or they must be prescribed before they can be bought. In the latter case, one tells the owner or employee the problem they are having and then the person makes recommendations or prescribes things for the customer to purchase. Today, most shops, especially the new-age or metaphysical ones, allow one to browse and select what they want. One will usually not find a basket to use, so when a customer wants to get multiple items they will usually place these items on the counter and then continue to browse. It's quite humorous to visit a shop at a busy time and see the front counter piled up with things customers want to purchase. Just make sure you keep your pile separated from the other piles of other customers.

- Be polite. friendly, professional, and know your boundaries. This last one is very important as the owner and employees are not your friends.

- If you require help, ask. Keep in mind that owners or employees may not be practitioners and may not know how an item is used or may not want to give advice. Usually, if the owner is not a practitioner they will hire at least one employee who is and who knows the use of products.

- Owners and/or employees may be a bit too paranoid about perceived "negative energy". One may have the experience of an employee following one around with a lit smudge stick or incense stick. This has happened to me and I have seen it done on other people as well. One shouldn't be too offended by this behavior. Usually as the owner or employees became familiar with you this behavior will stop. If one has been shopping at that location for years and the behavior doesn't stop, then one should really consider taking one's money elsewhere.

- Owners and/or employees may be a bit too paranoid about potential shop-lifting. One may notice an owner or employee following one around everywhere they go and watching one closely. This behavior will usually stop as the owner or the employees become familiar with you. If you have been shopping at the location for years and this sort of thing is still going on, one should really consider taking one's money elsewhere.

- Owners/employees may assert the house brand of products as being superior to the competition. They may even go as far as bad-mouthing the competition. Don't fall for it.

- Most owners/employees will up-sell. This is a business standard. Up-selling is the practicing of getting customers to purchase more items than they normally would. For example, the employee notices one is buying protection oil and then advises the customer that they also have protection incense that one could use with the oil.

- Most of the shops will have readers available, either in-house or via appointment. Normal rates for readings vary from $25-$50. I would advise to pay no more than $50 for a reading. Another thing to keep an eye on is the times that are posted. Normally readers will charge by a set time, either 15 minutes, 30 minutes, or 1 hour. One needs to factor in the time when considering the price. For example, paying $50 for 15 minutes is simply not worth it. If one has a reading and is not satisfied then do not bad mouth the reader. The professional thing to do is simply not to use that reader again. Keep one's opinion to one's self unless asked by another person and only then feel free to share why one would not recommend that particular reader's services.

- Most shops have classes, workshops, or courses available. Some of these will be free and I highly recommend taking advantage of these. Most of these will cost between $75-$100 and are sound and worth the money. The only problems one might look out for is over-pricing and the scam where one is forced to purchase items from the shop in addition to paying for the workshop.

- After purchasing items one needs to cleanse them. Preferably this needs to be done before the products even enter your vehicle. A good trick to use for this is to bring some salt in your pocket with you when you visit the store. Most of these shops will place your items in a paper or plastic bag. After leaving the store and before getting into your vehicle, sprinkle some salt into the bag. Upon arriving home one needs to thoroughly cleanse the items. Candles can be cleansed with Florida Water, whisky, rubbing alcohol, saltwater, or can even be washed with soap and water. Items that would be damaged from getting wet can be passed through incense or tobacco smoke. Stones and crystals can be cleansed by placing them in a bowl of salt for up to 24 hours. If one has purchased goods from an online store, then one should open the box on the porch and sprinkle some salt into it before taking it inside. Then proceed to thoroughly cleanse the items as with locally bought items.


- A word for men.... Many of these shops are owned by females and most of their employees tend to be female. Some shops only hire women employees. There are many 'man-haters' and sexist women in the biz. When I shop at these stores I go "in the zone" or shielded so they can't bother me, but be prepared to hear a lot of man-bashing from owners, employees, and female customers. Just a heads-up so you don't get offended. I guess the motto to have is, "get-in-and-get-out". Get what you need and scram.

- If one had a bad experience with an employee, by all means feel free to speak to the owner. Remember, this is a business. Keep in mind that a lot of these places are run by families, so one's complaint may not be properly addressed. One might be forced to suck it up and bear it if one wishes to continue to shop at the store. If the problem occurs with the owner then I recommend that one take one's money elsewhere. I've heard horror stories over the years and all I can recommend is that if one had a bad experience with the owner then one definitely doesn't want to purchase spiritual supplies from their shop. If you do have a bad experience with a shop owner then don't bad-mouth the owner. If one is asked one's opinion about the shop by another then one should feel free to state why one would never shop from such store again.

This information above may appear a bit negative but I assure you that this advice will help ensure you a more pleasant shopping experience. I shop at multiple occult shops, both locally and online, and over the years I've only met two women whom I befriended and felt comfortable enough with to open up to. By keeping the relationship between customer and owner/employee professional and polite one can avoid many problems.

16 comments:

  1. Great advice. This is the perfect post considering the day I just had. I don't put spells on my customers, maybe I should so I could afford hire someone and take a day off?

    If I could add a few things to the list-- people need to make a shopping list and stick to it (you would not believe how many people make three trips into my shop and still forget to get what they need because they get sidetracked looking at something else) and tell the owners if you use/need something regularly. I won't stock roots/herbs with a limited shelf life unless someone specifically asks.

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  2. @ Wendy,

    I didn't know you had a shop. Do you have a website?

    I actually just went to my local store today. Some big fancy Psychic Medium from Dallas who has his own radio show was going to hold a seance thingy later tonight. He guarantees that everyone in attendance will recieve a message from a spirit, though just not who that spirit will be. I thought about going but nobody wanted to go with me so I decided to pass on it.

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  3. Also, don't go in declaring your problems or immediately seeking advice (even if they do offer to help). Make your list, and just scope the place out on your first few trips. A lot of people in these types of places prey on anyone who comes in with their heart on their sleeve. I've witnessed a number of pretty upsetting scenes in some of these places. As soon as you open your mouth about your cheating husband you're in it for a 3 months supply of $300 worth of products that you may not really need. Keep your questions about the herb, root, or curio itself specifically for the first few visits... until you know they're not just out there preying on the desperate. (And you see that they know what they're talking about.) You're a sitting duck if you go in not knowing your stuff and opening up about your problems too soon... especially anything that has you worried or in an emotional tizzy.

    I popped into a new shop yesterday looking for a few hard to find items, and the owner didn't seem to know what to do with me. He was trying hard too lol. I'm guessing most of his patrons go in asking for help. I'm not saying he doesn't know his stuff, but he was just itching for me to tell him some horrible story that I didn't even have lol.

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  4. @ anonymous
    Very good advice but for better or worse even the mediocre shop owners will know with some certainty what a person is going through just from what they put up on the counter and sometimes it's even more telling to note what people refuse to look at in the shop.

    IMHO checking the prices of relatively common items and comparing to other (non-spiritual) stores in the area is the best way to go. Sometimes the difference is reasonable (beeswax candles are more expensive than paraffin) but if it's not that's usually a really good indicator.

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  5. @ Anonymous,

    Good advice.

    @ Wendy,

    Tell me about it. Some of the prices at the local shop I go to are absurd. For example, they charge circa $15 for an ounce of Balm of Gilead and John the Conqueror. (That's about one good size root, which is absurd. You can get that online for about $4.) They sell them by the half ounce but even that was just crazy. For about $8 I was only going to get like 8 large buds of Balm of Gilead so I passed on the purchase. Their devil shoestrings are absurd as well, circa $2 for one tiny thread-like root.

    But the most ridiculous overcharging for an item I found at a now closed shop. It was one of those fancy shops that are so freaking beautiful and in a good side of town but the prices are so high that nobody wants to purchase anything. I mean seriously it was the most beautiful store I have ever seen. It was like a maze going room to room. Anyway, they sold their houshold candles for $3.00 a piece (and this was back when you can get them for like 50 cents). However, what really blew me away is that they sold their 7 day candles for $25. That's UNDRESSED candles!!! Absurd!

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    1. $25 for a 7-day candle = OUCH! That is crazy, even in today's money that's way overpriced.

      You want a good laugh (or maybe a good cry over the sad state of humanity), start searching out curios on etsy and ebay.

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    2. @Wendy - Yeah, that may be true if you're in buying goods for a particular working. With me as the shopper, the odds are 50/50 at best that they'll guess correctly. The guy from Friday was pretty far off. I'm not always shopping for myself or for something I need for use now.

      Even if they do guess or try to guess, mum should be the word. If they figure you're doing money work because you bought a large green pyramid candle, that's cool lol. But you don't go telling them you lost your job, or your business is failing, or you want to be a millionaire. If they try to start in, just smile and tell them you know what you need and thank them. If they try to suggest a product, just smile and say thanks for the suggestion and keep moving.

      Or, my fav... "Well, we only have these kind. What are you trying to do?" "Oh, I just need a plain skull candle." If I've been there a few times and they seem cool, I might ask about ways to work a skull candle. Or, I might tell them what I was told to do with a skull candle. I don't see it as a way of trying to just catch them up lol. It gives me a chance to see what they have to say. I still wouldn't tell anyone "I'm trying to control my boyfriend" or something. I don't go in declaring I have 16 years of experience either. You just test the waters.

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  6. @ Wendy,

    I've laughed out loud so many times by viewing etsy crap. Did you know some etsy wannabe was selling homemade cascarilla powder but didn't even grind it up into a powder? It was like small, jagged pieces of eggshells. Most of the esty wannabes are Wiccans who are just trying to make money off of the hoodoo trend.

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    1. It doesn't surprise me in the least.

      Most of them aren't even real wiccans, I think they just like the jewelry.

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  7. You guys are lucky....all they have my way are New Age shops and its" hit or miss" if anything conjure related comes through.
    Your right though. Sometimes the shop owners are a trip.

    One time this shop had every crystal and rock you could imagine. A lady from South America was there and was looking for female and male lodestones. The shop owner had no idea what was going on lol.

    I had to help her and then explain to him what she was talking about lol. Then while this was going on, a Wiccan (who worked the register ), tried to inform me, that all lodestones were male and started quotating Scott Cunninghams herb book(which I read and own. Long story why)

    Needless to say when I would see her after, I got evil looks because I called her out lol lol

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    1. LOL, I own the same book (it was a gift and I've marked it up with a ton of corrections to use a shop copy.)

      New Age shops are usually more conjure/rootwork friendly than pagan/wiccan shops-- you'd think it would be the other way around, but I've just had better luck with the owners and employees.

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    2. @ Wendy,

      Not in my experience. Be it a New Age shop or a Wiccan shop, they all tend to look down on it. They seem to assume that all we do is put curses people at the drop of a hat. But that's just my experience though.

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    3. In all fairness I haven't visited that many shops out of state. The spiritualists and new-agers here are super cool towards conjure/rootwork though. I wonder if it's an Oregon thing?

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  8. Heck it would be nice if there was a shop in the 2 towns I live next to. They've all closed, well they where more new age type shops. The closest I've found is one in Nashville, but that's an almost hour drive...

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  9. I live in Va near DC and its mostly New Age or Wiccan, but over the years we have had a large population of Latino's move into the region, and a couple of Botanica's have popped up. Unfortunately they are out of my way, usually in Alexandria, Falls Church areas (which are a little more open minded then where I live).

    I did see Doc's post on Bmore shops, which sucks for me, cause that's even further out. But I have a feeling if I make the trip, I will be successful finding what I want out there.


    @ Wendy

    Yep Scott Cunningham's book was one of the first Iever got, when I started my journey. I used to carry it around like a bible with me and wander around the health food stores, using it as a reference. I used to get odd looks sometimes lol.

    That's another thing I discovered. Alot of health food stores carry roots and herbs that I only thought I could find online. I found angelica in a store recently at an awesome price.

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  10. Im really new at this is there a book on hoodoo you can recommend I plan on odering some stuff and having it sent to my job. Is that o.k. ?
    How would i cleanse some highjohn conqueror. Thankyou for this blog and any advice you give.

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