From Ultrablog comes a meme that actually requires thinking (oh, gawd, why did I start this?): Make a list of thirteen about something. OK, thirteen things about New Age fairs since I just buzzed the local New Age fair today:
1. Swathing everything and yourself in purple or bright gold crushed velvet doesn't make you more spiritual - or even healthy-looking.
2. Looking bored (or even shy) while between customers won't get you more customers. I've worked the floor at this fair enough years to admire my psychic friend's business brilliance: She knew to get out in front of her booth when she had time on her hands and present herself to the steady stream of people and thus pull in some new customers.
3. Looking too weird has the same effect as looking bored. Except for the cat woman with the yellow contact lenses and paw print tattoos. She actually made sales. But she smiled a lot, too.
4. If the EFT or the crystals or the chimes or the music or the teas or the acupressure or the gongs or the drums or the pendulum are all supposed to be the best tool to help me heal/meet my spirit guides/get a natural high, then why are you offended when I express doubt?
5. The difference between the aloe vera product sold here and the one you can get at your local health food store, is the shape of the jar it comes in.
6. Just about all the tarot card readers have an exotic "stage name", forcing people to ask them if they speak Norwegian. And quite a few of them are apparantly famous. I wouldn't know. I have never heard of them, but they show pictures of themselves being famous. And un-Norwegian.
7. The coffee sucks. Could someone please heal the coffee? PLEASE?
8. Trying to sell me your product by telling me, unsolicited, that I'm dis-eased and need your product, is not going to sell me your product. I'm an adult and it's my money. That's the problem. You are focused on my wallet. Not enough of you are genuinely happy to meet someone who could be the poster child for a successful healing: You could point to me and my good posture, energetic walk, clear eyes, happy expression and ditto state of mind, and state to any potential customers: "This, my dear, is your future once you have stopped living in fear and guilt, and I think I can help remove the fear and guilt." But interestingly, the hawkers of intangible wares have as little use for me as I have for them.
9. Oooh, incense! Which reminds me that I have a ton of the stuff at home to use up. Mmmm, incense.
10. Could you please litter your booth with more hand-made placards and print-outs from your home office color printer? Please? You missed a spot. Actually, I pitied the guy. It was obviously his first time at a fair like this. Classic beginner's mistake, trying to overwhelm your competitors/neighbors (a hard thing to do, anyway). The smarter move is to play it down, offer just a few informative placards or hand-outs, and make your facial expression the most interesting thing in your booth. For that one thing that can capture attention, my psychic friend has a vase with fresh flowers. A real crowd-pleaser, that, because, oddly, the New Age fair isn't big on beauty, in spite of a few stunning posters here and there. It's a little too utilitarian for that.
11. Wow, a whole association and booth dedicated to nothing but crop circles? But, those are fake! (Not that I actually said that to their sweet, young and very sincere faces.) Nice postcards, though. And so many of them!
12. Hey, Jesus is back! Or at least his picture is. His 2006-disciples have set up a booth next to the gem stone booth. And are charging about the same for a healing as the other healers do.
13. The out-of-town lady who's been doing astrology for years (and who once had her own TV show) has been changing her look. When I first saw her, she was primary colors in motion: Full length red dress, and bright green, blue and gold clothes draped over her tables. She also came across as bitchy and snooty. Over the years, she has gradually toned herself down, both in behavior and dress. Today she stuck to dark blue on her tables and kept herself in dark blue and black. She's also far more relaxed and less defensive now than when I first encountered her. Her smiles are genuine now; they include her eyes. I found myself being happy for her.