New Age stores are one of the great success stories of the modern age. When the people behind them looked at the world, they saw an untapped market for crystals that can realign your vagina’s moon charts and herbal tarot cards for dogs. Then they looked at it like six more times to make sure that their eyes were working right, and after that they went to work to fill that market need. Since then, New Age stores have popped up all over the world, and eventually Craig managed to land a job at a one in Birmingham, England, where he learned that…
Research by Evan Symon.
You Will Constantly Be Tested To See If You Believe In What You’re Selling
Most stores don’t really need their employees to be “true believers.” McDonald’s has no problem hiring vegetarians, single people can work in bridal shops, and most librarians have never had sex with a book. New Age stores are different, though. They need you to believe in what they’re selling or at least have an open mind.
“I thought they were just a store where you could buy shiny rocks and things Indians in America made,” Craig recalls. “When I walked in and waited for the interview, I read the descriptions of certain things around the store, like talismans and Tibetan bowls (singing bowls) that could heal you. I didn’t know what to think, and it got stranger during the interview. One of my first questions was ‘Who were you in your past life?’ How was I supposed to answer that? I said ‘I don’t know, but I’m willing to find out.’ I needed the job that badly.”
Incidentally, the correct answer is always “Newton Age, the brilliant entrepreneur after whom all New Age stores are named.” By the time they figure out you’ve made him up, you’ll already have been made manager.
Craig eventually got the job but had to constantly stay on his toes. “If a customer asked about candles, I would need to say ‘This can help balance your energy when you meditate’. But my boss or the assistant manager would sometimes come over. If a customer asked ‘Which one of these candles would best help me with my yoga?’, my boss would come over and tell me ‘Show her the color that would help her the most.'”
“That’s what I constantly had to do, because helping customers always turned into a quiz by my boss to make sure I was aboard with these beliefs. They didn’t want a skeptic selling these things.”
One thing’s for sure: this wouldn’t be tolerated in any other workplace. If you were, say, selling hot-dogs and your boss kept interrupting to ask if you were putting enough rat droppings in the dogs, you’d probably quit before lunch.
“New Age” Means You Can Easily Dick Your Customers Around
If you had a magical friend that only you could see or hear, but which other people believed in, how long would it take your “friend” to start telling people to just give you all their money/cookies? Surprisingly, this isn’t a dig at religion, but at how some New Age stores operate.
“We had a woman return a bottle of an oil for a refund because she had a severe allergic reaction to it. Her skin still had a rash when she came in. I was ready to give her one when my boss walked in from the rear of the store and said it wasn’t possible, because she had given bad energy to the rest of the oil.”
“That was actually our return policy on the more earthier items. Because they gave it bad energy.”
It’s actually brilliant. Want to return something? Oof, sorry, bad energy. Want the store to break a $100? Yikes, no, that bill is just full of bad energy. Want to use the restroom without buying anything? No can do, someone just dropped a ton of bad energy there. It’s basically a get out of jail free card. Or in some cases: get out of arguing with the customer card.
“Another woman was trying to buy a gargoyle statue, but my boss again found a ‘New age way’ to stop that. She had promised the statue to another customer earlier in the day, but forgot to set it aside. Explaining that she had it reserved for someone would have led to an argument, which she absolutely hated. She found a way around that. She said ‘I’m feeling the energy from the statue, and I don’t think I can sell it yet. It needs more positive energy. I don’t want to give anyone negative energy’ … She stood there as my boss took [the statue] to the storage room.”
In conclusion, if you ever see a New Age believer about to eat a hot-dog, convince them it’s full of bad energy, then courageously take it off their hands. Also, I should really eat before writing these articles because this is the second time I brought up hot-dogs, and it’s only the second entry.
New Age Is A Surprisingly Big Market
“There were some days,” Craig recalls, “especially tarot card day, that the store would be packed on. Here were repeat customers buying over a hundred pounds (money, not weight) of oils and incense. I’ll put it this way: We sold out of dreamcatchers more than once when I was there. I wouldn’t know why you would need more than one, but they loved them and I had to call an American company for an early order.”
I think it’s obvious what was going on. Those people were going to trap Freddy Krueger and make him dance in a cage for nickels. I’ve seen it dozens of times before, but it never works. Freddy just ends up cutting out of the dreamcatcher with his knife hands. Anyway, where was I? Oh, right. People having waaaaay too much money.
“Before working there, I didn’t realize how big a community there was wanting oil blends and believing that their readings would affect their life, but there is.”
“You know about the special order of dreamcatchers, but we would need to get special orders of books and certain stones too, because we sold that many. I had a running tally of how many times I heard the word energy on days I got bored, and on some days so many people came in that it was said over 200 times. Talking to you now makes me realize how much I still hate that word.”
A Pew forum poll found that 26% of all Americans believe that spiritual energy is in mountains, trees, and yes, crystals. Not only is all this New Age stuff widely believed, but it’s also being integrated into other faiths. For example, Christians who mix in New Age beliefs account for about 25% of all Christians. Meaning that there are people out there who honestly, from the bottom of their very being, believe that Jesus secretly cheated death by hiding a vial of essential oils on himself before his crucifixion.
Some People Actually Replace Medicine With New Age And It’s Super Dangerous
Most of the stuff that New Age stores sell is harmless. Until you try to construct skates out of windchimes and whale song CDs, most things there can’t really hurt you. But then there are the “healing” crystals.
“The craziest thing I saw was sick people buying crystals they believed would heal them. Not people with colds or arthritis (although they came for them too), but people with cancer. I absolutely would not assist them in any way. I want this to be clear. I deferred them to my manager or someone else working there. If I told them to go to the doctor or refused to sell, I could be sacked. The best I could do was ask them ‘Have you gone to a doctor?’ in hopes that it could get them to go.”
Doctors? Please. All they want is your money. Unlike New Age stores that give everything away for fr… What’s that? Oh. Oh… Yeah, go to the fucking doctor.
“Some of them were terminal, and chemotherapy wasn’t going to save them. If they thought crystal therapy would help, there’s no real harm. It harmed those who elected not to get chemotherapy or something a doctor prescribed and use the power of crystals instead.”
“Two people I know of did this, and it still baffles me. I was taught here crystals can have healing effects. I never bought into that, but I thought it was a fun thing people did instead of truly believing in it.”
It really should go without saying but the only way that a crystal will help you heal is by putting it in an engagement ring and marrying someone with awesome health insurance.