PBN Blues Series: – “Tramp” by Otis Redding & Carla Thomas

Respect is a fickle emotion, it rivals its cousin, Reputation, insofar that it is enduring or fleeting based on the subjective opinion of others. Social mores are tricky at times, especially when doing business in a neighborhood that has a socioeconomic demographic that is more affluent than the business owner’s beginnings. It is not uncommon to find oneself navigating the derision and contempt of the more affluent clientage and peer when moving to a new place.

The way that we handle the discourses in which we engage with those who may find us lesser is a crucial skill to develop. As a client, when we encounter poor treatment, we can easily take our custom elsewhere. However, as a business, the ever-present need for business can sometimes lead to decisions choices about how much is really acceptable to tolerate from a client. From peers, this has the potential to become exceedingly unpleasant, and damaging to our brand.

Image: Abigail Keenan
Image: Abigail Keenan

 

Anneliese V. has been a practitioner for over 15 years in various parts of the state in which she lives. First, as an independent reader, then later as a staff person in an obscure metaphysical business. She has painstakingly made small steps toward becoming an independent business brand of her own, and now opens a business in a middle class part of town. It is a step up from the lower end stores in which she cut her teeth. A gleaming window sign, a clingfilm sticker from the Pagan Business Network, new fixtures, and a well stocked shelf are physical manifestations of her pouring a lifetime of savings, hopes, and dreams into her shop.

Within a month, Anneliese V. develops a respectable base of clientage.  Her Romany inspired broom straw skirts and her passion for streaming Sacred Grove Radio instead of local contemporary music has given her clients a taste of her own unique style. Return customers bring referrals and all is well. However, shortly after the midpoint of the second month, her clients have begun to drop. The cheery little shop has begun to feel a down, and she does not understand what is going on.

That is, she doesn’t until the local blogger grapevine bearer drops into her ear the local news. It seems that a long-established store nearby has begun to disparage her name and business. A whisper campaign seeking to discredit her experience and product quality, by this competitor, has led to a loss of public confidence. She confronts the owner, and to her shock, he doesn’t deny her accusations. In fact he actually gives her a tongue lashing publicly at the local metaphysical fair and tells her that she is fit for nothing better than “garbage candle store magick, and everyone knows it”. He then attacks her style of dress as a costume fit for only a tramp from the poor side of the tracks.

Bending and bowing without a fight

Taken by complete surprise, Annaliese V. walks out of the fair. The local gossips feast upon the rumors and whispers that follow, adding to them. Emboldened, the shop owner publicly shreds her reputation at every gathering. Each time, she walks away. Finally, dejected, she comes to you to get a reading, as she has lost faith in her own abilities to read clearly.

You throw the coins and employ complementary techniques. All indications are that it will be difficult to undo the damage, as the juggernaut of misrule in the local metaphysical community seems to be falling in step behind the rival shop owner. You advise her to take a spiritual bath in hyssop and lavender, and tell her she has no hope of prevailing. You tell her that she should accept defeat and return to the neighborhood she started in before, and to not attempt to rise above her social and professional station. Success lies in being small and keeping quiet.

She leaves, intent on shutting down her business. Annaliese V. resigns herself to giving up her dream and you never see her again. A month later, her shop is shuttered.

Some things are worth fighting for

Taken by complete surprise, Annaliese V. walks out of the fair. The local gossips feast upon the rumors and whispers that follow, adding to them. Emboldened, the shop owner publicly shreds her reputation at every gathering. Each time, she walks away. Finally, dejected, she comes to you to get a reading, as she has lost faith in her own abilities to read clearly.

You throw the coins and employ complementary techniques. All indications are that it will be difficult to undo the damage, as the juggernaut of misrule in the local metaphysical community seems to be falling in step behind the rival shop owner. Still, people are not programs on software, and the future is not cemented.

As a professional practitioner, you know that spiritual counseling is a major component in your field. To counsel Annalise V. properly, you give her all sides of what is facing her. This involves you doing a more in-depth continuation of the reading so that she can get a balanced view of her choices. The fight will be long, but it is winnable. The decision is hers.

Annaliese V. sits quietly for a few minutes, the rascette lines on her wrists barely touching the cloth on your table. She seems to gather herself and rises. She decides to fight for her shop, and to combat this attempt at the destruction of her reputation by this rival. She purchases a small set of ceramic baking molds from you in order to begin a campaign of poppet workings.

Image: Alice Achterhof
Image: Alice Achterhof

As she is completing her purchase, you exchange mutual respect and banter casually about how good in this world always faces negativity with courage. You decide to gift her with a bottle of Confidence Nature’s Essence to help her along. She decides to set a return appointment date to check her progress in case she needs to change course. In a whishing of paisley glory she walks out of your parlor with a renewed sense of optimism, and you have just formed a professional association of mutual respect with her.

 

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