In our witchcraft shop, we welcome everyone who enters with courtesy and acceptance. Sadly, not everyone arrives with the same generous intentions for us. Our customers may be equally sacred beings, but they are not “always right.” Boundary-tending is a witch’s stock and trade, so a rare few folks over the last 12 years have either stormed out, or we’ve thrown them out. Curious what it took to get banished? Here are five stories that live on in infamy.
1: Religious Extortion
Christian proselytization, or the attempt to convert a stranger by threatening immortal doom from their wrathful “god,” is a form of religious extortion that I cannot abide. You can be a faithful follower of Jesus, treating others with brotherly love, and shop here in peace all day long. But start spewing hateful threats of hellfire and brimstone within my domain, and I’ll show you the door.
Long ago a zealous “Christian” preacher walked in specifically to threaten me and my customers with damnation. I grew up in one of those cult-ish sects, so I know their propaganda. I also know where they are absolutely wrong about that scripture, and I can prove it. I did try to engage this guy respectfully at first, but when it became clear that I wasn’t buying his rhetoric, he got really ugly with me. So, I opened the front door and made him leave.
2: Homophobic Creepin’
Young fellow comes to the shop to fulfill a standing pest control service contract. After seeing our gay-pride merchandise for the first time, he makes loud homophobic remarks in the direction of the other customers. The staff-person on duty shuts that shit down, and he goes on to preach to her about how we will all be damned by his Christian God. So, by #1’s example, she could have bounced him right then, but he’s busy spraying for bugs, which makes it a weird situation… Then, he demands to know if she’s a lesbian. She schools him on his inappropriate, unprofessional behavior.
Plot twist #1: He proceeds to creepily HIT ON HER… even asked to come behind the counter for a hug. She schools him again.
Plot twist #2: After treating the back rooms, uses the public restroom, and clogs the toilet which overflows into the carpeted hallway, and he has to come ask her for help. <a #2 plot twist, get it? haha> She finally asks him to just leave, and he does (thank all the gods), but he left a hazardous stench so awful that she had to close the shop doors early to deal with his mess. Y’all, it took a gallon of bleach to banish his funk.
His manager at the pest control company caught a whole can of verbal whoop-ass from me. I went nuclear-assault “Witch on Fire” on him, naming his employee’s homophobia, religious hatefulness, and sexual harassment of my staff-person. I was not satisfied by how management responded to his behavior, so I canceled our contract. “With no fool a season spend, nor be counted as their friend.” ~ The Wiccan Rede
3: Verbal Abuse
Having a reputation as the terrifying local witch can sometimes be put to good use. Like the day I was alone in the shop with a middle-aged fellow and his deaf girlfriend. He’d been kind of sketchy in the shop previously…yucky vibes coming off this guy like woah. But I knew her to be a successful woman in our community, who did a great job communicating by reading lips and speaking aloud when sign language wasn’t an option. This was the first time I’d seen them together, and I was surprised they appeared to be a couple.
After my initial greeting, I left them to browse. However, it’s a small shop, and I can’t help but overhear every word they are saying. The fellow is trying to cajole her into buying them things she clearly doesn’t want. When she lip-reads what he says, he is flattering, but manipulative. She is asking pointy questions and saying no. He’s clearly aggravated, turning away and raising his voice in anger. She keeps asking him to face her when he speaks. This is when I approach them again and ask it I can be of any assistance. He apologizes to me for her causing a scene (WTF?!) and guides her a little too aggressively, to just outside our front door. In our entryway, the argument heats up.
When she’s looking directly at his lips, he is simpering sweet but basically throwing a temper tantrum like a child begging mom for a candy bar at the grocery store. She’s clearly upset and confused, but is still trying to reason with him. He keeps turning away from her to bark insults and say threatening things that he knew she couldn’t hear. But I COULD HEAR HIM and my “red alert” alarms are blaring.
Without thinking, I throw open my door which startles him. I say clearly to her, pointing to my lips, “I need to speak to you inside.” She follows my gestures to come in, but he follows, too. To her I say, “He is threatening you when he turns away. He calls you ugly names. Please don’t leave with him.” She looks to his response, and his body language betrays him. He proves my point by shouting aggressively at me to stay out of their business.
I turn all my indignation on him, where she can clearly see what I’m saying. I jab a magickally-charged back the fuck up finger in his direction. I happen to be at least 6 inches taller than this con-man, and when I draw up my power I can project an intentionally terrifying glamour to rival Gandalf the Grey. Thankfully, he shrunk away from my tongue-lashing. “How DARE you try to pull this abusive bullshit on her!” I barked. “Not within MY ear-shot, and not on MY sacred ground!” I threw open the shop door, and demanded he leave and never return. He scampered, y’all.
Then she and I took time and care to communicate exactly what I’d seen him doing to her, and what he’d been saying behind her back… It was all very upsetting, but she was grateful I let her know what was going on. Later, she came back to report that she’d broken up with him and he’d not bothered her further. Good riddance to bad rubbish!
4: Entitled Trespassing
Years ago, during an “Uptown Art Walk” in our district, the shop was hosting an event until later than usual. This required our whole staff to be there, taking all of our private parking spots behind our building: private parking, which I pay for, but are just to the other side of a pedestrian alley-way that doubly serves as a fire lane. However, we are surrounded by restaurants, and on big event nights like this we have to defend our lot from trespassers all the time.
When my evening staff arrive, there is an unknown vehicle in our lot. As a courtesy, we call the surrounding restaurants to warn them that if the car isn’t moved in 5 minutes we’re calling the towing company. This is really very nice, but is also a faster solution, usually. The car is moved, but just 1o feet over, now in the middle of the fire lane, blocking both pedestrians and potential fire trucks. We call back to to remind them that this is wildly illegal, endangers the whole city block, and now we’ll call city if the vehicle isn’t moved immediately.
Within minutes, a boomer-aged white man charges into my front door to confront me for being such a “bitch” about his car. He announces that he “always parks in that spot at night” because he’s a part-owner of the restaurant at the end of alley, and they don’t have any private parking.
I calmly explain that he’s “always been trespassing” on my private property. That after we are closed for the night, I don’t particularly mind him parking there, but right now we have an event and need our spaces. He starts yelling at me that he “moved his car into the alley, so what is your f*cking problem?” I remind him that it is illegal to block a fire lane and the city will ticket and tow him. Moreover, if HIS RESTAURANT catches fire, the whole block could burn down because of him. “I’m not ‘the bitch’ in this situation.”
He rages, “I thought you guys were supposed to be some kind of spiritual, zen, peaceful, hippies or whatever!” I laughed out loud. I replied with deadly calm, “You have us confused. We are witches. Witches are NOT pacifists. We defend the boundaries to stop assholes from doing harm to us and the world at large. If you trespass on my property, or block the fire-lane again, I will call the city myself. I suggest you move your car.” He stormed out, but he moved his car. A few weeks later I got an apology note from him in the mail, which I accepted. I consider the mischief managed.
5: Tweaking while Seeking
To end on a slightly comedic example, a long time ago, a mid-twenties, white fellow wearing a fake, orange, prison jump-suit, marched straight in the shop and dropped to one knee at my feet. He was clearly tweaked out on meth or the like. He asks me very dramatically and loudly, in front of a store full of Saturday shoppers, if I am a “Wiccan Priestess.” I hesitantly answer “Yes?” because the truest answer wasn’t really germane in that moment…
He throws his head down and arms out in a posture of supplication and shouts, “Bless Me!” In my shock, I did utter some kind of blessing language…while drawing an earth banishing pentagram in the air over his crown chakra. He stood up and charged straight out the door with haste, never to be seen again. There was a moment of shocked silence until he disappeared around the corner, then the whole store erupted in applause. Half of them were laughing because they could see exactly what I did there.
Ok, I didn’t technically “throw him out,” but that banishing pentagram did the trick of peacefully moving him along. Otherwise, just being under the influence while seeking spiritual help isn’t grounds for banishment…not in my book. But he certainly was memorable!
To be in the public witchcraft retail business is rarely dull, but gives plenty of opportunity to stand up for what we believe in. “Keep pure your highest ideal, strive ever toward it. Let naught stop you or turn you aside.” ~The Charge of the Goddess.
Interested in opening your own Witchcraft shop? Keep reading here.
For all the good stories of why I opened a witchcraft shop, and the wondrous good times we have with well-meaning people, check out my Shopkeeper Saga series which begins here.