Just as crafter nexus Etsy banned the sale of human bones, body parts and anything with a medical drug claim, eBay is slamming the door on the metaphysical. Come September, the online auction site will no longer truck in “advice; spells; curses; hexing; conjuring; magic; prayers; blessing services; magic potions; healing sessions,” according to its 2012 Fall Seller Update.
It seems there’s an online conspiracy against charlatans afoot, but the mystery remains why … and why now?
“EBay regularly reviews categories and updates our policies based on customer feedback,” the company said in a statement. “We are discontinuing a small number of categories within the larger metaphysical subcategory, as buyers and sellers have told us that transactions in these categories often result in issues that can be difficult to resolve.”
We've reached out eBay to get the specifics of these difficult-to-resolve issues — chronic Tiki-statue-induced bad luck? Wrong neighbor turned into toad? Spontaneous musical numbers more retro-pastiche than break-away hits? — and will update this post should the company get back to us and let us know.
It's obvious this latest product ban creates a problem for both snake oil salesmen and the gullible public. Sellers of such intangible goods are sharing their outrage on eBay forums, and a Don't Ban Our Psychics petition is racking up signatures. In these tough economic times, people are desperate to pay a dummy tax and now eBay’s robbed them of a convenient outlet to do that.
Sure, there’s still the lottery, but then, a lottery ticket won’t do you any good without the magical powdered tiger testes required to make it a winning lottery ticket. It’s lose, lose, lose across the board.
Further, it's unclear whether trendy, well-respected baloney will also suffer under eBay's latest list of unallowable merchandise. Dreamcatchers, for example. Must they now be listed as "Decorative Wall Thing with Net, Beads and Feathers?" And what about lucky rabbit feet? Is it time for the bunny population to celebrate, or should they worry about that untapped market for mundane rabbit feet?
Suckers should remain at ease however, because if there's anything snake oil salesmen know, it's how to be shifty.
Just as perverts can still find unwashed socks and underwear on eBay if they know the key phrases ("100 percent washed per eBay standards, message me for special packaging requests"), fools will remain soon parted from their cash. All it takes will be a few magic keywords.