Monday, May 30, 2011

Regulating life to death: and beyond

Barbara Szafranski was certified accountant.   But something must have been missing. That she always had an interest in people is indicated by her original advanced degree at the University of Vermont: a Masters in Psychology. 
At 53 she quit her job,  left her husband, and opened up Angelica of the Angels, a metaphysical gift shop, where she specials in psychic readings and sells crystals, angel figurines, books, aura photography, incense, candles, jewelry and other items that “reflect the light and love which Angels bring”.   She now has two stores in Salem Massachusetts.  And she has standards:
Salem psychic Barbara E. Szafranski puts her mediums through the toughest test of all. ``They all have to give me a reading,'' she said.
Inside Szafranski's busy shop, psychic medium George Fraggos sat before a collection of crystals and talked to the spirits for me. The dead see me traveling to warmer climes in February and enjoying aerobics.
The spirits also honed in on my taste for fruits and vegetables and advised me to pick up yoga - not exactly bombshells from the beyond.
But Fraggos, and two other psychics, I visited quickly pinpointed a major breakup I endured recently. Their insight seemed especially eerie because I tried not to offer any clues.  Original Tremont Tearoom, from Boston Herald Story by J.M. Lawrence
Katie Zezima, New York Times, 27 May 30, 2011 via the Bend (OR) Bulletin

Like any good psychic, Barbara Szafranski claims she foresaw the problems coming.
She says she has lost business since the licensing change.
Her prophecy came in 2007, as the City Council was easing its restrictions on the number of psychics allowed to practice in this seaside city, where self-proclaimed witches, angels, clairvoyants and healers still flock 319 years after the notorious Salem witch trials. [The original battle was brutal].

“Many of them are not trained,” she said of her rivals. “They don’t understand that when you do a reading you hold a person’s life in your hands.”
Now, talk has started about regulations that would include a cap on the number of psychic businesses...
Note that the 1998 laws only allowed 4 shops with only 5 psychic readers per shop.  So it is understandable that having that licensed monopoly would help Ms Szafranski's shop. 

At one time people could open up a little shop out of their home, or a little rented space, and make a go of it.  But there were not as many people than as their are today.  Where there were a lot of people was also where you tended to get the regulation first.  In a completely open market,  with low barrier to entry, profit generally gets driven to zero.  Thus most licensing schemes first priority is to restrict trade.  I understand the incentive, but we are at a point now where our society is so rigid with rules and regulations it is very difficult to get anything accomplished at the individual level, because you cannot affort the army of attorney and accountants to get through all the obstacles:  as illustrated here in our previous post.


Mayberry said...

Very true. Around here, folks who work the water have seen to it their competition is run off. Commercial fishing licenses are "limited entry". You must buy one from somebody willing to sell theirs. Fishing guides have moved to do the same, creating a "certified guide" program that also caps the number of guides. And they ferociously pursue "weekend skippers" who are unlicensed.

Years ago I was on the beach in my 4x4. Somebody was stuck, and I stopped to pull them out. It is customary to give a little something for the help. Well a cop pulled up just as the guy was handing me a twenty, and asked to see my "wrecker license" which of course I didn't have. He made me give the money back or he'd write me a ticket...

All these "licenses" and "certifications" are nothing more than barriers that make it difficult to impossible for the entrepreneur to engage in business, and it keeps getting worse.

russell1200 said...

Nice to see our boys in blue making the world safe from illegal towing operations! I had no idea you were such an outlaw!

And of course then they could go search your home and find a "cache" of weapons to show that you were armed and dangerous!