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hkwiles
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Howard Wiles
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I have just this morning witnessed something which typifies the lack of ethics among some readers/psychics.
I was out shopping in Leeds with my wife and we were in one of the shopping Arcades (Malls). While my wife went to look inside an antiques shop I waited outside. Just across from where I was standing was a small stall..a woman selling psychic products and books but also giving readings.. astrology, palm and tarot.

A old man , I would say over seventy came up to her and asked for a reading. She sat him down a brought out a deck..one with the meanings written on the cards. She made a spread and then picked the cards up one by one and basically read the key words off the cards. Nothing at all useful or meaningful given no attempt at appearing to be psychic or whatever. This took about two minutes. She then asked do you want your palm read. She took the gentlemans hand and in similar vain went through the major lines and simply told him what they referred to, with a vague indication of what it signified in his case. This took even less time. She then charged the poor soul £6 for the Tarot and £5 for the palm reading.
She looked across at me as I shook my head but didn't bat an eye lid..Shame I say.

Howard
landmark
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Sounds harmless to me. Better that, than attempts at medical, legal or intense psychological "advice." Also better than a pitch for expensive spells or curses.

Seems like you've described a generic, colorless performer who claims powers but delivers the minimum. Why does this sound familiar to me . . . Smile

Jack Shalom
hkwiles
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Howard Wiles
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Harmless...if you think robbing old folk is harmless then yes it is.

Howard
Dr_Stephen_Midnight
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But, is a skilled performer a greater or lesser robber on that level? That's an excellent ethics quandary all by itself. Is a reader skilled in human nature and the giving of sound advise better than a cookie-cutter 'psychic phone network' phone agent using a script?

My personal view is that a skilled reader (one who understands human nature and common problems, and is good at reading people), who is compassionate and takes a 'harm none' view toward their work is far more ethical than what, as an American, I would call a "McPsychic."
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Steve
Dr. Lao: "Do you know what wisdom is?"
Mike: "No."
Dr. Lao: "Wise answer."
David Numen
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In what way was the pensioner robbed, Howard? Judging by your description, he didn't pay until the end of the reading - most pensioners I know of are quite happy to speak out if they feel they haven't got their money's worth. In fact, 90% of pensioners who come to me ask very blatantly for a discount! Given that he paid up, perhaps he was happy with the reading?

At the end of the day, what goes on between a reader and a client is nobody else's business. Yes, you might say what if the reader is influencing them in negative ways but hey - get this - people have a choice! And the WORST way to handle a situation like that is to interfere because you are more likely to drive the person more towards the reader's side.

Regards,

David.
Magical Dimensions
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The word 'McPsychic' really hit the mark on this one.

I understand the feelings that one may get when they see an older person spend their money on this kind of event. Older people have always been marks for the con men. It is sad, and I really hate to say it but it is their money. No one twisted his or her arm to sit down at this 'McPsychic' reading.

The bottom line is that this type of event is designed just for one thing. To lighten peoples pockets.


Ray
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Yes, people have a choice and, on the plus side, a good reader can sometimes help people avoid open manholes.
My wife has one client who is always trying to 'shoot himself in the foot' with self-sabotaging relationship and work-related behavior. So far she has succeeded in guiding him away from some potentially disastrous actions, and pushed him toward some more constructive courses of action.

Steve
Dr. Lao: "Do you know what wisdom is?"
Mike: "No."
Dr. Lao: "Wise answer."
hkwiles
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Howard Wiles
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Steve,
I agree entirely with what you say. I believe psychic readings should be done as a form of Counselling, that is to say enabling the client to think about his/her circumstances and the options available to them and the pro and cons of the choices. Having said that, I do not endorse any thing that claims to contact the dead..however well meaning the intention.

David,
I don't mind people spending their money this way, especially when it is someone who ought to know better!
However, I do beleive in value for money and this chap certainly didn't get value for money. The woman giving the reading gave him no advice/hope for the future or anything that would have made him feel better in any way.
As for 90% pensioners asking for discount..you must live a different World to me..She could have left it at the Tarot..why did she ask if he wanted his palm read as well..surely it will tell him the same thing?

Howard
jimtron
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I agree with Howard that it's unethical. I also agree with David that it wouldn't be appropriate to interfere. It's one thing to do this kind of thing as entertainment. But it sounds like this person was implying (if not stating) that she was psychic, or had some kind of supernatural powers. Do you think she would get any clients if she told people what she was actually doing (simply reading words from cards and giving stock responses about palm lines)?

One could say that no harm was done, and it made the client feel good. And if he found it entertaining, that's fine. But if he has real problems that need to be dealt with, there are much better ways to spend his money. Isn't this basically a con? I guess it depends on what the reader says up front. But if the word 'psychic' is used on a sign or in a pitch, I believe that's false advertising. Unless she has true psychic powers, but I would find that extremely unlikely.

What if one of these 'psychics' makes up something about the reader's future, and the reader makes significant life decisions based on it? The reader thinks it is an authentic prediction, when the 'psychic' probably made it up.

Ray said that no arm was twisted. In my view, that doesn't make it ok. Con men don't twist arms either.

Quote:
On 2004-10-16 12:15, landmark wrote:
Sounds harmless to me. Better that, than attempts at medical, legal or intense psychological "advice." Also better than a pitch for expensive spells or curses.

Jack: would you mind elaborating on how tarot and palm reading is better than medical or psycholgical advice?

Thanks, Jim
David Numen
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Howard Said:

Quote:
"David, I don't mind people spending their money this way, especially when it is someone who ought to know better!
However, I do beleive in value for money and this chap certainly didn't get value for money. The woman giving the reading gave him no advice/hope for the future or anything that would have made him feel better in any way.
As for 90% pensioners asking for discount..you must live a different World to me..She could have left it at the Tarot..why did she ask if he wanted his palm read as well..surely it will tell him the same thing?"


Well, isn't he the best judge of whether he got value for money? Since he paid up isn't it possible that he felt he did get value for money? The reading may have seemed poor to you but then a poor magician doing a standard card routine can often impress someone unfamiliar with magic.

As to why the palm after doing his tarot - standard practice to upsell in any business and the psychic world is no exception. Obviously I can't say how the lady did it but I tend to say the palm is good for character analysis and general long-term projections but the tarot is better for a shorter term forecast. This isn't baloney - I DO actually believe it when I say it! My upsell is fairly low key but many psychics do all manner of upselling on the pretext that you will discover many new and marvellous things. As long as you are sincere in what you are selling and have some degree of belief in it I don't have any issues with it.

Regards,

David.

P.S

Yes, I can hand on my heart say that most pensioners who come to me for a reading ask for a discount and that most pensioners I know are very tight and choosy when it comes to spending money - and the tightness is not always related to a shortness of money!

I tend to believe if someone wants a cheap reading then that's exactly what they'll get so I rarely give a discount and find I get more respect for not doing so!
jimtron
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I think this thread is a little complicated because we may have different ideas about what's real and what's bogus. If I understand David's post ("...I tend to say the palm is good for character analysis and general long-term projections but the tarot is better for a shorter term forecast. This isn't baloney - I DO actually believe it when I say it!"), he believes that tarot and palm reading can authentically predict the future (please correct me if I'm wrong).

So I see at least two issues here:

1) Are palm and tarot readings "real" (ie, can one see into the future or past via the cards or looking at a palm)?

2) For those who believe that palm and tarot readings are bogus, is it unethical to charge money for giving readings.

David said:
"Well, isn't he the best judge of whether he got value for money? Since he paid up isn't it possible that he felt he did get value for money? The reading may have seemed poor to you but then a poor magician doing a standard card routine can often impress someone unfamiliar with magic."


I don't think he necessarily is the best judge. In the example you gave with the poor magician--is his spectator, who is unfamiliar with magic and therefore impressed by the lame routine--the best judge of what good magic is? What if someone buys a new car, and the dealer convinces him that he got a bargain. Perhaps the dealer was less than ethical but a great salesman, and the same car could be bought nearby for much less. Is the guy who bought the car the best judge of whether he got value for his money? He may feel good about getting what he thinks is a great deal, but I would argue that he has been treated unethically.

I think the above example is analogous to the situation at the top of this thread. The guy who bought the car was not well informed about the prices and how salesman sometimes operate. I think the same is true for many who see psychics. They believe that most psychics actually posses supernatural powers. They don't know the secrets of cold reading. They don't know that, in my opinion anyway, most or all psychics actually have absolutely no psychic ability.
hkwiles
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Howard Wiles
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David,
Believe you me, this was by no stretch of the imagination a "reading". I could also tell that the gentleman in question certainly wasn't well off. Obviously, as in most cases of someone who visits a reader, medium etc he was looking for some sort of help, guidance, reassurance about the future. I could see this and I am sure the "Psychic" (as she advertised on her board)could. So why not have a bit of compassion rather than blatently rip the guy off.
He would have been better off buying the Daily Mail for 70p and reading his horoscope!!
landmark
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<<Jack: would you mind elaborating on how tarot and palm reading is better than medical or psycholgical advice? >>

Reading off key words from a tarot deck or giving a standard palm reading involving speculation about one's love life and travel plans seems less dangerous to me than unqualified folks dispensing medical or uninformed psychological advice.

I don't think a "Psychic" in a shopping Mall is very different from the daily horoscope in the paper. Yes, it's more expensive, but then if you bought a full color wall size poster of the astrology signs it would be more expensive too. For some it's entertainment, others truly believe. The more generic, the less potential for harm. I truly must be missing something here, because I don't understand the fuss.

Jack
David Numen
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I think we're getting into the realms of over-protectiveness here. The guy was perfectly free to walk away without paying. It may have been an unpleasant scene if he did that but, as I've said, most pensioners I know have little problem speaking up.

As to the used car analogy - if the guy thought he had a bargain then what's the problem? If I buy a DVD player for 200 quid and think I've got my money's worth then what's it matter if a shop further down the street sells it for 175 quid? The suggestion here seems to be we should be assuming responsibility for other peoples actions! If the fictional guy with the car is happy then so what? If he is unhappy then he is free to do something about it. If I am unhappy with my DVD player price then I can go back to the shop and complain.

I am NOT saying I think this "reader" is in any way right to do what she is doing BUT people just might be getting more out of it than you imagine AND people are responsible for their own choices. Personally, if she really is that bad then it's a blessing she isn't taking the money up front before the reading.

As to the matter of belief - if anyone is knowingly doing readings and believes the whole thing to be hogwash then I think that's very bad. I learnt a long time ago to believe in what I am doing and I can assure you the punters can almost smell the difference!

Regards,

David.
hkwiles
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Hmm! I think that in view of the comments on here I might just take up Ian Rowlands idea of going round and doing a spot of "Psychic Baiting" and see how they like being on the receiving end of a con.

Howard
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This has me baffled. In view of what comments here? How are you going to decide who to go after. What makes you think you have the right to decide what other people do with their money?

/Bamba
Brown
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With regard to "baiting" what is Howard going to do when the psychic asks for payment in advance as many do?
"Baiting" can be an expensive hobby.
Lord Of The Horses
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Also, not all psychics are so easy to "bait". First of all, if you live in the real world, you know some of them are really good and are better equipped with tools than you may expect.

Second of all, to be fair with Mr. Rowland, if I recall it right, he says that this can be not just an expensive thing to do... but also a dangerous thing to do, if you pick the "wrong" ones.

Happy hunting!

Paolo Cavalli
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hkwiles
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Howard Wiles
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Fortunately this charlaton doesn't ask for payment first !!

"comment" refers to those implying that it was the old mans own fault for being ripped off, or for not knowing he was being ripped off.

I don't mind you guys doing it for fun, or as a mind reading demonstration but pretending to foresee the future and taking money for it..Come on fella's Dick Turpin died agfes ago.

Howard
Howard
Brown
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On rereading Howard's post I see that the reading was only 3 or 4 minutes long. This is indeed unethical. 11 pounds for this length of time is outrageous. In fact I suspect the short tarot reading in the beginning was deliberate so that the client wanted to know more and paying extra for the palm was the best way to get it.

On the other hand I don't think Howard should have been listening to someone's reading. This is a private affair and I always think that strangers listening in without permission is very rude.

I know a lady who reads palms in the street and has a very clever way of suckering them in. Howard's post reminds me of it. She advertises FREE palm readings. Of course this gets them all at it and she has no trouble attracting clients as you can well imagine.

She has a very clever two minute script which tells them absolutely nothing. She delivers it very fluently but all it does is tell them the meanings of the lines and very little if anythng about their lives. The reading is worth exactly what they have paid for it.

They hang on to her every word waiting in suspense for her to actually tell them anything. At the end she goes in for the kill and asks for money if they want a more "in depth" reading which of course they always do.

Her "in depth" reading is pretty good. I had it done and asked her where she had picked up the opening spiel. She said that she learned it from an old carny mitt reader.
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