Okay, so, you're all probably going to hate me for this. But, I've been cajoled and strong-armed by some psychic Gypsies (as in Turkish Rom) today.
Why? I guess I failed to deny ignorance on several fronts. But it is a slightly amusing story now that the shock and shame has mostly worn off. Make
of it what you will. Here's my story:
So, I've been thinking of seeing a psychic for a while. And I went to work one day and serendipitously found a paper flyer in my windshield at the end
of the shift. It sat under my wiper blades for a few days before I finally decided to take it off and throw it away. I tried to shake it lose while
driving by turning on the windshield wipers, but it didn't budge. Finally I looked at that darn thing and wouldn't you know it? It was an advert for a
local "world-renowned" psychic. In fact, it was the one I had been thinking of visiting lately. Can you see how things are going to go downhill from
here? I hope so, because I didn't!
Well, I went for an initial visit with a friend who was curious to sit in and listen to my tarot card reading. My friend was thinking about making an
appointment too. So, like an idiot, I sprang for the full service package of $65 dollars to unlock the secrets of my past, present, future as well as
5 questions of my choice for her to divine. Okay, then i got to question #5 and she informed me that that question cannot be answered in this
particular tarot spread and urged me to ask something else. BUT, that if I made another appointment we could get more in-depth. Oh boy..seems so
stupid now. But down the pathetic rabbit hole I go...
So, I made an appointment for another reading and some kind of "aura/ chakra" healing or cleansing or some such snake oil. I knew it was a set-up and
I was being bilked out of my money by making another appointment. But I figured it couldn't hurt. After all, it's only a bit of cash in exchange for
some thought-provoking light entertainment. Was I ever wrong in making this calculation. Oh, and she told me to show up today alone for the
appointment so that she could "focus her energy only on me." Yeah, it gets worse.
I show up and sit in their living room-converted-office-waiting-room. The office itself is a little house downtown. Then I start to notice things I
didn't notice before. The people in this house are not very friendly. They don't smile. They don't make small talk. They don't even make eye contact.
The little dog of the house is afraid of strangers and even gave me a stern growl after it wouldn't let me pet him. So then the psychic shows up to
our appointment with a big dude following close in tow. This is when it should have hit me. But I still didn't quite put the pieces together yet.
So, I get into the office with the psychic and she is already quoting me a price outrageously higher than we discussed last time. This is when I wise
up (kind of). I even pulled out my appointment card where she wrote down the price of today's visit. But still she insists that all my healings and
readings and what-have-yas are going to cost $400 !!!!
This is when I figured it out. This was a Gypsy/ Rom family. My cultural anthropology course was flashing in my mind as she was trying to convince me
that I needed to pay her the 400 to get rid of my "negative energies". In short, The Rom are an ethnic enclave that left Southern India thousands of
years ago and still cling to the regional caste system and superstitions of their ancestors. This is because of their highly limited contact with
outsiders, which they refer to as gadje. Their entire culture forbids contact with gadje except when it comes time to work the con. And because they
come from a social caste that primarily begged for handouts, this is almost what the modern day Rom do now. Except it usually boils down to "tricking"
people out of their money. I guess it's not illegal. Just highly unethical and effective on the gullible people like me. But what I also remembered
from my cultural anthro class is what this big dude is waiting outside for. Yes, I was seriously afraid he was going to rough me up if I didn't
participate in the con. This is not without precedent for the Rom or any other lowlife criminals!
So, she manages to get me to pay what we originally agreed to, but she cuts the services in half. (remember, she wanted twice what we agreed to.) I
told her that I only had enough cash to meet what she quoted me last time. So that's what she asks for even though it's agreed that we're going to cut
my services down. Remember, I agreed to pay because I was afraid for my safety. So then after a very short reading (200 dollars doesn't get you decent
snake oil these days) she said I still needed some healings and aura hogwash done for next time. And that I can pay her another 200 dollars for that
too. I agreed to make the appointment because I am totally spineless? Yeah, well, I was still afraid for my safety, so I hope at least some of you
understand that part.
So, here I am, whining on ATS sans 200 dollars with an appointment for another robbery. I am going to drive across town tomorrow and cancel my
appointment from a payphone. I have already changed my voicemail to not include my name (I believe they have my cell phone number) and will change the
number entirely if they call even once. I'm really just hoping they'd be happy they scammed me good and won't harass me for anything else.
There you go, ATS. I wanted to put this in the jokes forum. I think that would be more appropriate. But now you know about the Rom/ Gypsy. Although
I'm sure 99% of you already do. If you don't, just remember that their whole livelihood revolves around tricking gadje out of money.
I guess I failed to deny ignorance this time. This story is not meant to illicit sympathy or snarky comments. But it is meant to offer slight
amusement and a very serious warning about the Rom.
Edit: Oh yeah, and either she was a gifted psychic/ criminal OR she was just really good at guessing based on my sparse, vague responses. She actually
gave me a pretty decent reading HAHA. Ok, ok, let the face palms commence!
edit on 25-5-2012 by NarcolepticBuddha because: ugh.