more q and a

A reader writes to ask,

Dear Karma,

Why did you leave the curanderismo yahoo group?

A: I didn’t leave.  I was removed.  Upon Bryant Holman’s death, the moderators were made group owners.  I had moderated the group for years, and was invited to do so by Bryant many years ago.  Through a series of events I won’t detail and some thinking I won’t even pretend to try to fathom, one of the moderators took it upon themself* to remove me from the group.  If you want the details, you’ll have to join the group and read the threads yourself – assuming they haven’t been removed.  I’m not going to go into it here.  Yes, I was invited to rejoin as a member, but I deplore the backhanded powerplay at work in this series of events and I will not participate and thereby give tacit approval of such antics.

Rest in peace, Bryant.  I’m sorry things went down this way.  God bless.

* I’m deliberately using bad grammar so as not to identify the gender of this moderator.

Another reader asks,

Dear Karma,

Why don’t you have regular hours where you answer your phone?

A: I have a full time job outside my home, and running my ebay store and handling website sales is getting pretty close to being another full time job lately.  I am also a parent.  I would have to have "open hours" from something like 9 pm to 1 am, and frankly, you don’t want to talk to me then.  I have been handling my business by web and email since 2002, and I am just not set up to do otherwise.  Besides, I hate talking on the phone.  Hate it.  I hate doing phone readings.  I sell products only via web, so if people have product inquiries, they need to email me.  If I were to ever have someone answer a business line, it wouldn’t be me anyway, so you just might as well email.  I am able to return calls on Saturdays only, and I am about six weeks behind in returning calls right now – I can return only a fraction of the calls I have saved messages for each weekend, especially as I’m not here every Saturday.  I’m often in the graveyard, doing work for my clients, or in my "work room" doing work for my clients and customers, or traveling to do spiritual work with my local "posse," or working on day job stuff, or taking a few hours to do something with my child.  If you simply have to talk to somebody on the phone, I can recommend some folks for you, but if you’re waiting to talk to me, you could be waiting a seriously long time. The best way to get in touch with me remains email.  That is not going to change in the near future.

Dear Karma,

Do you make incense powders?

A: Nope.  I started making all this stuff because I lived in the backwoods of Alabama and mailorder or travel to get what I needed was getting too annoying and time consuming. The older I got, the harder it got to find local places to get stuff I could use, stuff that wasn’t mass produced, stinky Anna Riva shite.  Plus I had the whole artsy/craftsy upbringing and already knew the nuts and bolts of herb gathering, candle pouring, potpourri making, sewing, beading, mortar-and-pestle-ing, and bone whitening.  (I can also make a roux.  And get a tick off a dog, and skin a rabbit, and am a sharpshooter).  So  I started making the stuff I used all the time.  I pretty much only make stuff I use.  Since I only ever use the loose herb-and-resin incense, the kind you burn on charcoal disks, that’s the only kind I make. I just haven’t had time, and don’t have the space now that I live in a place in a city, to take up another "craft."  So if you want self-lighting incense powders, try Lucky Mojo or Black Cat Root Shack, who sell Lucky Mojo incenses.

things you should know this week and in general

I am out of town.  I have a family obligation and i will not be back until Tuesday night.  My email access is spotty and I will get to your email as soon as I can. This month, and in general at any time, emailing me repeatedly about the same thing when I have told you I will get back to you will not get your email answered any faster.  If you have emailed me twenty times, you can rest assured I haven’t forgotten about you (though if you have not emailed me twenty times and you haven’t heard back from me, then please go ahead and email again to make sure I got it).  As I am out of town, I do not have all my notes, records, emails, and files with me, so if I haven’t answered a question that needs a lookup, please be patient with me.

Emailing repeatedly when I’ve said I will get back to you as soon as possible will result in your getting fired as my client.  For all the time I spend repeating myself in emails, that is less time I have to actually do the work for you that you want me to do.  If you ordered custom work and it involved sewing, please know that the sewing machine broke, and so those orders are slowed down.  I hope to be back in action with the sewing on Tuesday.  If you ordered other custom work, please be assured that I am working on it – I have never failed to fill an order.  Custom work takes time, and I would rather do it right, even if that means I need to drive to the next town to find a root I don’t happen to have in stock, than do it half-assed.  When I have to start doing things half-assed, I will stop doing them.

If you purchased a reading, you got in line.  If you haven’t gotten your reading yet – and there is still quite a queue – and you would like your money back because you didn’t realize you got in a line that had people in front of you, I am more than happy to refund it so you can spend it on somebody who can do readings with a quicker turnaround. I  can recommend several excellent readers.  If, while you are waiting, something about your situation changes, then by all means, please email me to inform me of the change.  But if you’re emailing to ask where the reading is, I’ll probably just refund your money so we can both be happy and spend our time doing something other than emailing each other.

For the past several years, I have gotten between 20 and 40 emails *every day* with inquiries on products, services, or general advice.  I have always tried to answer within 48 hours.  Lately, it’s been more difficult for me to do so, and lately my email volume has increased.  If you are emailing about the same thing again, I am probably not going to answer your email if all I"m going to do is repeat myself.  The time to ask me if I can meet a pressing deadline is *before* you order, not after.  If I haven’t begun processing your order and you would like a refund, please ask, and I’ll be happy to provide it.  If I’ve already begun custom work, I will not refund your money, but I’ll try to work something out with you (and then I will not accept any more work from you as this will result in my taking a loss).  I would rather refund your money, though, than risk letting my irritation bleed over into the work I’m doing for you, and risk you getting frustrated and being unhappy with the service you’ve retained me for.  I’m not here to be a bitch or make people wait for some kind of power trip, but I have other clients, and I have other obligations, and I have a full time job outside my home.  I adore you for your patience and understanding.

Much of this advice is probably advice you should take when you’re working with anyone who provides spiritual services.

Once again, I risk alienating the majority of my clients and customers who are wonderful and understand that it takes time to do the work I do.  If the shoe does not fit, do not wear it 🙂 I very much appreciate you guys, and I am blessed to be able to help you and honored that you trust me to do it.  And as always, if I can’t help you in the timeframe you need, I will be happy to try to help you find somebody who can.  I do not resent doing this work – I love doing this work and I love the people I meet.  But I do want to point out that annoying your reader or rootworker can get you fired – it may very well be the case that your reader or rootworker has people waiting in line for his or her services, because we don’t take more clients than we can do right by, and that by letting you go as a client, he or she is not being ornery or going on a power trip but is in fact trying to make sure that you have a reader or worker you work well with, and vice versa.  Not everybody clicks, and different people work different ways.  If you’re considering hiring a reader or worker, all these types of things about deadlines and timeframes are the types of things you want to find out about before you hire, so you can find somebody you click with.

If you’re the type of person who thinks they need daily contact, then I am telling you now that I am not the reader or rootworker for you.  Don’t hire me.  You’ll be unhappy if you expect an email every day.

None of this means that I don’t want to hear from you guys.  I love hearing from you guys when we’re not beating dead horses.  A client emailed the other day and said "I know you’re not here for moral support, but…" and I answered him that in fact I kind of AM here for moral support 🙂  If I take a case, whether it’s a single one day light setting or a longer term altar work case, I sure am here for you. That’s part of why I turn away a lot of clients – if I think we won’t click for whatever reason, or if I already have my hands and altars full, then I will tell you so.

This public service announcement brought to you by a Karma Zain who is trying very hard to do right by  you guys and very much appreciates your patience 🙂  If offering custom work keeps biting me in the ass like it has been this last month or so, though, I’m going to quit saying "yes" when people want something that is not off-the-shelf – if nobody’s happy, then there’s no point.

Blessings, and happy hoodooing,

Karma Zain

P.S. Tolis, darlin’, I got your coins, and you are a sweetie.  I’m gonna make you something special as lagniappe for being so nice and for having to wait so long for your custom order.  My mama herself is helping me finish your dolls this weekend ’cause our sewing machine needle up here broke.  My mama makes a mean doll-baby (and a mean roux).  You are in good hands, and I do appreciate your patience.