To Charge, or Not To Charge?

As some of you know, I was talking with a co-worker recently and it came out that I read Tarot. I really try to keep this kind of quiet at work, as this area of the country is rife with fundogelicals and it seems wise to keep a low profile in the office on my more off-beat interests. My co-worker mentioned in the course of the conversation that she’d had a gathering recently wherein a palm reader was brought in for a little extra entertainment, and she herself had subsequently gone out and purchased a book on how to read palms. Once she ‘fessed up, I figured it was safe to mention my Tarot interest and it was. She was very intrigued and told me she had a small party coming up at her place and might want to have me come over and read Tarot. This seemed like an ideal situation for a ‘first Tarot reading party’ situation for me: small gathering at the home of someone I know pretty well (for a co-worker, that is. We also used to run together so have spent a fair amount of time talking about all kinds of things) so perhaps not quite as nerve-wracking as being called in by a stranger.

Well, she checked with her guests, and it seems they decided they weren’t really interested, so that idea is off. But, my co-worker is still excited about the idea of having me over to read cards, and is now thinking about doing a Halloween party and having me over for that.

So here’s the question: Do I do this gratis? There has been no mention of money changing hands,  but I’m fairly certain the palm reader she had in was paid for her services. I’m guessing co-worker is expecting me to do this for free, since she knows me and we’re friendly. Since I’ve never read publicly like this, perhaps my first outing should be as a favor to her, to get my feet wet and see how I like doing it. I don’t know, what say you all? It’s not really a social invitation for me. If it weren’t for the Tarot cards I would never be invited. Co-worker and I do not hang out outside of work, we’re not that chummy.

Also, for the other Tarot readers there, how do you choose a deck for such an occasion? I figure I should stick with one I’m comfortable with, but should I go with something like the All Hallows Tarot, or Halloween Tarot, and keep the mood light? Do you take a selection of decks and let people choose? Any advice appreciated.


10 Comments Add yours

  1. Monica says:

    Hmmm… not sure about the money side. Really, she should offer a donation – it would be the right thing to do. If she doesn’t, that’s rude – but at the same time, I’m not the type of person to ask for a fee, especially given it is your first reading. If you are interested in reading tarot, then regardless of whether she offers to pay or not I would do it, because it is invaluable experience for you too. And you never know who may ask you for a “proper” reading afterwards (so get some business cards done or be prepared to quote an hourly fee, just in case such a request is made – you never know!)

    My deck choice is still the trusty Rider Waite, it never fails, but taking a Halloween themed deck could be great as well, especially since you won’t be doing deep readings – but only if you are really familiar with it!! I don’t really let people choose as it turns into too much of an indecision crisis if they don’t know you or what the deal is about tarot – but that’s just my 2 pennies there.

    Finally – have fun! Can’t wait to hear all about it 🙂

  2. I was going to suggest the same thing as Monica. The party should be a good chance for you to show your tarot reading skills to those present. Plus, they could very likely mention you later to some other people they know. More potential clients. 🙂 So yes, draw up some business cards. After the reading, you can pass them out with a friendly, “I’d be happy to hear from you if you’d like a professional reading some time.”

    Seems like a lovely and fun opportunity!

    As for which deck, I’d go with the one you feel most adept and comfortable reading from.

  3. Digital Dame says:

    Excellent thoughts and perspective, Monica, thank you! Yes, I need to remember I’m doing this because I love it, and it’s not my livelihood. And since it would be my first time doing readings at a party, I should just see how it goes. And I suppose if I was going to ask for a fee, I should have done it already. It just rankles a little that she didn’t even offer anything. Maybe my problem is more with this woman than the fee/no fee issue.

    Yes, I definitely want a deck I know cold, so probably the RWS will be it. Although yesterday I showed co-worker the two I had with me at work (yes, I haul them to work, I need to have my Tarot with me all day! 🙂 ) which were the New Palladini and the Wizard’s Tarot. She really liked the Wizards Tarot.

    I could be worrying about this for nothing, it’s far from certain yet that it will even happen. When you read at parties, do you keep it to 3 cards maximum? That seems like a good amount of info, keep it short, sweet and (hopefully!) light.

  4. Digital Dame says:

    Thanks, Tasha. All good advice. I hope it will be fun, but I’ll probably be so nervous! It’s one thing doing one-on-one readings, but having a roomful of people watching will be something else.

  5. Monica says:

    Cool, you’re welcome! As for parties, I generally do a 3 card spread or if I read for more than 10 minutes (eg 20 minute slots) I have a 5 card layout as well. But really, just be open and see what people want. Some will be more open and give you a lot of details from which you can ask a “custom” spread of 2 or more cards, while others just sit and stare and say nothing and then I find a more general 5 card spread to be more useful. Given it’s Halloween, a “sweet and light” style of reading is quite appropriate though. I remember when I first read at a festival the first time and I had someone walk in ask about custody issues – in a 20 minute time slot! Heavy that one…


  6. Digital Dame says:

    Ayiyi! Having never even been to a party where there was a reader, I guess my expectation was that most of the guests who even bother to get a reading do it more for fun than anything. I’m amazed that someone would ask such a personal question in the middle of a party as a custody issue. I was envisioning half-drunk people asking stupid questions, and not really looking for much. I suppose it depends largely on the crowd. Somehow I suspect the people my co-worker hangs out with will not take it very seriously, largely a skeptical crowd. Well, we’ll see! 🙂 Thanks for all the advice and support, it’s very helpful!

  7. maryjblog says:

    If you are not someone she would otherwise invite over, and she and her friends are not people you’d otherwise read for, I think you should charge $ ! Make it sound as though you are doing her a favor: “if you let me pass out cards, I can give you the group discount.”

  8. Digital Dame says:

    No, I’ve never been invited over for anything at her house, although she often talks about gatherings with her friends, birthday parties, her book club. (You may recall, she’s one of the ones I had a tiff with a few years back. While changing after running, she and another woman were talking about making plans to go see some concert, and talked about the whole thing like I wasn’t there. Neither of them ever invited me to join them). This is what makes me less inclined to do her any favors.

  9. maryjblog says:

    Exactly my point – if you wouldn’t do her any favors and she wouldn’t invite you out to a show, why would you read for her & her friends for free?

  10. Digital Dame says:

    It could be to my own benefit. As Monica pointed out it would be invaluable experience if I should decide to start doing this more for a sideline.

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