4
$\begingroup$

Inspired from Stabler-Leadbeater Apothecary Museum and a Chinese medicine shop, compare it with a modern pharmacy, and noting how an apothecary is historically a predecessor to modern pharmacology. It makes me wonder what will a shop involving magic be like when it is allowed to continue to evolve and take a modern look as in most settings where magic is found, it is often took place in a medieval setting, or in futuristic settings (often in science fantasy genres), it tend to take the form of some visible pure energy that is mainly a power source for some futuristic devices. Put it simply the main question is:

What will be the modern successor to a medieval style magic shop look like, for example, one that supplies magic and magical items for occult?

The TV series The Librarian, in Season 1, Episode 7 ("And the Rule of Three") seemed to give one possible direction on how magic will be packaged in modern era: As a mobile phone app with reality altering effects.

However, could magic be packaged in a very different form that fit to a shop with modern architecture and design philosophy, and thus allowing a variety of magic shops?


Some brief background of the underlying worldbuilding setting to make the scope of the question more narrow:

Technology is defined to be 21st century modern technology (Everything we know in the present day that is at least partially explained by science).

Magic is a recently discovered series of classical correlations between two or more things and phenomenon (may include people) such that given two things A and B that is correlated,when one of these occurred or tempered with, so is the other with 100% certainty. At the stage of the setting, scientist still have not uncover any underlying pattern or law that governs the 100 or so classes of these correlations found so far (skipped extraneous info).

Reports of the various magics they have experienced or observed, which ranges from many things from weird artifacts that seemed to slow down time, to a hand gesture in a house in Italy resulted in a fireball, to chemical reagents with a chaotic molecular structure, to a Granny that can seemingly live without ever drinking water and so on.

There's also a rare class of magic which seemly behave more like historical notions of witchcraft in that it can be evoked under a wide variety of conditions which various occult groups have known for centuries and is finally recognised.

Despite the lack of understanding on how exactly these phenomenon works, companies and groups nevertheless took advantage of the subclass of phenomenon where at least one of the phenomenon correlated is an object, known as artifacts. App stores involving magic started to appear where users can download various known magic for use, (skipped paragraph about law enforcement and regulation). In addition, various other magic shops appeared.

This is where we are in the context of this question.

$\endgroup$
  • 3
    $\begingroup$ I'm now thinking of a cheap Chinese knockoff of the magic Apple iRing and the effect that might have on your spells. $\endgroup$ – Separatrix Jul 18 '17 at 9:10
  • 4
    $\begingroup$ Honestly a modern "magic shop" would just be a chain - a discount chain, a franchize. If you want to buy anything, where do you go? You go to WalMart, because it's cheaper and usually better. Your future store would be MagicMart and it would have flourescent lights, large trolleys, minimum wage employees and so on - just like any retailer in the USA today. $\endgroup$ – Fattie Jul 18 '17 at 12:03
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ @Fattie You've just taken the magic out of shopping in a modern magic shop. MagicMart, DragonDiscounts and more. The horror! $\endgroup$ – a4android Jul 18 '17 at 13:41
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ I think in the Potter-verse, that despite being set in present-day, most wizards appreciated the older style as an intentional revolt against the modern day. If you could replace minimum-wage jobs with either slave labor (elves) or magic spells, there's less of an incentive to go to a self-service store model where the customer picks things off shelves $\endgroup$ – Nick T Jul 18 '17 at 19:28
1
$\begingroup$

The initial post gave me the idea of a Magical version of Apple's Genius Bar: "Oh, it appears your spell book was disenchanted. Unfortuately we cannot re-enchanted it but the Spellbook 8 is out. This one is lighter and can cast spells twice as fast."

Of course, all spellbooks would be bought on Amazon.com which has abandoned drones and is now trying to make deliveries with owls.

Honestly, I would go the route of a magical mall rather than a Walmart or Pharmacy... that way you can make the analogs similar based on magical items. Your spellbooks would be sold in a combination magic bookstore/upscale coffee shop. Your wands would be sold by some one going off on how making wands illegal means only evil sorcerors have wands and everyone should carry them for self defense.

Potions and Potion ingredients should be a CVS or Grocery store analog with muzak. Maybe there are various brands of spell stores that sell different trendy spells to different clients (mens spells, stores that specialize in brooms and accessories for riding brooms, a womens spell store, a kids spell store, a spell store fore tweens, ect). At least one magical goods store is "hipster" about selling spells and markets itself as a classic magical store with books and items stacked from floor to ceiling with no organization and allow people to find unusual items of various degrees of danger (treat like a dollar store if you want to twist that spoof). Perhaps magical moving pictures are now sold in stores set up like DVD or video game shops (with a bargain of selling old pictures for store credit or trading in used pictures for the stores other used pictures).

But that's just me... part of the fun of the Diagon Ally scenes in Harry Potter were the details each specialty shop had (such as various deals and flavoring) that would get lost in a Wal-Mart but could be preserved in a mall with tons of specialty magic themed shops.

$\endgroup$
0
$\begingroup$

There is actually a science in Marketing that provides a look and feel and layout for nearly every retail outlet built in the last 50 years. There are aisle width, product co-placements, deliberate angling and placement of shelving to cause shoppers to wander, encouraging impulse buys, and a longer stay in the Shop. I propose that your store would, depending on the target demographics look very much like any CVS Pharmacy, or Walgreens', with end cap displays, frequently sought items at eye level, and a gauntlet of kids-height goodies near the check out, to 'enhance' the buying experience.

$\endgroup$

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.