The Clouded Crystal Ball: A Psychic and Her Employees

The New Yorker used to have a mini-department called The Clouded Crystal Ball: examples of bad predictions taken from “newsbreaks” — little bits of text used to fill a column. In an interview, a friend of mine named Margaret Meklin told of a different sort of clouded crystal ball:

My first job in the U.S. was passing out flyers for a fortune teller on Powell and Market in San Francisco. She did not trust her psychic powers enough to guess who was doing a truly good job (it was me!), so she would periodically hide in the tourist crowds to check if we were passing out flyers quickly and efficiently and to a sufficient number of passersby. She gave a higher pay rate to my co-worker, thinking that he was more productive, but she had no idea that he would simply toss a whole stack of flyers into a trash can when she wasn’t watching him.​

8 Replies to “The Clouded Crystal Ball: A Psychic and Her Employees”

  1. I’ve gone into hundreds of [fortune-teller’s parlors], and have been
    told thousands of things, but nobody ever told me I was a policewoman
    getting ready to arrest her.
    — New York City detective

  2. Ahoy, Seth. Steve Sailer (the most interesting journalist in the US?) has just blogged a piece on “priming” in social psychology: another case of phoney science?

  3. Ahoy, Seth. Steve Sailer (the most interesting journalist in the US?) has just blogged a piece on “priming” in social psychology: another case of phoney science?

  4. Pingback: … | Glen Davis

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