Buying and selling on the milky way of enchantment we call the Internet is about to get a lot more boring. Starting Aug. 30, eBay will add magic spells and potions to its list of “prohibited items,” meaning that any attempts to post or purchase these items on the site will be blocked. EBay unveiled its new rules in a 2012 Fall Seller Update, probably after fierce lobbying from the Ministry of Magic. So if you were waiting for the right time to monetize a hex you invented or buy an elixir that makes everything you touch turn to popcorn, wait no longer. Come Sept. 1, you’ll find nothing in the world’s largest online auction house but flatware, toys, garden supplies, and the other props of our withered, charm-free existence.
Taking a farewell sprint through eBay’s occult pathways before they darkened forever, we found a “powerful spell of vampire transformation” ($15.68), a “powerful female succubus lover spell” ($24.99), and a “djinn genie potion” ($14.97). There was also a “magical demon destroyer potion” that looked suspiciously like a bottle of eye-drops ($51).
When we asked eBay why they thought it was a good idea to deprive us of the opportunity to become vampires, conjure succubae, acquire genies, and destroy demons for under $150, the company replied:
We want customers to have great experiences on eBay, and we regularly review categories and update policies to deliver the best shopping and selling experience possible. Based on our long-standing policy restricting the sale of intangible items on eBay, we are discontinuing a small number of categories within the Metaphysical category, as transactions in these categories can be difficult to verify and resolve. We believe this update will enhance the experience on eBay and benefit our customers.
Which is all perfectly reasonable, though I’m not sure that the Seller Update contains the right number and combination of syllables to actually command whatever uncanny forces it’s trying to ban.