Shop Wizard Secrets
A helping hand to Neopets seeking the most competitive prices for desired items, the Shop Wizard has been one of the most frequently visited Neopians for generations. In fact, so helpful is he to everybody that he is considered a Neopian national treasure.
Given his history, when I was offered an exclusive interview with the Shop Wizard himself, I jumped at the chance. This is how I found myself, just last week, making the familiar trip through Neopia Central and the Bazaar to the Marketplace.
Unfortunately the Shop Wizard's helpfulness means that he is awfully popular. As I arrived at his door I found myself in a queue approximately 300 metres long, full of pets waiting anxiously to find out the cheapest places to shop, or the estimated prices of their wares.
Half an hour later I finally reached the front of the queue and came face to face with one of Neopia's best loved citizens. The Shop Wizard instantly appeared to know who I was and what the purpose of my visit was, and gestured for me to follow him into a lounge area at the back of his shack.
What followed was one of the most inspiring interviews I have ever conducted in my long journalistic career.
Shop Wizard: I've been looking forward to this interview. Please do fire away!
Abs: It's lovely to meet you. My first question is what initially made you choose this career path?
Shop Wizard: Gosh, this could be a long answer, I'm afraid. It all started many moons ago when I was a young sprightly JubJub. My father owned a magic shop in the Haunted Woods and I used to wile away my days helping stack the shelves, reading the magic books and, of course, practicing magic tricks!
Abs: That sounds idyllic; I can see how you became known as a 'wizard'!
Shop Wizard: Indeed. Well, one day a poor distraught Grarrl dashed into my father's shop with his eyes full of tears. After we managed to calm him down with a cup of tea, he was eventually able to speak and tell us what the matter was. It turned out he had been conned by a cheeky Flotsam into buying some furniture for his Neohome at grossly inflated prices. You see, he was told that he was purchasing a very rare and valuable wardrobe, but it turned out to be just a bog-standard purple wardrobe.
Abs: That's outrageous! What did you do about it?
Shop Wizard: This gave me my dream, my vision, my future! The Shop Wizard was born! I left the Haunted Woods the following day and never returned, settling in Neopia Central to create my legacy which you can see around you today. Never again did I want a Neopet to buy an expensive item when, unbeknownst to them, they could get it for a much reduced price elsewhere.
Abs: Did you ever get the poor Grarrl's money back?
Shop Wizard: Ah, yes, but that is a very long story indeed. I'm not sure we quite have time for that...
I gave him a pleading expectant look, hoping that he would choose to continue with the telling of the memory. He didn't take much convincing.
Shop Wizard: Oh well, if you insist! It took a while for my services to become established within Neopia Central, a few years at least, but all this time I remained good friends with the wronged Grarrl. I think he maybe believed I had forgotten my promise to return his money and help him achieve revenge, but I hadn't in the slightest. Indeed, I was merely biding my time, spending many hours plotting a heist.
Abs: A heist? That sounds slightly sinister! What did you do?
Shop Wizard: Well, you need to realise that, by providing such a helpful service, I became well-acquainted with Neopians from all walks of life. Good, evil, happy, sad, rich and poor - they all came seeking advice from my little hut.
Abs: Anybody famous?
Shop Wizard: Oh, too many famous Neopians to name them all! The Pant Devil, Jhudora, the Turmaculus – they all came to visit me. And that's how I started to hatch my cunning plan of revenge.
Abs: Ooh, I'm looking forward to hearing this bit!
Shop Wizard: Well, stop interrupting then! I spent many years developing a repertoire of acquaintances, most of whom owed me a favour or two; I won't name anybody for fear of incriminating them. Then, many moons after the initial bad deed was done, I felt the time had come for there to be repercussions for the conniving Flotsam. My Grarrl friend had tracked down the Flotsam's shop in the marketplace and, with the help of my friends, we set everything up.
At this point the Shop Wizard made a very deliberate glance around the room, as though he was paranoid that people would be listening in. He then continued with his story in a slightly hushed tone.
Shop Wizard: We waited until the run up to the month of celebrating, a time when every shop in Neopia is at its busiest, and then I very naughtily omitted his shop from any advice I gave about where the cheapest items on the market were to be found. This meant all those Christmas puddings and mince pies he had bought in bulk were spoiled as they just didn't sell, and his Christmas crackers would have to wait until the following year to be pulled.
Abs: I get that this would have meant he lost a lot of business; however, where do your friends come in?
Shop Wizard: You see ignoring his shop was just the start of the plan. Once the festivities had passed the Flotsam's stock was no longer seasonal. His shop was not big enough to accommodate the unsold items as well as his spring stock, so he had to transfer the Christmas items to his safety deposit box to wait for next year. However, as you know, as soon as he carried the stock out of his shop it was no longer quite so protected. My friends then all swooped onto the Flotsam, stealing pretty much everything they could from him.
Abs: I bet he learnt his lesson from that!
Shop Wizard: Ha! You should have seen the expression on his face – priceless! Part of me felt a bit bad for him, but then I remembered how he had treated my friend the Grarrl and those feelings soon dissipated.
Abs: What happened to the items in the end? They must have been worth a pretty penny.
Shop Wizard: The food items we gifted to the Soup Faerie to help feed the poor, and the rest of them we gave to the money tree. Oh, except one...
Abs: What was that?
Shop Wizard: There was a rather expensive looking Dark Faerie Wardrobe. Jhudora wanted to claim it but I refused, she already has three of them at home, and that went to my Grarrl friend. Finally he had the wardrobe he believed he had been purchasing all those years ago. It still takes pride of place in his Neohome just down the road.
Abs: What a great story!
Shop Wizard: Yes, yes it is... Gosh! Is that the time! I'm really sorry I must dash off; I have important business to attend to!
With that final exclamation the JubJub jumped down from his armchair and disappeared out of the door. I had no idea where he went, not that I minded as I was still in awe at having met the great Shop Wizard himself.
So there you have it, the Shop Wizard is not as innocent as he seems! To go to all that trouble for a friend, though, when so many pets would have simply shrugged their shoulders and done nothing, only serves to further cement his status as one of the greatest Neopians in history.