Sally’s Psychic Gallery is not an envious place to seek the future. Located in a small brick building behind a gas station, the shop offers no outward sign of the supernatural. Prospective customers, be reassured: Sally possesses fortune telling license from the government of Cecil County, Maryland. In an age when consumers are expected to look out for themselves, Cecil County is one of a handful of places that want to protect the gullible. Anyone who wants to tell fortunes in the county needs a “License for Palm Readers, Fortune-tellers, and Soothsayers.” The county clerk checks a prospective fortune-teller's background for any “crimes of moral turpitude” and then, if satisfied, collects a license fee of $250. But attempts to license fortune-tellers do not seem to have changed the nature of the industry. Because fortune-telling services are inexpensive to provide and the credentials of would-be seers difficult to check, the profession attracts more than its share of shady characters. When a California court ruling overturned a local ban on fortune-telling businesses, the town of Huntington Beach responded with a four-page licensing law designed to, in the words of a local policeman, “make people jump through a few hoops.”Predictably, this did not prevent one fortune-teller from conning more than $150,000 from her clients a few years later. The moral of the story? Let the buyer beware. If only so much can be done to safeguard the unwary, why not abandon these policies altogether? Such a move may actually be to the customer's advantage―an unscientific survey by this correspondent suggested that fees for fortune-telling services were higher in regulated Cecil County than elsewhere. Whether the county’s sages would benefit from future deregulation is anybody’s guess. Well, maybe not: Presumably, Sally and company have already seen the future.