The Crystal Shop Owner

If it isn't broken why fix it?


The Crystal shop owner was a man that Santiago met when he was trying to earn back money. The Crystal Shop Owner gives Santiago a job and provides him with some important information. The Crystal Shop owner is Santiago's foil; he is everything that Santiago is not.

A lesson in Standing Still

The Crystal shop owner tells Santiago he lives by the Koran, which makes few demands, but one of them is a pilgrimage to Mecca. Traveling to Mecca has been his life long dream. However, the merchant says that he didn't take the trip because then, he would have nothing to live for. Santiago and the crystal merchant represent the different paths a person may choose in life.  Santiago feels eager to pursue his Personal Legend and get to Egypt, the crystal merchant fears pursuing his dream because he worries he will have nothing to live for afterward. He also feels comfortable with what he has and does not seek out more. Santiago has already faced several setbacks in his journey, but they have all been due to outside forces, such as the thief who robbed him. The crystal merchant has faced none of these difficulties. Rather, he has made a personal decision to avoid his dream because of his own fear and complacency.  Towards the end of their time The Shop Owner tells Santiago that that seeing Santiago improve his shop and work towards his dream has led him to doubt his decisions and feel regret.


"I don't want to change anything, because I don't know how to deal with change. I'm used to the way I am."

Crystal merchant to Santiago.

"Every blessing ignored becomes a curse. I don't want anything else in life. But you are forcing me to look at wealth and at horizons that I have never known. Now that I have seen them, and now that I see how immense my possibilities are, I'm going to feel worse than I did before you arrived. Because I know the things I should be able to accomplish, and I don't want to do so."

Crystal merchant to Santiago.

Real Life example

Another good example of this would be Peter Pan. Peter Pan refuses to give up his childhood life and decides to stay in Never land as a child. He, like the Crystal Shop Owner is complacent and decides he doesn't want to risk giving up what he has.

Good or Bad

It was an excellent decision for Paulo Coelho to include the Crystal Shop Keeper. The Shop Keeper adds an excellent way to really understand how Santiago sees the world against a opposing force. It also provides a way to strengthen Santiago's conviction and get rid of any doubt.


The Crystal shop Owner symbolizes some one who doesn't follow their personal legend. He is everything Santiago is not. Where Santiago is dedicated to reaching his treasure  and is willing to leave everything. The Shop Owner is too scared to change anything even if it might help or expand his business. He is Santiago's nearly perfect foil and the definition of a refused journey.  

If it isn't broken why fix it?

Well in a way everything is broken and there is always a way to make it better!

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