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Topic: Brick and Mortar vs. Online
Message: Posted by: DaddyDoodle (Jul 18, 2006 02:36PM)
I'm going to toss this one out there and see what it brings back. I'm interested in seeing what you folks think of Brick-n-Mortar vs. Online stores. Let's use a hypothetical for this:

You go to X-Mart and see a new printer you want. You get to look at it, heft it, play with it, maybe print a test page, etc. But when you're all done taking this printer for a test drive, you go home, hop online, and visit pricegrabber, Yahoo! shopping, eBay, and whatever other places you may frequent for online purchases. The item was listed at the local X-Mart for $100, but you found it online for $64.99 + $10 s/h. So you order it.

Here's the question: do you feel that there is an ethical dilemma presented by the fact that you used the Brick-n-Mortar shop to do your "touchie-feely," do-I-really-want-to-purchase-this-item decision making and then gave the purchase to an online source? I'm really interested in seeing what people think about this. I have my own opinion, which I deliberately have not shared. Please let me know yours.
Message: Posted by: Jaz (Jul 18, 2006 03:31PM)
No dilemma for me.
Saving $25 works for me.

I'm not big on online shopping for certain items.
I usually look around for the best prices at B&M shops.
If I need the printer right away I'll likely buy it on the spot or at least that day.

Now if it's a magic item you're using this analogy for I'll buy from a B&M before online in a heartbeat.
Message: Posted by: DaddyDoodle (Jul 18, 2006 03:57PM)
What if it's a trick you don't just HAVE TO HAVE this second and waiting will save you that same $25?
Message: Posted by: Jaz (Jul 18, 2006 04:56PM)
On 2006-07-18 16:57, DaddyDoodle wrote:
What if it's a trick you don't just HAVE TO HAVE this second and waiting will save you that same $25?

I still prefer B&M and working with people directly. I would feel guilty if I did what you suggest.
With my current finances the way they are, saving $25 on an item that normally sells for $100 would be very enticing. If it was only $10 or so I'd absolutely use a B&M.

Unfortunately all the B&M shops I used are gone. I really do dislike buying online and rarely do so.
Message: Posted by: Craig Dickson (Jul 25, 2006 10:21AM)
The answer is also fundamental. If you continue to not support the B&M in your area, but just use them for viewing, and learning before you buy, then go online for the cheapest, they will, as they already are, go out of business. There is a bigger issue though, which takes in both Internet Dealers and Brick and Mortar Shops, many which now are Internet Dealers, and that is of price. Service and reliability are not free, but the quality dealers stand behind everything they sell, sometimes eating the cost of the return in the name of customer service. It isn't all about price, its about the dealer that spent 20 minutes with you at a convention showing you all the tips in performance for the effect, the B&M owner who did the same, or talked you out of something that he knew just wasn't for you. The Internet Dealer that promptly sent a replacement, and said don't bother returning the defective one, keep it for parts. All that needs to be considered, it doesnít all rely on the lowest price, not in this industry anyway. If that is all you seek, then you lose all those benefits. But most donít think that far because money sometimes is tight, but you have to remember, it is tight for all of us, but we still care, and go beyond the sale. Now that is worth something. To me, itís worth everything.
Message: Posted by: Marvello (Jul 29, 2006 11:13AM)
I got a f****** coin at a B&M, and found it did not fit in to the gimmick I was using due to the fact that it was a profile cut, instead of wavy. I do not live near the B&M, so when I was in the area the next time, about 2 months later, I stopped in to the shop to buy a wavy coin. The guy recognized me and asked me "Didn't you buy one of these the last time you were here?" and then offerd to replace the coin for me, instead of making me buy a new one, after I told him why I was buying another. I said that I would bring the coin back the next time I was in the area to exchange it, and he told me to take the 2nd coin, free of charge, and to return the profile coin when I was in the area next time, whenever that may be. Needless to say, I returned to that store the following week with the trade-in coin and also bought a bunch of other stuff. I am now a loyal customer. I doubt that an online shop would have been as generous, and I am not saying that I expect them to, but B&M shops offer many things that online shops can't compete with, even with lower prices.
Message: Posted by: phaddad2 (Aug 28, 2006 09:17PM)
I agree that a B&M shop is the best. But to be fair I have also got good service from some on-line stores. I bought a die box on-line and the gimmick was split and they sent me a new one and said to just toss the broken one out. good service but this is the exception not the rule. I love going to a shop and seeing everything.
Pete H.
Message: Posted by: MagiClyde (Sep 16, 2006 11:06PM)
Unfortunately, I am one of those who has done both. But it really depends on the situation. As an example, I buy all my magic books at my local b&m. I know they will cost the same online, untimately, so b&m makes more sense. I have also bought several DVDs from him and a few tricks.

It is always a struggle between being loyal to either my local dealer or my own pocketbook. Many times, my pocketbook wins out on the more expensive items, especially DVD sets. Other times, he sells some things at prices that are outrageous compared to online stores. One great example of that is the invisible thread reel. My local b&m sells it for $40!!! I can get the same thing online on ebay for about $15, including s&h.

Unfortunately, one of the things that really hurt my local dealer's cause, as far as I'm concerned, was when he berated me for buying a particular DVD from someone else rather than getting it from him. He did this in front of at least two other customers. What he didn't bother to find out beforehand was that this particular trick (the Kreskin pendulum) was bought before I even knew that his shop even existed. I just wanted to try it in front of another magician to see if it worked. No offense was ever intended. This was not helped a month later when he had a local magician hold a lecture in his shop and the lecturer was selling stuff in the back of the store. One of the products was defective and the magician referred me to the dealer. Upon taking the item into the dealer, he helped me with the item and used it as an opportunity to indicate that I should have bought it from him instead!
Message: Posted by: munkywrench (Nov 2, 2006 01:57PM)
From what little I know, once you've been around enough, most shops ease up on the prices. They know you'll be around so they try and keep you. This is why I love B&Ms so much. The net is great for stuff you can't get all of the time...like sankey type stuff and other popular but not stockable effects.
Message: Posted by: Wizard of Oz (May 10, 2007 05:38PM)
You definitely reap what you sow when it comes to B&Ms. If you find a dealer you're happy with, and frequent their shop often, they'll work with you on multiple levels including discounts, special orders, matching lowest prices, freebies...you name it. In Cleveland we have several great dealers who treat their regulars generously. I find myself ordering through the web only when I can't have these dealers buy the effect I want wholesale, and special order it for me. Otherwise, I'll check sites like Murphy's Magic Supplies, or other wholesale dealers to see what's new, than call my B&M shop to order it for me. I save on shipping, they make the sale and life goes on. The web is great for one-of-a-kind items, auctions or for ordering from manufacturers who don't offer products wholesale, but otherwise, we have to keep the B&M shops in business. We all love magic, but how many places can we go that are truly magical? Magic shops are those places.
Message: Posted by: jwebyra (May 14, 2007 12:23PM)
I prefer to go to my favorite B & M shop first. Check out if they have it or will get it. If they don't I might order online.

Message: Posted by: Drew Manning (May 27, 2007 08:11PM)
For me getting to know the crew at the local magic store can be a fun experience. I have lived in 3 different states since getting into magic, so I have had the opportunity to meet and get to know a lot of suppliers over the years.

What I like about that is that they get to know you too and will often suggest effects to you that fit your and your performing persona rather than pushing the product du jour.

I have also found that I tend to get burned more often when ordering online. I don't get to see and feel the item before hand and sometimes when it arrives, I find it lacking quality. With the local shop, you know what you're getting before you commit to buy.

I have had some success buying antiques or itmes I am familar with online, but I really tend to prefer the local shop, espically if I'm not saving more than a few bucks on an item by buying on the web.
Message: Posted by: magicalmelvin (Aug 15, 2007 05:52PM)
I would love have a brick and mortar shop to visit, they are just not around. Being from Northern Ohio pretty much everything in Toledo is gone. If I need to replace my super needle balloons or need some flash cotton, I have to head to Colon Michigan to get it.

Speaking of Colon, when I was there for the convention, I noticed that they have a sign out that another magic shop will be opening in that small town. How can that town have all these magic shops with almost no population and cities like Toledo, Monroe, & Detroit not have any?

To answer your question, B&M vs Online, I have to say online because the cost of gas more than offsets any shipping charge. I wish I had an option!
Message: Posted by: MagiClyde (Aug 16, 2007 03:55AM)
MagicalMelvin, being from northern Ohio, you might want to look into the magic shops in Cleveland. Never been to any of them, but my understanding is that there's three of them there.

As for me, one of these days I'll have to venture down to Cincinnati to Haines House of Cards, just to see a new shop. Keep meaning to put it on my agenda.

As for my local shop, the owner and I have been building a better relationship than what I described in my reply above. Now I buy nearly everything from him. He is willing to work on price on some things and has explained to me why he charges what he does on others. An example of this is his ITR. The reason his price is so high is because it's a better quality product, at least in his opinion, than the cheapies.
Message: Posted by: magicblademan (Aug 24, 2007 09:54AM)
Online shopping is what I mainly do ,especially for magic items as my nearest shop for magic is over 20 miles away and not really that cheap compared to others on line.
So for me it will be online apart from when I am at a magic convention then that is different.
Message: Posted by: magicalmelvin (Aug 28, 2007 10:19PM)
Thanks for the info, clynim. I did look for a Cleveland shop but the only one I found was actually East of Cleveland so I never went there. I am going to recheck and see if I might have missed something though.

You would think Sandusky would have one too, they got haunted houses going in the spring for heavens sake, why not a magic shop by Cedar Point.
Message: Posted by: ViciousCycle (Sep 3, 2007 04:53PM)
At Chicago's Magic Inc. store, I'm gladly paying for a number of things:
(1) A chance to see the reactions a trick gets before I buy it. There's a lot of foot traffic from non-magicians, and it's great to see how they respond to a demonstration.
(2) A magician who will patiently walk me through some of the more difficult moves of a trick.
(3) Free advice. More than once, the magicians there have talked me out of buying a particular item and given me good reasons why it's not good for what I'm trying to accomplish. (And no, they're not trying to talk me out of an item and suggest a more expensive item in its place. They just want to make sure that what I buy actually works out for me.)
(4) A chance to meet respected pros. Eugene Burger is doing a lecture there later in the month, and I've had the chance to mingle with some professionals.
(5) I constantly get reinforcement with the idea that magic should be fun. Online presentations of magic tricks can often remind me of the magic ads that were in the back of comic books when I was a kid -- supposedly powerful tricks exist in the abstract. But when a trick is demonstrated in the store, one is shown how one can have fun with it and entertain an audience.
I'm glad the Marshall family is again directly running Magic Inc. I wish every magic shop could be like this.
Message: Posted by: DaddyDoodle (Sep 3, 2007 08:53PM)
Excellent response, Vicious!
Message: Posted by: magicupclose (Sep 5, 2007 10:56PM)
Obviously there are pros & cons for both. I prefer the B&M. You can physically view the item, try it, ask questions, get great service if something you want isn't in stock. Lowest price isn't always the cheapest in the long run. Just my thoughts on this.
Message: Posted by: phillipsje (Sep 5, 2007 11:11PM)
I enjoy the Bricks and Mortar but also like the good deals online.
Message: Posted by: Jason Fleming (Nov 14, 2007 02:34AM)
I try to stop in to the Brick and Mortar shops in the cities I travel to. Buying that book that I had my eye on from an actual store that I spent an hour in does three nice things for me.

1. I get the exact thing I wanted because I can hold it in my hot little hands first.
2. I support the dying breed of actual magic shops.
3. I get a fond memory that goes along with that purchase and becomes attached to the item that I take home.

It's all worth a couple of bucks to me.
Message: Posted by: housermagic (Nov 15, 2007 09:16AM)
I prefer the B&M shops to shopping online. However, if the B&M shop is NOT local and has an online shop(there is a local B&M shop BTW)I would order something from the website without concern.
Message: Posted by: walid ahumada (Nov 16, 2007 02:13PM)
Some of us are in the middle of nowhere, we have no choice, so we buy on line.
Message: Posted by: Angio333 (Dec 22, 2007 10:00AM)
MagicMelvin, there is a magic shop in Elyria called "Yellow Barrel of Magic". They would be a lot closer to you then Illusions in Willoughby/Eastlake or Mr. Fun in Brooklyn.
Message: Posted by: Angio333 (Dec 22, 2007 10:04AM)
I would always give my money to a B&M over an online store if they have what I'm looking for. You may pay a little extra, but you are paying for persoanal attention, a little instruction, and the networking. I also like to keep the money local.

I feel that buying an item online after wasting a B&M's time showing you a product demo, or discussing it with you is not the right thing to do.