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The Magic Cafe Forum Index » » Food for thought » » How Many of You Have Been Accused Of.... (0 Likes) Printer Friendly Version

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Chessmann
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I used to visit a local magic shop about once a week.

I go to look to see what might have recently come in (new stock). I rarely ask for a demo. I never ask the price unless I am truly interested in buying. I do not buy a lot because I am pretty picky, and I already have enough magic to practice and work with - adding more would be pointless - unless I *really* liked it. That is why I try not to make demands on the staff's time.

Last time I was in, the owner, whom I almost never deal with, accused me of checking out tricks there just to see if I liked them or not, then purchasing them for less on the internet.

We talked it out, and he realized he was wrong and all was well.

Just was wondering if any of you had experienced that.
My ex-cat was named "Muffin". "Vomit" would be a better name for her. AKA "The Evil Ball of Fur".
tommy
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I know I wil get killed for asking this but what is wrong with doing that anyway?
If there is a single truth about Magic, it is that nothing on earth so efficiently evades it.

Tommy
NJJ
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Nothing illegal about it but Brick and Mortar magic shops exist to sell magic. They display and demo their tricks under the unspoken agreement that if you like them they you will buy them.

By paying more a B & M magic shop you are paying a premium to be able to a) go back and complain easily b) not pay Postage and handling c) see tricks demo'd d) meet and discuss with other magicians.

By using them as a free demo service you undermine their ability to make a living and through it the industry.
kregg
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If a shop owner asked me that, I'd ask, why are your prices cheaper on the internet?
POOF!
NJJ
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Huh? There are dealers who have a cheaper online store?

If so, I would assume it was because running a shop has more overhead.
Whit Haydn
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That would be correct. No demoer. No clerk. Just a shipper and a phone person. You don't have to add in all the other costs of running a brick and mortar store--high rent, taxes, liability insurance and other operating expenses.

If everyone went to SuperMarkets, the convenience stores would dry up and blow away.

But sometimes people are willing to pay extra for convenience or some other quality.

The brick and mortar magic shop lives or dies by how much magicians value the chance to see magic performed, ask questions about the prop before buying, talk about whether it is right for you with knowledgeable people, hang out with amateur magicians and pros alike, etc.

If you value having the magic store in your area, or consider the magic dealer a friend or at least a helpful advisor, then you should buy there at that shop every time you can. That is how you support the art.

If no one finds these places of value, then they will cease to exist. That's just the way it works. There is no moral reason to shop at a brick and mortar magic store, but that doesn't mean there isn't a question of values.
Michael Baker
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Understandably, most people would like to save a buck or two, but to use the brick & mortar shop as nothing but a place to research a trick or book prior to spending the money is pretty low. The owner has had to stick his neck out and purchase the items that he displays for sale.

Although we'd like to think of the B&M shop owners as friends, we cannot forget they are in it as a business. I have seen these things happen, having worked many years in a pretty large magic shop.

For those who have not familiarized themselves with the other side of the dealer's counter... Imagine for a moment that you had worked hard and saved for weeks, or months, or years to have enough money to afford to buy the one trick you have really been wanting. You wanted to not only own the apparatus, but also wanted the full disclosure of the method.

Now you posess that... and another magician who you see frequently, but someone who has really done you few favors other than hang out where you do, just happens to position himself so as to satisfy his curiosity about your new acquisition. Are you willing to give up for nothing what you worked so hard to attain?

Chessman, the above is NOT meant to attack you. I believe you were misunderstood, based upon the story you tell. This IS meant as a sign of support for those dealers who have been maligned in this manner before, something which I sense some people think they have a right to do.
~michael baker
The Magic Company
rhinomax
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Look at it in the shop owners perspective he is running a business based on sales not a club or a museum. If he or his clerk see someone there regularly who makes few purchases it is understandable he would get miffed.

Personaly I have found it hard to enter any magic shop with out getting at least a silk, some flash paper, a th**b t*p,some Cressey throw coils,fanning powder, hat tears, spring flowers, an expanded shell, as many dvd I can afford, a head twister, chop cup, 3/4"baseballs, a deck of tally hos, a himber wallet .

I guess that's why I live in a van down by the river Smile
NEVER UNDER ESTIMATE THE POWER OF THE FEW TO CHANGE THE WORLD "THATS USUALY HOW IT WORKS" MARGRET MEAD
Frank Tougas
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I have never purchased from an internet only store. Only from regular B&M stores that have a website, and then only for conveinience. Recalling at two in the morning the name of that effect you just have to purchase.

When possible I buy from my local dealers; Eagle Magic and Twin Cities Magic & Costume (There's a couple of plugs for you guys!) If I can't get it there I try for the originator's website. After that I stick to places like Hank Lee, Abbotts, or L&L.

If B&M stores were to perish I would dread the kind of crap we would end up buying via the net. It is important to me to have the type of relationship where if I am about to make a bonehead purchase, the dealer will have the integrity to steer me clear.

Frank Tougas
Frank Tougas The Twin Cities Most "Kid Experienced" Children's Performer :"Creating Positive Memories...One Smile at a Time"
Bill Palmer
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Here in Houston, the city and county have been cracking down on the internet stores and in home mail order stores. It used to be that you could escape paying city and county taxes on your inventory, office furniture, etc. Then our enterprising county tax assessor got on the ball and started actuall reading the DBA's that various people had filed. Some people were in for a rude awakening when they found out that their illusions were taxable.

But that's a little off the subject. It hasn't changed much, really. There was a fellow in our local club when I was a kid who had a reputation for hanging around the local shop until he figured out how everything worked. Then he would go home and build one. This may have happened because he had gone through the depression. Who knows?

Anyway, one summer our junior club did an imitation of him that culminated with a Zombie performed with a copper toilet float.

You have to look at the way dealers handle you and your business. I go to my local dealer about once a month, just to see if there is anything there I can possibly use. He has been helping the local magic community by sponsoring a junior club that meets in his shop once a month. So he sells them a TT or two, big deal. He at least has the courtesy to make sure they have a place to meet.

The closest thing you can get to that on the net is a chat room.
"The Swatter"

Founder of CODBAMMC

My Chickasaw name is "Throws Money at Cups."

www.cupsandballsmuseum.com
Partizan
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All I hear is about the shop owners having to compete with online shops and how hard it is now.
The attitude shown by chessmans local shop is one good reason why people are using the internet. I would have walked out of the shop and never used it again.

How dare the shop owner put such a question to a customer. Shops are for viewing items before purchase without obligation to make any purchase.

If I go to the Versace shop and try on a suit I am not obliged to buy it. The owner does not think I am going to go off and make the suit myself now that I have seen the cut and seams and the type of material.

SHAME! on the shop owner, SHAME! SHAME! SHAME!
"You cannot depend on your eyes when your imagination is out of focus."
- Mark Twain
sleightly
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"How dare the shop owner put such a question to a customer."

If a customer exhibited nothing but browsing over a period of time without ever making a purchase, I can imagine how an "owner/operator" could not only easily get irritated with the behavior but feel compelled to comment on it.

I owned New Hampshire's only magic shop for ten years. Thank goodness I make a living performing...

In addition to the rent, the utilities, the capital outlay on new products and the minimum orders, there is very little profit to be made. The volume just isn't there.

The only way a local dealer can compete is by offering something else. Free shipping, free advice, superior service, a place to see the goods before buying. Most shops encourage local performers to come in and "hang out." Some offer lectures (we offered six a year) and free space to the local assembly/ring/cabal for their monthly meetings.

Do they hope that some of this generosity sees a return on investment? Certainly, but many don't realize any profit from their largesse. All too frequently people take without giving back.

It is getting increasingly difficult for the local retailer, not simply due to the internet retailer, but more to the prevailing attitude among consumers that want Wal-Mart prices from a cottage industry.

I closed the local shop almost four years ago. This was not due to financial concerns. Although the shop never made money, it never really lost money either and grew in ten years from $2K to $40K in inventory. The main reason I closed the shop was time. So many products being released, no time for me to review them to make informed choices as to what products to carry (my motto: never carried crap or pipe dreams), and no time to sit in the shop for hours...

I occasionally miss it, I had many fine customers (and the occasional browser) over the years and loved the opportunity to spend time with visiting magicians and lecturers. The shop gave more to me than I ever would have hoped.

I eventually spread my retail efforts to the web through threeshellgame.com. In doing so I opened up the customer base for my La Maggiore shells, and limited my product range to a maintainable inventory. While I *could* discount to compete with other online dealers I *choose* not to. It is not fair to other manufacturers whose products I sell (who also sell online) and providing this material and the service and support I offer I am again providing a service to my customers that they cannot get from a discounter who likely knows nothing about what they sell...

Let's face it, everyone wants to save money. No one wants to spend money on a pipe dream, but if you go to a local shop simply to research tricks and then go online to buy, you are eventually contributing to the closing of your local "research establishment."

If you value having a local shop to do your research, give back to them by buying from them. Don't buy everything, be discerning in your choices, but drop your dime locally. Money spent local *stays* local and contributes to everyone's quality of life.

Andrew
kihei kid
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I have never run into the problem that chessman asked about, but I like him never try to be a pest to the owner of my local brick and mortar. As a matter of fact every time I’m in I will almost always buy something off of him, just because.
In loving memory of Hughie Thomasson 1952-2007.

You brought something beautiful to this world, you touched my heart, my soul and my life. You will be greatly missed.

Until we meet again “my old friend”.
Dennis Michael
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Having heard the other side (Dealers) you might be surprised how many go to a magic dealer to see an item performed then go home and buy it elsewhwere on the Internet.

One should support their local magic shop, if they truly want to keep them in business. The next major evolution of buying/selling will be on the internet. If we want to keep these shops alive we must pay that extra buck or two and be thankful we have a pro there to demo the item.
Dennis Michael
Skip Way
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This has always been a problem. Before the Internet, "browsers" would visit the store to see the latest tricks demonstrated. If they could figure out the "gimmick" they'd simply go home and build a bootleg copy of the effect. It takes a great deal of effort and time to learn every effect behind the counter of a magic shop well enough to demo each one on demand. Imagine putting that much time in on perfecting your show...only to have the client decide to show a video tape of a previous show to the kids rather than hiring you live. Same thing, guys. Would you then sit back and say, "Well...fair is fair."

My local shop owner and I have an arrangement. If I've seen something that I'm interested in, I'll ask him if he's familiar with it and can get it. He tells me the pros and cons of the illusion and we discuss how it fits (or doesn't fit) my performance persona. He'll tell me whether it's quality or junk. Then, if he can get it, he'll order it. If not, he understands when I order it from another source. I may pay a little more...but, very rarely more than I would have paid in shipping and insurance from the Internet source.

If the piece I buy from him is substandard or just pure junk I can return it with no questions asked. If the same problem occurs with most Internet sites...I'm just screwed.

I budget a given amount of money towards my B&M shop each month. He knows what supplies I use consistently and stocks them. He keeps his eyes open for new items that fit my show or style. He refers clients to me. I don't ever want to lose our supportive B&M magic shop network. God love 'em!

Skip
How you leave others feeling after an Experience with you becomes your Trademark.

Magic Youth Raleigh - RaleighMagicClub.org
Dennis Michael
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Same here Skip!
Dennis Michael
tommy
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I understand the complaint better now thanks. I think it was rude of the owner none the less. He could have explained, as you have done in a polite way without making unfounded accusations against a potential customer.

I know of a bank manager who tipped someone, who wanted to lend money to open a magic shop, to also hire out costumes, and that side of the business was a great success. Just thought I would pass it on as we are talking about magic shops.

I do not see why a magic shop can not sell on the internet and use the shop as a shop window and a storage place for their goods. Internet shops must have to store their goods the same as a brick shop? the only difference I see is the internet shop does not have to serve at the store. I do buy most stuff on the net but I do know the place I use most is also a brick shop. Actually most shops of any kind have an internet site now. I have bought my cloths from the same little tailor shop for years but even they have a site now.
I said I understand the problem better but as I write I don’t think I do really.
If there is a single truth about Magic, it is that nothing on earth so efficiently evades it.

Tommy
rhinomax
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Well said Andrew

BTW your shells are the best

keep up the good work

Topper
NEVER UNDER ESTIMATE THE POWER OF THE FEW TO CHANGE THE WORLD "THATS USUALY HOW IT WORKS" MARGRET MEAD
Clifford the Red
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When visiting most any locally owned business, if I enjoy the shop I look to support the owner with my visit. It is a conscious decision.

On the other hand, I have been to some magic shops where the pickins were sparse! Unless its on a challenge to create an effect or I have one of those demented ideas, odds are rare I am walking out with a piece of Adams plastic, sponge balls, or stuff in that genre.

But no, I've never been accused of that. I have been accused of being wrong though ;-P
"The universe is full of magical things, waiting for our wits to grow sharper." Eden Philpotts
Skip Way
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These days, it is very rare for a magic shop to be just a magic shop. Costumes, theatrical make-up, lessons, juggling, clowning, puppets, practical jokes, novelties, gadgets, books, videos, magic sets, slum magic, music, balloons, sound systems, latex masks, fortune telling apparatus, crystals, Wiccan supplies, Indian knockoffs, MM ripoffs...anything that turns a buck, sadly enough...because people walk in, check out what they want and run off to buy it cheaper someplace else....then tell their friends where they can buy it cheaper...who tell their friends...and so on. It's a cycle...and we all lose when a well-known B&M magic shop closes its doors forever. Loyalty HAS to count for something in a brotherhood... otherwise, we're just a bunch of self-centered wannabes.

Ah well, its a new generation. Ours was fun while it lasted.

Skip
How you leave others feeling after an Experience with you becomes your Trademark.

Magic Youth Raleigh - RaleighMagicClub.org
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