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Kim
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WHile I'm not up there with Seth ,Rod,John and Louis, I too will thank Don.
I'm trying to learn more every day and hope to be out doing the pitch later this year.
Bill Beach
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Nashville, TN
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I have been on sort of a hiatus from pitching the past year due to moving and extended day job hours, but I've still been lurking around here almost every day.

I'll be back at it soon, have scheduled 3 street festivals starting in May, with plans on doing more throughout the summer. Have been working on my pitch and hopefully have improved my joint with additional banners, larger table (more room for the tip to gather around), and an improved portable PA.

I remember buying a trick deck from a pitchman at the Ohio State Fair when I was a kid ($2 I think, and I still have it), and being thrilled when the key card was the Ace of Spades!

Little did I know that 45 years later I would be pitching those decks myself (I now know it is called a Svengali Deck). Hopefully I can bring that same sense of amazement I experienced to a few of the kids of today.

I'd like to join the others in thanking Don for sharing with us his many years of experience, teaching us how to have some fun and make a few (or more than a few) bucks at the same time.

Thanks Don!!
DonDriver
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Bill,
I would say that was David Walker you bought thoses cards from.David broke me in ,so you can say the person you bought the Svengali deck from when you were a kid taught you the pitch.

Later Don
Bill Beach
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Ya know, Don, I have often wondered if that pitchman who amazed me with that deck of cards so many years ago could have been David. Guess it is a small world after all!
Louis.P.M
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Montreal, Canada
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Thank you Don for the kind words, and I think we are all proud here to carry on the tradition of the pitchmen... and getting paid a nice profit at the same time... and doing some magic on our own terms (a reason I'm not too interested in corporate/birthday magic jobs).
We get out there, we get sun burns (I actually got half-face sun burned once... really nice getting to my regular job the next day with that), and we become the envy of all the other vendors around us Smile Admit it, it happened to all of us.

That's when you know you're doing something right. That's something is all due to Mickey McDougall! then David Walker and then our one and only Don Driver Smile
Jon-O the Great
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When you say that other vendors envy us, that is really NO JOKE. Especially because the vendors in most shows just sit there, waiting for customers, while we PITCHEMEN call them in.

Of course, I do strippers AND cards, so I’ve had MAAAANY vendors near me say “Do you DREAM, ‘Have you squeezed one yet?’” Because that is what I say to bring people in to demo strippers. And I say it a couple of hundred times a day! (How’d YOU like to be next to me, listening to THAT all day?)

But what REALLY gets me is when other vendors gather ‘round MANY times when I do the cards, trying to find out the secret. The same vendors. They’ll amble over, as if they have never seen the demo before, many times behind me. And then before the show is over, they buy the cards because they can’t figure it out. I always tell ‘em “Read the instructions before you open the card box”. But of course, they don’t. They open the package and attempt the tricks without even collating the cards. I give ‘em Don’s famous, “$5 for cards, $10 for instructions.” But I DO get ‘em started by telling them to collate the cards.

I truly think that we PITCHMEN are the cream of the crop when it comes to sales, because we don’t just sit there, WE WORK!

Jon
sethb
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Louis, you are exactly right on the "vendor envy" !!

I have set up around other vendors who complain that the location is no good, it's too hot, it's too cold, the traffic pattern is off, etc. Then I start pitching and consistently pull good-sized tips all day, while they sit and watch the grass grow.

It's also nice to consistently be the ONLY Svengali/Worm guy at all the shows; it's just like having an automatic free exclusive. No wonder the jewelry people are always complaining, there are always a dozen of them at every show, all selling the same stuff and competing with each other.

Yep, I'm proud to be a Svengali/Worm Pitch guy! SETH
"Watch the Professor!!" -- Al Flosso (1895-1976)
"The better you are, the closer they watch" -- Darwin Ortiz, STRONG MAGIC
Rod Pringle
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You guys are sooo right! I hear complaints from vendors that the venue is no good, etc. and they set in their booth all day reading a book, etc.

Like Jon and Seth said , you have to call them in, that makes the whole difference. One guy was selling hand crafted walking sticks and canes, while they really were nice looking, he sat there reading a book the whole time, and never looked up,folks walked right on by. I am sure if he flashed his display and did some " calling in" he could have moved some stock. But he wound up taking most of them home.

ROD
sethb
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Even if you just say "Good Morning" or "Hello" it's still better than nothing. Some of these vendors seem to think that their merchandise sells itself, but those are the ones who always end up taking it all home again with them.

My goal is to stop ANYONE who walks past my spot; EVERYONE is a potential customer. I never assume that anyone is too young, too old or too whatever. I have had seniors buy for their grandchildren. Lots of people buy just to learn the secret (although they will never admit it). And so on.

We sell plenty of stuff, but we work for those sales (and usually have a darn good time doing it, too)! SETH
"Watch the Professor!!" -- Al Flosso (1895-1976)
"The better you are, the closer they watch" -- Darwin Ortiz, STRONG MAGIC
DonDriver
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You are right on Seth,and Rod's theroy of first to open and last to close can make you hundrends in just one season $$$$$$$.

One of the biggest things of a successful pitchman is being sincere...once you learn how to fake that....

Later,Don
sethb
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Cute, Don! But you are right in the respect that you always have to be "on."

Actually, I think that both the Svengali Deck and the Magic Worm are very good tricks for a beginning magician. Anyone who can do a respectable DL with a Svengali Deck is well on their way to working with a straight deck of cards. And anyone who can handle a Magic Worm convincingly can easily move on to other IT effects.

I also think that pitch prices are still a pretty good deal. The same Svengali Deck that I sell for $8 goes for $12 in the magic stores, and the same worm I sell for $6 often goes for $10 at zoos and malls (and I give out better instructions with more tricks!).

So I'm enthusiastic and proud of what I sell. I usually don't have to fake it unless it's 3:30 at the end of a long day of pitching, and I get a few tire-kickers or some bored teenagers looking for a free magic show. But even this sort of deadwood can serve as the basis for a new big tip, and once in a while they actually do buy something. SETH
"Watch the Professor!!" -- Al Flosso (1895-1976)
"The better you are, the closer they watch" -- Darwin Ortiz, STRONG MAGIC
DonDriver
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I think the squirmle more as a novelty item or toy than a magic trick.I also think IT is too good for layman to know about.They never connect the thin fishing line they get with the squirmle to any floating magic trick they may see someplace.

Now the Svengali deck is a really good magic bargin even for a pitch item.

Later,Don
sethb
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Hey Don, you might be right about the IT connection to the worms. Although I demo the worm with IT, I don't sell any IT because I know the buyers, especially kids, would not be able to handle it.

But to cut down on possible beefs, I do include a line in my instructions which explains that you can replace the nylon gimmick with a thin black thread once you get used to the moves. SETH
"Watch the Professor!!" -- Al Flosso (1895-1976)
"The better you are, the closer they watch" -- Darwin Ortiz, STRONG MAGIC
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