The Magic Caf
Username:
Password:
[ Lost Password ]
  [ Forgot Username ]
The Magic Cafe Forum Index » » Food for thought » » Value, price, worth, and $4500 d'lites (0 Likes) Printer Friendly Version

 Go to page [Previous]  1~2~3~4~5~6~7 [Next]
Bball5630
View Profile
Regular user
140 Posts

Profile of Bball5630
Pikacard, No one here to my knowledge has said someone does not have the "right" to put whatever price they want to on what they sell. Everyone knows that they have the "right" to sell their own signature for seven thousand dollars. The point being brought up here and well put by Adam is whether it's done for the reasons brought up. People have the right to do anything, and no one will attempt or want to take those away. I have been reading this post for a while and just haven't had time to respond. Adam's post at the beginning was extremely well thought out and an excellent post. Kudos. I'm sorry, but one reason people are leaving out why these products are priced so high, is because the person wants to make money. I'll say it again, the person wants to make money. He percieves the value of his effect and puts it on a pedestal so that he will be greatly compensated for it.
I'm not saying it's right or wrong what they price their material at, I'm simply giving my views.
My response to Stuart Hopper's post on the first page, first of all comparing a coin trick to the Mona Lisa. Come on, there are so many difference there that that shouldn't hold water. I don't need to go into those. He goes on to say that many creators have pulled their products out entirely, true. This however is not everyones fault. Just as it's not everyone's fault that some creators have went to the other extreme and flooded the community with mediocre effects.
Bill Hallahan repeatedly brings up in his post that the creator can do anything he wants with the price. Of course, no one has argued that. So while we discuss this, so both can see both sides, can we move past the I can do anything I want argument? This doesn't get us anywhere, as no one is arguing it. To this extreme, we had a hurricane hit down here recently, and many places were out of power for close to a week. We had to go out to eat as everyone did here. Bob Evans down the road changed their prices, so much to where my breakfast of bacon and eggs was priced at over twenty dollars. The three of us eating was over seventy. Now according to Bill's post this would be okay. He goes on to discuss Supply and Demand. There was a lot more demand down here than there was supply, that is for sure. They were also entitled to price whatever they want to. However, I, and many others contacted the state attourney's office and reported them. They were subsequently shut down and the management put under review. The chain is currently being charged with price gouging. This is an extreme, I will admit it. I am simply saying this to say that there are NO black and white areas. It depends on the circumstances. Although, it is not unethical to price your product in the stratosphere, does it make sense? Notice, I didn't use the word right or fair, so no one can come back with "Not everthing is right" or "Life isn't Fair".

Mister Mystery brought up what I believe were great views on this. To which responses were more in the sarcastic line of comparing it to an Austin Martin or getting free food at the supermarket, i.e. Salsa Dancer. I love an intellegent conversation, it helps me see both sides of an argument, which I see is very important if you are to understand it thoroughly. Please, however, make logical arguments, this shouldn't be compared to an Austin Martin, a thumbtip would compare better, since is has been tried and true. Regan also brought up an excellent point of how many would've gotten into the art if thumbtips were priced in the thousands. We say that we would have anyway because we love the art, but we don't truly know if we would have or not. As he said what if the magician that your mentor saw would've priced things that high and he wouldn't have gotten into it, and this can go as far back as we want. So we really do not know. For instance, there probably would not have been many magicians in circuses, as the cost of the effects would have been astounding. Thus many magicians wouldn't have gotten their start, I for one. At least not the way I got my start as I did. This is guess work, so it's up to what you believe. I agree with Regan that if they were all priced so high it's a crap shoot of which ones of us would be magicians now, would Whit have bought that thumbtip if Al Flosso never went into magic because the one that showed him his first never got there. We don't know, it's guess work. Also as far as comparing this routine to a staple of magic, that isn't a legitimate argument, I see the point, but it isn't a proper comparison.

Back to the topic, Whit, yes, I am a full-time professional. Actually, I do love your work as well, your ring routine was one the inspirations for my own. I know you to me a good man, because Gazzo tells me so, and he's always right, just ask him. =) However, on this topic, I do beg to differ, that this effect is truly not worth the price. Your posts are very well thought out and have influenced my thoughts in a number of ways. Concerning the originality of effects, I see your point. We do so many tricks that not all originate with us, just the routining does. How much could the routining possible change in things like the vanishing bandana, so I concede that buying a routine is not a wrong thing to do in certain situations. I do, however, believe that this particular effect is overpriced, and that the arguments presented concerning the reasons for these prices of this and other over-priced effects are not accurate.

Simply my views.
Whit Haydn
View Profile
V.I.P.
5449 Posts

Profile of Whit Haydn
That is exactly the point, Mr. Pikacrd. We do not value our tools, our secrets, as we once did. Thirty years ago, no one ever asked me if I did that thing where you steal a watch, or put a card on the ceiling? The fact that this happens now all the time is a reflection of how these wonderful and once rare tricks have been cheapened by over-exposure. The specialness is gone.

The importance of protecting and treasuring our tools is something that people in magic seem to have forgotten. Aaron Fisher talks about the preponderance of "magic B****rds" in the art today--magicians who have not been fathered into magic by a mentor who taught them the value of our secrets and tools, and the necessity of ethical behavior for the sake of the craft. I think he is exactly right.

I am not criticizing anyone here. Just trying to make some of the points that my mentors made to me.
Bball5630
View Profile
Regular user
140 Posts

Profile of Bball5630
Whit, I agree with your points, although I think the readily availability of these materials is as much or more to blame than the price.

Sorry to add this, but your post popped up after mine.
Whit Haydn
View Profile
V.I.P.
5449 Posts

Profile of Whit Haydn
Mr. BBall5630:

Thanks for your nice comments. I do disagree with you, however, when you say that Kerry Pollack's routine is not worth the price. You give no arguments for this, saying it is only your opinion, so it is difficult to know how to respond.

Any pro who finds this routine can fit into his act would find that it is worth a great deal. A totally worked out routine with props and patter ready to go, that has been a cornerstone of a pro's act for years, is worth a lot more than this asking price. Kerry makes that much for performing the routine in one show.

If this effect suited me, I would gladly pay that much for it, and would probably not consider it if it were available for much less, knowing that every school show and birthday party magician in the country would probably be doing it.

You have not considered the time and cost of the equipment involved either. I have no doubt that the manufacture of this product is both time-consuming and expensive. Knowing Kerry's devotion to quality and detail, I am sure that it is manufactured as a pro's tool--dependable, sturdy, and practical. I have seen it performed many times, so I know that it is a commercially viable and successful routine.

Is it worth what Kerry is asking? You better believe it.

It may not be for you, but I am sure Kerry will find many who will gladly pay what he is asking and think they got a bargain.

Solid comedy magic stage routines are among the hardest things in the world to come by, and worth what you get out of them. I know, because I am always on the lookout for the few that suit my own particular style.

How many shows would I have to perform this routine in to make it pay for itself? Not very many.
bloodyjack
View Profile
Veteran user
Seattle WA
343 Posts

Profile of bloodyjack
Bball5630
You seemed to have ignored or dismissed the fact that custom electronics cost a fortune as mentioned ealier in this post. From what I can tell this is not a routine with a d-lite for $4500. It is a mass of microprossesor controlled LED,s concelled in props and body loads. If this is the case and I repeat I am assuming its as spectacular as Jeff McBrides new D-lite routine, the price could be justified.
"sir i sent you half the kidne i took from one woman prasarved it for you tother piece i fried and ate it was very nise i may send you the bloody knif that took it out if you only wate a whil longer"
Whit Haydn
View Profile
V.I.P.
5449 Posts

Profile of Whit Haydn
Quote:
On 2004-09-03 17:06, Bball5630 wrote:
Whit, I agree with your points, although I think the readily availability of these materials is as much or more to blame than the price.


The ready availability of these materials is to a great extent the function of their undervalued price.

It seems to me that the question "Is it overpriced?" is simply a ridiculous question on the face of it.

The proper questions are, is it a well made prop? Does the routine suit my own performing personality? Does it meet the practical needs of my performing situation? Is the investment in this product likely to pay off for me in my present or future markets?

What I object to in all of this, is not the discussion of price to value questions, it is the silliness of making statements such as "this product is overpriced."
Payne
View Profile
Inner circle
Seattle
4570 Posts

Profile of Payne
I was fortunate enough to grow up in a small farming town that had no magic shops nor fellow magicians in it. While I was not poor per se I certainly was not affluent and therefor ordering magic via the post was a rare and special treat. It mattered not if a trick cost ten dollars or ten thousand each was equally out of my grasp.
Necessity is the mother of invention and so I developed the necessary skills to continue my magic education. I learned how to get the most out of a single effect, I learned how to build props, I learned how to make magic effects out of everyday items.
Would I have taught myself all of these skills had I the ability to simply press the “Add to my Basket” Icon on a Magic Dealers Web site?
Most likely not.
This string of posts reads like a bunch of sour grapes. Our upcoming batch of Magi have this undeserved feeling of entitlement. No trick should be beyond their ability to know its secret, no prop unobtainable due to price or limited availability. They are not magicians but simply repositories of secrets. For some reason they feel that if they know as many tricks as Copperfield this will somehow elevate them to his level of recognition even though they can’t perform a single trick they know.
Some have expressed fear on this thread that the proliferation of high end magic will be the death of the craft. That these sky high prices will exclude all but the wealthiest of wizards from getting into the art. To these folk I say “Wake UP”! This is nothing new! There has always been high priced effects available only to the upper echelons of magic. Who do you think Owens Magic sells to? It is only the advent of the internet and the glossy magic magazine that has brought these purveyors of high end magic to your level of consciousness.
Don’t worry there will be plenty of moderate to low price magic made for the rest of us for years and years to come.
As to the argument that they are targeting high price effects to a market segment that can ill afford to invest $300.00 for a set of gimmicked coins.
This is America. This country was built upon the foundation of selling overpriced merchandise to folk who can’t afford it. Why do you think they invented Credit Cards?
Magic is and educational experience and buying magic sight unseen (high priced or not) is a big part of it.
When I was a kid I ordered the amazing floating ball, uses no wires!.
When I got the trick the instructions told me to attach the ball to the black thread.
Next I ordered the amazing floating ball that used no wires or thread.
Attach rod read the instructions.
Next up was the amazing floating ball which user no wires thread nor rod but came with a thumb hole on the back of the ball.
After this I learned to read magic ads very carefully before sending in my hard earned cash.
Another learning experience I might have missed out on had all these floating balls been inexpensive enough that I didn’t have to worry about wasting the funds to buy them.
Too many people know the price of everything but the value of nothing. If something is too cheap it looses its value. If it is overdone it looses its impact. The true marvel of a thumb tip is forever diminished because it is seen by most as a three dollar trick.
Don't lower magic to the level of banality simply because someone can't afford something.
"America's Foremost Satirical Magician" -- Jeff McBride.
Bball5630
View Profile
Regular user
140 Posts

Profile of Bball5630
Whit, I agree and disagree with you. For instance, you and bloodyjack point out that I must have ignored, dismissed, or not thought of the electronics of this effect. I did not and that was intentional. I still do not. There is no reason to if the effect itself does not have that much value to me. I repeat it does not have that much value to me. The routine was not my type of routine and I did not find it as enjoyable as a vast majority of other routines out there. Even if the cost of the electronics were double the asking price, that still would not raise the value of the effect to me.

You state, "I have seen it performed many times, so I know that it is a commercially viable and successful routine." For him, it is, and any who see it as a piece that can be incorporated into their act. It won't be for any magician, I believe we will all agree on this fact. You go on to say, "Is it worth what Kerry is asking? You better believe it." Again, value is not set by the person who sells the object, it is set by the person who purchases it. While you think it is worth it, I respect your decision. However, I do not see it being worth this. It is up to each individual person and their taste. There is not definite worth for this or any effect. No black and white area.

I will say the majority of my posts were not about this effect exactly, but the high-priced magic effects in general, and the reasons they are market so high. I may have strayed the topic, but that's where I was headed. I have purchased many extremely high priced effects, and have been happy with the purchases and not with others. I still, however, disagree for the reasons for these prices. If a person wants to limit the availability, there are many other ways to do it. If he wants to make money off it, however, raise the price, but state that as your reason. It would be understood, people have to make money.

BTW, I am one in agreement that I wish there was a way to make sure every person out there couldn't get their hands on magic, that there should be some discipline, and not just knowing how to type in into Google. I would love for there to be a way to achieve this. It seems the art is flooded with people who skip the basics and want to go straight to the extremely hard effect with no time to "grow" and develop a persona. I am just speaking about my views of these prices.
Whit Haydn
View Profile
V.I.P.
5449 Posts

Profile of Whit Haydn
Bball5630:

You said in your earlier post:

"I do, however, believe that this particular effect is overpriced, and that the arguments presented concerning the reasons for these prices of this and other over-priced effects are not accurate."

This is the statement I take exception to. It is perfectly fine, as you just stated, to say this product is not for me. It is a different thing to attack the value for price of the routine itself. To say this product is overpriced is meaningless and gratuitous.

It is worth what it costs to those for whom it is of value. You can certainly attack a product expensive or cheap for being ill-constructed, angly, not suited to your performing situation, not as adaptable to your personality as you thought, or so many different things.

These are totally different arguments, and worthy of a board such as this. I would love to know if a product that seemed worthwhile to me was actually not as depicted in the ad, was cheaply or shoddily made, etc.

What I object to is the common statement here that "This product is overpriced." This is a meaningless statement in the first place for the reasons I have stated, and secondly very often betrays the underlying feeling "I wish I could afford it. It should be available for less." That is simply envy laced with an unjustified feeling of entitlement.

I heard the same things about Bob Kohler's hold out. It is a great product, and priced fairly. It may not be of value to everyone, but for those who know what they want it for, it is a bargain. The questions that were asked were silly. "Why can't you make it available for less?" The answer is always going to be because it is worth this much. Whether it is worth that much to you is the question. For those who bought it and used it, the answer will be it is worth much more.
cheesewrestler
View Profile
Inner circle
Chicago
1155 Posts

Profile of cheesewrestler
For what it is - a thoroughly worked out practical entertaining routine, aimed at the working pro who is too busy being a working pro to develop a new routine with those qualities from scratch - the $4500 d'lite thing is if anything underpriced.

For what it is - a utility item with which purchasers by applying their own magical imaginations can create magic, and which will do nothing for those who lack such imagination - a $3 thumbtip is appropriately priced.
Doug Higley
View Profile
V.I.P.
1942 - 2022
7165 Posts

Profile of Doug Higley
Somewhere above it was stated..."Should it be cheep? No because cheep implies poor quality."

The implication that cheap is poor quality is not always the case. In my business, practitioners choose to charge hundreds of dollars for what I do. I CHOOSE not to in this community, yet my quality will not be surpassed by anyone.

It is also stated again and again that it is the right to charge what ever the maker wants to charge...this also goes for LOW as well as High.

There will always be low priced magic and services and in many cases because the seller CHOOSES not to charge high. I don't have any beef with any choice of any maker/seller...high or low...I get what I can at the time. Most all of us do.

I have a $5 trick that amazes folks every time. I also had The Lemon Game. In the outcome neither was worth more than the other and I would have paid hundreds to learn the secret of the $5 trick had it not been readily available at Tannens in 1964. Both are of value in my estimation.

This is a pretty decent thread.

Carry on.


Doug
Higley's Giant Flea Pocket Zibit
Whit Haydn
View Profile
V.I.P.
5449 Posts

Profile of Whit Haydn
Cheesewrestler:

The question should be, what would this "utility item" be worth to a working pro if its availability and the knowledge of its uses were extremely limited?

If only a handful owned and knew about it, it would be worth its weight in gold. I would, for one, pay more than $1000 for it if it met these conditions, and if it had only been available at that price--it probably would.
Bball5630
View Profile
Regular user
140 Posts

Profile of Bball5630
Whit, I must apologize for using the term overpriced, I should have said I don't see this being the value for me.

You state, "This is the statement I take exception to. It is perfectly fine, as you just stated, to say this product is not for me. It is a different thing to attack the value for price of the routine itself. To say this product is overpriced is meaningless and gratuitous."

Again, my main point in argument is the reasoning for the prices to be this high. I don't think that these reasons are accurate. I am debating these reasons, not the price of this product itself. Again, I am debating the reasons for this as being legitimate reasons. This is an entirely different argument than the one you are thinking I am arguing. I have not attacked any product, I disagree with the reasons of the high price, that is all. Keep in mind I have not
"attack the value for price" of anything. I am simply discussing the reasoning.

As far as Kohler, I have many of his effects some would view overpriced. I do not, however, envision myself purchasing his new Bill in Lemon routine for over $300, why? I have a routine that I love and the audience loves. Even if it was priced at $30, I wouldn't because I don't need it. I am simply debating the REASONS people state for their high prices.
Whit Haydn
View Profile
V.I.P.
5449 Posts

Profile of Whit Haydn
Bball5630:

I understand what you are saying, and didn't mean to attack you at all.

However, Kerry Pollack has not explained why he is charging that for his product. These are all just suppositions by myself and others on the board.

I do not know which arguments you are referring to when you say you don't agree with the reasoning. The high cost of production of a limited item, the setting of a high price to keep exclusivity--which of these or others are you disagreeing with?
Bball5630
View Profile
Regular user
140 Posts

Profile of Bball5630
Mainly the reasons listed in Adam's post where the reasons I disagree with.
pikacrd
View Profile
Veteran user
Florida
387 Posts

Profile of pikacrd
Quote:
On 2004-09-03 18:10, Xmosis wrote:
Somewhere above it was stated..."Should it be cheep? No because cheep implies poor quality."

The implication that cheap is poor quality is not always the case. In my business, practitioners choose to charge hundreds of dollars for what I do. I CHOOSE not to in this community, yet my quality will not be surpassed by anyone.


Doug,
Than what you are doing is not cheep.
“Indubitably, Magic is one of the subtlest and most difficult of the sciences and arts. There is more opportunity for errors of comprehension, judgment and practice than in any other branch of physics”. William S. Burroughs 1914-1997 American Writer
Whit Haydn
View Profile
V.I.P.
5449 Posts

Profile of Whit Haydn
Bball5630 said:

"Mainly the reasons listed in Adam's post where the reasons I disagree with."

Quote:
On 2004-09-02 14:25, Adam wrote:

Those who price these items and defend such pricing make the following points:

1) What you are getting for the money is a professional routine, honed after hundreds of performances, through thousands of hours of experience. Some of the price is reflected in these ‘intangibles’.
2) These items are ‘priced for exclusivity’ – if they were cheap, everyone would buy it, thereby devaluing the routine (especially, when performing poorly by amateurs). So the item is priced with professionals in mind, and making it expensive ensures that the routine will not be ‘abused’ by overexposure.
3) It is often said that the item in question will ‘pay for itself’. Some reviewers like the phrase “worth the price of admission” when explaining why a single effect in a book/DVD is worth the price of the entire collection since that one effect will pay for itself in performances. What is meant is that if you pay 50 bucks for a trick that lands you another paying gig, that 50 buck investment was well-spent.
4) Manufacturers and marketers of the items often invoke ‘hidden’ costs involved in producing an item. They tell us that many prototypes were tested before the finished product was released; that advertising, producing, and distributing the item is a costly process; and that hours of thought, trial-and-error and other ‘hidden costs’ have forced the price up.
5) A related but distinct argument is that magic items are not mass-produced (unlike, say, sugar) due to the relatively limited market available for these items. Hence, many of the production costs are absorbed in the price and cannot be spread over tens of thousands of individual items.
6) Finally, it is argued that in a free-market people are free to charge what they wish for their products, and if the consumer deems the price unfair, they are free to vote with their wallets and refrain from purchasing the item. Or, as some have put it, “nobody’s forcing you to buy it! If you don’t think it’s fair, don’t spend the money!”.

There are other arguments raised from time to time, and clichés about the item being ‘the real work’ or about a performer ‘tipping his mitt’ are brandied about as justification for the price. But the six points above represent the sellers’ case.

Some of these points are more convincing than others, but each of them can be rebutted (justifiably or not) by consumers. In presenting the buyers’ case, first I’ll address each of the six points above and then make a few separate points.

1) Although the routine is a ‘real-world worker’, drawing on a million hours of experience, so are the routines found in many magic books and on many videos. Take Quentin Reynolds’s “5 minutes with a pocket handkerchief” routine. It is a masterpiece to which all the usual clichés can be applied (‘tipping his mitt’, ‘real work’, ‘thousands of performances’) but it is still $30 for the DVD. It would be unreasonable to package the DVD complete with necessary handkerchief and sell it for $400. Or take Tommy Wonder’s cups and balls routine – you can learn it (with a bunch of other excellent routines) from his book ($40) or DVD ($30). It is a real improvement on a classic of magic, by a master of the craft. It does not cost hundreds of dollars to learn. Now, some may argue that it SHOULD; that it (and the Reynolds routine) is too cheap. But the truth is that until very recently, only top magicians published their materials in books. The top performers would tip their mitts in a celebrated volume (for around $40) and that would be it. In other words, decades of precedent have dictated that ‘professional routines honed through hundreds of performances’ DON’T cost hundreds of dollars.

2) Pricing for exclusivity works. It makes expensive items exclusive to people with money. But people with money can be rich-kids from Bel Air who “are into magic” this week and have a blank check to spend on the latest effect. Meanwhile, a struggling professional who could put the routine to better use is excluded by the exclusivity. In other words, pricing for exclusivity does not ensure that only professionals will use a routine, it ensures that only wealthy people (who may be terrible performers or who may have no respect for secrets and show the workings of the routine to their friends) can afford it. This simply makes no sense.

3) ‘Pay for itself’ or ‘worth the price of admission’ is perhaps the most popular argument used by sellers. Were a logician to hear this, I suspect they would have at least a mild cardiac episode. It makes no sense simply because things have an intrinsic (or ‘objective’) value as well as a subjective value. Prices are governed by ‘objective’ values. Take the following example: if you are in desperate need for medical attention and you call a cab, who gets you to the hospital in time and saves your life, you owe the cabbie $5 (or whatever the fare may be), not millions of dollars (or whatever pricetag you put on your life). “But, but, but, HE SAVED MY LIFE! Isn’t my life worth more than $5?”. Yes, it probably is but there are established fares for taxi-rides and what you can learn from this case is that it was $5 well-spent, not millions of dollars cheaper than it should have been. Back to magic: suppose the dynamic coins effect DOES land you that lucrative contract with Fox do you then owe the creator hundreds of thousands of dollars? No. If you don’t succeed in fooling anyone with the trick, do you get your money back? No. If the trick flops and you LOSE your contract with Fox, can you sue the Dynamic Coins company for lost revenue? You can try but you’ll end up paying a whole bunch of legal fees for you and the defendant. The point is that only the performer can affect how useful the item will be for him/her; the fact that for one reviewer it ‘was worth the price of admission’ is great, but it does not change the intrinsic value of the item. (It will probably increase sales, but that would just make the price lower, as per points 5 and 6 above).

4) The argument about ‘hidden costs’ is perhaps the least convincing and the most cacophonous to the ears of a philosopher or logician. By this logic, the stupider a creator is, the more the buyer should pay for the item since it took 72 failed prototypes rather than the usual 3 to get the item working properly. Free-market economics favour ingenuity not stupidity. So the hidden hours of development do not deserve to make an appearance here. But there ARE legitimate costs involved in producing an item, and for the counter-argument to these costs see the next point.

5) Production costs are very, very real. Being in a small-field as magic is, these costs have to be absorbed by fewer sales than something mass-produced. True and fair enough. But there are two problems with this: A) It is not the consumer’s problem. The seller has to make the necessary calculations before embarking on a project and decided whether or not the venture is economically viable. If it isn’t, then don’t do it. If it is – great. But it is unreasonable and unfair to calculate the viability of an item on the assumption that the consumer will shoulder some of the production costs. This does not happen in ANY other field, and magic is not the smallest market out there. Why should magic be any different? If a magic company in Kansas decides to commission its handiwork on an item from someone in Switzerland that’s their prerogative; but Mr. and Mrs. A. Consumer should not pay for the stamps that went on the letters to and from Switzerland when the item was being developed. B) This argument about hidden costs collapses when looking through magic catalogues/websites and seeing items that ARE reasonably priced. A folding coin does not cost hundreds of dollars. Nor does a thumb-tip. Admittedly, these items are sold in the thousands. But what about relatively obscure magic-items that are, nonetheless, reasonably priced? There are many gimmicks out there for the ‘bill-in-lemon’ routine. The vast majority of them were crafted especially for the magic market (i.e., they’re not just a bottle-cap opener that is being repackaged). So why do some of these gimmicks cost tens of dollars whereas others cost HUNDREDS of dollars? The way around exorbitant production costs is to have things produced overseas. This would slash the price of the ‘precision apparatus’ involved. Many magic products (whether or not you know this) IS manufactured in India/China. The fact that some dealer out there insists on commissioning his friend in Vegas or Switzerland to do the job should not prejudice the interests of the average consumer.

6) The strongest (in my opinion) argument is that we are free to buy or reject whatever we like, just as the seller is free to name his price. This is true. It’s unethical, but it’s true. The reason it’s unethical is that it exploits the fact that the seller has something that the buyer wants and cannot obtain in any other way. If you have a bottle of water and you come across someone who is dying of thirst you CAN charge him thousands of dollars for the bottle (and he’ll probably feel compelled to pay your price) but you’d be a world-class jerk. The average magic enthusiast cannot produce his own thumb-tips; if he needs one for his show, he’ll pay whatever it costs to get it. If only one person in the world sells thumb-tips they are FREE to charge a million bucks for it, and the buyer is FREE to reject the offer, but this is a far cry from ‘fair’. The question is, how much does the average consumer need these exclusively-priced items? A reasonable voice would say: “surely having the latest bill-in-lemon routine is not comparable to a dehydrated man in the desert who will pay anything for water! It’s just a magic-trick and those who don’t NEED it will know not to waste (too much) money on it”. But here’s where things become subtly perverse: these items that are ostensibly aimed at professionals who will use the routine in performances and recoup the money spent on it quickly are AGGRESSIVELY marketed at amateurs. There are glossy, full-coloured ads in magic magazines and a considerable amount of hype generated on boards such as the Magic Café. The language used in many of these ads suggests that it is precisely the (incredibly wealthy?) amateur who is being targeted; promises about how easy the routine is; how few sleights are involved; how you’ll be amazing your audiences within no time (note that this is appeals to amateurs rather than professionals; amazing one’s audience is all an amateur wants from his performance, whereas considerations that interest professionals are rarely mentioned), all indicate that the marketers of these effects would be more than happy if a wealthy amateur bought the routine. The fact that you don’t have to pass a test or prove competence to buy any of these routines (that are priced to keep exclusive to professionals…) suggests that the aggressive marketing campaigns target non-professionals. The problem with THIS is that many of these people are impressionable youngsters who don’t want to feel left-out and who will find the ridiculous amount of money needed to buy U3F or card-thru-window or whatever is hyped-up on the Café.
Do these people NEED the item? Abso-frikin’-lutely not. But by dangling the newest, latest, greatest, best item out there in front of young hobbyists who lack self-esteem is very problematic, to say the least. It is fair game in a free-market society, but predatory in no small measure. A cynical use of this is the pre-order option that many sellers have adopted; they hype the item till the heavens, sell a bunch of them to people who don’t want to feel left out, and then, when the reviews finally come in (and are invariably less enthusiastic than the pre-sales hype…) sales plummet. The seller is, of course, happy as most of the money was made from pre-sales. Very clever.

This brings us to two final points of relevance to the topic.

1) The reaction against the $4500 d’lites is probably an expression of a feeling that has been bubbling under the surface for a while amongst consumers. The feeling is that there is an ever-increasing commercialisation of the magic-scene, which leads to a great measure of exploitation of consumers. That L&L produce on four DVDs material that could have fit onto one or two DVDs (based on the reviews) is getting on people’s nerves; that a routine with d’lites is being marketed at $4500 makes people wonder “do they really think I’m stupid?” (and then, when they think back to their magic-drawer chock full of evidence that they HAVE proven to be ‘that stupid’, feel their blood boil); and that on a weekly basis the next great thing is hailed by the big-wigs of magic, thereby placing enormous strain on the pockets of those who don’t want to feel left out – all of this leads consumers to feel that magic dealers are taking them for a ride.

2) In pricing magic items, the silent variable that distinguishes this field from other markets is that buyers are almost always charged for ‘secrets’. It is a given that the price of an item is higher than the worth of the raw materials involved because one has to pay for the secret too. Perhaps this is what is driving prices up; perhaps it’s the fact that with easy access to publishing any idiot with his tiger-bicycle deck can produce an e-book with downloadable videos that is making items of real quality that much more expensive.
Whatever the case may be, it will only change when buyers and sellers reach a status-quo whereby competition amongst dealers coupled with the discipline of buyers encourages prices to level out. I am not holding my breath.


These are the arguments that I have been essaying against throughout the thread. I do not accept any of Adam's points here, for the reasons I have stated. Be glad to discuss them in more detail if someone wants to defend one of Adam's points.
Regan
View Profile
Inner circle
U.S.A.
5712 Posts

Profile of Regan
Quote:
On 2004-09-03 15:53, whithaydn wrote:

In response to Regan's comments, I just have to say that no great magician would have been stopped from becoming a magician because he couldn't afford the props. Nothing could stop them. That is why they are great. Making it more difficult for people to get into magic is not a bad thing.



With all due respect sir, I don't know how you could know this.

As far as the billiard ball story goes, you were able to buy the billiard ball holder for a much lower price because you were judged qualified to use it. This was never mentioned with the thumbtip scenario. I might think differently if I were told that they are priced $1,000 for novices, but once you prove your dedication to the art, then the price drops substantially. Had Mr. Flosso been asking $1,000 for that ball holder and that was the final price, no discounts no matter what, I'm sure it would have been disappointing for to you to walk out of his shop empty handed that day. You might have had the determination to work even harder, save up and do whatever it took to get that ball holder, but many would not. And remember, we're only talking about thumbtips and ball holders right now. You would have had to save for a long time to get enough magic to do a close up performance, not to mention the larger, more expensive props you would need if you get into stage magic.

Regan
Mister Mystery
Payne
View Profile
Inner circle
Seattle
4570 Posts

Profile of Payne
But had he been determined enough he

A: would have raised the money to buy the Ball Holder

B: Figured out how to construct his own

C: Created a new way to secretly obtain a ball without using a dropper.

If you want to do something bad enough you'll figure out a way to acomplish it.

When everything is easily obtainable nothing is of any value.

I've always wanted a Stull Watch but you don't see me moping around or complainging because I can't justify spending the cash for one.
"America's Foremost Satirical Magician" -- Jeff McBride.
bishthemagish
View Profile
Inner circle
6013 Posts

Profile of bishthemagish
I want to start of by thanking Whit Haydn for some real wonderful posting. For me it was great and well written.

But I have the feeling that some of the people that are responding to the post have not - invented an effect - performed it for years - and had it take by a manufacture.

And that some of them may have never performed an effect for years and then put it on the magic market and found out how costly that can be.

And many I feel - have never HAD TO put your effects on the magic market - because if they don't claim credit for their own routines - OTHERS WILL!

There are magicians in the sub culture of magic that are in so much need of getting a reputation in magic. Or a name in the sub culture of magicians world... They will take the short cut. That is the taking ideas of others and then publishing them for their own reputation and profit.

As I said some magicians today take this short cut. But I find the longer road to fame and fortune in magic more fun. That is invenitng ideas and using those ideas -WHEN PERFORMING SHOWS!

And when the others see my show and try to take the ideas... That can be anoying but it is part of the game and is something that all WORKING PRO'S have to live with!
Glenn Bishop Cardician

Producer of the DVD Punch Deal Pro

Publisher of Glenn Bishop's Ace Cutting And Block Transfer Triumphs
The Magic Cafe Forum Index » » Food for thought » » Value, price, worth, and $4500 d'lites (0 Likes)
 Go to page [Previous]  1~2~3~4~5~6~7 [Next]
[ Top of Page ]
All content & postings Copyright © 2001-2022 Steve Brooks. All Rights Reserved.
This page was created in 0.19 seconds requiring 5 database queries.
The views and comments expressed on The Magic Café
are not necessarily those of The Magic Café, Steve Brooks, or Steve Brooks Magic.
> Privacy Statement <

ROTFL Billions and billions served! ROTFL