View Cart | View Account | Help
Order by phone: 800-880-2592
Check out our favorite NEW ARRIVALS
Need it fast? Order before 4pm Eastern and your order ships SAME DAY.

All times are UTC - 5 hours




Post new topic Reply to topic  [ 14 posts ] 
Author Message
 Post subject: Inflated Prices & Attitudes In Magic Shops
PostPosted: Tue Jun 03, 2008 11:18 pm 
User avatar
Offline
born to perform.

Joined: 15 Jun 2005
Posts: 684
Location: Orlando, Florida USA
Hello...and welcome to my first essay. I posted this elsewhere, but thought - at the suggestion of another member - that this may be appropriate and enjoyed here in the 'Essays' forum. Enjoy.

Regarding the mention on this board of over-inflated prices and 'rudeness' that occur when visiting local magic shops, I would like to make some points which we should consider when visiting a "brick-and-mortar" magic shop.

You cannot compare the prices in the shops to what you see online - especially on sites like Penguin. Online prices - especially from shops that do not have a physical shop with shop overhead - are going to be less than what average retail prices are going to be on most items. I get the feeling that some who visit the physical shops forget that.

True, many shops have over-inflated prices; but I have found that the ones with very high prices, (like Magic Max in Orlando, which I have mentioned in other posts on this topic), tend to be in very touristy areas. They can make more money selling to people who are unfamiliar with magic, let alone what the average, retail or 'fair' price is for various items. Additionally, IF those people ever find out they were taken for a ride, they are long gone from the shop. In those areas, I believe the inflated prices are aimed at taking advantage of tourist walk-in business rather than servicing actual working magicians. Working magicians should avoid such places.

For those not in touristy areas, I don't mind paying more than what I'd pay online. Here's why: First, I'm there. If they have something I want or need, I can get it with no waiting. I don't mind paying a little more to have it NOW. I'm impatient that way. Secondly, you get demonstrations. A few times in my career I have purchased tricks based on live demonstrations when I had previously not even considered the trick. I think that is a benefit of a 'brick-and-mortar' shop and worth a few pennies more in cost. Also, if you buy online, you pay shipping. In addition to having the merchandise immediately, if you add what you would've paid for shipping, I think you'll find in most cases that the retail cost is pretty comparable. Finally, a brick-and-mortar shop has overhead. Rent/mortgage to pay, utility bills to pay, employees to pay, insurance to pay. Those things are naturally reflected in their prices. Considering these things AND the fact that a magic shop will have very little walk-in traffic and is servicing a small, specific group of customers, you can't expect to see online prices at physical shops.

So if you want the priviledge and enjoyment of visiting physical shops, take these things into account before you complain about the prices.


The other thing is the attitude. Now, I've come across some bad attitudes with no excuse and that never changed. However, in most instances I've found that once I prove myself, (by asking for something only a working magician would need, mentioning or performing moves only a true magician would utilize or referencing another magician well-known in the magic community but not in the "real world," etc.), their attitude softens quite a bit and I end up "talking shop" with them. Here's what I think is happening: Those who truly love the art of magic get kind of tired of having people walk into their shops that know nothing of magic and ask for "that trick that the dude did on t.v." Regardless of who it was or what it was, there are a lot of people who will drop twenty or fifty bucks to learn a secret, never do anything with it, (or show their friends with an, "I know something you don't know attitude), and eventually tell their friends the secret behind the method. I can't blame them for that. In the last couple of years, nearly every single time I've been in a magic shop, someone has walked in wanting to know if they'll give a free demonstration, (meaning they don't want to see a specific trick performed for the purpose of deciding whether it's right for them, but they want a free magic show), and/or asking if the shop carries "that one trick that Criss Angel did." I'd have an attitude, too, if I got that all day every day.

So sometimes people who own or work in magic shops may take some time to warm up to you. Once they know your love for the art, your professional needs, that you aren't looking for secrets to tricks you saw on television and/or are prepared to purchase items - and thus support the shop and the art - then you're bound to get more personal and more friendly service. Remember, these shops are owned by people with feelings and responsibilities who sell secrets to the occasional "bad seed" while ultimately servicing a relatively close-knit family of people who work hard at keeping those secrets. ...That's bound to result in some cold shoulders in some shops. Put yourself in their shoes.

Keeping these points in mind may make your visits to the local shops a bit more pleasant and productive.


Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject:
PostPosted: Tue Jun 03, 2008 11:22 pm 
User avatar
Offline
Emperor Penguin

Joined: 03 Dec 2006
Posts: 7922
Location: Parkville, MO
Great essay, and I almost agree with everything. Everyone always talks about overhead, and I know it will be greater in a brick 'n mortar shop, but most online shops have warehouses that also have utilities, employees, etc. Just my two cents. But great essay; I'm anxiously waiting for more!


Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject:
PostPosted: Tue Jun 03, 2008 11:51 pm 
User avatar
Offline
born to perform.

Joined: 13 Nov 2003
Posts: 3462
Location: Pittsburgh, PA
RadioRob, I'm moving my response here with some changes.

You can ignore my other post, it sounds very contradictory to yours but in reality I don't disagree with you.

Inflated prices are bound to happen in any shop, especially tourist areas. The cost of everything is higher in areas where tourists and visitors flock. All brick and mortar shops have higher prices than online stores, which as you said are justified. I also don't care about kicking an extra $5 or 410 for a DVD or book if it comes with great service, a discussion, and some expert recommendations. However, I do have a problem with poor attitude.

I'm a member of a performance group, and we travel by bus for days on end at times. No matter what kind of day you had, what you feel like, or if you got no sleep the night before, you still put on the best show you can, because the audience is paying to see you. I see this as a parallel to the magic shop. Every customer is a possible sale. A 2-3 minute demonstration, or even a friendly demeanor could mean the difference between making money for the business and having 10 customers walk out the door empty-handed.

Obviously this is just my stance on it, and I know everyone has their "off days" where dealing with customers is the last thing they want to do.

-JT


Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject:
PostPosted: Fri Jun 06, 2008 1:58 pm 
User avatar
Offline
born to perform.

Joined: 15 Jun 2005
Posts: 684
Location: Orlando, Florida USA
miniserb725 wrote:
RadioRob, I'm moving my response here with some changes.

You can ignore my other post, it sounds very contradictory to yours but in reality I don't disagree with you.

Inflated prices are bound to happen in any shop, especially tourist areas. The cost of everything is higher in areas where tourists and visitors flock. All brick and mortar shops have higher prices than online stores, which as you said are justified. I also don't care about kicking an extra $5 or 410 for a DVD or book if it comes with great service, a discussion, and some expert recommendations. However, I do have a problem with poor attitude.

I'm a member of a performance group, and we travel by bus for days on end at times. No matter what kind of day you had, what you feel like, or if you got no sleep the night before, you still put on the best show you can, because the audience is paying to see you. I see this as a parallel to the magic shop. Every customer is a possible sale. A 2-3 minute demonstration, or even a friendly demeanor could mean the difference between making money for the business and having 10 customers walk out the door empty-handed.

Obviously this is just my stance on it, and I know everyone has their "off days" where dealing with customers is the last thing they want to do.

-JT


I agree to some degree, (and don't find your response contradictory at all, really). While I can understand and sympathize with someone having a bad day whose attitude may need a little tweaking; I certainly don't expect that everyone else out there would share that understanding, let alone my patience in that area, (though some days I am without patience in that area - again, a victim myself of being human). A potential customer is a potential customer regardless of what you expect may be the case when they first walk into your store, there is an obligation there to be at the very least, friendly and cordial if not helpful and appreciative of them just being there. Where I differ is in comparing a shop owner/worker to a performer. People are paying to see performers perform. There is an expectation and responsibility there that exists regardless as to what your personal thoughts are or how bad a day you might have had. The payment has been made; therefore, the guarantee of a show, (hopefully a good one), is implied upon receipt of that payment. In a retail store - magic or otherwise - good customer service and/or a good attitude is not required prior to payment being made. It may be ethically wrong and very bad business to be cranky to potential customers; but until the money is spent, there is no guarantee of a good performance or polite behavior just because you entered the store and may or may not spend money. Again, I'm not saying that is right; but a customer walking into a store and one who has pre-paid for performance are different types of customers and different guarantees apply.

Did that make sense or am I rambling?


Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject:
PostPosted: Sat Jun 07, 2008 7:08 am 
Offline
born to perform.

Joined: 27 Oct 2007
Posts: 729
Location: Canada
Very good essay. I hate attitude shop owners... I once was at a magic shop and a real ***** was working that day. I asked if they had any Geniis left and she looked at me and said, in a rude matter-of-fact voice, "Nnnoppe, sold out."

That annoyed me. Among a bunch of things I puchased I finally gave in and bought Sankey's Killer Key, something I have contemplated buying for a long time. Some of the DVD packages for Killer Key were, for some reason, in rouch shape, and I found the best one I could.

This ***** must have switched it behind the counter or something because after buying my items I pulled out Killer Key and found the DVD case was busted... so busted in fact that I couldn't even get it open and get the gimmick out. I finally busted it open and the gimmick inside had some sort of nickel from the early 1900s attached to it!!!


Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject:
PostPosted: Sat Jun 07, 2008 1:17 pm 
User avatar
Offline
born to perform.

Joined: 13 Nov 2003
Posts: 3462
Location: Pittsburgh, PA
RadioRob wrote:
Did that make sense or am I rambling?


Made perfect sense and I agree completely. I'm just of the mindset that if there's something I can do to increase the chance of a sale, I'll do it. Especially something as easy as a demo. I might be spoiled by my local shop. I don't feel obligated to buy anything, I can just go in and talk for an hour or two then leave (I always end up buying something). But the guys there are more than happy to demo or session with anyone who comes in. And judging by the success the shop has, it works!

Thanks for the insight and discussion.

-JT


Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject:
PostPosted: Sat Jun 07, 2008 9:15 pm 
User avatar
Offline
born to perform.

Joined: 05 Jan 2007
Posts: 918
Location: Visit my blog at magic-yeti.blogspot.com
Good essay and I agree with most of what you said except for one thing. There is NO excuse for bad service EVER. You shouldn't have to prove that you're a serious student of the art to get their attention. A salesperson should treat each and every customer with respect unless that person is being rude and then I would still attempt to be patient with the bone head. I don't feel bad for any store going out of business that provided bad customer service.

BTW, I'm in Orlando this week taking the family to the house of mouse and I visited Magic Max (at the Fun Spot) where I paid $25 for a $15 DVD. I didn't really mind paying extra for the reasons you stated. It ended up being worth the $25 anyway and Penguin doesn't sell it. I did cringe at some of the $45 DVDs that Penguin sells for $17 (WGMBTWGM series).

The sales kid was pretty nice at the store. He simply asked everyone who came into the store if they did any magic. Everyone except me said "no." He then asked if I did self-working tricks or sleight of hand. He did a great job of verbally evaluating my skills and making a recommendation.

I also stopped by Magic Masters in Downtown Disney. What a beautiful store but what a worthless store. Their web site rambled on about the "art" of magic but it was a total joke for anyone other than a tourist. They only sell a handful of generically labeled tricks at vastly over-inflated prices.


Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject:
PostPosted: Tue Dec 16, 2008 3:23 am 
User avatar
Offline
born to perform.

Joined: 29 Jun 2006
Posts: 1182
Location: Missouri, USA
MichaelKras wrote:
Very good essay. I hate attitude shop owners... I once was at a magic shop and a real ***** was working that day. I asked if they had any Geniis left and she looked at me and said, in a rude matter-of-fact voice, "Nnnoppe, sold out."

That annoyed me. Among a bunch of things I puchased I finally gave in and bought Sankey's Killer Key, something I have contemplated buying for a long time. Some of the DVD packages for Killer Key were, for some reason, in rouch shape, and I found the best one I could.

This ***** must have switched it behind the counter or something because after buying my items I pulled out Killer Key and found the DVD case was busted... so busted in fact that I couldn't even get it open and get the gimmick out. I finally busted it open and the gimmick inside had some sort of nickel from the early 1900s attached to it!!!


That is terrible. Sorry you had that lame experience in a magic shop.


Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject: Re: Inflated Prices & Attitudes In Magic Shops
PostPosted: Fri Dec 19, 2008 1:18 am 
User avatar
Offline
Emperor Penguin

Joined: 11 Sep 2003
Posts: 5297
Location: Canada
RadioRob wrote:
True, many shops have over-inflated prices; but I have found that the ones with very high prices, (like Magic Max in Orlando, which I have mentioned in other posts on this topic), tend to be in very touristy areas.


Actually, it is those areas that have through-the-roof rent. Store owners need to price their effects that high just to survive, and they need those high-traffic areas to make the amount of sales they need. They aren't gouging, they're just trying to stay in business.

8)


Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject:
PostPosted: Mon Jan 05, 2009 3:50 pm 
Offline
Penguin

Joined: 10 Dec 2008
Posts: 21
Quote:
Actually, it is those areas that have through-the-roof rent. Store owners need to price their effects that high just to survive, and they need those high-traffic areas to make the amount of sales they need. They aren't gouging, they're just trying to stay in business.


I disagree with that. The magic store near my house has some of the lowest prices I have ever seen and I didn't even know it was there before some heavy researching. It is in the back of an extremely non busy strip mall, but they have, for instance, loops for half the price of penguin before you add shipping.


Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject:
PostPosted: Mon Jan 05, 2009 3:58 pm 
User avatar
Offline
Moderator

Joined: 10 Sep 2004
Posts: 8861
Location: Las Vegas
It seems to me you just supported Wayno's assertion. He was specifically addressing "high rent, high traffic" locations. Your shop is in an out of the way, low rent area and the prices are reasonable. Unlike "tourist trap" shops with 3-4 times the expenses that can't afford to cater to magicians and their prices show it.


Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject:
PostPosted: Mon Jan 05, 2009 5:58 pm 
User avatar
Offline
Moderator

Joined: 21 Feb 2003
Posts: 14016
Location: Las Vegas, NV/Albuquerque, NM/Pensacola, FL
One of the main reasons you don's see many shops in malls is because of the rent. They can't afford the cost of having the shop because they have to sell Svengali pitch decks at $25. I work in a shop 3 blocks away from the University of New Mexico and we can afford to sell things at decent prices, but still have to put a few items above the standard value. We have to turn a profit. The BBM Karnival Decks were marked way up, since we can't get them anymore and they were in high demand. It's just the way it works. There's a magic shop in El Paso, TX that only sells Magic Maker items. That's the only company that they can turn a profit from and afford to pay workers.

As for the attitudes that you find, I've always thought it was strange that any salesperson, magic or not, would have a bad attitude. Now, I do feel that it's natural that after dealing with some little snot that comes in and only says "show me a trick" without even saying "hi" first that you're mood will be a little off. I've gotten to where I can laugh it off, but it took a while. To be honest, I've been fairly rude to a couple of people that have acted like that, but only when they're way off the deep end. As for the point of people being "in the know," I love those guys, but they cost me money. I work on a commission system and give up sales to other workers when I find someone that I'm enjoying having the conversation with. Ernie Earick is one of those guys. We'll sit back and discuss a move and I just subconsciously tune out the majority of customers, unless it's someone that I know I need to help with. I was in a discussion about the Diagonal Palm Shift for about an hour last week and just took the "in the know" guys off to the side for a little impromptu session. I just let the other guys handle the work, while I have the fun.


Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject:
PostPosted: Sun Aug 09, 2009 12:40 am 
Offline
Penguin

Joined: 04 Jun 2009
Posts: 182
I agree, but I think I was forunate enough to have a shop owner who doesn't seem to have that attitude, and after a while I started getting stuff cheaper than what is priced at because he knows I'm interested in performing and enjoy it, last time I went there, I got Mirage Et Trois by Eric Jones for $25, and, Eric was there to sign it himself (shop in Richmond he visits whenever he's in town) and he showed me exactly what I was going to be buying, so, I felt really lucky. Sorry, going off on a different topic, but back to your essay, I have seen quite a few people asking for free performances, I even saw a guy enter, act like he couldn't find the root he wanted (they sell swords, roots, herbs, candles, all that, in addition to being a magic shop) and then just stood around watching several of us show routines to each other and practice for 20 minutes until he decided to leave. He had a dancer come in last time and ask for a "fire trick" for her show later the same day (I kinda laughed a little when I heard that) so he showed her some flash paper (and nearly lit me up by mistake, I kid, it was at least half a foot behind me)


Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject:
PostPosted: Sat Oct 17, 2009 9:26 am 
Offline
Penguin

Joined: 16 Oct 2009
Posts: 14
Location: California
I Agree. Last weekend I traveled to Vegas and I went into Houdini's magic shop/museum and the employee was given me attitude until I asked him about the "metamorphis box" then he understood that I wasn't the avrage customer (since not many people know what's the name of the trick)


Top
 Profile  
 
Display posts from previous:  Sort by  
Post new topic Reply to topic  [ 14 posts ] 

All times are UTC - 5 hours


Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 1 guest


You cannot post new topics in this forum
You cannot reply to topics in this forum
You cannot edit your posts in this forum
You cannot delete your posts in this forum
You cannot post attachments in this forum

Search for:
Jump to:  
Powered by phpBB © 2009 Penguin Magic, Inc.