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Archive for August 18th, 2010

When I ran the magic shop in Vancouver, BC I used to think to myself, ‘self, you should write a book about the people who come into the magic shop” I even had a title, “Why Do All The Weirdo’s End Up On My Front Door”  I know what you are thinking. ”Why are you asking such a stupid question?  They ended up on your front door because you are in a magic store.  Just what did you expect?”

The point is, there were/are so many stories but I struggle to write them down.  Most I have forgotten, and the best ones I can’t tell because it would entail giving away some magic secrets, and that is just wrong.  However I do remember one from quite some time ago that does not require the exposure of a magic method.

For this to make sense you need a little background in the way a magic shop works:

When you walk into a magic shop we are not going to show you how an effect works.  We may demonstrate the effect so you can see what it does, but we don’t ever tell you how it is done.  Once the money is in the cash drawer and you have your receipt in hand we will tell you to go home, read the instructions and practice.  I have been in the rare magic shop where, if you buy the effect they will teach you how it is done on the spot.  This is a huge mistake for many reasons I can write a book on the subject, but to break it down to a very basic level…

  • If we tell you how it’s done, the magic is gone for you and you will not buy the effect.
  • You will see just how simplistic it is and refuse to believe that people will be fooled by it.  Despite the fact that it just fooled the heck out of you! 
  • Just because you know how the effect works, doesn’t mean you will be able to perform it, magic takes practice.
  • If you have to work for it, you will appreciate it more and be better at it.

That is not too say that if you really have a problem we won’t help you, but most of us have to see that you did put some work into it.  And we make it abundantly clear, once you have purchased the effect it is yours.  We do not give money back.  Magic is knowledge.  I don’t use most of the crap I learned in school, can I get my money back?  No because like your education, magic is a process, it is an accumulation of information, each item you buy, each book, each dvd is a lesson, how do you give the lesson back?  Obviously if the material is faulty we will replace it, and a good magic dealer will try their best to ensure what you are buying is within your ability to perform, and is practical for your situation. 

In the end, you are the addict, the magic is the drug, the magic shop is the dealer. You are the john, we are the prostitute and magic is the sex.  I know, scary right?  Well I’ll tell you something a little scarier, many magicians start performing to get the girls and in the end prefer the magic over the girls.  There is an old joke. 

Magician: “boy I wish my wife was still around.”

Magic dealer: ‘I’m sorry for your loss”

Magician: “Oh, it is okay, I traded her for a rabbit production box, but I should have held out for that colour changing handkerchief trick”

Or the magicians anonymous joke.

Magician: (standing in front of a group of recovering magicians) Hello my name is the great Randini I am a magic addict.

Group: Hocus Pocus Randini!

Randini: The other day I actually put down my deck of cards and went outside

Group: Yay, Randini, good for you! We are so proud of you.

Randini: I even met a girl, well okay she was a hooker.

Group: Yes, Yes Randini what remarkable progress so happy and proud of you.  Was the sex good?

Randini:  Well I got her up to the hotel room…

Group: (on the edge of their seats clearly happy for Randini)

Randini: and….I showed her a card trick.

Group: Awww, Randini!

You know, somewhere along the line this post took a really odd turn, but stick with me, I’m about to get back on track.  Thinking about it, this is a pretty long build up for a very little story, but what the heck.

So I was standing behind the counter in the shop in Montreal.  My father was in the office sitting at his desk working on the computer and by computer I mean a Mac IIe.  A customer walked in with a bag of magic stuff he purchased from us earlier in the week.  According to him everything he purchased was crap and did not work.  I remember what he bought.  Svengali Deck, Dynamic Coins, and a beginner set (plastic 4 dollar version) of Cups and Balls.   These are all really good effects and any magician would agree. 

I helped him out and explained things to him but he is not happy, I believed what he wanted was real magic and not a magic trick. I explained the sorry facts of life to him and offered to go over the effects once again.  He was not happy, he leaned over the counter and looked in the office:

Customer: “I want to speak to that man over there, the one sitting behind the computer!”

Me: “sure thing”

I went into the office and quietly explained the deal to my father and let him know that the customer wanted to see him. My father gets up and goes to the front, I head to our stock room and hear the following conversation:

Customer: “Are you the owner?”

Dad: (Who is the owner) “No, but if you hold on a second I’ll get him for you!”

Next thing I know my father is looking at me with a shit eating grin, “There is a customer out front to see you!”

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