Why does Fantasma sell non-magic items?

Addresses new and interesting links to other sites (not listed on the Genii website) that merit attention.

Postby Steve Hook » 10/21/03 03:17 PM

For all the excellent tricks, consultants, packaging, and quality (I believe, not having actually seen anything), I was disappointed to see that they are marketing fake vomit and dog poop on one of their webpages.

I don't care if it's economically viable. Where is the integrity?

Steve H :confused:
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Postby Richard Kaufman » 10/21/03 09:54 PM

Steve, your post does not take into account the realities of surviving in today's business world.
Fantasma cannot survive just by making magic sets. It's expensive as hell.
Fake vomit and doggie-doo have been sold for over half a century at least, and will continue to be sold. Why shouldn't Fantasma grab some of that business?
They're not including fake vomit and doggie-doo in magic sets!
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Postby Pete Biro » 10/21/03 10:49 PM

At Davenport's some time back, Pat Page and I were fooling around with some magic when an elderly woman walked in and asked if he sold the "Mucky Pup" (British for dog doo).

Pat said, "Yes m'am, I'll get you one."

He goes in back room and comes out with a paper bag.

Woman looks into bag and says, "My good man, do you have a different colour?"

Pat says, "Sorry M'am, but we only have the one dog."

:D :D :D :D :D
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Postby Guest » 11/03/03 03:49 AM

I can see where someone might feel let down that a company has to rely on dog sale to survive... but it really shouldn't be the company that is looked upon as shameful as much as it is the community that forces a company into making the poopie decision... had Fantasma received more support from our secret society then maybe little rubber dogs wouldn't be forced to poop into a rack pack for a buck. Lets not blame a company for stooping or squatting lets blame ourselves for not being loyal customers.

Or better yet lets not blame anyone if you like one of their products, buy it if dont like another skip it it pretty simple

As for Fantasma or any other fake Dog doo makers put out the best crap you can :mad: dont put out any crappy crap people don't want to take crap off of anyone as it is; let alone a bad crap.

That probably sounded a lot funnier in my head than it will read pain and pain killers at 5:45 in the morning will have thinking some of the dumbest crap :sleep:

Just having fun

Ken
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Postby Guest » 11/03/03 11:36 AM

Fantasma's problem is that they do not know how to demonstrate. I went in to spy on them and I can assure you all that they have no idea what they are doing.

The fellow there made a rude remark about the quality of Marvin's Magic merchandise to a customer in my presence. Marvin seems to be competitor, from what I can gather and I also get a vibe that the relationship is not a harmonious
one. Still, there is no need to make rude remarks about someone else's merchandise. You never know who may be listening.
[censored] may be standing there and could report the matter back to Marvin.

I did go to the competitor to have a look. I went to Toys R' Us in my capacity as a nosey parker. I did notice that Marvins Magic did not resort to selling "dog poo" or any other kind of joke. They are in the magic business and they sold magic.They were taking money hand over fist.

All the demonstrators were tip top. They manned the stand the whole time unlike the Fantasmagoria
bunch who were never there and even when they were they didn't know how to pitch properly. They thought they were there to do a magic show. They were not.

The Marvin's bunch seemed to know that their job was to deprive the undeserving public of their money not to entertain them.

I don't know anything about fancy marketing but it does seem to me to be a bit incongruous that Fantasma are selling cheap jokes and at the same time trying to promote the image of quality merchandise.

I see that they have now moved to Vegas to work in the FEO Schwarz place. They will not last.

I know that store. I have worked it. They will not take a shilling there and will be gone rather quickly. If they are not on the main floor they will die a death.

Vegas is a magic shop's graveyard anyway. The late Herb Morrissey told me that. He said that if he heard of someone setting up in Vegas and wanting to order merchandise he would never give them credit because he would never get paid.

You have to be as clever as the Almighty Geno to sell magic there and even then it may be hard going.

Fantasma do NOT have excellent consultants. They have magicians. Magicians know very little about depriving the public of their money.

It does require a different mentality.That Fantasmagoria bunch had better learn fast.And make sure that I am not in the crowd spying on them.
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Postby John Smetana » 11/03/03 02:05 PM

Originally posted by Funhouse-Magic.com:
Ihad Fantasma received more support from our secret society then maybe little rubber dogs wouldn't be forced to poop into a rack pack for a buck.Ken
If we ( magicians) were truly a secret society there wouldn't be a Fantasma, or a Marvins Magic for that matter.We (magicians) of the secret society would most likely tolerate the sale of Svengali decks and other magic slum, but surely not Himber wallets and such..

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Postby Guest » 11/03/03 02:12 PM

In defense of Fantasma, I believe that the fake doggie-doo can be used as a final load (if you will excuse the expression) for a cups-and-balls routine.

I am not sure how to use the fake vomit.

0pus
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Postby Pete Biro » 11/03/03 02:35 PM

Doggee Doo Doo... cups no... Bowl yes.

Fake Vomit (Technicolor Yawn)... Audience reaction... :p
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Postby Guest » 11/03/03 02:45 PM

Doo doo . . . final load . . . bowl . . . . Ah! the extended metaphor. Excellent.

0pus
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Postby Matthew Field » 11/03/03 03:32 PM

Originally posted by Steve Hook:
I don't care if it's economically viable.
Steve -- Fantasma is not a company geared toward advanced magicians. It is a company geared toward the general public. So if they have included "joke" or "novelty" items, cut them some slack.

Many magic stores, included Hank Lee and Al's Magic Shop (at least when Al ran it) had big novelty sections in the front with the dog poop and whoopie cusions.

It's called trying to stay in business. It's easy to sit on the sidelines and say you're not interested in whether something is economically viable. I'm more interested in the quality of the magic than in the other items they sell.

[Long aside: I'm a fan of so-called "underground comix." One of the best publishers, Fantagraphics, who put out books from some of my favorite artists, like Chris Ware and Jim Woodring, also has a line of "naughty" comics. In my opinion, these other books are on the edge of being misogynistic. So I don't read those. I understand that readership of the stuff I like is small, and I'm grateful they are able to continue to publish what I consider quality. Likewise with Fantasma.)

Forget the novelty crap and hope they can make enough dough to put out the next Mark Setteducati or Angelo Carbone miracle.

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Postby Angelo Carbone » 11/03/03 04:58 PM

[censored] wrote:

"Fantasma's problem is that they do not know how to demonstrate. I went in to spy on them and I can assure you all that they have no idea what they are doing."

I can assure you we have some top demonstrators on our team. Maybe you were there when someone had just started. When I worked as a demonstrator many years ago, it took me a little while before I broke in and was confident in what I was doing. I have visited FAO many times too and stood in the background watching what was going on all around me. I was very happy with what I saw.

You say you went to spy on them. Why spy on them? Are you working for someone else that you have to resort to spying? I don't think it is right you come to a public forum and make accusations that "they have no idea what they are doing." They? Do you spy often?

---

"The fellow there made a rude remark about the quality of Marvin's Magic merchandise to a customer in my presence. Marvin seems to be competitor, from what I can gather and I also get a vibe that the relationship is not a harmoniousone. Still, there is no need to make rude remarks about someone else's merchandise."

We have the upmost respect for Marvin's Magic or any other dealer and we certainly do not encourage any 'off the cuff remarks' in our demonstrators. When we train our demonstrators, one of the golden rules is not to talk down about any other business - out of respect. If you can email me privately with the name of the demonstrator who has supposedly said these rude remarks, I would be most grateful!

---

"I did go to the competitor to have a look. I went to Toys R' Us in my capacity as a nosey parker. I did notice that Marvins Magic did not resort to selling "dog poo" or any other kind of joke."

If you went to FAO (as you say you did) you will notice that we do not sell "dog poo" either (as you imply) or in fact any novelty joke item. Strictly 100% magic in the store. You have clearly not done your research and instead made accusations without knowing the facts. Did you really spy on Fantasma? Which shelf were the jokes on?

Two of the most famous (and oldest) magic stores in London also sell jokes and novelties - Davenports and International Magic. I do not see what the big problem is if we did anyway?

---

"They are in the magic business and they sold magic.They were taking money hand over fist."

As we are and as we do too. Our reports show this.

---

"All the demonstrators were tip top. They manned the stand the whole time unlike the Fantasmagoria bunch who were never there and even when they were they didn't know how to pitch properly. "

Again, how often do you spend your time at our FAO store and monitor the ins and outs of our demonstrators? Do you spy on Marvins for 9 hours a day to know they man it the 'whole' time?

---

"They thought they were there to do a magic show. They were not."

We do not just believe in hard pitching of our products but also to entertain our customers too, but I appreciate your concern if you thought our demonstrators are not pitching enough and making enough sales for us.

---

"The Marvin's bunch seemed to know that their job was to deprive the undeserving public of their money not to entertain them."

Hmmm!

---

"I don't know anything about fancy marketing but it does seem to me to be a bit incongruous that Fantasma are selling cheap jokes and at the same time trying to promote the image of quality merchandise."

Please name one store where we are selling cheap jokes? They are not available anywhere. How do I know this - because they are still undeveloped products. If and when we do, they will not be sold in FAO alongside our magic. I hope you understand this.

---

"Fantasma do NOT have excellent consultants. They have magicians. Magicians know very little about depriving the public of their money."

I take great offence to this. I am part of the product development team and I believe I am good and what I do and have an understanding of what is good and what is not. Also how can you say we do not have excellent consultants when we have one of the best there is on our team - Mark Setteducati. Mark is considered one of the leading toy inventors in the industry over the past 25 years and has licensed over 60 products. He was also named toy inventor of the year over the many thousands of inventors in the world. On top of all this, he is also a magician so I would say he is more than EXCELLENT! Together with Simon Lovell and Roger Dreyer, I think the four of us make a pretty excellent team!

---

"It does require a different mentality.That Fantasmagoria bunch had better learn fast.And make sure that I am not in the crowd spying on them. "

I really appreciate your concern on our sales and how well we are doing as a business. Most kind of you...

...for a spy.


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Postby Guest » 11/03/03 06:38 PM

Angelo, my boy. You are quite right. I did not spy with sufficient thoroughness. I shall come in more often to spy more carefully. No point spying if it is done half heartedly. I shall make a point of spying with great frequency to make a detailed inventory of the times your staff are on
duty and on how much doggy doo you are selling.

I shall then report to you (and other interested parties) on how I think you are shaping up. I can tell that you are the type that does not mind a little constructive criticism.

Actually if you read my post carefully you will notice that I did not say that I saw any doggy doo in the store. I am not including the customers of course.

No. Any doggy doo accusations came from other people on this forum. I simply took their word for it.However I have no doubt that you will eventually sell doggy doo in the shop if you put your mind to it. I have faith in you.

No, I do not work for anyone. I spy out of professional interest. I also spied on Marvin too.
I am equally nosey in my spying. No bias either way. I am merely saying that Marvin has a more professional operation. His people do not know how to pitch either(naturally only I know that) but they do a better job than your people.

Of course I freely admit that I have not seen all your people at work so I have no idea how incompetent they are. However I have seen enough to know how you operate. Your people and your company seem to have the philosophy of the magician. You have this silly notion that you are there primarily to "entertain" people as you put it.

You are not. You are there to relieve them of their money. If they are entertained that is merely incidental. In fact if you entertain them too much you will never get rid of them and they won't buy anything either.Why should they? They are getting a free show.

I am only trying to help. There are rather a lot of mouths in your company to feed what with the four "consultants" and the myriad demonstrators.(The Blind leading the blind)

I happen to know that FEO are very slow payers so you had better learn fast before you all starve.Being a psychic personage (or a spy) I get visions of your sales figures on a monthly basis. They do need improving I am afraid. You really must try harder. If I can help you with any tips on the matter I shall only be too delighted to avail you of my great wisdom. Free of charge too. The way things are going for you I do not have the heart to charge a consultancy fee.

Ah! Now to the illustrious "product development team" A bunch of magicians. Toy inventors, corporate types and would be businessmen. No dearie me, no. No use at all. You do not want a "product development team" You want a "copping the gelt" team.

No point developing the product if you cannot induce the punters to get their money out.

Not one member of your "product development" team has ever stood in a howling gale on Central Pier, Blackpool trying to extract money from various verminous members of the public by selling magic. Not one of you has ever had knives thrown at you just because you drew a crowd (see another thread)
Not one of you has ever sold 478 svengali decks in one day.

I suggest you listen to me. I have done all the above. Your bunch of magicians know nothing about extracting money from the public in the most efficient way. None of you are [censored]. I am.

Still, all is not yet lost. I am either about to help you indirectly or have already helped you. I am not sure which since I have not been keeping up with your schedule as well as I should.

I cannot say in which way I am about to render you a great service or have already done so.

No doubt when you realise what I am talking about you will grovel appropriately in a great fit of gratitude.

Now do try to sharpen up, there's a good lad.

[censored]
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Postby Robert Allen » 11/03/03 06:49 PM

I'm not joking: when I read any post of more than about two paragraphs by this [censored] fellow it's as if I'm looking at output from an AI program trying to pass the Turing test (where one sits at a computer monitor interrogating "someone" at the opposite end enough to determine if they are a human, or a very savvy computer AI program).

Maybe [censored] *is* Jeff Busby :) . Similar rant styles. Seperated at birth?

I do wish I knew the ins & outs of effective selling though. Or even had pointers to books on such. Selling effectively and on command is a highly useful skill.
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Postby Steve Hook » 11/03/03 06:53 PM

Mark:

I have learned to appreciate that you are an experienced magician, one with skill and an understanding of the psychology of entertainment.

Why do you not, however, have an understanding of how to be more civil? Are you very unhappy by nature and can't help yourself from writing offensive statements? Or, similarly, do you not know , even after getting removed from this site more than once, that you're offensive?

Or do you just take some odd delight in saying these things, just perhaps to stir up the water/mud/hornets/blood pressures?

Do you know what would be great: If you voiced your opinion and knowledge in such a way that was at least slightly more courteous.

I for one am interested in your thinking, but not in offensive, indelicate attacks on well-respected folks like Mr. Carbone, whom as we've seen in this thread, can defend himself just fine. I just wonder where you're coming from??

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Postby Guest » 11/03/03 07:20 PM

Mark is hilarious.

His "rants" are quite informative. His advice should be taken to heart by those wishing to make a living at magic.

His advice is that you must be PURELY mercenary. And that is anathema to those who see magic as a hobby, as an avocation or (heaven forbid!) as an "art."

Mark is telling us how to make a living at magic. It's what Scotty York (and others) call "GTFM."

It's what one has to do to ensure that there is bread on the table.

0pus
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Postby Guest » 11/03/03 07:24 PM

I am coming from Toronto,STeve. I thought you knew that.

You do not understand humour, Hook old chap. I rather think you should get a sense of it.

With a name like yours surely you must see what I am up to. I bait hooks. And you took the bait along with that young "product development manager" with the Italian name,

Furthermore it ill behooves you to chatter about courtesy when you started this thread by saying about the Fantasmagoria bunch and I quote "It makes me sick" and "just a bunch of crap". You also said that they had no integrity.

You say things out of seriousness too. I only say things out of amusement.

Even I never said that they had no integrity. In fact I rather think they have too much of it. You can't get along in life talking about integrity all the time. It makes you sound like a typical magician who goes to conventions and attends magic clubs.

You started attacking them, not me.
As for Angelo I am only trying to help the poor kid earn a living.
No gratitude nowadays.

Steve. You wonder why I amuse myself by annoying magicians. Well, everyone has to have a hobby.When I was a kid of ten I remember pulling the wings off flies with great glee. It is just something along similar lines.

Generally speaking, I dislike "magicians" because the majority of them are NOT magicians. They are only laymen that know how the tricks are done.

Irritating the incompetents is a hobby, nothing more. I am always amazed that they take the bait.
And the ones that take the bait are ALWAYS fellow egomaniacs. No modest person has ever argued with me.

I have not attacked Mr. Carbone. I only attempted to advise his company on how to avoid penury. He then in a fit of company loyalty for which he is to be commended leapt to their defence.

I make a prediction though. There will be more attendance at the booth in the next few months. There will be no indelicate remarks about Marvin's Magic. There will be a sharpening up all round. They may even sell a few things instead of trying to "entertain" people.

Jolly good. I am delighted to be of service.

I will not attempt to answer Robert Allen because he is not playing fair. He is talking computer language which I do not understand.

He asks about selling which I do not understand either. Unless it is selling magic to a crowd of the undeserving public. I do know exactly how to do that.

Furthermore I will be delighted to tell everybody how.

Angelo, pay attention.
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Postby Guest » 11/03/03 07:30 PM

There are a couple of good reasons why the Fantasma line of magic is in FAO.

1. The packaging of the Fantasma line is extremely well done. IMO the packaging far exceeds any magic kit/ trick that John Q Public has ever come into contact with.

2. FAO caters to an upscale clientele. Fantasma caters to those exact clients.

I think Fantasma and FAO make a great team. If there are any questions as to whether this product is being demonstrated correctly, I urge you to come to the FAO in Los Angeles and see for yourself.
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Postby Robert Allen » 11/03/03 07:38 PM

First, to see my point about how some of your posts are like talking to a computer program designed to emulate a human, try this link:

http://www.pandorabots.com/pandora/talk ... d97e345aa1

(I believe that linke will work. Type a question into the text box to start your "conversation")

Second, it is my uninformed opinion that someone who is good at selling magic tricks via a pitch, whether a hardcore pitch or just a slow pitch over a counter, would be able to apply those skills selling many other things, as long as the selling and purchasing environment were similar. I view this as a highly valuable skill in life. One can pitch svengali decks, womens makeup, or onesself. Can't one?

Third, being a master baiter isn't much of a skill. The advent of the internet has made trolling passe. In the good old days it took more effort. Now it's just boring. There's plenty of active disagreements which can be had without wasting time trolling for pointless arguments. In todays over-medicated, over-diagnosed society there's probably even a name for someone who feels a compulsion to do it again and again and again. But when I was a kid it was just called plain old instigation. One who engaged in it (as my mom often accused me of) was called "an instigator", or other, less delicate things :) .
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Postby Guest » 11/03/03 07:46 PM

I din't realise that you worked for Fantasmagoria, Adam.
I have now gone right off your stained glass thing because of this.
However if that was you on the video then you do have a good voice. And if it is that voice that is in Los Angeles then you may well be in with a chance. It is a good voice for ripping off the public.

Fancy packaging is all well and good. "upscale clientele" is all well and good.
But it is not enough.
In fact I have a feeling it could be detrimental because it is giving you all a false sense of security.
If you think of people as "upscale" you are on the road to rack and ruin. If, however you think of them as the dregs of humanity who are walking about with your money in their pocket then you are in with a chance.
Howard Thurston used to jump up and down before a show and say "I love my audience"
Very commendable for a magician.
However, when you are in a store selling magic you are NOT a magician. You are a grafter. Pitchman. Salesman. Money grabber. Call it what you like.
Instead of emulating Thurston you emulate me. I jump up and down every morning and say "I hate these bastards and I want their money"
If you cannot quite manage this then do the best you can.
You do not have to show your hatred of the public. It is quite acceptable to appear to like them.
But don't.
It is very difficult to relieve them of their money if you like them.

There is a bit of [censored] influence in your company anyway. I am dying to tell you why but I cannot.I bet it is or was a good influence though.
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Postby Guest » 11/03/03 07:55 PM

I do believe Robert is chattering again about how boring being baited is. Yet he insists on joining in anyway. I suppose he enjoys being bored. He must go to a lot of magic club meetings.

He is correct in saying that if you can sell svengalis you can sell flower holders, non stick pans, Paint pads, eyeglass cleaners. However I can assure you that the people who pitch these things do not make the mistake that Fantasmagoria make. They do not try to "entertain". Of course sometimes they do entertain but the main purpose is to take money. They do not leave the joint empty for hours on end. Furthermore they do not get too wound up about selling "quality" merchandise to "quality" people.

Robert. Here is your first lesson on pitching. Stay on the joint and never leave. Or very rarely. You will automatically make more money just by being there even if you are no good at the actual job.

You do need stamina of course. No good being mamby pamby.
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Postby Robert Allen » 11/03/03 08:17 PM

Sigh. First I read stuff from Mark which I LOVE, like this: "I hate these bastards and I want their money" or this "you think of them as the dregs of humanity who are walking about with your money in their pocket then you are in with a chance". Then he follows up with clinkers like:

He [Robert] must go to a lot of magic club meetings
Mark I thought you were psychic? If you were you'd know I haven't been to one in about [make that] 28+ years. That aside...

1. "Stay in your store if you want to sell stuff." Check. Got it chief. But I already knew that one from my highschool summer job. Really.

I'm still listening though. Selling magic stuff would potentially be lot more entertaining than working in the computer biz...
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Postby Guest » 11/03/03 08:27 PM

Robert. You are in conflict with yourself.

You want the knowledge but you do not want the teacher.

Sorry. It is a wise man who if he wishes to learn can accept the quirks of the teacher.

I will be happy to teach when you are ready. You are not ready yet.

You must learn to sell your soul to the devil first.Otherwise you will not pay attention to the teachings.
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Postby Robert Allen » 11/03/03 08:42 PM

Robert. You are in conflict with yourself.

You want the knowledge but you do not want the teacher.

Sorry. It is a wise man who if he wishes to learn can accept the quirks of the teacher.

I will be happy to teach when you are ready. You are not ready yet.

You must learn to sell your soul to the devil first.Otherwise you will not pay attention to the teachings.

(insert mechanistic breathing sounds here) "I am your father Luke!"

Mark, I am doubtful that you will ever provide that kind of instruction to people. There are those who are good at doing things. And there are others who are good at teaching about those things but no good at doing them. It is a very rare person who can do both. You have not demonstrated that you are such a person unfortunately.

(insert more breathing sounds) Now I am the master and you are the pupil.
(insert sounds of light sabers. Fade to black.)

FYI I was not joking about liking those quotes. It's a rare person who can take someone elses money in a way that doesn't piss the person off too much. I've had it done to me, and I respect those who can do it. As I wrote, it would be a useful skill. From what little I've read about him, Malini was skilled at this. I envy him that ability a lot more than I envy him his ability to do magic. Anyone who really wants to work at it a bit can learn to do magic. Becoming a skilled showman or pitchman is an entirely different thing, and a lot harder to learn.

Regards,

Robert
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Postby Guest » 11/04/03 10:17 AM

Robert. Please do not use crude expressions about urination. It is most unbecoming and I do not approve of it.

Now do pay attention. You are not quite correct about there being a difference between being a good pitchman and being a good showman.

You would have been correct if you had said there was a difference between being a good magician and being a good pitchman. A good magician does not have to induce people to reach into their pockets to get their money out. A good pitchman does.

However being a good showman is an entirely different matter. All good pitchmen are good showmen whether they are selling non stick pans or svengali decks. They know how to build and hold a crowd, they know how to work in such a way that people do not leave, they know how to emphasise words in the proper way and most importantly of all they know more about showmanship than 90% of so called "magicians" ever will.

No. YOu cannot be a good pitchman UNLESS you are a good showman.

Furthermore I do not like the word "pitchman" It is a rather silly Americanism. The correct word is grafter. This is the term used in Her Britannic Majesty's Realm of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland and therefore should be the term used everywhere.

The best grafters come from Britain. We go all the time to North America to train the people in Canada and the US to sell knives, paint pads, flower holders etc; We are the people who know how to do it.We are British after all, and have a long tradition of scamming the public. It is part of our glorious heritage.

I don't like the way svengali decks are sold in the US and Canada by pitchmen. They build tall podiums with lights and fancy doo-dahs then they do a long, long, long, and inferior demonstration chattering about "magnetic finishes" and other claptrap. They also give away the secret concerning the short card.They claim that they don't really but I think that they do.Furthermore they sell the cards too cheaply.
No. My way is the best. I AM [censored], after all.

Still, the Fantasmagoria bunch don't do it either my way or the US grafter's way. They are trying to do it the posh way. High falutin' clientele and all that.
There is no posher place in London (or the world come to that) than Harrods.
DAvid Cronin worked there for years selling magic. David was a grafter of the old school and knew how to ram the punters in the way they deserved. He did it in a very polite and upper class way but ram them he did. After all he used to sell eyeglass cleaner by the truckful even though it was just soapy water.
David had the correct attitude to the public. That they were sheep and he was there to shear them.
He even sold a magic set to the Queen. DAvid could rip people off at the highest level and I much admired him for it.

Adam Grace has e-mailed me for tips on how to sell magic for Fantasmia. He will probably lose his job now.
Still, he can always go and work for Marvin.
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Postby Wolfgang » 11/04/03 08:04 PM

I do applaud Fantasma for trying to bring a well packaged and thought out product to the public marketplace. It might well serve to change the perception of magic just beeing cheap, useless plastic crap. Actually the stuff is well routined and I think that a lot of kids will be brought towards magic as the tricks are really do-able.
If Fantasma does sell dog poo or any other novelty and if that is necessary to improve the bottom line to stay in business and keep doing what they are doing than more power to them.
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Postby Guest » 11/05/03 01:55 PM

The trouble is with well packaged and high quality products is that you are giving the public value for money.

I am dead against this. I would not be able to sleep at night if I thought the public were actually getting what they paid for.

In fact I think it is unethical to sell magic to people if they can actually do the tricks. You are then exposing the secrets of magic. I have always made sure that any instructions I supply are quite incomprehensible. I do not like the idea of laymen actually being able to do any of the tricks I sell. I think magic shops selling magic to everyone and their mother is far more of an exposure problem than the masked magician.

I do not believe in after sales service either. A lot of inexperienced magic pitchmen waste countless hours teaching people how to do the tricks. This is the way to the bankruptcy court. YOu should be busy relieving other people of their money instead of exposing the secrets of magic to the undeserving public.

By being polite and nice to the public you only encourage time wasters who want free lessons. Because I am nasty and horrible when I work it discourages impertinent people who want free magic lessons. They are too afraid to ask and that is the way I want it. If they do ask I just say in a brusque manner "read the instructions"
If they persist I growl and say to the horrible child (it usually is a horrible child) "young man, have you ever heard of David Copperfield? He will say "yes" (Mind you, I have been greatly amused lately that nowadays they tend to say "no")

I then growl at the urchin and say "He is on TV, isn't he? Do you know how he got on TV?" The Kid says no. I then snarl "He read the instructions"
I then follow up immediately and say "Now have you ever heard of David Blaine?" This time they always say "yes" (No wonder Copperfield is irritated by him) I then say "He is also on TV. Do you know how he got there? The kid then says "yes. He read the instructions"
The lesson has been learned and the brat hopefully disappears.

I haven't got time to be educating people on how to do the tricks. Of course this Fantasmagoria bunch have a large range in comparison to someone like me. Here one reluctantly has to indulge in being nice to a degree because you want them to come back so that you can relieve them of their money with another item. However once you have sold them everything they might as well go away since they are of no further use.

One problem of having a large range of stuff is that you can get people hanging about looking for a free show. They will watch for ages and never buy anything. There is a time to know when to stop demonstrating.

I really don't like the way quality magic is sold
to the public. It does verge on exposure. I had Paul Pacific a well known Toronto mentalist phone me a few moments ago furious that he had seen some thumb tips on sale in dollar stores.

The sale of magic to the public is a two edged sword. You get new adherents to the hobby and one day a few of them may turn out to be pretty good. However, you are giving away secrets and this is not so good.

Some of you may wonder how I can get money out of people by being horrible and nasty to them.

I am afraid that it is a culture thing. In the UK they know you are being nasty and buy out of spite. It is the only way they can get their revenge. I know this doesn't make sense but some sociologist will explain it to you.

Americans and Canadians are different. If they think you are being nasty they will not buy. However, if you have a British accent you will get away with it. They know the Brits are a little eccentric and will stand for it.

The key to it is that they think you are joking. They have no idea that I am deadly serious when I insult them. They just think that I am British.
They laugh their heads off and they get their money out.

Here is a tip for that Fantasmagoria bunch. If you make people laugh in the US or Canada they will buy. Not so in Britain. The more you make them laugh over there the less they will buy. They will think they are getting a free show.

No, you really have to insult the Brits. the ruder you are the more likely they will buy.

DAvid Blaine would have been much more respected if he had thrown a few eggs back. I suppose he shouldn't have had any food up there though. Well, stones would have done quite well. If he had thrown a few bricks at the people throwing things at him he would have done quite well in winning the British public over.

There. I am just trying to help.
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Postby Wolfgang » 11/05/03 05:33 PM

.....BZZZZZZZZ
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Postby Guest » 11/05/03 07:29 PM

Wolfgang has fallen asleep. He must have been watching Fantasmia demonstrate at FEO Scharz.
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Postby Guest » 11/05/03 10:31 PM

"Americans and Canadians are different. If they think you are being nasty they will not buy."

That's right, so why do you insist on "educating" Fantasma on the ways of what works in the UK. They are based in the US.
I can tell you that being, not acting, nice to people makes sells. I've worked for companies at trade shows selling thousands upon thousands of dollars worth of products in one weekend.
It's much better for people to come back than feel ripped off. That is, of course, if you start selling new products. Eventually you will run out of costumers. Word does get around.

Fantasma has been feature articles in several publications and is now known around the world. Who are you again?
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Postby Chance Wolf » 11/06/03 01:30 AM

Psychic,
Are you for REAL or did Richard hire you for Comic Relief?!
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Success and wealth are symptomatic of your passion.
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Postby Guest » 11/06/03 12:21 PM

Chance Wolf is half correct in his speculation.I won't go into it.
However, I am certainly real. I am using my real name at the moment.Yours on the other hand is a bit chancy.

Now to answer Michael in my usual brilliant and wondrous manner.

I am well aware that Fantasmagoria is based in the US. That of course is the trouble. They are not a British company and are not wise in the ways of the world. However, I am sure that they have picked up a bit from Marvin's Magic which IS a British company and I hope it does them some good.

However, I am terribly concerned about their fiscal welfare and am merely trying to help out. I believe that I have already helped them out in a way that they are not aware of yet but I will have to check into the matter.

I have also worked for companies at trade shows where I am relatively nice to people and have also sold thousands of dollars worth of products because of my brilliant showmanship and street smart way of working.

However I am not referring to trade shows. I am referring to consumer shows and department stores.
Street corners too.

It has not dawned upon you that I do not want people to come back. In fact I will be delighted if I never see them again. Of course I am only selling a few items. Fantasma is selling more so I concede that it may be advisable for them to have repeat customers on a limited basis.

However, limited is the word. They only have a few items when all is said and done. If they encourage too much repeat business they will never get rid of the time wasters wanting a free show. You must remember that they are not running a full scale magic shop.

Which reminds me. Just think of magic shop owners all over the world. Most of them are as miserable as sin. The few that aren't are putting on an act I assure you. This is because the customers drive you mental.

I have always said that anyone that sells fun usually is as miserable as sin. Law of Karma or something.

Who am I? I am [censored]. I also am known all over the world. I have several people and companies who would like to find me very badly.I can assure you that these good people are in Holland, Ireland, Germany, US, Canada and of course the UK.

I can assure you that there is far more press about me than there is about Fantasma. I am not kidding either. Reams and reams of it, in fact. Full page newspaper articles are the norm but there are also 2 page spreads too. Some of it is even positive, I assure you.

But to reverse the question, Michael-who are YOU?
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Postby Matthew Field » 11/06/03 02:41 PM

[censored] has some intelligent things to say about hawking "slum" magic, but that has little to do with Fantasma.

That company is trying to produce a high quality line of toys and their piece of turf inside one of the best known toy stores in the world, F.A.O. Schwarz, has been designed to be elegant and attract parents who are looking to amuse their brats for a few minutes and then, hopefully, spring for the merch.

If the parents are happy, hopefully they'll spend longer in the toy store and that will make Schwarz happy -- after all, Marvin's was the previous concessionaire in that store.

So pitching Svengali Decks or Wonder Mice (or black-market software or food choppers for that matter) is different than what Fantasma is trying to do. They are also, it seems to me, interested in having tourists who come into the store get acquainted with their brand, so they will buy it when they're back home in Paducah, maybe even ask a local retailer to stock a Fantasma item.

I think we're talking apples and oranges here.

And while I'm spouting, can't we do something (Dustin?) about the topic header, "Fantasma Disappoints," which shows up every time on the index page, is insulting to Fantasma, and isn't even what we're talking about anymore?

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Postby Guest » 11/06/03 03:44 PM

You must remember, Matthew that I was not responsible for the topic header. That was the awful Hook fellow who seems to have changed sides as soon as I arrived.

Of course everyone will blame me. I think Hook should be told to sling his hook. (British expression which someone will no doubt translate)

It is indeed true that there is some difference between ripping the undeserving public off with the sale of svengali decks and ripping the public off with overpriced posh merchandise with fancy packaging. However the basic aim is the same.

You are trying to relieve people of their money.

With regard to FEO trying to be"elegant" that is probably why they are about to go broke. Fantasma had better get paid before they do.

Since I am one of the high flyers of the corporate world I happen to know that this store is having financial troubles. Marvin knows the right time to skedaddle it seems.

But back to the method of removing the money.
You still have to demonstrate. Marvin's Magic do a better job of this. They do not put on "shows" to entertain people. They do demonstrations to make people buy.

Marvin's operation does not work like I do either. They are much lower key and would be horrified, no doubt by my philosophy too. However, they still do things the right way.

They demonstrate continually. They do not do 15 minute pitches under the delusion that they are "entertaining". They do 3 minute demos of things that they are trying to sell. Sometimes they will slow down a bit to "upsell" a magic set.

I don't like everything they do.The magician in me doesn't like good magic being hawked everywhere and anywhere. The famous stack of coins made famous by Leipzig has virtually been killed in Britain by Marvin. The "Dynamic Coins" is nearly as widely known among the public in the UK as the svengali deck. Vendors on street markets are selling them now. All Marvin's fault.

Still, they know how to work to a crowd. They know what they are supposed to do.They are not pitchmen but at least they know what their purpose in life is. To demonstrate and take money NOW, not inspire people to buy the merchandise later in their home town.

Since I am one of the high flyers of Corporate America I happen to know that Marvin is in the Toys R' Us venue simply because the head cheese of the Schwarz place skedaddled over to be the head cheese of Toys R Us in New York. No doubt he was afraid that he might not paid either so went while the going was good.
One of the first things he did was get the Marvin people in.

Marvin goes along the same philosophy as Fantasma in the sense that he says he doesn't believe in high pressure selling and that he doesn't believe in ripping people off. Still, he has some idea what it is all about because of the Magic Drawing Board he sells. The bloody thing falls to bits and you get your hands all mucky with the stuff. He would deny it of course.

Still, the selling of defective merchandise has certainly lifted my estimation of Marvin quite considerably. I do wish Fantasmia would learn to go along the same lines a bit.

Still, I get a psychic vibe that they are improving.

I will say one thing, though. I can take in more money with a svengali deck in one day than they ever will with all their fancy merchandise during the same amount of time. Just one trick will take in more that the whole caboodle that they have.

Mind you I am one of the greatest svengali pitchmen in history. I would say the actual greatest but I do not want to seem immodest.

One thing that differentiates me from both Fantasmagoria and Marvin is the way I distribute the expenses. I go for high mark up and low rent. I refuse to pay Schwarz and other stores ridiculous percentages. They get 25% at the maximum. They will try to get more. They ALWAYS try to get more. And uninformed dodos will pay them more. Sometimes as much as 60%. Bloody stupid. You just look them in the eye and tell them that all they are getting is 25%. They always give in.
At least they do if your name is [censored].

The other thing is the cost of the merchandise. "Quality" merchandise means low mark ups. Crap quality means high mark up. Always go for crap. It is all the punters deserve anyway.

However the main area where I differ is in how much I pay the demonstrator. Other companies have no money left after paying for the merchandise and the percentage or rent they give the venue.
so they are forced to pay the demonstrators peanuts. Low commission or no commission at all.

Not me. I pay the demonstrator 25% of what he takes in plus whatever he can steal. I always expect them to steal. What good are your staff if they are honest? They don't have the right mentality for the work.

Of course if I catch them stealing I have their legs cut off. I still need their hands so that they can demonstrate.

Since I have been in Canada I have found only honest staff. I have found this most unnerving. They have been very wonderful too.Fantastic workers. I am not sure I can adjust to it.

A magic shop owner told me that I must get used to honest staff even if it is a novelty to me. It appears that honesty is a Canadian attribute. I have always thought that Canadians are boring and this has certainly confirmed it.

Anyway, I am merely trying to say that your staff are king. You must treat them well. Any excess money should go them rather than the venue or the supplier of the merchandise.

Perhaps I should lend Fantasma some of my staff.
Oh, wait! I believe I have done so already.

They will now be traumatized for life.
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Postby Guest » 11/11/03 11:07 AM

Oh dear!
I am sad to inform you all that my contacts in corporate America have announced to me that FEO Schwarz are about to go broke. It seems that their pre Xmas sales are not up to expectations. Perhaps Fantasma have not been trying hard enough.

It seems that all the stores may be about to close their doors soon if someone does not bail them out.

I wish I could help but it has been a quiet week.

It seems that they have enough cash to keep going for another month. After that- kaput-unless someone gives them a bit more time and especially money.

Still, all is not yet lost for Fantasma. I can recommend a few good flea markets for Angelo and his team to work.

Maybe I will come to give them a hand.
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Postby Guest » 11/18/03 11:17 AM

I have been worrying terribly about the welfare of Angelo and his "product development team".
As I mentioned already FEO Schwarz are about to go broke and all the Fantasmagoria people are going to be put out on the street.

To cheer them up I have just discovered from my contacts in Corporate America that Toys R' Us are also in great danger of going up the spout. In other words poor old Marvin and his team will be joining them in the salvation army hostels.

This has given me great amusement indeed. It looks like Geno in Vegas will be getting lots of new staff applications soon.

Which reminds me. I need someone myself for next Summer. I have a couple of locations on Centre Island in Toronto. I pay a commission of 25%.Commission only. It would suit a young guy with plenty of energy and the right mental attitude. July and August are the main months but there might be a bit of action in June too. 7 days a week.Working morning, noon and night.Slavery has not been abolished on the island. And I don't want them going off doing shows either.

I had young Jeff Hinchliffe work for me last Summer. Jeff posts on that awful cafe place where they will no doubt kick him out once they find out he works for me. He sometimes comes here also.

Jeff is a fantastic pitchman in his own right.He has learned from the master of course. The trouble is that he has silly showbusiness aspirations which I find a bloody nuisance because he keeps going off doing shows instead of using his time more productively ripping off the public.

I lent him to Fantasma without them knowing who their great benefactor was. I don't even think they know that they borrowed him. Canadians are very low key.

He will tell you what it is like working for me.I am pleased to see that he is slightly more evil than he used to be.
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Postby Guest » 11/18/03 05:54 PM

Thank you for your concern about Fantasma Magic. We currently sell over 15,000 retail doors world-wide and am proud to say even if FAO(not FEO) Schwarz goes bankrupt, we will be more than financially secure. FAO has been around for over 140 years and will continue to thrive. They are the world's most selective toy retailer. We appreciate the support from the magic fraternity who understands our long term goals. Fantasma's objective is to promote the art of magic, offer the consumer a great value so they will continue with magic, and offer magicians new inovative tricks. We are very proud of our recent Legends of Magic set that features video of the likes of Flosso, Houdini, Vernon and Slydini. Next year will bring even more quality magic not only for the amateur, but professional(brass, wood and other quality unique pieces). We would go bankrupt listening to the advice of certain forum characters. However, their ignorance to business, the art of magic and how we operate make for a very entertaining read. PS Angelo and our product development team will be more than happy with this years holiday bonus.
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Postby Guest » 11/18/03 09:26 PM

Oh Dear!
Poor Roger is getting upset! This is no way to repay me for lending you one of my staff.

I know all about you Roger old chap. An old acquaintance of yours was regaling me with wondrous tales.

I certainly understand your long term goals. They are not quite as arty-farty as you have explained them here.

It is to cop gelt. No more, no less.

In other words deprive the undeserving public and magicians (who are even more undeserving)of their money. Nothing wrong with that. Just like the run out boys.

You are to be highly commended for it.

I do know about business, I do know about magic and I do know about the way you operate. More than you think.

Furthermore if I wish to call the place FEO I shall do so. They won't be around much longer so it doesn't really matter what I call them.

I don't care if they have been around 140 years. All good things come to an end.

The Timothy Eaton chain in Canada was around for 150 years. I soon finished them off.They went kaput. A few years of [censored] was too much for them. I had a little help. My wondrous book on the svengali book will tell you who helped me.

You don't want to buy one do you, Roger? It might take your mind off your worries.

Oh.

Please yourself.
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Postby Dustin Stinett » 11/18/03 09:58 PM

I shall have the last word here...

Locked.

:sleep:
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