United States vs The United Kingdom

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Postby Guest » 09/16/06 11:23 PM

Dear All...

This might be of interest. I say this with my 'dealer/wholesaler' hat on:

From time to time, many American magicians are staggered by costs of shipping/airmail etc from UK to the USA. In the UK, mostly everything is expensive; VERY expensive. (Compared with the US.)

For instance, let's assume (for this posting) that there are 2 Dollars ($) to the Pound ().

Factual Examples:

1) An American friend of mine fills his tank of gas/petrol for 10/$20. My similar size car in the UK costs 50/$100.

2) 5kg of books (about 24 softbacks) cost about 70/$140 to Airmail, by Royal Mail, to USA. It's cheaper to send by a courier (say UPS), but then the receiver (in USA) pays a hefty custom charge.

3) In a pub (bar), a small bag (a handful) of Peanuts cost about 1:50/$3. Recently, in the US, I bought a sackload for same money.

4) I live in an expensive seaside area in the UK. My town (Worthing) is in an expensive county called Sussex. I live on the seafront. The smallest two bedroom house (no garage) in my area will cost you 200,000 ($400,000). A friend in the US lives in a four bedroom house with two garages and big garden. His house is valued at less; or so he says.

5) My fees (as a performer) are from 300/$600 to 600/$1200, plus travel/expenses for 2 hours. And, in London, some charge DOUBLE that!

6) Finally, PRINTING fees are VERY high in the UK. They are about 3 times the amount in the US...maybe more!

Anyway...

If a magic book retails for, say, $30/15 in the USA, most magic dealers in the UK would sell it for TWICE that. They'd have to...and they do. It's often cheaper for UK magicians to buy magic from the US.

There is much more to say, but if one is unaware of the differences, it may seem that UK dealers are 'trying it on'.

Just rambling thoughts, but worth a mention as I've never seen this kind of topic posted before.

Best, Paul Gordon
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Postby Pete Biro » 09/16/06 11:54 PM

I had a friend come back from London after taking his family there on holiday and he was staggered at the cost.
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Postby Pete Biro » 09/16/06 11:55 PM

However, some time back I was in an auto accident and the hosptial charge was ONE POUND.
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Postby Guest » 09/16/06 11:56 PM

Paul,

Anyone who pays "customs fees" on books received from the UK is being ripped off. I imported books from the UK from several publishers a number of times and never paid a cent. We have a treaty that allows duty-free passage between our countries....no duty on books either way....unless the law has been changed recently...or UPS figures they can make a few bucks off people's ignorance.

Best regards,
David Alexander
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Postby Guest » 09/17/06 12:41 AM

Dear David,

Well, it IS odd. I think UPS make it up as they go along, OR - maybe customs don't check every parcel for content??

Paul
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Postby Guest » 09/17/06 01:38 AM

UK house proces are preposterous. They used to be automatically controlled by the fact that a first-time buyer would buy a smallish house, and he could get a mortgage of up to four times his salary. And hence the price of a smallish family house couldn't sensibly exceed four times the salary of the average worker.

When I bought my current house, in 1976, that was still the case. But house prices escalated shortly after that. People with money would buy houses and let them out. And so the automatic control on prices disappeared. Prices are now horrendous.

My brother lives in Vancouver, and prices there are similar to London prices. However, in New Zealand, they're laughably low compared to our prices.

I'd be interested to know if my understanding of why prices remained stable and why they've since escalated is correct.

Dave
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Postby Guest » 09/17/06 02:15 AM

Well, nothing to do with magic, but...

A friend has just bought a one-bed flat in Chelsea (London) for...

750,000 ($1,500,000)

ONE BED!!

Still....you can't get more expensive than Chelsea.

Paul Gordon
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Postby Matthew Field » 09/17/06 03:33 AM

Paul is correct in all that he says on this. I was staggered by house prices in the UK when I moved here in 2004. Magic books and videos over here are typically double the US price: a $35 DVD will often retail for 35 ($60).

But ... the NHS offers universal, mostly free, health care, including prescriptions. The streets are kept clean. Social services are very high compared to the US.

Some in the US would argue that some of this smacks of socialism, and that is a valid argument, I think, but it doesn't bother me.

Minimum wages are higher than in the US. And sales tax (8.25% when I lived in NYC), although higher (17.5% VAT), is normally included in prices, not added at the time of purchase (but not always).

So it's a trade off. The big shocker when I moved over here with the money from selling my property was the decline in the value of the dollar -- from about one-and-a-half to the pound to almost two to the pound now. That was a killer.

But I truly love it in England.

Matt Field

[Edited to correct the dollar/pound conversion rate.]
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Postby Guest » 09/17/06 03:57 AM

I adore England; LOVE it to bits. Wouldn't change a thing; except for the whiners & parasites who live on benefits!

Nice having Matt here...

Paul
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Postby Guest » 09/17/06 05:15 AM

It costs 50 pounds to airmail 5kg of books, not 70.
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Postby Guest » 09/17/06 05:54 AM

Wrong! I've just posted them...! I post about 100 parcels a week (books) to about 12 different countries; I should know.
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Postby Guest » 09/17/06 06:19 AM

I'm still trying to find out where Paul's friend filled up his car in the USA for $20 :)
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Postby Harry Lorayne » 09/17/06 06:52 AM

Sure it's more expensive in England. But, you can't compare apples and oranges. And, you can't use a "four-bedroom house," etc., as an example in the U.S. The prices vary ALL OVER THE COUNTRY. You couldn't buy my house in Manhattan for less than $4,000,000.00! And it doesn't have a garage! HARRY LORAYNE.
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Postby Guest » 09/17/06 07:01 AM

It's the same in Canada. A house that would cost you, say, $500,000 in America would easily go for 90,000 beaver pelts up here. It's outrageous.
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Postby Guest » 09/17/06 07:02 AM

Just to add to the mix, here are some Australian prices for contrast.

Petrol (Gas) is currently hovering from $1.20 - $1.50 a litre (UK: .48 to .60p) (USA: .90 to $1.12) so it costs me $70 to fill up. (UK: 28, USA $52)

Posting 5kg of books to the UK is $112 (UK: 42, US: $85) or $90 to the USA (UK: 36, USA: $68)

No idea how much a bag of peanuts is... maybe $2 or $3... (UK: .80-1.2, USA $1.50-2.25)

A nice four bedroom house can be had from $350,000 (UK: 140,112, USA: $263,000) and you can get something really nice for $500,000 (UK: 200,000, USA: $400,000).

My fees for 2 hours of close up are $1100 (UK: 440, USA: $830) or $3000 for a stand up show (UK: 1200, USA: $2260) The average fee for 2 hours close up is $450 (UK: 180, USA $340) (Add 10% GST to fees).


A magic DVD that sells for US$29.95 sells for about $60-70 here (UK: 24-28, USA: $45-52)

Bicycle cards cost $10-13 per deck (UK: 4-5.2, USA $7.50-9.80)

Because of that weird pricing structure, a lot of Aussie magicians tend to order their DVDs from the USA over the internet.
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Postby Guest » 09/17/06 07:58 AM

Originally posted by Paul Gordon:
I adore England; LOVE it to bits. Wouldn't change a thing; except for the whiners & parasites who live on benefits!

Paul
Perhaps some of the "parasites" on benefits have no other option.
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Postby Guest » 09/17/06 08:24 AM

Daniel,

I'm refering to those who do have an option. I should have been clearer... Sorry.


Magicpitch,

I should have said 20/$40, not 10/$20.

Paul Gordon
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Postby Guest » 09/17/06 08:49 AM

Originally posted by Paul Gordon:

I should have said 20/$40, not 10/$20.

Paul Gordon
Rats! I was hoping your friend knew something we didn't know!
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Postby Guest » 09/17/06 09:58 AM

Originally posted by Paul Gordon:
Wrong! I've just posted them...! I post about 100 parcels a week (books) to about 12 different countries; I should know.
Hmm.. 3kg printed papers to America comes to 20.51, any weight over that is charged at 20p per 20g. 3kg at 20p a gram comes to 30 pounds. 30+20 = 50. Even if you add on Airsure that's still only 54.20. What am I missing?
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Postby Guest » 09/17/06 10:12 AM

I think I'll move to Worthing--fees much higher there than Norwich!
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Postby Guest » 09/17/06 10:44 AM

Originally posted by Anthony Brahams:
I think I'll move to Worthing--fees much higher there than Norwich!
If higher in Worthing, why the heck move from Norwich? Apart from the fact that Worthing is lovely...and card magic is almost a daily occurance with Roger Crosthwaite, myself and a few visitors! Hope to see Michael Vincent again...recently had Justin Higham here...just met up with Jack Parker. Good times!

See you soon, Anthony?

Paul
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Postby Guest » 09/17/06 11:47 AM

Originally posted by Harry Lorayne:
Sure it's more expensive in England. But, you can't compare apples and oranges. And, you can't use a "four-bedroom house," etc., as an example in the U.S. The prices vary ALL OVER THE COUNTRY. You couldn't buy my house in Manhattan for less than $4,000,000.00! And it doesn't have a garage! HARRY LORAYNE.
Damn Harry,
Move to Seattle. You can have a four bedroom house with two garages and we'll put cars in 'em for you for that price.
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Postby Dustin Stinett » 09/17/06 03:22 PM

That goes to Mr. Loraynes point: There is very little basis for comparison. For what my little dump is worth, I could buy three times the house just fifty miles away. But I would be adding about two hoursone wayto my commute; 10 to 15 degrees Fahrenheit higher average temperature; a near constant wind (on all four sides); and the lovely smell of dairy cows wafting in the air. Ill stick with my little high-priced dump.

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Postby Guest » 09/17/06 07:53 PM

It gets fun when you start playing with the numbers, and the locations, and do a little work, though. Take the last ten years of my families life.

Buy a shack near Silicon Valley that's about to fall down for $112,000. Give it a few years and a whole lot of elbow grease, sell it for $600,000.

Come way south, buy fifty acres with a half a mile of beach front for a fraction of that, and pour the rest into it, as well as a lot of elbow grease...end up with an exclusive resort and land development valued somewhere between five and twenty million dollars, depending on who you talk to. (It's a crazy market.)

You gotta love real estate.
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Postby Guest » 09/17/06 08:56 PM

Factual Examples:

You silly island dwellers...lemme look at your list and see my facts...

1) An American friend of mine fills his tank of gas/petrol for 10/$20. My similar size car in the UK costs 50/$100.

My compact car cost over $40 to fill and it doesn't have a large tank, with the cheapest gas in town by the way. I live 70 miles from the refineries.

2) 5kg of books (about 24 softbacks) cost about 70/$140 to Airmail, by Royal Mail, to USA. It's cheaper to send by a courier (say UPS), but then the receiver (in USA) pays a hefty custom charge.

Not if you know how to do it. I've over 20 years experience in international trade and know how it gets done. Too bad so few listen. Do it right, no duties and the clearance is included with the freight.

3) In a pub (bar), a small bag (a handful) of Peanuts cost about 1:50/$3. Recently, in the US, I bought a sackload for same money.

You win there...the bars provide 'em for free.

4) I live in an expensive seaside area in the UK. My town (Worthing) is in an expensive county called Sussex. I live on the seafront. The smallest two bedroom house (no garage) in my area will cost you 200,000 ($400,000). A friend in the US lives in a four bedroom house with two garages and big garden. His house is valued at less; or so he says.

$400k? You may be able to get a mobile home here for that but not the property it is on, that will cost you an extra $1500 a month or more. Seaside? Dude, you can't get an empty lot for less that $500,000 at my local sea town of Santa Cruz.

5) My fees (as a performer) are from 300/$600 to 600/$1200, plus travel/expenses for 2 hours. And, in London, some charge DOUBLE that!

Another score for the UK! I don't do your level of performance so I have nothing to compare it to.

6) Finally, PRINTING fees are VERY high in the UK. They are about 3 times the amount in the US...maybe more!


You still have printing companies?? Dang.

Both the UK and Australia have VAT, the UK has the 'spank the US for being the US' tax put on by the EU, all that good stuff. On the bright side Americans just love the UK and Australia and to be honest the worse country for us to ship to is France...customs problems beyond belief.
Steve V
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Postby Guest » 09/18/06 08:37 AM

Originally posted by T. Joseph O'Malley:
It's the same in Canada. A house that would cost you, say, $500,000 in America would easily go for 90,000 beaver pelts up here. It's outrageous.
We have beavers here in North Alabama, but Possum skins are much easier to get. They lay on the side of the road, and are usually pre-flattened. But the armadillos (possums on the half-shell) are slowly marching north, and are depressing the exchange rate.
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Postby Pete Biro » 09/18/06 08:48 AM

Speaking of Beavers... a tabloid newspaper (I had to buy it) showed a photo of a Beaver on the front page wearing a 'hard hat' -- the headline: "Beavers recruited to rebuild levees in New Orleans."

Hahahahha :D :D

Inside a quote from the head guy in the Corps of Engineers went something like, "We were amazed at the quality of work these Beavers are doing."
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Postby Guest » 09/18/06 09:31 AM

Steve V. shows us a good point...the United States is a big place. He lives in one of the most expensive places in the world...thats where I came from too, and would have had the same response to a house on the water for four hundred grand...that's cheap!

By the way, Steve, I didn't know you were in Santa Cruz?! The house I mentioned was in Ben Lomond, I briefly went to S.L.V. and sailed for Harbor, Aptos, and Pacific Collegiate. I've still got friends and family in the area.

What do you do?
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Postby Pete Biro » 09/18/06 10:19 AM

Trouble is, here on the Left Coast, is "sure it is great that the house we live in was around $200,000 when my wife moved in, and now it is surrounded by homes that have recently sold for almost $3Million, is, if we sell, we have to pay a ton of taxes, and to move to a comperable place would cost about the same.
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Postby Guest » 09/18/06 11:01 AM

paul,

you a correct that houses are more expensive in england. i live in scotland and the houses are cheaper,the thing is though, people earn more in england than they do in scotland.

another thing, a lot of houses in scotland are bought from english men/women. the population is going down in scotland, yet more houses are being built than ever.

best, brian.
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Postby David Scollnik » 09/18/06 06:30 PM

Back in summer of 2002, I visited London, England, for the very first time. One of my first meals out consisted of an order of french fries and hot tea in an average street cafe, and it cost me close to $20 Canadian after the exchange.

After that meal I mostly stopped worrying about the exchange rate since it was out of my hands, and it was going to drive me crazy if I dwelled on it.

I also remember paying something like $120 Canadian for a black cab ride while in London.
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Postby Guest » 09/18/06 07:01 PM

Stuart, I live in San Jose....with the new highway (to 17) I can be in Santa Cruz in about half an hour.
Steve V
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Postby Guest » 09/18/06 07:07 PM

I'm sorry, didn't answer completely. Up until the end of October I'm a logistics manager for a semiconductor company. After the lay off I'm hoping to be a materials manager for a start up medical equipment company. For a fun job I work part time at a Home Depot (went for the discount, there isn't one, but I enjoy working there).
Steve V
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Postby Guest » 09/18/06 10:00 PM

Steve V and Stuart, I couldn't resist posting when I saw Ben Lomond,Ca posted which is basically where I live.(Brookdale) And to give perspective my very tiny 100 yaer old home is appraised at $600,000 on a tiny lot. $50 to fill a gas tank here. However I will say that for the record that the vintage English conjuring apparatus is not inexpensive.
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Postby Ian Kendall » 09/19/06 01:44 AM

These comparisons are largely irrelivent - perhaps we should discuss like for like...

For example, petrol in Scotland is currently floating around 90p a litre, which would be 4.50 a gallon (roughly nine dollars). I remember, while living in Georgia in 1990/91, the outcry when gas hit one dollar a gallon...

House prices fluctuate wildly in a very short distance; in Bruntsfield for example, a family house is on average 100,000 pounds more expensive than an identical house three streets away, simply because the cheaper house is in a different school catchment area. That's two hundred thousand dollars for three hundred yards...

For things like electronics we tend to pay the same in pounds as it costs in dollars, so there is definitely the air of 'Rip Off Britain' on that front.

To post a 100g CD in a padded envelope to the US costs 1.46. You can get the full prices at www.royalmail.co.uk

Take care, Ian
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Postby Guest » 09/19/06 04:36 AM

Originally posted by Bill Mullins:
Originally posted by T. Joseph O'Malley:
[b] It's the same in Canada. A house that would cost you, say, $500,000 in America would easily go for 90,000 beaver pelts up here. It's outrageous.
We have beavers here in North Alabama, but Possum skins are much easier to get. They lay on the side of the road, and are usually pre-flattened. But the armadillos (possums on the half-shell) are slowly marching north, and are depressing the exchange rate. [/b]
That sounds sort of like our FCI (French Crueller Index) up here. When Crispy Creme came up north, the FCI dropped rapidly - but we managed to send them back south with their tail between their legs, mostly thanks to the efforts of
activist Tim Horton.
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Postby Guest » 09/19/06 12:47 PM

When it comes to Petrol, the US has several sources dotted around the country which makes it cheaper to move around. Here in the UK, we have to import the petrol. Because we have to import, all prices go up. The Tax and VAT here are ridiculous!!!
As for magic, there are reasons why Magic shops in the UK charge more, and it is for similar reasons. In the US, it is Free shipping from a wholesale company such as Murphy's Magic to Hocus Pocus or somewhere like that. Almost all magic is produced in the USA, even UK Magic!!! Every Magician in a magic business is in for the money, and why not, it's their livelyhood! However, say if a company wanted to buy something off another UK company, they usually only get about 20% off retail value, then they have to pay postage on top, then they have to make a profit. What i find outrageous is when a UK magician produces an effect, but won't wholesale in the UK!!!
UK Dealers then have to buy from Murphys for example to get the trick!!! So then Murphy's add on a charge as they have to get it shipped to them, then a UK dealer buys a load of the tricks in, then has to pay shipping on that, adn then wants a profit on top of that! So its shipped to America to come right back to the UK, whats the point!?!?!
And books are INCREDIBLY heavy to ship. If a UK dealer wanted about 15-20 books, it would cost them say $350-400 for the books, and then another $100-150 to get it shipped to them, then they need to make a profit again on this else there is no point having it. In the US it is easy to get a product from Wholesale to distributor in days. It takes a week atleast to get to the UK, plus a UK dealer cannot afford to keep buying in the new weekly added stock to get to the UK.
A good thing about some UK dealers is if you spend over a certain amount, say 30 ($55), you get it shipped to you for free!!! GREAT!!! However some companies charge you more to ship the more you buy!!! Which then makes you not spend as much as you would want. www.topsecretmagic.co.uk are a great example of shipping as after that 30 has been spent it is shipped for FREE to you.
Postage costs in the UK are getting worse and worse, especially due to the new ruling that size now counts too!!! It used to be dependent on the weight, now the size add's to cost as well. I paid for an item from the US and it cost $8.95 to get to me. When i sent it back for repair, it cost me 6.45!!! Almost double what it cost to get it to me!

One day i hope some people would not be greedy and keep things at a price and leave it at that, rather than going up and up and up, but you cant help inflation i suppose!

P.s. The bus prices in the UK are now ridiculous!!! And car park prices!!! Where i live, i can pay 4.80 for parking ALL day. When i go to Magic conventions etc, it sometimes costs me 1 an hour!!! Why can't there be a set price everywhere!!
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Postby Guest » 09/19/06 10:56 PM

It's interesting that you say you have to import the petrol. One of the biggest finds in the world is the North Sea field which is being harvested by Scottish and Scandanavian companies. The crude oil is refined in Milton Keynes by British Petroleum.

The refinery in Milton Keynes is a very large one.
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Postby Dustin Stinett » 09/19/06 11:55 PM

This thread is doing two things: Making me nervous and also reminding me of a hunk that Peter Pit used to do about our shared language:

In England men wear trousers. In America they wear pants.

In America, you put gas in your car. In England its petrol.

In England, when you ask for a wakeup call at a hotel, they ask you If youd like to be knocked-up at 7 a.m. In America, thats much too early.
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Postby Guest » 09/20/06 01:06 AM

Originally posted by DustinStinett:
In England, when you ask for a wakeup call at a hotel, they ask you If youd like to be knocked-up at 7 a.m.
I've never heard that. And I think that most people in the UK would laugh at it - knocked up means impregnated to most people, as I assume it does in the US too.

I don't doubt that you've heard it used in that context. But I doubt that it's used often.

Dave
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