This weeks failure is Bob Kohler Magic. Bob Kohler is a good magician and a good magic dealer. But when I read the "pitch" of Scott Alexander's "The Blades" I could not help but laugh out loud, or as the new terminology suggests: I lol'ed.
Briefly: 795.95$, that is 800$, in words: EIGHT HUNDRED DOLLARS for the good old razor blade routine. Shipping not included.
And here is how Bob Kohler justifies the price:
In our opinion "The Blades" is not expensive. It's an investment for "the few".
Okay, if "the few" are idiots who are unable to track down cheaper version of the trick.
But this version is special, you know:
What makes it unique is Scott's ability to get to the heart of the effect, designing the best method, weaving the presentation into a brilliant performance piece that gets big laughs and brings audiences to their feet night after night.
Let's see if I understood this correctly: 800 dollars for a unique presentation and a direct method. Ok, But do I want to perform it just like Scott Alexander? Wouldn't that be the road to not being unique? So if I am about to do my own presentation, doesn't that argument of getting a unique presentation fall apart? Just saying.
But there is a video to let me see the effect first, right? Can I see "The Blades"?
Short answer…you can't. Most magic products today are represented by video trailers that show the routine to both the prospective buyers and the public. We live in an era where magic is often sold through deceptive video editing and dishonest advertising. "The Blades" will not have a video trailer. In fact, none of our Pro Line releases have ever had a trailer. Our tradition and reputation insure that "The Blades" is what we present it to be. In fact as you read on you'll discover that it's our intention that no footage of "The Blades" will ever be seen.
True we live in an age were everything can be seen. We also live in an age of sales pitch bullshitting. Here is my theory: If we were to see the routine, we would instantly know the method and the presentation and would be able to copy it on the fly, turning the price asked for the routine (again 800 bucks) into a farce.
While I understand that this is a major problem in magic, I'd also say that hiding the routine is the wrong way too. In fact you would not buy a pig in a poke, would you?
Alright, but why is this a failure?
Well if you have a product that you wanna sell and you want a certain ammount of money for it, just ask for the money. Do not make a long statement, why the price is justfied. Because if you really take apart the arguments given, they all turn out to be bullshit.
Bob Kohler did so hard to write up a text to let people think they get a bargain, when they really don't. Which is true for pretty much all of his routines. You'll get quality, but it is way over priced.
So here is my little suggestion. Read the whole thing, then take a look somewhere else. And if you want to perform this classic effect, buy the routine somewhere else for about 25 bucks and start performing. You don't need the presentation of someone else. You don't need a unique method, as long as the one you would use is deceptive.
Scott Alexander's routine may be great, it maybe crap, we will never know. And since we will never know we should not care.
Bob Kohler writes:
These products are produced by professional magicians for professional magicians. Our target market is not amateurs or hobbyists but professional magicians who make their living performing magic.
I am a professional magician. I don't feel drawn to buy this thing. A professional strives to do his own thing. So a professional would read a book (the cheapest way to get the routine) and figure out how to adopt this to the own style, character and personality. He would also alter the method and use his own little way of doing it. In other words he would make the routine his own.
Basically, exactly the way Scott Alexander did.