Gardyloo #19

The final copy of The Jerx, Volume One is available for $38,001.

That's because the most expensive magic book I could find was this 1st edition of the Discoverie of Witchcraft which sold for $38,000.

Now, my book is 100 times better than that hunk of turd, and it is with great modesty that I make my final copy available for just 1 dollar more. 

Does that make me a hero? No... I'm just a man. 

If you really want a copy of the book and can't afford that price, there are a few "imperfect" test versions available at the "Buy the Book" link in the main menu. Once those are gone, that's that.

Crazy Idea I've Been Researching This Week: I'm looking to see if it's possible to get a tattoo that is done, in part, with something similar to the ink in a Frixion pen. Then I could have a tattoo that morphed from one thing to another as it passed through a candle flame (or maybe just by generating some friction). Then "reset" with an ice cube.

Initial research is not looking promising. But that's okay because I have an even crazier tattoo concept I'm working on and just ordered some pig skin to test it out on.

The Customer Service Algorithm

I've been on a real Tenyo kick for the past few months after decades of only having the most casual interest in the brand/company. 

In celebration of a recent special occasion, a friend of mine got me a number of effects from Tenyo's newest releases. One of those tricks was Magic Maze. We opened the box to play around with it and found that it came with none of the cards that make up the effect. It just came with instructions and clothespins. 

When he tried to return the item to Penguin Magic, they said it was past the 45 day return policy and there was nothing they could do about it. 

My friend pointed out that it was a gift he bought early and he hadn't considered the idea he would need to open a Tenyo product to make sure the pieces were all there before giving it to someone as a gift.

Their response was that they "recommend[ed] purchasing the effect again."

I told him to tell them he has been a customer of theirs for almost 15 years, has spent 1000s of dollars there, and that he's not trying to rip them off over a $15 trick. But he didn't bother bringing that up. They'd already lost him. He switched his allegiances to another shop.

Now, I love Penguin. I will continue to shop there. I think they're a great company, they set the standard for an online magic shop, and they're constantly innovating. And I don't come here to wield my prodigious wang and say, "You need to make things right with my friend!" As I said, he's already moved on. He purchased the trick somewhere else. We're all set. 

I'm bringing this up because I want to offer a rule of thumb to magic dealers or any type of online merchants. When you're small you can be responsive and take care of your customers and it's very easy. But as you get larger you have to entrust others with your customer service, and these people give less of a shit if you look bad. Did the guy who was dealing with my friend care that he was suggesting my friend (actually me as I was the one who received the trick) be satisfied with a trick that came without the required props? Nah, fuck it, who cares? Does it make Penguin look bad? Yes. But it's not his company so he's not going to break a sweat.

Here is the rule of thumb that I helped implement when I was doing some consulting work with a couple non-magic online merchants. It's a win-win-win for everyone involved. It empowers employees, makes customers happy, and brings in more business for the owners. The rule is simply this: If there as an issue that can be solved by spending less than 1% of what the customer has spent at that company, then your customer service department can just go ahead and fix the issue. They don't need to get permission, they can just solve the problem. In fact, they're required to solve the problem, not deflect and dissuade and make someone jump through hoops.

So, in this case, instead of losing a customer who had spent $5000 or more with them, they just would have spent the $8 or whatever the wholesale price is and sent him a new trick.

But won't people take advantage of this?

No. Because people don't spend 5000 dollars so they have can get $50 worth of "potential issue insurance" which is what this amounts to. And if they did that would thrill a company. Ask Vanishing Inc if they'd be willing to give you a $50 voucher to cover potential issues if you spend $5000 there. You don't even have to ask them. I don't need to ask them either. They will. Trust me. 

But I still love you, Penguin. I sure as hell won't buy anyone a gift from you if it's not right up against their birthday, but you'll continue to be a store I regularly patronize. If nothing else we need to support Penguin to keep Dan Harlan off the streets.

It's well past Valentine's Day, but it's still February so it's not too late for this beautiful love poem to be relevant. It's called "Poem" by Ron Padgett.