Thoughts on products, performance, and doublethink in the magic community.

Thursday, July 14, 2005

Ripoff Alert

Do you hear those sirens? It appears that we've got an overhyped ripoff alert! Sensors indicate that it's coming from over here.

Twenty dollars is not an astonishing sum of money, but for what's being offered, it is downright dishonest.

And what is being offered? Basically, you stick a chopstick into a jar filled with rice, and when you lift the chopstick, the jar is suspended. It's mildly clever, nothing mind-blowing.

"You can use virtually any jar and grain," the ad brags. They don't even give you a jar or rice, despite what the deceptive picture would indicate.

I could get a jar and some rice from the grocery store for four dollars. That's the retail price. Hank Lee could buy both wholesale for less than a dollar. But he wants twenty dollars for a chopstick and some instructions! Maybe if the chopstick wood was taken from Admiral Nelson's warship, I would consider it, but it's just a friggin stick.

It's not even a trick. There are no secrets or gimmicks involved. If you stick a chopstick into a jar filled with rice, the jar will be suspended from the chopstick."How can this be?" the ad asks. How about PHYSICS.

There's nothing special about this dignified science experiment, which appears in many beginner's magic books. I have it in Walter B. Gibson's "The New Magician's Manual," which sells on Ebay for less than a dollar. In bookstores, it sells for ten bucks. Still that's half the price that Hank Lee is asking.

If you're interested in this 'trick,' go with a friend and get dinner at a Chinese restaurant. You'll get a chopstick and a nice meal too. They even toss in a fortune cookie.

Like Hank Lee would ever do that.


Blogger MagicEnigma said...

There's a sucker born every minute.

Hank Lee

12:26 PM


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