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Review of Magic Shop Penguin Magic

Official Review

July 17th, 2015 2:37am
Reviewed by Dr. J. M. Ayala de Cedoz

There are two things that prevent me from ordering from Penguin after having done so once. I will say that what I ordered was only an accessory, the price was only $.10 lower than any competitors (not that it really mattered here) and the service was satisfactory.

Now, there are three things that prevent me from dealing with this company. The first and in my opinion, the worst offense, is that every time I have ever asked for descriptions or certain details (not the MO, of course) about a product, they have never been able to give me a definitive answer. That number is well beyond a couple dozen times. If you are working in a retail/service business, you should be able to answer those types of questions. It shows that a staff has a thorough knowledge of the products it purveys. I understand that in some industries, it is not possible for one person to know about every single item, but there should be someone on staff that is familiar with it. *I should note that the questions I asked were for the most part pretty basic. Others dealt with aesthetics which would have affected their efficiency in relation to the intended use of the product.

My second gripe is with them is the quality and accuracy of some of their teaching downloads. I will start this mini-rant by stating that I am not the biggest fan of downloads except where the download is something that is very hard to come across in print or very hard to find. I prefer books first, DVDs second.

Some time ago a friend of mine sent me a video file from Penguin (it was free to all, including the public) in which a man taught "a clean, deceptive and thorough handling of an ROV coin vanish". What a load of crap! The information was absolutely WRONG. If it was not the worst handling and teaching of an ROV I have ever seen, then it was most certainly the second worst. I have seen some of the other videos they have released, the content of which was not very well taught. In fact, I would go so far as to say they are/were misleading, or that they teach the material/technique incorrectly.

The third problem I have is that I have noticed knock-off items being sold on their site. Whether they actually stock and ship them I cannot say, but then again if they do not stock and ship these items, why would it be on the site? I only support original creators. I can understand that some performers are on a budget and not able to afford a $400 item, but it is because of these creators (more often than not) that we even have these wonderful effects/props available. If nobody supports them, they will stop contributing eventually. Besides, when you buy a cheap knock-off, you absolutely get what you pay for.

My second and third issues were previously mentioned, but I just figured I would add them as my two cents.

All in all, I cannot say anything bad about their service; they are prompt to respond, but they are just not as knowledgeable as they should be.

Their pricing is among the best you will find in the industry, but personally I will pay full retail price for an item from a dealer (whether it is my first time dealing with them or not) if they know their products well and can answer questions about them. At least make an effort to get an answer.

I know many people have gotten great service from this dealer and will continue to get the same great service from this dealer. I too was happy with the one transaction I made with them, however, I cannot look past my issues that were stated above. If they ever fix those issues, I will have absolutely no problem dealing with them in the future.

**UPDATE AS OF MAY 1st, 2015**

Despite my earlier issues with Penguin, I have since had further interaction with them and they have actually come quite a way, but they still have a ways to go.

They seem to have gotten better at knowing more about the products that they carry, but for the most part it seems to apply to newer items on the market. This still does not cover the older items, but it is a vast improvement from the past on their part.

In 2014 they bought the rights to Elmwood Magic products from Paul Richards in order to keep producing and selling them. This year in 2015, they also teamed up with Paul to produce the Live Magic Expo, which in my experience was very well put together as a result of that collaboration. The staff on hand from Penguin was very knowledgeable and as they always have been, very friendly. They also seemed eager to learn more about their items and their products, which is a good thing.

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