Every magician wants the best. Magicians who are serious about the craft don’t want the little box sets you find at tourist attractions. They want the Real McCoy. So naturally you will go to the local magic shop where the goods are most likely to be. I have found book stores to have some good magic books, however if you want props, DVDs and books – you will need to find a magic shop.
Some cities do not have such luxuries or if they do the goods come from overseas so they are incredibly expensive (this is not a knock to those shops – you gotta make a living). In Cape Town, there is the Magic Shop at the College of Magic, but the prices are too expensive for me. They have an extensive collection of products but it comes from overseas…
So where do I buy my magic? I buy online. I have one website that I swear by and that I will recommend to everyone. They are reliable, professional, sincere and honest. When I need magic, I turn to Penguin Magic.
What started out as an unfair dismissal turned into a blessing in disguise. Maxwell Murphy and Acar Altinsel started Penguin Magic in June 2002. They chose a penguin as their mascot because it looks like this bird was born with a tuxedo on so it is always ready to perform… hence the slogan “Born to perform” and Penguin Magic is born. It started out as a little “warehouse” (actually it was an apartment on top of a university) with boxes of merchandise from floor to ceiling (even in the kitchen! How they got to the fridge for food is beyond me :p). At first delivery trucks had to turn around in the parking lot but soon that turned into warehouses being opened in Las Vegas, London, and Sacramento, delivering magic products to 169 countries world-wide. I bet whoever fired them is kicking themselves!
Maxwell Murphy (left) and Acar Altinsel (right)
I started using Penguin Magic in 2004 and I haven’t looked back since! I have had 16 successful deliveries. The beauty about Penguin Magic is that their number one concern is customer satisfaction, which means that the quality of products need to satisfy crazy, opinionated, subjective creatures like us. Now you can’t please everyone all the time, but I can safely say that I am a satisfied and dedicated customer to Penguin.
One of the best qualities (there are way too many to mention) of Penguin is that if the customer is not satisfied they will send you another copy for free. For example: I ordered the famous colouring book and it got crumpled a bit from the post; I emailed asking them if they could send me another and they gladly and willingly said sure and I got the new book a few days later.
The famous Coloring Book effect
Penguin Magic is guaranteed to give you the best prices for the goods. Their website is user – friendly and almost all of the products come with a demo video and an extensive description of what the effect is as well as what some of the professionals think. Their customer-service team is super quick to respond to queries and tries every way possible to help the customer.
Penguin has a policy whereby if you find a product that is cheaper elsewhere, they will match it. I actually am making use of this clause when I buy next (hopefully sometime in May). I found a set of DVDs that were cheaper elsewhere and the customer-service team are matching it! Again: Always wanting what is best for the customer.
Penguin also gives the inventor inside of us an opportunity to come alive. If you have created an effect, you can record it and send it to Penguin. If they approve they will sell it on your behalf. Now Penguin won’t take responsibility for an effect that has been copied (unbeknownst to the best of their knowledge and resources) and the originator sees it and comes for your head, but they are willing to give the hidden Jim Steinmeyer’s or Juan Tamariz’s inside of us an opportunity to success.
Penguin has this practically yearly special where you choose five DVD titles or effects for $99. They have a wide selection that you can choose from and some of the DVD titles that you can buy were being sold for a $50/$60 for 1 – 3 discs. I remember buying 10 discs totalling something crazy like +-$150 for only $99. That never included international shipping but it’s minor in comparison. What a win!
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Penguin Magic does not have every magic product in the world, but they do have an incredible selection of single effects, DVDs, books, posters, instant downloads (paying for the secret but the props are available in local stores, normal cards/coins, or everyday objects), juggling material, Extreme Card Manipulation (see Card Artistry article), stand – up/comedy magic as well as a selection of music that you can play in your act. Those are only a few types of magic you can buy from Penguin.
Another gem of a creation that I have yet to experience but looks flipping awesome is the Penguin Live events. These events are two hour lectures on a Sunday (around midnight Monday morning here in South Africa) given by guest speakers – magicians who are known for their genius minds, creativity, uniqueness and entertaining personalities. You get a front row seat to a lecture that you can watch over and over again for $25. No shipping! They have had speakers like David Roth, Greg Wilson (not Greg Gelb, well not yet anyway), Gazzo, Dani DaOrtiz, Jay Sankey, Rob Zabrecky (cover of April 2013 Genii Magazine), Losander (inventor of the Floating Table), Shin Lim, Woody Aragon, and Boris Wild… to name a few.
Sometimes you find in huge companies, talking to the boss is next to impossible. Not with Penguin. I can and have dealt with both Maxwell and Acar on numerous occasions – be it mere questions on products or issues that I have had. They make themselves available for the customer and I can tell you, customers recognise this and appreciate it more than words can describe.
I find international shipping to be very expensive. Even the economic international shipping is expensive and often the products are not insured and do not come with a tracking number, which often gives me an uneasy feeling. It would be great to see Penguin either try to make MOST of their products available for Flat – Pack free shipping (put the dvds in sleeves instead of boxes) or give free international shipping to orders over a certain amount. I think that way customers will be encouraged to buy over that limit so they get free shipping.
I would like to say thank you to the Penguin Magic team for giving me the opportunity to be the best magician I can be by making products readily available. Buying online is a touchy subject for most people, but with Penguin Magic I feel safe, my details are safe and confidential and I know should anything happen Penguin will help me as best as they can.
Keep up the great work Penguin and I look forward to future business with you guys!