Monday, November 14, 2005

Of Course, You Know, This Means War!

Yeah, it's old news, but I have places to see and people to do:

Recently, I received the following in my inbox from Jay Sankey regarding the previous partnership with Penguin Magic. Looks as if the relationship has fallen on some bad times. Here is the email in its unedited entirety:

To all of you who, over the past two years, have warned me about doing business with Penguin Magic...


Actually, I've had growing suspicions over the past 16 months, but I was still really hoping I would never have to write this e-mail. I was really hoping that Acar Altinsel and Maxwell Murphy at Penguin Magic would be willing to be team players. But no matter how hard I've tried to make things work with them (and believe me, I've busted my butt!)in the end it
seems they are only interested in one team: THEIRS.

I remember once reading, "How relationships begin is often how they continue." I also remember how, when I first began doing business with Penguin Magic a few years ago I received literally dozens of e-mails from concerned magicians and mentalists around the world warning me about "the Penguin Magic business tactics." Even seasoned magic dealers warned me about "those Penguin guys" and how they have a tendency to sell knocked-off versions of other people's magic products.

At one of my earliest meetings with Acar and Maxwell, I remember telling Acar about the warnings and asking him, "How do I know you will never steal from me?" He replied, "Because we don't steal from our friends."

I now can't help but wonder if I was ever really "their friend" or just someone else they planned to rip-off from the very beginning.

Silly as it may sound, at first I believed Acar and Maxwell. I believed they would be honorable business people. I guess because I wanted to believe. That's just the kind of person I am. I want to think the best of people and it takes a lot before I finally come to distrust them. But as the months went by...

They replied to fewer and fewer of my e-mails and phone calls.

Advertisements they promised to place in magazines never materialized.

The agreed upon hotlink from the Penguin website to my site suddenly disappeared.

Checks began arriving later and later.

And all the while, I would receive at least a few e-mails every week from magicians complaining about the disrespectful service they got from Penguin Magic.

Then another strange thing started to happen. Penguin Magic started to order much smaller quantities of some of my most popular products and in some cases completely STOPPED ordering them...and yet they still advertised them on the home page of their website! For example, over a year (!) went by without them ordering a single "IN A FLASH," yet month-after-month it was listed as one of their best-sellers. Hmmmm...

I started to have some very dark suspicions. After all, what could be easier than having a printer punch holes in packs of cards and toss them in baggies? And keep in mind that at this point they were the world's only seller of Sankey Magic!

Then a few months ago, when I asked them if they were interested in joining my newly formed world-wide network of authorized dealers, they jumped at the chance. But AGAIN, almost from the very start there were clear signs that they had no intention of playing by the rules...

For the first few weeks of September they posted many of my products at lower-than-agreed upon prices and undercut all the other authorized dealers they had just agreed to work together with!! (In fact, up until the time of this e-mail, if you go to the very first page of the "Jay Sankey Store" on their US website, you'll see that they CONTINUE to advertise "Three Ring Circus" for $30 -instead of the agreed upon price of $40 that all my other dealers are selling it at!)

And then in late September of this year, after they agreed to remove a collection of "Free Jay Sankey Downloads" (which I had produced as a way to thank my wonderful customers) I received news that they had put them back up "behind the scenes" on the Penguin website! (For all I know they are STILL UP!)

And in even just the last few days, the Penguin boys have pulled yet another "fast one" and posted a parade of slashed prices on their UK website for several of my newly upgraded products with the instructional dvds. Again without my consent and in outright violation of the agreement they entered into as an authorized dealer earlier this fall!

The list of Penguin Magic's transgressions and violations goes on and on and on...

As I said at the beginning of this e-mail, I was realy hoping I would never have to "go public" with this information. After all, a business relationship is like any other relationship: there are private sides to it and it can sometimes take everyone a while to work out the kinks and overcome misunderstandings and miscommunications.

But recently, when I received yet more e-mails from some of you complaining that you had in good faith ordered from Penguin Magic some of my newly upgraded products and then received in the mail some of the OLD and OUT-OF-DATE products (!!!)...well, I knew the time had come to expose the boys at Penguin Weasel for who they are. I just wouldn't feel right if I didn't warn you, especially after all you have done over the past few years for me, my wife Lisa and my son Mason.

I'm also extremely serious about honoring the trust given to me by all the other dealers in my recently formed world-wide network of authorized dealers. Unlike the unethical cowboys at Penguin Magic, many of these dealers have families to feed and long-term ties to the magic community.

I hate talking badly about other people, but there was simply no way I could remain silent while Penguin Magic continues to pull the crap they have have been pulling for way, way too long. If I did that, I would feel like I was letting down far too many honest people.

With that in mind, I would like to ask you to consider boycotting Penguin Magic. Despite their clever web-marketing, they are still nothing more than cold-hearted, flightless birds who have only got as far as they have by riding on the coat-tails of other far more honest and creative people.

As a creator and manufacturer of magic products I have the final say in who markets my products. But as the all-powerful CUSTOMER you in fact have the final say in who will sell any products at all.

By finally going public with all this information, I'm trying to do my part. No I hope you do yours. Vote with your wallet and let's all work together to make Penguin Magic extinct today.

Thanks very much for your help!

Yours sincerely,

Jay Sankey

PS. The fast-talking boys at Penguin Magic have only purchased a mere 25 of each of my newly upgraded products with the instructional dvds. If they continue to advertise these products for sale for even just another week or so...I'll leave you to draw your own conclusions.

Maxwell Murphy addressed the theft accusation on the Magic Cafe:

Hi Everyone,

All of us at Penguin Magic are deeply saddened and confused by the public accusations that Jay Sankey has made this morning.

Penguin Magic has not infringed upon the copyrights of Mr. Jay Sankey, Sankey Magic, or any other individual or company. We have never manufactured any Sankey Magic items ourselves (or any other item that is owned by another manufacturer). Every single unit of Sankey Magic we've ever sold was purchased directly from Sankey Magic (or from one of their authorized distributors). We'll be happy to prove that we have not in any way violated the trust or copyrights of Sankey Magic.

Thanks to everyone who has contacted us in support. We work very hard to be the best magic shop we can be, and we're proud of what we've achieved so far. We'll continue to work night and day to serve you better.


Maxwell Murphy

Penguin Magic

Do I have to say it? "I'm surprised this hadn't happened sooner..."



Blogger Danny said...

It was a long time ago that I was in the retail business (not magic) so things could have changed, but I don't think so.

I am making reference to Jay's statement that Penguin undercut his agreed upon price ($30 vs $40). He goes on to state that the other dealers agreed to sell at that price.

If that had happened when I was in business, the feds would have been all over us, assuming they got wind of what had happened. We would have been charged criminally with price fixing. They take it real seriously.

Maybe magic is so far under the radar that they never even consider it.

Don't draw any false conclusions, I'm on Jay's side as far as Penguin goes, but dude, BE CAREFUL about stuff like that.

Sarc. Mag.

7:10 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Not to contradict you're statements Danny, but a manufacturer (Sankey) is allowed to set (fix) a price for a product and enforce it through it's dealers.

Example A: Apple iPods. Find it Circuit City, Best Buy, etc. any cheaper - no? huh

Example B: Sony PSP. Buy it without a package and you'll find it's the same anywhere.

I could go on, but this is not "price fixing" that the government cares about. It's the fact that competitors collude to fix a price for similiar or identical commodities.

Thus ends our lecture for Business 101. We now return to our regular blog...

8:57 PM  

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