I've noticed that magic shops in the US seem to be cheaper than magic shops in the UK, Why is that? Shouldn't it just be a simple currency exchange to set the prices? Are UK magic shops ripping us off?
Hi David, That's a great question and catches many magicians by surprise when they order magic tricks form magic shops in the US. Are US Magic shops cheaper than UK magic shops? It depends.. Lets take a look at the real cost of importing magic tricks into the UK:
The main difference in price is caused by tax. Good, established magic shops are required by law to charge VAT. The US magic shops don't show VAT with their prices because they don't collect it. V.A.T gets added tot he price of the order when the items arrive into the UK. You get a letter from UPS or FedEx charging you VAT, Import Duty, and a ridiculously high processing fee on top. You have to pay the fees if you want them to deliver your package a few days later.
If you buy magic tricks from a US magic shop, you will be paying in US Dollars on a debit or credit card. Your bank will charge a fee for processing the exchange of currency, sometimes as much as 3% as a bank charge. UK shops have already taken care of all the importing and currency exchange for you.
Another issue is aftercare, there's a lot of value in having customer care, local telephone support, returns/exchanges, and shipping from within your own country. You probably don't need that for just a deck of cards, but for higher ticket price items or electrical items, it's worth using (and supporting) your own countries magic community, economy, and magic shop businesses.
Importing magic tricks into the UK can sometimes be a good deal. If it's a rare item, on special offer in a US magic shop, or if it's not an item that quality or aftercare would be an issue of importance. However, the way of displaying prices in the US is different to the UK and it's important to understand that additional charges and delays can be added to he order which could wipe out the cost saving.