The other day I got a call from an old customer, a good magician I’m told by those who have seen him perform, and he wanted a certain electronic device. We had it in stock. He took a long drive to get to our shop as he wanted it right away and he’s from out of town.
I got a call from him today asking if we had another one in stock. I said yes. He asked if we would try it out to see if it worked. We did and it did. He said his didn’t.
“Strange,” I said. “Did you put a battery in?”
“Of course,” he replied.
“Did you put it in the right way?”
“It says it doesn’t matter which way but I tried both ways and I tried the battery on something else and it works. Will you exchange it if I go down there now?”
“Of course, and I’m so sorry that you have to drive all that way.”
Phil was working at his computer, as usual, but was also listening to my end of the conversation.
“Wait a minute,” he called out. “What kind of battery are you using?”
He told me the name, which I relayed to Phil.
“Tell him to get a Duracell before he drives all the way out here.”
“But my battery works,” my customer insisted.
“Buy a Duracell,” Phil insisted,
“Okay, I’ll go out and buy a Duracell and then I’ll come over and change the item.”
We have some experience after being in this crazy business for over the 40 years. At one time we carried an electric bottle from Dirk DeGraeve in Belgium. We had the exact same situation. A customer came back with a bottle he had bought and said it didn’t work. Phil put in one of his Duracell batteries and it did work. Then we had another trick whereby you put cards, one at a time, into a box. When you tried to put the selected card in the box, it closed by itself and you couldn’t put it in. Same thing happened there. So we knew about the batteries by then.
Twenty minutes later I get a phone call from this customer.
“I want you to do me a big favour.”
I said, “So it worked with the Duracell huh?”
“Listen, about the favour. When I’m famous and you’re talking to someone and telling them that you knew me when I was a kid, please don’t tell them about the battery. It’s a little embarrassing.”
The moral of the story is when you’re working professionally, don’t save money by buying cheap batteries, if you’re using something that requires batteries.