Today's lesson is about how to read product descriptions written by magic dealers. To begin, take a peek at Hank Lee's description of the GhostShelf. (Link opens in new window.)
Finished? Notice how Hank spends a lot of time describing how the product does not work. That's a common ploy, and given the length of this particular list, I'm surprised that he left off "No antigravity devices" and "No chewing gum."
Since this isn't a trick per se, I don't have any hesitation exposing its secret. Go read this. (Link opens in new window.)
Now let's revisit Hank's description. Here's where the education about reading magic ads comes into fruition. Hank says:
- "No, it does not use glue." True. The support bracket must be screwed to the wall.
- "No, we do not give you a gimmicked book." True. You need to supply your own book that's compatible with the gimmick.
- "No, the pictures aren't stooged." True, since the word has no meaning in this context. (He means "staged.")
- "Yes, you can put a small goldfish bowl on it." Partially true, provided that you sit the bowl atop a book. I wonder why he picked goldfish bowl instead of birdcage?
- "Yes, it will last a lifetime." It's a metal bracket. As long as you don't stand or sit on it, like we said elsewhere, you're good to go.
- "Yes, every book is your book." True, since we're supplying only the bracket and the instructions. See also "we do not give you a gimmicked book," above.
- "Yes, it will dock on a glass wall." But deploying it this way will obviate the claim about "no blind spots." You might also have to use glue.
The final lesson is a little more subtle. Note that this product is freely available at regular stores. For half the price of what Hank is charging and none of the bullshit. It even tells you the limitations of the device and other important considerations. What a concept.
I hope you have found this as enlightening as it was fun to write. As a bonus, if you're crafty, here's how you can make your own invisible bookshelf.