In the Dark

Thursday morning I come to work at 6:30 like I do every day. I open the door, walk inside, and flip on the lights. Nothing. All of a sudden, the lights slowly come on and then slowly dim as if someone was flipping a dimmer switch. I go into the warehouse and flip the switches there, and only 2 sets of lights come on. What’s going on? I walk into the showroom and flip the switches, and only half the lights come on and stay on, no dimming. None of the computers were working, none of the phones are ringing. Have I entered the Twilight Zone? So out to my car I go to grab my cell phone and call Pacific Gas and Electric to tell them about the problem. They assure me that they’ll have someone out within the hour. So, 8:30 AM, 9:30 AM, and nothing. So, another call to PG&E, explaining to them that we are an Internet-run business and without power, we’re pretty much helpless. I’m assured by the girl on the phone that a crew has been dispatched and should show up any minute.

About a half hour later, the first truck shows up. After about an hour of assessing the situation and several phone calls, the technician informs me that a bird or possibly a squirrel ran or flew into the transformer which caused it to blow out. I look at the power pole, and it is now obvious to me as I check out the charred power coils and wiring that something has indeed struck it. The technician informs me that the problem is larger than expected and he must dispatch another crew to fix the problem. At this point, I’m not a happy camper. I’m thinking of all the customers trying to call us, all the emails we cannot answer, etc. and the fact that the triple digit heat is getting to all of us without air conditioning. Seeing my frustration, the technician tells me that the new crew will be out in about an hour. I’ve heard this story before.

So, time to get creative! Betty goes on her iPhone and begins to pull up the orders that are pending and then she contacts the phone company to have all  of our phone calls routed to her cell phone. Not the easiest solution, but it works. We open up all the doors, blinds, and roll-up door in the warehouse to let in as much light as possible. We all pull together and begin to pack orders as best we can. We even assembled effects we market in the dark. As frustrating as it was at times, the grass roots effort really paid off, and we probably accomplished more than if we had the power on! The second PG&E crew showed up, and within a few hours, power was restored. It was amazing how we were all able to make some lemonade out of what could have been a real lemon of a day.

After all the power was restored and the email was back up and running, I received a very nice email from a brand new customer that made my day.

In an answer to an email I sent regarding the delivery date of a relatively modest order, Paul called me personally to give me an update. I liked that. He kept the call brief…I was at work, so, I liked that too. He was kind, courteous, and explained exactly the status of my item. I liked that a lot.

Today, my little effect arrived safe and sound as promised, and is exactly as described. I’m thrilled. And, I love that.

So, my first experience with Hocus Pocus was a winner. I’ll be back. And, you’ll probably like that.

Oh. One last thing. The video you have of your warehouse…it’s my favorite magic “go-to” on the internet. Paul looks uh, “mature” enough to remember the Sears toy catalog around the holidays. It was a wish book. That’s what your video is…a wish book. It’s a bit of pure wonderment.

Thank you.

Thank you for your letter, Greg, and you are correct — I DO remember that Sears catalog.

Now, today, I’m very excited because, in a few hours, Mark and Nani Wilson are coming here from Sacramento where they lectured last evening. They will spend the afternoon with Betty and me and then we’ll all go out to dinner. I’m especially excited to show them their newly refurbished illusion that I will share with all of you next week, so expect photos and a write-up.

So keep the lights on.

Until next time,



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