Blog: Paul Nielsen

Do we need to run around in a rabbit suit to conjure up our region's lost wealth? Dr. Paul Nielsen, entrepreneurial owner of the Wunderground Magic Shop, amuses us this Halloween's Eve with spirited tales pulled from his hat. Learn to make coin from castoffs and marvel at Houdini's winter freestyle under Detroit River ice caps.

Post 3: Wunderground Magic's Answer to the Economic Situation

In case you haven't heard, Southeast Michigan is going through a bit of an economic setback.  I know, it came as a surprise to me when I heard it too.  (I almost spilled caviar down my new tux.)  All I know is I'm not getting any bailout money from the government and neither are you.

While I can't give away free cash, like the people in Washington, I can help you find ways to save money, assuming you have any of it to begin with.

My favorite method is purchasing the inventories of the stores that are collapsing all around me.  I've gotten stock, furniture, signage, and even half a dozen rabbit suits, which you'll see put to good use as part of the "great rabbit picket line" in a previous episode of Metromode.  (It helps if you have a spark of creativity too.)

We've opened a new, special area in our store selling previously owned props and equipment.  Our creative division (Marie) was considering calling this the "flee market," but I kind of wanted people to actually, you know, come into the store, not run away.  Then we tried a "garage sale," but Ron bought the garage and hauled it off (which was a problem because it was attached.)  "Fire sale" had obvious problems with the neighbors, once the smoke cleared.  "Bargain basement" seemed close, but not quite there.  So after extensive consultation we dug up (literally) the name "Discount Dungeon."
We've stocked the Discount Dungeon with rare, collectable, and bizarre treasures that would be worth at least a dollar eighty-six if bought new.  It's an enormous lot of stuff, including illusions, stage props, close-up apparatus, and everything in between; and with prices so low they'd almost have to lend themselves to some kind of lame joke if this writer didn't go out of his way to avoid bad puns like that. There's almost as much stuff below ground as there is above in the main store.  I would name a few, but almost all are one-of-a-kind, and unless you're in the store right now, anything I'd name would be gone by the time you arrive.

The Discount Dungeon gives shoppers a way to save on purchases while still getting quality apparatus, because let's face it, if it hasn't fallen apart by now, it's unlikely to in the near future.  Anyone who has been to see a Whitesnake concert knows the importance of buying good quality special effects.

Magic lends itself to offbeat and unusual treasures.  Magicians love the bizarre, unique, and ancient.(That's why we never get tired of the joke about the magician who was walking down the street and turned into a bar.) Businesses like produce stores, probably not so much so.  Look for ways you can reuse and repurpose items to enrich the lives of those around you.