Martial Arts Mail Order Warning!

Martial Arts Mail Order Mania!

Martial Arts Mail Order Ad: ‘No self-respecting Martial Arts Master can be without this fantastic martial tool! You, too, can thrust nails into boards with your bare hands! You can awe and amaze your friends! Enemies will keep their distance and girls will flock too you! Detailed report for ‘risk free’ use! Don’t delay! Once supplies are gone no more will be sold, no matter what!’

Send check or money order to:
‘Smack ‘em Hard NOW!’
PO Box 7732
Boredin, NY 12021

The above martial arts mail order ad satirizes certain ads that come and go in the martial arts magazines, and in other periodicals you may read. But satire or not, it’s probably safe to say that every magazine reader anywhere had encountered the ad that made their tongues water. When that reader sent his hard earned bucks off to Boredin, NY he received a cheap hammer that broke the first time he used it, and the ‘Detailed report’ consisted of a sheet of paper with a picture of the hammer and an arrow point to the handle from the words, ‘Hold this end.’

martial arts mail order online

Original page from the magazine article in 1992.

jeet kune do instructionBut martial arts mail order is not to be sneered at! It is possible to order martial arts knowledges, hard to find martial arts supplies and, occasionally, some pretty good deals. Not only that, but they will be delivered right to your door!

So how does one order through the mail? How does one manage to pass by the ‘mouth watering hammers’ and find the high quality martial arts supplies at a discount? As a martial art mail orderer, and now as the owner of a martial art mail order business, let me offer you a few tips.

The first thing a prospective buyer must do is learn how to read the ad he is considering. This slimming down process is much like the Wing Chun kung fu  theory of economy of motion, except that now we are talking economy of words. Lets consider the above ad through the slimming down procedure.

First, take out all the non-pertinent adjectives. Here is the above martial  ad without the adjectives.

‘No Master can be without this tool! You, too, can thrust nails into boards with your hands! You can awe and amaze your friends! Enemies will keep their distance and girls will flock to you. Report for use! Don’t delay! Once supplies are gone now more will be sold, no matter what!’

The ad lost some of its vim and vigor, didn’t it? Now, every ad needs some description, and you want description. You want to know what you are buying! But how much is too much? Reading this martial art ad without the adjectives tends to put the ad into better perspective, but the slimming down process has just started. Let’s take it sentence by sentence.

‘No master can be without this tool!’

Is this true? Maybe, maybe not. But I would tend to believe the ad more if there was a quote from someone I might consider to have reached the Martial Arts ‘Master’ status.

The word ‘Master,’ incidentally, has become one of those tired, American catch words. Don’t disregard it, but take it with a grain of salt, and consider the manner and context in which it is used.

‘You, too, can thrust nails into boards with your hands!’

An outright lie. You have to use a hammer in this ‘kung fu’ method.

‘You can awe and amaze your friends!’

While this may be valuable to some people, it leaves me cold. I am involved in the martial arts, where stated purposes often deal with personal evolution. The idea of buying a gimmick just to impress people is on a level with ‘X-ray glasses’ advertised in the back of cheap comic books. Only insecure ten year olds fall for it.

‘Enemies will keep their distance and girls will flock to you!’

Enemies might keep their distance if I was running amok with a hammer. I doubt if girls would flock to me. I know the bumper sticker reads, ‘Carpenters make better studs,’ but seriously….

‘Report for use!’

Well there is a report. But I tend to trust the word ‘manual’ more than report. Book I trust even more. A report can be like a piece of paper. A manual infers at least a few pages. And a book, there’s got to be something in that! Of course there are a few souls out in the martial arts direct mail jungle who will call a cheap piece of paper with a cover a book. Let’s hope they read this and re-evaluate their advertising.

‘Don’t delay!’

Actually, I wouldn’t. If you see something you want, and you have analyzed the ad as I am describing in this article, buy it. There are several reasons for this.

Maybe a fellow can only get his martial arts equipment at a low price if he buys a certain quantity. The market may saturate, and he doesn’t want to risk money on storing up product that will take too long to turn over.

Martial Arts books, for instance, are printed in limited amounts. The demand will drop off and then it is more difficult to sell the remainder. No writer, or martial arts mail order business owner, wants a few boxes of books gathering dust under his bed.

Besides, ads cost money, the fellow wants to recover his investment and make a few bucks. People who delay in ordering usually forget. Just make sure you want it, then go for it.

‘After supplies are gone no more will be sold, no matter what!’

Probably one of the more ridiculous statements I have ever heard. Sure, after the supplies are gone no more will be sold. After all, there are no more to be sold! But if the martial arts fighting gear, or whatever, moved well…you can bet your bottom dollar that it will be offered again. I don’t have much problem with ‘Don’t delay,’ but this statement was probably coined by the fellow who originally sold the Brooklyn Bridge!

Now, we have deleted the adjectives, let’s delete a few of these non-necessary sentences we have analyzed.

‘No self-respecting Martial Arts Master can be without this tool. You can thrust nails into boards. Report for use. Don’t delay!’

Would you buy this ad? Nope.

But what if the hammer is good, and you are seriously interested in carpentry? What if it is a product that should be sold? It’s okay for me to tear apart an ad, but let’s look at how to build a good martial arts ad!

‘No self-respecting master of carpentry can be without this fantastic tool. You, too, can pound nails in one stroke! Other carpenters will be amazed. Even bad carpenters will be able to use this fine tool with confidence!’

Ah, honesty, descriptions that don’t mislead. Of course the ad would probably be more appropriate in a magazine for carpenters, and, of course, one would hope that the tool really is that fine! And this brings us to an interesting point. What do you do if you buy something that is garbage and a lie? There are a couple of things you can do to insure that what you buy is worth the money, and I am not talkking about just spouting off on a martial arts message board!

Be willing to send the merchandise back if you are not satisfied. It is amazing how many people will just toss a bad product in the garbage and not do anything!

At the very least, write to the merchant and tell him why you are dissatisfied.

If letters to the martial arts mail order merchant don’t work, write to the magazine wherein you saw the ad and complain to the editor. A martial arts magazine does not usually have the the time or staff to analyze every item offered in its pages. But they do care! An ad reflects the integrity of the magazine. Kung Fu, Karate or whatever, a magazine knows it lives and dies by its reputation.

Just one word of caution: make sure you are complaining about bad merchandise or false advertising, and are not just upset because it isn’t exactly what you wanted. There is a difference between bad merchandise and ‘Buyer Beware.’ At any rate, if the martial arts Mail Order Merchant is honest he will respond to your letters long before you have to write to an editor and interrupt a process which he hopes will put a better grade of meatloaf on the family table.

Lastly, if all else fails, or if you find just cause, write to the post office and detail the fraudulent dealings you have encountered. This is the most severe handling of all, as the Post Office does not like the mails being used to cheat people. This step is used for the fellow who doesn’t respond to letters, and when kicked out of one magazine, just goes to another one with the same advertisement of misrepresented product. This is for the out and out crook.

We have covered how to read an ad, and how to deal with false ads and products, here are a couple of other items the prospective buyer should consider.

The longer an ad runs the more trustworthy it is. This doesn’t mean you shouldn’t take a chance on an ad the first time it runs.

On the contrary, take the chance, that is how some ads get to be long running. Just don’t invest too much money if there is any question in your mind.

It is possible to query an ad. This is a two edged type of sword. As a martial arts mail order business owner queries irritate me. They don’t give me money, while they take my time, especially if the product being considered is relatively inexpensive. Charging a buck or two for a Karate catalogue or some such is a good alternative for my irritation, and this covers postage and time. When I first entered the mail order business I used to get a polite letter of inquiry every month or so from some concerned prospective buyer. Amazed, I would pull out a fresh dollar bill. The dollar bill would be to cover my postage, and the fact that there were people in the world that cared whether I had postage simply amazed me.

Be willing to pay for shipping and handling. This is legitimate overhead.

And, lastly, to wind up this fine martial arts article, let me give you some advices as to where you can find out more about mail ordering. Look in the library for ‘how to’ books on mail order. If your library doesn’t have anything, you can go to your local magazine store and find a magazine dealing with becoming an entrepreneur. You will invariably find information (you may have to mail order it) in those periodicals.

As to why you should find out more about mail order is simple, it’s not mail order, it’s advertising and buying in general. These manuals will give an individual a rather complete education on how to write and ad, and once you know how to write an ad you will not be fooled by an ad.

This is the best way of all to insure that you receive the best for your buck when it comes to mail order.

This page has been about Martial Arts mail order advertising.

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