Daily Buzz: Store owner on hook for $7 million after Seahawks win
FEB 03, 2014 6:34p ET
Every American town of any significant size or repute has its zany furniture salesman, who lures in customers with "this weekend only" deals and other big promotions.
In Houston, that man is named Jim McIngvale, better known as “Mattress Mack,” a stunt-prone television character who likes to run promotions that are tied to sporting events.
Typically, the offer is something like 50 percent off your furniture purchase if you pick the correct winner of some game or another. He lost almost $700,000 two weeks ago when 100 customers correctly picked the winners of the AFC and NFC championship games. After that, he said he was done running contests.
And then he offered a deal: Spend at least $6,000 at Gallery Furniture, and if the Seattle Seahawks win the Super Bowl, you get your money back. Seattle was a 1.5-point underdog at kickoff.
Seattle’s 43-8 win cost McIngvale $7 million.
“I feel great,” he said. “My objective in this whole exercise is what can we do that delights and thrills our customers. Certainly they were thrilled last night when the Seattle team won the big game.”
McIngvale said he didn’t have an insurance policy on the bet, and that it’s all coming out of pocket. The upshot is that McIngvale has about 1,000 Houston families who got an average of $7,000 worth of free furniture from him, and that’s the kind of good will you can’t buy with a commercial.
“It’s all about branding, it’s all about being authentic with our customers,” he said. “It’s all about making it fun and exciting for our customers and bringing out millennial customers who are affluent, and that’s exactly who the audience was for this promotion. The promotion was a tremendous success, and we delighted lots of customers.”
Despite losing $7.7 million over the past two weeks, McIngvale expresses no regrets and no intent to stop running sports-related contests. He thought this one was more popular because it didn’t require the customer to pick a team.
”What we’ve learned over the years is, if they can only pick one team, a lot more people will buy furniture because they don’t have the complexity of choosing team A or team B,” he said. “A lot of people that were sitting on the fence about when to replace that furniture got off the fence and bought it.”
While there were about 1,000 Houstonians rooting like hell for the Seahawks, McIngvale wasn’t even watching.
”I hadn’t been able to work out in the last two weeks; we’ve been so busy working until 3 o’clock every morning,” he said. “So I was on a Stairmaster. As the game ended, my wife called and told me Seattle won in a blowout, so I was tremendously happy because I knew all those customers were thrilled.”
Time for some links:
• A 9/11 truther sneaked into the Super Bowl and bum-rushed the press conference microphone. He told NJ.com how he did it.
• Oklahoma State dismissed a basketball player after he was arrested and accused of urinating out a car window.
• A whiskey-fueled Super Bowl Sunday fight resulted in a man getting his ear bitten off.
• Some bars in Indiana got busted on charges of Super Bowl gambling.
• Newark airport twists the knife:
• Athlon Sports came up with a list of the biggest five-star recruiting busts in college football over the past 10 years.
• Taking a page from its in-state rival, Auburn would like to go ahead and retroactively claim a few more national titles.
• Here’s a gallery of NFL helmets, except with, like, "Star Wars" incorporated.