A furniture store in Houston has to give $7 million worth of furniture away to its customers after losing a bet on the Super Bowl. Don’t feel bad for the store owner, though: from his point of view, this is a good thing. Not because he’s a terrible business owner, but because the promotion got customers in the door, got the store’s name in the news, and just might create long-term customers.
“We’re trying to create customers for life and make the store relevant and fun,” store owner Jim “Mattress Mack” McIngvale told TV station KHOU. Free furniture is super fun.
Here’s how the promotion worked: the store owner picked a team by flipping a coin. That team was Denver. Customers who spent $6,000 or more on furniture before Sunday evening would receive their purchases for free if the Seahawks won. They did.
Of course, that $7 million figure isn’t quite true: that’s the retail cost of the free couches and mattresses, not what the store originally paid for them. It’s the profit and overhead that the local chain will forgo, in exchange for lots of goodwill and good publicity. You’d think that McIngvale would have learned his lesson: most shoppers chose either the Broncos or the Seahawks to win their respective division championships when the store had a similar promotion a few weeks ago. For that sale, customers could choose which teams they wanted to bet on, and win their furniture if they were right.