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Football, Forecasting and Furniture

August 31, 2014
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FOOTBALL, FORECASTING AND FURNITURE

Ashley Furniture of College Station lost on a promotion involving one million dollars of furniture when the Aggies whipped South Carolina. The Gamecocks were favored by 10 so Ashley told everyone who bought their furniture between August 16 and August 27 that if the Aggies won by ten, they’d refund the furniture purchase prices. Six hundred customers bought, one of those bought $ 200,000 worth. The Aggies won by 24. Every furniture buyer in College Station is happy.

Somebody is crazy here.

I’m not faulting the customers. I’m not faulting the furniture dealer. He had his biggest one month sales in the history of his store. He made out like a bandit. I’m faulting Lloyd’s of London. And even though they charged what they thought was a ridiculously high premium at 15%, the Brits ought to know better than to bet on American football, even if they bought reinsurance from Vegas.

South Texas seems to be full of football crazed furniture dealers.

You might remember Mattress Mack, with his Gallery Furniture in Houston, who bet leading up to last year’s Super Bowl that if his customers purchased at $ 6000 worth of furniture and the Broncos lost, he’d refund their purchases. Hundreds of customers took that bet and almost $ 7 million was refunded.

By the way, Mattress Mack is Mattress Mary’s favorite furniture dealer. And if you don’t know who Mattress Mary is, you’re not from Oklahoma.

Mattress Mack, soon to be 63, has a current bet involving the Houston Astros and his birthday: if you’re one of the first 500 customers to buy $ 6300 or more worth of furniture and the Astros win over 63 games, their money is refunded. Sixty three games out of a 162 game season is a low percentage. Unless the Astros really suck, most people would take that bet. As of August 31, the Astros won 58 games. They only have to win five games in all of September.

Lloyd’s, are you listening? Find out who is betting on these American games. Fire ‘em.

Are you feeling sad for the Ashley folks, and their million dollar refund? Don’t be. Here’s how it breaks down: Ashley bought the million dollars of furniture for $ 500,000 then insured it for $ 150,000. They sold it for one million leaving them a profit of $ 350,000. The insurance company paid Ashley which, in turn, wrote the refund checks. If they could sell furniture at this volume every month without having to discount they’d knock down a profit of over $ 4 million per year.

Besides the prestigious Lloyd’s of London, who else should be embarrassed by the Aggies thrashing of the Gamecocks? How about Vegas? How about ESPN? Or anyone else who only thought Johnny Football gets all the credit for last year’s Aggie record? Who ranks one team over another by this much without seeing a single game played? Maybe Manziel wasn’t the difference maker everyone thought.

Who knows? Maybe furniture dealers, even crazy South Texas ones, are sharper than ESPN pundits, shrewder than big time bookies, and smarter than the longest lineage insurance companies in the world. Maybe the apocalypse really is just around the corner.



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