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Sofas, Beds Rest on Red Sox

When the first pitch is thrown to open the World Series at Fenway Park tonight, many couch potatoes watching from home will be rooting to win... the very couch they're sitting on.

That's because thirty thousand people who bought beds, sofas, mattresses, or dining room tables from Jordan's Furniture earlier this year will get them for free, if the Sox win the World Series. It's part of a first ever such promotion by the New England home goods retailer.

WBUR's Business and Technology Reporter Curt Nickisch has the story.

TEXT OF STORY

CURT NICKISCH: Everything in Nate MacKinnon's bedroom says Red Sox fan. The baseball caps on the bedpost. The framed 1918 World Series photo. Even his computer wallpaper is of the Green Monster.

All the furniture in his apartment says: 25-year-old bachelor on a budget. Save one piece, the mattress:

NATE MCKINNON: You got the pillowtop...

NICKISCH: After years of futons and fleabags, McKinnon owns his own quality mattress.

MACKINNON: Each of the springs is in its own pocket. It makes it supposedly so that you don't disturb your sleep partner. I don't have a sleep partner, but if I did they wouldn't be disturbed, so...

NICKISCH: McKinnon paid five hundred eight dollars for this Simmons Beauty Rest Classic, but if the Boston Red Sox win the fall classic, he gets that money back. He found out about the promotion from a TV commercial in March. It showed a mock post-game press conference, with the CEO of Jordan's Furniture, Eliot Tatelman:

TV AD REPORTER: Why are you doing this?

TV AD ELIOT TATELMAN: Because the Red Sox winning a world championship and free furniture? It doesn't get any better!

NICKISCH: McKinnon was taken. He happened to have tickets for the Red Sox game on the very last day of the promotion, Patriots' Day. It must be fate, he thought. That morning, he bought the mattress. That afternoon, during a rain delay at Fenway Park, buyer's remorse kicked in.

MCKINNON: I felt like a total chump. I'm sitting there, you know, I'm just like: did I just get suckered into something? And then they lose, and I'm like: ugh, oh gosh! You never should judge the Red Sox in April!

NICKISCH: But then they started winning. May. June. July. In August, the Red Sox slumped. Superstitious, McKinnon rotated his mattress, and lo and behold, the Sox came out of their slumber. Now Vegas has the team a 2-to-1 favorite to win the World Series, and plenty of people who did not buy furniture at Jordan's are feeling like chumps.

GREAT DEPAULI: Yay, they go to the World Series, they could win it all! Sweet, I didn't get free furniture!

NICKISCH: Outside Fenway Park this week, Sox fans Greg Depauli and Andy Suggs lamented their furniture failings.

DEPAULI: I'm so angry about that. My brother got furniture and he's not even a Sox fan, it's not fair!

ANDY SUGGS: Free waterbed, that would have been awesome!

DEPAULI: Aw, that just got me really heated.

ELIOT TATELMAN: I wish I had done this, I wish I had come in! Well, that's the way promotions work!

NICKISCH: That's Eliot Tatelman, Jordan's CEO. He took out insurance on the promotion. He won't say what the policy cost, but says the home run in sales — thirty thousand orders in total - has more than paid for it.

TATELMAN: It is not on everything that everybody buys. It's on the dining room table, not on the dining room chairs or the china. So the increased volume that we did gave us the ability to get the insurance to make it work for us and work for our customers!

ANDY AYLESWORTH: I thought it was a great idea right from the start.

NICKISCH: Andy Aylesworth is a marketing professor at Bentley College. He also loves the Red Sox — he's even got a dog named Fenway. Aylesworth is impressed with how Jordan's handled the promotion. By publicizing the insurance policy, he says, the company made it clear it's rooting for the Red Sox, too.

AYLESWORTH: If the baseball gods shine on us and they actually win, that's icing on the cake for Jordan's. It appears that Jordan's is handing these checks back to people, when in fact, the insurance company is. And they're going to get a lot more great publicity from it.

NICKISCH: That is, of course, if the Red Sox win. So back at his Melrose apartment tonight, Nate McKinnon will be putting on his lucky cap, giving his mattress a good pat...

SOUND OF PATTING MATTRESS

NICKISCH: ...and cheering on the Sox in the best of seven World Series.

MACKINNON: Uh, I'm okay with a sweep. Because it's that much less stress in knowing I'm going to get a free mattress.

NICKISCH: And then MacKinnon can finally sleep easy.

For WBUR, I'm Curt Nickisch.

This program aired on October 24, 2007. The audio for this program is not available.

Curt Nickisch Twitter Business & Technology Reporter
Curt Nickisch was formerly WBUR's business and technology reporter.

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