Best Time Of Year To Buy Mattress 2017
Lanky and seemingly equal parts ears, teeth, cowboy boots and charisma, McIngvale has been a household name in Houston for decades thanks to his wacky TV commercials and his Ross Perot delivery. "I just have what you might call a high tolerance for risk," McIngvale says. "Damon Runyon said 'All horse players die broke.' And I know I shouldn't bet with my heart, but it's hard not to and it's a lot more fun." In 2017, McIngvale gained national attention for opening his doors and sheltering hundreds of victims of Hurricane Harvey for weeks inside his furniture showroom, something he also did after Hurricane Katrina years prior. After the storm, as the Astros continued their historic run to the 2017 World Series, McIngvale was in the news yet again, this time for an only-in-Texas furniture promotion through which anyone who bought a mattress from Gallery Furniture would get it for free if the Astros won it all.
By the end of the 2017 MLB season, McIngvale was such a Houston institution the Astros brought him along as one of their own for the trip to the White House. "We invited Mack because he had become such an example of everything the Astros and Houston had been through together in that year," says Anita Sehgal, the Astros' senior vice president of marketing and communications. "Houstonians have watched him build his life in Houston while giving back every step of the way. That's why they have a special love for him. For Mack it's not about words, it's about action."
The football field-sized warehouse out back is stuffed with mattresses in anticipation of another Astros title. On the north side of the building is a daycare funded by McIngvale. To the south, a trade school. (The saying around here is that since the hurricane this location has become a community center disguised as a furniture showroom.) One 360-degree panorama near the entrance includes the customized Texas A&M presidential motor scooter that belonged to George H.W. Bush; four stuffed raccoons playing poker on top of a bar; a glass showcase overflowing with humanitarian awards; a 30-foot nutcracker doll next to a similarly ginormous Christmas tree; a series of paintings of steers relaxing on sofas; a framed excerpt from Thomas Paine's 1776 "Common Sense"; a 5-foot wooden fish carved from a tree stump and painted like the Texas flag; a six-piece leather, reclining living room set (last one, as is -- no returns); a giant slab from a 513-year-old African bubinga tree; a signed poster from the Chuck Norris movie "Sidekicks" and an ornately framed oil painting portrait of McIngvale's north star, his father, George Sr.
What McIngvale really understands better than gambling, furniture or promotion, though, is human nature. Even the slightest chance to get something for free is practically irresistible to most consumers, especially those already on the fence about needing a new mattress. The more sales increase, the more McIngvale gets to do the thing he loves most: bask in the attention and fly off to Vegas to place ridiculously large bets, sometimes with a briefcase full of cash. "It's just like in the movies, the briefcase gets its own seat on the plane," says Gallery's Gerald McNeil, a former Pro Bowl returner with the Browns in the 1980s who now works with McIngvale. After the first few spur-of-the-moment trips to Vegas with McIngvale, McNeil started keeping a change of clothes in his car at work. "I guess it's my job to save the suitcase if the plane goes down," McNeil says.
If the chosen team happens to win, great, McIngvale's losses are covered, thousands of ecstatic customers blab for years to everyone they know about that time they won the lottery at Gallery Furniture, and many of them turn around and spend the refund on more furniture.
Outside of Houston, McIngvale has quickly become an irresistible storyline as a quirky curiosity in the burgeoning world of mega-sports gambling. Inside this city, though, he remains something completely different and far