It seems Rich Bennettâ€™s 2014 is not off to a good start. As the owner of P.K. Bennett Jewelers his seasonal snow promotion has erupted into a full-blown media storm with the underwriter of the event refusing to pay the $150,000 tab for the 224 customers that participated in the New Yearâ€™s Day snowfall promotion.
As if to compound an already trying time, early on the morning of Tuesday, January 7, burglars broke into Bennettâ€™s store, according to a posting from Bennett on the storeâ€™s Facebook page.
For retail jewelers, snow promotions are as common as candy canes during the holiday season. And, for the Mundelein, Illinois-based jewelry store owner, all was going well as 224 customers purchased jewelry from November 29 to December 24 with the hopes of getting their jewelry purchases refunded if it snowed three inches at Chicagoâ€™s Oâ€™Hare Airport from midnight to noon on New Yearâ€™s Day.
On New Yearâ€™s Eve many of P.K. Bennett Jewelersâ€™ customers and Chicago area residents were tuning into local weather reports with news of an incoming snowstorm that would bring significant accumulation. According to local news and national meteorological reports after the storm, roughly 11 inches of snow fell in the Chicago area that day.
But based on the contest rules, three inches of snow had to fall at Oâ€™Hare Airport on New Yearâ€™s Day from midnight to noon. Even with reports of heavy snowfall from various news and weather sources, that much snow did not fall at the famed airport in the specified 12-hour period.
(Graphic courtesy of PK Bennett Jewelers.)
David James, sales and marketing meteorologist for WeatherCommand, was quoted in a January 3, 2014 news story in the Chicago Tribune saying that only 2.1 inches of snow fell at Oâ€™Hare on Wednesday, January 1. And, of that amount it was estimated only 1.1 inches of snow fell at the airport from midnight to noon on New Yearâ€™s Day.
On January 3, Bennett posted news of the underwriterâ€™s decision to not pay out for the promotion. Of the jewelerâ€™s nearly 1,300 Facebook fans, reaction to the news from 26 people that â€ślikeâ€ť the store posted messages of understanding and empathy and 22 people â€ślikedâ€ť the apology message. And, when Bennett posted news of the burglary on January 7, 45 messages of support were posted and two people â€ślikedâ€ť the store ownerâ€™s posting.
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