For the past 21 years, Robert’s Jewelers of Southold has made a deal with customers as part of its “Snowfall Madness” promotion.
Buy any piece of jewelry before the holidays and then choose from a selection of dates in late December or early January, the promotion’s rules state. If it snows three inches or more between the hours of 6 p.m. and midnight on your chosen date — according to the National Weather Service’s Upton station — storeowner Robert Scott will refund your purchase.
Mr. Scott clarified on Friday that while the numbers are taken at Upton, the snowfall data must be confirmed not from NWS, but from Weather Command, an Illinois-based environmental and forecasting service Mr. Scott said monitors snowfall at Brookhaven National Lab in Upton.
By Mr. Scott’s admission, customers have alternately called him both ‘stupid’ and ‘brilliant’ for coming up with the idea. But to his credit, the odds have been in the longtime local jeweler’s favor these two-plus decades — indeed, he’s never had to make a single payout.
But now, with weather forecasters predicting up to 10 inches of snowfall for Long Island by the end of tomorrow, Mr. Scott’s lucky streak may be over.
“I’m pretty sure it’s going to hit,” he said this morning of the predicted snowfall from behind the counter of his Route 25 store. “I’m not a great weatherman, but I’ve been watching every weather forecast I can.”
If the right amount of white stuff sticks tonight, eligible customers will receive a 100 percent cash refund for their purchase, before sales tax, Mr. Scott said. As an incentive to keep shopping at Robert’s Jewelers, Mr. Scott will offer those same customers a 20 percent credit on top of their refund for a future purchase.
“What’s better than spending $100 and getting $120 back?” he said. “Valentine’s Day is coming.”
Mr. Scott said he and his staff haven’t yet counted how many customers selected Jan. 2 as their “snow date,” but can confirm there are at least several thousands of dollars on the line.
“I have one gentleman who bought a $7,000 engagement ring who’s going to get his money back if it snows,” he said.
That’s a thrilling prospect for the customer, but why would Mr. Scott take such a risk in the first place?
“I’m trying to make it a reward for you shopping with me,” he said.
Despite the interest “Snowfall Madness” drums up each year, Mr. Scott said he plans on running the promotion one last time, in 2014, before putting a stop to it.
But don’t worry: he has something up his sleeve.
“I have a new idea that’s been eating at my brain for the past eight or nine years,” Mr. Scott said. “It’s so neat. I want to keep it a definite secret because it’s going to be different.”
“People will say I’m crazy then, too,” he said. “But I enjoy it.”