Here’s a fun story I came across while reading up on random things about bobbleheads and sports action figures.
The Milwaukee Brewers held a promotion in which they would have about 1,400 of these Bernie the Brewer mascot garden gnomes places through places in Milwaukee. About 1,000 of them were within a lake area. The promoters said that at 7AM, fans may go to the lake, find one and pick one up. Some of the gnomes had tickets and vouchers attached to them too. Each household was allowed one gnome.
But due to poor thinking, the promotion went all wrong. People started to collect more than one and put them on eBay.
The rules stated each person could only collect one. But since there were no people to regulate, some fans went to the lake at around 3AM and waited for the Brewers people to drop off the gnomes. They would just follow the promoters in the dark morning and pack as many as they could into their cars.
These exact gnomes can also be found at the team store for only $48.
Had the Brewers thought this out, they could have found a better way to regulate this free for all than just have it out and about. They could have not announced the location until 7AM, thus giving everybody a fair chance. And since their current rules were never enforced, it fell apart.
At the same time, the fans did break the rules that were in place and morally they did something wrong. But if I was in their shoes, I would have done the same thing. And the fact that people were willing to bid up to three times its value on eBay shows me that there are just some people who are pretty dumb.
I’m not going to point the finger at the fans for hoarding. What they did was not wrong because there was no structure. And the fact that there are people willing to overpay for the gnomes, well, that’s just extra money going to the hoarders’ pockets.
(Bidding for gnomes stopped after the local media grabbed onto the story and people then started to realize that these same gnomes can be bought at the team store for $48.)
In a way, I wish I was in Milwaukee for something like this. I know I would have had a ton of fun out in the lakefront trying to fill up my trunk with these gnomes. I probably would have only grabbed five and sold a few on eBay and give one to my invisible son. But looking at the photos of people grabbing 20+, even that’s too rich for my blood — even though the extra money would be pretty sweet.
If you had the time and effort, would you have done the hoarding?