Hoffman's Houston
don't mess with mack

Ken Hoffman calls out a radio host's Twitter attack on Mattress Mack

Ken Hoffman calls out a radio host's Twitter attack on Mattress Mack

Houston, Jim McIngvale, November 2017
A lame Twitter attack prompted fierce defense of Mattress Mack.  Photo courtesy of Gallery Furniture

When you shoot your mouth off, especially on Twitter, it’d help if you knew what, and who, you’re talking about. You could catch a lot of hell.

Witness fool radio host Clay Travis, who’s known for being purposely outrageous and controversial. Many times, I’ll give it to him, he’s on the money.

This time, though, he really stepped in it. Here’s his misguided Twitter take from a few days ago:

“I find myself rooting for this Mattress Mack guy to lose all of his money because I’m tired of hearing about him. Marketing genius but I want this guy to go bankrupt. I wish he would lose $100 million.”

Houston responds
To say he caught some blowback would be putting it mildly. You don’t mess with Jim "Mattress Mack" McIngvale in Houston, Texas. (He has reportedly lost millions on betting on the Astros.) Perhaps a friend in the press box should have told him to lay off Mattress Mack. Travis would have been on safer ground attacking Mother’s Day or military vets. 

Some first responders:

“I know multiple families who lost their homes and belongings during Harvey. He let them sleep on beds in his stores, fed them hot meals and made sure their children had clothes. That’s what he’s done for this community.”

“What the F have you done for yours?”

“It’s going to happen to you for wishing it on him.”

“Oh, look who has another trash take.”

“Do a little research and you might feel differently. Our world needs more Mattress Macks.”

“Clay, this ain’t it. Mattress Mack is a legend.”

“This is the wrong take. One of the biggest philanthropists in Houston.”

And the one who said it best:

“You’re wishing bankruptcy on the man who bought 100-plus tickets so veterans could go to the World Series, who opened his store to those who needed escape from Hurricane Harvey, regularly supports community charities, provides furniture to families in need. I could go on and on and on. GFY.”

(You’ll have to google GFY.)

Ken's big fail
I had a similar fail, but a thousand times less explosive, take one time. I repeat one time, because I’ve learned that, in Houston, if you don’t know what you’re talking about, keep your mouth shut.

I grew up in New York and New Jersey. Until I reached Houston, I always put ketchup on my hamburgers. Everybody did. That’s just the way it’s done up there. One day, I happened to mention in my column, “I can’t believe that people put mustard on their hamburgers in Texas.” It’s possible that I added something like, “What’s wrong with you people?”

Within a day, I was asking co-workers for the number for Allied Van Lines. I thought, “I just got here, and now I’m being run out of town because of a condiment.”

I survived the mustard incident, and needless to say I never mention things I find weird or overrated about Texas cuisine.

Blue Bell? Love it. (Editor's note: Easy, Ken.)

Mattress Mack, Ken, and The Beatles
Here’s a Mattress Mack story for you. Let me preface this by saying I’ve known Mack a long time and, while I think he’s nuts, he’s my guy.

I was sitting at home, doing nothing, daydreaming, and the phone rang. “It’s Mack can you come up to the store right away?” I didn’t ask why, I just got in my car and flew up to Gallery Furniture on “I-45 between Tidwell and Parker.”

When Mack calls, it's always something good. Like the time he asked if I would be Bud Collins’ partner on radio for the prestigious Masters Cup tennis tournament, which Mack bought and brought to Houston. So far, that was the favorite week of my career, my long journey to the middle. 

When I got to Gallery Furniture, Mack said, “I’m one the phone with Sotheby’s in London and they’re auctioning Beatles stuff. Here’s the catalog. Sit next to me and tell me what’s worth bidding on.”

I can do that. The catalog was filled with pretty incredible Beatles memorabilia, I remember a pair of John Lennon’s jeans was in there.

But on the last page was maybe the single most precious Beatles artifact ever. It was a bar tab from a night club in Hamburg. In the beginning, the Beatles would play for four or five hours a night. Then the club manager would write their pay on a bar tab, which the Beatles took to a bartender who paid them out of the cash register. On this tab were signatures by all five original Beatles: John Lennon, Paul McCartney, George Harrison, Pete Best, and Stuart Sutcliffe.

This little piece of paper is the holy grail of 1960s — to this day — rock ‘n’ roll.

Mattress Mack bought it in a blink. Five minutes later he was back on the floor selling “two great recliners for one low price” and “solid wood furniture made in America.”