On May 5, Warren Buffett tried to set a new record in his third spell behind the sales counter at Borsheims—even resorting at times to offering his “Crazy Warren” prices.
Buffett set his goal at $2 million in sales in approximately two hours—compared to the $1.5 million he did last year. At press time, it wasn’t clear if he had achieved that.
Warren Buffett with a customer (photo courtesy of Borsheims).
“We won’t know until we tally our final numbers,” says Adrienne Fay, the Omaha, Neb.-based store’s director of marketing. “But all signs look good. He continues to be very popular.”
Fay adds that a record amount of customers lined up to buy from the famed billionaire during his shift during Berkshire Hathaway’s annual shareholder weekend, and his sales included diamonds, watches, and a ruby ring. A local news station said the crowd “look[ed] like Black Friday,” with hordes of cameras and the media documenting the 82-year-old’s time behind the counter.
In his annual letter to shareholders, Buffett hyped the appearance by saying, “Because I need to leave well before sundown, I will be desperate to do business. Come take advantage of me. Ask for my ‘Crazy Warren’ price.”
While he never specified what, exactly, a “Crazy Warren” price entailed, Fay admits that sometimes the prices “make [CEO] Susan Jacques cringe—but in a good way.”
“He does give great discounts,” she adds.
The Borsheims blog and accompanying video give some indications of the legendary investor’s sales patter. To a few young men who bought engagement rings, he said, “It comes with a guarantee that she’ll say yes.”
“Buying an engagement ring is a momentous experience for anyone,” Fay says. “Now to have this endorsement from him, that just really adds to it.”
He also hit the “Crazy Warren” theme hard, declaring at one point, “I’m not responsible for my actions.” He even sported a “Crazy Warren” nametag, and announced his arrival with “Crazy Warren is in the building.”
Buffett saw slightly fewer than three dozen customers, Fay says, adding that he posed for pictures after each sale.
Fay stresses that while his fame definitely draws people to him, Buffett also is a legitimately great salesman.
“Every piece he sold he was excited and enthusiastic about,” she says. “He has that natural charisma that all great sales associates have. He makes everyone feel very special. Great salespeople have that way of making you feel you are the important person in the world and the world stops with you. And he has that too.”
“Every piece of jewelry already has a special memory associated with it,” she adds. “And now to layer on top of that the idea that it was bought from Warren, it’s just very special.”
More pics of his spell behind the counter can be seen here.