December 20, 2011

WTF Moment: Weather Guarantees

After tonight's Toastmaster meeting, instead of heading across the street to the hotel bar like we normally do, a small group went to Old Chicago for some free beer.  Technically the beer wasn't free, but we all had $5 "Foamer Bucks" good just for today.

We were having a good time, drinking a little and having a late night snack.  Now Old Chicago is about 1/3 sports bar.  Not counting the bar area there are probably at least six good-sized flatscreen HDTVs around the perimeter.  Normally they'd be playing whatever games are on.

We were there late enough that the nightly news came on after the game.  Carolyn and I haven't seen the nightly news since we cancelled the expensive cable.  I've been meaning to build a HD antenna, but Carolyn would rather not have TV at all.  Movies and Netflix suit her just fine.  Even when we did watch TV we rarely watched the nightly news and we didn't watch the CBS affiliate very often, so seeing Vin Crosby do the weather was pretty much new for us.

During his segment they brought up this awful target-like graphic, trying to show that their temperature prediction would be....I'm guessing "right on target".  This thing didn't look like an actual target, more like a gay-pride flag compressed into a circle and an arrow that ran around the target instead of into it like an arrow would actually shot into a target.

Mr. Vin Crosby
We couldn't hear the audio so all we had was this ugly graphic and some big printed proclamation of KBOI's "2 Degree Guarantee".  I saw that and laughed.  First of all, who really gets worked up if the forecast is off by say.....three degrees?  My second thought, and the first I verbalized to my group was, "What do I get if he is wrong?"  If the station is guaranteeing their forecast, or anything for that matter, what is the penalty to the station and Mr. Crosby for failure?  Do I get a do-over on my day?  Does Vin have to commit ritualistic suicide should he be wrong?  Free ice cream?

I also want to know how do you insure against this happening.  Not so much how do you get your forecaster trained so well he can get within two degrees of reality, but how do you actually manage to obtain actual insurance to offset your guarantee liability, whatever that may be?  Does Mutual of Omaha have a special office for this thing, or are you better off with Farmer's Insurance?

Hoping to find some answers to these important, or at least important after two beers, questions I headed over to KBOI 2's website.  I didn't see squat about this so-called guarantee.  Maybe it's just something they do on TV because I found some incriminating evidence on the website's Terms of Use, under "disclaimers":

1. We do not represent, warrant or guarantee the information or Services posted on this Site, and assume no liability or responsibility for any inaccuracies, infringements, delays, damages, errors or omissions related to the content of this Site. 
Ok, I had a little fun with this WTF moment, but when it comes to a 2 Degree Guarantee, I'm not sure that KBOI 2 quite knows the meaning of the word.  If tomorrow's weather isn't a high of 38 and a low of 24 I'm asking for ice cream or some Seppuku, their choice.

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