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Wednesday, June 6, 2012
Mattress Mayhem
When was the last time you bought a new mattress? A wise man once said, "make sure to always have a comfortable bed and a good pair of shoes, because when you're not in one, you're in the other." Well, when we bought the house two years ago, Sarah's mattress became "the" mattress. My old one was only a full size, and she had a queen. This particular mattress had been, as they say "to the cleaners." Ironically, i mean exactly the opposite. This thing was over TEN years old, and very uncomfortable. We tried to prolong the lifespan of this aged bedding, whose firmness can be likened to an overcooked, reheated piece of flank stake: tough as nails. We bough a top liner and that did the trick, for at least a while. But now the time had finally come to actually purchase a REAL bed.

Bed shopping is not an easy task. There are numerous hurdles that need to be accounted for.

#1) Time. One cannot buy a mattress on the fly. They must be tried out and evaluated, each and every one. When you have kids, this makes it pretty much impossible. As you lay down on one, your kids are bounding from one soft bouncy thing to the next, giving the salesman a conniption. It takes a good hour to get some quality mattress time in, and this needs to be scheduled in advance.

#2) Variety. Walking into a mattress store, you see just a SEA of beds. Tens of them. Which one is right for you? Where do you even start? The salesman will most likely ask your price range and then show you about a dozen beds to choose from. A DOZEN! That's insane! After laying down on the third mattress, i have absolutely NO idea what the first one felt like. This is frustrating at best. And in addition, the salesman says "take your time," yet stands over you, hoping that you'll just buy the one you're on. A bit nerve-racking, that is.
The standard advice is to lay on each mattress for about 5 minutes and really get a feel for it. Is it too soft? Is it too firm? How are the coils? Is it jumpy? If it's one of those new space-foam mattresses, do you feel like you're laying on a sleeping giant Peruvian slug? Who knows!
I demand they put mattresses into ONLY four categories: Soft, normal, firm, and out of your price range. That would save on a WHOLE lot of confusion!!

#3)Compromise. It's one thing when you know what you want. And finally decide, after an hour. Yes - this mattress right here. This is the one! And then your lovely wife chimes in "...naaaaahh.. it's a bit soft for me." ARRRHHhhhhhh! Unfortunately, you must find a happy medium. A mattress that's firm enough for her, but soft enough for you. Or vice versa. One that doesn't feel like a capsizing ship, causing you to hold on desperately for you life, every time your lady gets up to pee in the middle of the night. And why does it seem that she tends to flirt with only the "higher end" mattresses? This $250 beauty right here suits me just fine, babe. To which she retorts "i'm not buying a mattress unless it's at least four digits!"
I quietly cringe as she lays down on the showroom gem - the $5000 dollar mattress.
One must compromise, or else that night, it's back to deceased dinosaur currently moonlighting under your bedspread at home.


After a good two hours, and paying WAAAAY more that i planned to, we purchased a mattress. At least we got a discount due to the memorial day sale. Those soldiers didn't fight and die in vain! The mattress gets delivered a few days later. We clean the room. The floor is shiny to the n'th degree. Everything is mopped and dusted. The bedroom is rearranged, and ready for it's new showcase. We unwrap it and put it on the frame. It's done! And now for the piece dey resistance: we finally, after all of our hard work, get to lay on our crown jewel.

I lay down ... rest my head ... and ...

hard as a rock.

WHAT IS THIS?! I roll to my left. The concrete outside is more comfortable than this. I lay on my front. Something is wrong. This is NOT the mattress that i paid for!!
We check the receipt, and the tag on the bed. They match up. We think. We contemplate. Perhaps it needs to be broken in? Not THAT much. There's NO way...
The next day, Sarah goes back to the store and grabs a manager. She walks over the the bed that we bought, and lays down. It's soft and embracing. She pulls out the receipt and compares it to the model number. It matches up. Very strange. There is a sown label on the front of the mattress that says "firm." She then lays on the accompanying one that we didn't like because it was too hard. It still is. The sown label on the front says "soft."
Very strange. The manager says he really can't do anything because we got the one we paid for. But something was definitely amiss. The salesman who actually sold us the mattress, lays down on both, and agrees that the firm one is quite soft, and the soft one feels firm. But the labels clearly say otherwise. The manager tries to convince Sarah that sometimes mattresses need a good month to break in. A month!! Heck no, she says.

At this point the manager is walking away, silently hoping that the crazy lady just leaves. But the gut feeling that she's right doesn't sit well with the woman. Being the tenacious devil she is, Sarah goes to the top of the bed, pulls it away from the wall, flips it over, and finds the actual sown tag of the mattress. You know, the one that you're "not to remove under the penalty of death." She compares the model number.

And shrieks "It's the wrong tag! It's the wrong tag!" at the top of her lungs. The managers come racing back, while curious customers look on from afar. She's DONE IT! This sleuth has cracked the case.
Turns out that someone at the warehouse had sown the incorrect name on the front of the "showroom" mattress, permanently labeling the firm mattress as soft and vice versa. The tag on the bottom, which gets attached during the actual production of the mattress (i know, because i've seen it on "How it's Made" on the Discovery Channel!) is never wrong. And it was our redemption.
The manager gets on the phone to all the other stores in California and makes sure that they check their labels against their tags.

Moral of the story - if you know you're right, make sure to follow through with every last option! How many people, i wonder, laid on their new, overpriced mattress and simply said, hmmmm, i guess it just needs breaking in...



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