On Buying a Mattress

Why is buying a mattress so annoying? I know I’ve talked about this before with my rant about how buying a mattress is like buying a used car, but it’s one of those topics that never seems to change. Mattress shopping is just as confusing and annoying as I remember.

Yesterday, I bought my son a new mattress from a man I’ll refer to as Mr. Complacent, he was my Monday salesman, as opposed to my Saturday Salesman, who I’ll refer to mostly as Mr. Saturday.

Mr. Saturday did all the hard work. Mr. Complacent was more interested in his lunch, which was laid out thoughtfully on his desk in Tupperware containers, than he was in selling me a bed. Unlike my Saturday Salesman, Mr. Complacent was happy to let me walk out of the store, like I threatened to, when he told me I couldn’t have free shipping, which, I think, Mr. Saturday promised. I say think because it got so confusing on Saturday, the first time I went to Sleepy’s, that I can’t remember exactly where we left off in our negotiations, when I left the store.

Mr. Complacent was happy to honor Mr. Saturday’s price, but he wouldn’t budge on the shipping, so I asked him to find out what store Mr. Saturday was working in so I could go find him and get my good price and my free shipping. Mr. Complacent patiently located him (while secretly hoping to get back to his lunch), but found that, of course, Mr. Saturday was off. Or so, he said. I have trust issues when it comes to mattress sales people.

I should have bought the bed on Saturday. Saturday sales guy was determined, and I really think he said he would give me free shipping, at least he could give me free shipping if I hit the five hundred dollar mark, which I had a plan to achieve, while still getting the best price for the mattress and a bunky board I wanted for my son’s bed. It’s a long story and I won’t bore you with the details, except to say that our negotiating took on many different angles and was slightly exhausting. However, Mr. Complacent told me that free shipping was impossible on any order under $599, and I should feel free to visit any other Sleepy’s store because they would give me the same answer (and then he could eat his lunch in peace). When I told him his answer wasn’t good enough and asked him to call someone and make it happen (because you know how they are always picking up the phone to call some mysterious person, a la Charlie’s Angels), he called his manager and handed me the phone. Coward.

How I ended up at Sleepy’s, a store I swore not to patronize, again, Lord only knows. I had already picked out two mattresses at the Mattress Factory, last week, and was taking my son back to make a final decision. But, it just felt irresponsible to shop for a bed at only one location. I put more effort into finding a pair of sneakers. So, when on our way back to Mattress Factory, Saturday, I spotted a Sleepy’s, I decided to pull in and do a little comparison shopping.

Of course, my son wasn’t aware of this whole let’s comparison shop thing, he thought we would walk into a store, pick a mattress and be done with it, and that’s exactly what he did. After I crushed his dreams by eliminating the $1,000 pillow top bed and the $1300 imitation tempurpedic he believed he was destined to have, the plush mattress that he picked out was an easy choice. “Ok,” he said, “I think we’ve made a decision,” and then headed off to ride the adjustable beds for a half hour while his mother duked it out with the Mr. Saturday, only to walk out without mattress.

I had to see if Mattress Factory could beat his price.

So, much to my son’s chagrin, off to the Mattress Factory we went to try the beds I initially picked out for him, last week. The ones that weren’t listed for $799, like the model on Sleepy’s floor room, priced so high that I would eventually feel like I was getting a bargain when they cut the price by 40%. He sat down on the chosen beds, declared each a loser, and once again headed for the adjustable beds while the sales guy and I talked price, because sorry son, lowest price wins.

Mattress Factory’s sales tactics are the opposite of Sleepy’s, which was why I went there last week, and why I felt the need to return, even though I thought Mr. Saturday was giving me a decent price (see trust issues). They say they don’t haggle, which is sort of true, until you balk, like I did, and tell them you’ve been at Sleepy’s. Then, they offer the “Internet price,” which isn’t as dramatic as 40% off, but their beds aren’t marked up ridiculously high, either, so $40 can make a difference.

While Sleepy’s appeals to your ego (wow, I’m really good at this haggling thing), Mattress Factory is hoping people walk in and say, hey, this bed is a whole lot cheaper than the one I just saw at Sleepy’s. Then, they read the sign that’s says, we don’t work on commission, and plunk down a few hundred dollars, no questions asked. How do I know this? Because I saw it happen, and it seemed just as sneaky to me as Sleepy’s marking their prices up ridiculously high just to drop them.

In the end, Mattress Factory could not beat Sleepy’s price, but since I was out of time for the day, we had flag football and then tickets to Monster Jam, which I’ll tell you about later in a post I’ll call, On Being Swindled, or something of that nature, I couldn’t return to Sleepy’s until yesterday, which is how I ended up with Mr. Complacent, who was willing to honor Mr. Saturday’s price.

Did I get a good deal?  Who knows? Mr. Complacent’s lack of enthusiasm left me confused as to whether I was being swindled, or if he really just wanted to get back to his lunch. Either way, it’s a done deal and come Wednesday, my son’s new mattress will be strapped to the top of my car, headed for its new home, because I never did get that free delivery. 

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