How I Bought a Mattress

Or, “how I got sold a mattress.”

I am not the only person who grew up with Faerie Tale Theatre, right?

I was pretty sure I was going to buy a mattress from the internet. I spent part of Saturday morning looking at various mattress options and reading review sites, and based on the consensus of several highly ranked articles, I was pretty sure I knew what mattress I wanted—and, like Megan had warned me in one of our Friday Chats, I was pretty sure I was going to have to pay $900 for it.

A Friday Chat About Mattresses

Paying $900 for a mattress would require dipping into my savings, which I wasn’t too thrilled about—and I also wasn’t all that thrilled about going downtown to look at mattresses in a store, because stores have salespeople who will try to talk to you, but I had said I would go in last week’s Friday Chat and I figured I should be a person of my word.

A Friday Chat About Mattresses and Money Hoards

(I also said, last week, that I would make a stop at Amazon Go, the grocery store where you take what you want and Amazon charges you via app. Unfortunately, Amazon Go is closed on the weekends—which tells you something about its target market.)

I didn’t even go in to the first mattress store because I could see, through the storefront windows, that every person in the store was being cheerily dogged by a salesperson. I could also see the mattress prices, placed on top of each mattress like throw pillows: $3,999. $4,999. Clearly not what I was looking for.

So I went to Macy’s, where I knew I could wander the furniture floor unencumbered. (Two summers ago, when I lived on Capitol Hill, I sought relief from my un-airconditioned apartment by walking through Pacific Place and Macy’s while listening to podcasts.)

I knew a mattress salesman really wanted to talk to me, but I shook him off. I was just looking. Technically, I was just pressing my hand into $2,500 mattresses and reminding myself how much I dislike Memory Foam. (It’s creepy.)

The salesman circled around again and offered to show me a floor model that he was ready to sell for significantly less than the $900 I was planning to spend on the internet mattress I would buy later. I can’t remember what mattress it was, but it was one of those mattresses that’s layered with gels and goo, where you’re not fully at rest until you’ve spent at least two seconds sinking downwards.

There was no way I was buying that thing. Not even at the incredible sales price. The salesman—and here’s where he made the sale—left me alone and didn’t come back until he’d seen me poke all the fancy, squishy mattresses and make my way to the back corner where they kept the plain mattresses.

That’s when he told me that I could get a Sealy Orchard Valley mattress set, originally priced at $849, for only $287.

I am not one to turn down that kind of a deal. Especially not while sitting on the first mattress that actually felt comfortable. (I had a firm mattress growing up, followed by many years of sleeping on futons. At this point, my concept of what a bed should feel like rivals Papa Bear’s.)

Of course, nothing “only” costs $287, and after the $85 delivery fee and the $25 mattress removal fee and the $38.11 in taxes, my new mattress cost $435.11.

After we finished everything up, the salesman told me that he could tell, as soon as I walked in, that I was the kind of person who wanted a really good mattress for not a lot of money. He meant it as a compliment, the same way that I do in fact feel proud for having found—or more specifically been guided towards—this deal. But I’d love to know what tipped him off. Was it because I was wearing a dress from Forever 21 and a jacket from Old Navy? Or because I was shopping alone, which might imply I was a single woman on a single income? Or do I just look like a person who doesn’t like to spend a lot of money?

Either way, I got my mattress and he got his sale, and the delivery people will arrive on Sunday. After which—I hope—we will all sleep well.

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