Friday, July 1, 2011

What's worse than jean or swimsuit shopping? I'll tell you!


I'd be willing to bet that the top two items that the majority of women despise shopping for are jeans and swimsuits.  I'd like to add a third item to that list - mattresses.

Yes, a mattress.  It sounds like a simple enough item to buy, but let me tell you, it's a nightmare.

We've only bought two mattresses for our bed during our 24 years of marriage.  That's pretty good huh?  When we first were married, my parents gave us the bed from my old bedroom.  Two years later we built a house and bought a king size bed - with a new mattress.  I remember thinking back then, "Dang, this thing is expensive."  But it served us well.

I'm almost embarrarrassed to say that we kept that mattress set for 19 years.  Ok, so maybe that's taking the penny pinching a bit too far, but it never sagged until those last few months so why replace it we thought. 

Then while on a shopping spree buying some new furniture for our basement we made a serious mistake.  Without doing any research, we bought a new king-size mattress for our bedroom in addition to buying the basement furniture. They were offering some kind of "deal" if we bought both'd think that would have raised a red flag, but no! We figured we could use a new mattress, and my husband is a "quick decision shopper" so I "caved" and we bought it.

Not quite five years later our luxurious pillowtop, top-of-the-line mattress (I'm pretty sure that was the salesman's pitch) was sagging.  It not only had a significant indent where my husband lays (sorry honey), but my side had an indent too (albeit much smaller ;).  You know it's bad when your 12 pound Shih-Tzu struggles ever night to remain on high ground in the middle without rolling into one of us.  Let's just say that for being less than five years old, it was ridiculous.

After waking to a sore back for about the tenth time, my husband pleaded, "Will you PLEASE buy a new mattress?"  He then started leaving me sales advertisements on the kitchen table with "BUY ME" scribbled next to a mattress on sale.  And because I'm the super-shopper-researcher in the house, I needed to find some time to do my homework.  Since we're talking about a king size bed and over a $1,000 investment, I obviously turned to Google for some research. And that's when the nightmare began.

After many days of searching the internet, I've learned a few things.  First of all there's just a few types of mattresses: Innerspring, Memory Foam, Latex, Water, Air and Futon. Sleep Like the Dead offers probably the best information online about these different types.

Well, water and futon were immediately eliminated - those scream college days!  Latex, I learned, has a tendency to emit odors when new so that one was out too. We both couldn't see how a foam mattress could possibly retain its firmness long-term so that one was out.  Now we're making some progress!  Or so I thought.

Looking around at reviews for Innerspring and Air mattresses, I've yet to find a website that speaks highly of any brand of these two types.  There's apparently a love-hate relationship with owners of Air mattresses.  They either "love 'em" or "hate 'em" and don't even get me started on what people think of Innerspring mattresses.  It's as if the entire U.S. population thinks mattresses, in general, are total crap....that they sag within five years and need replacing.  And that there's just not a quality mattress on the market that will last 10 years.  I'm beginning to agree.

Oh and don't think you can just read how to compare brands of the "guts" of say the Innerspring because no two websites can agree on what to look for.  One says number of coils are important.  One says it's the wire size of the coils that you need to look for. Then there's the number and size of coils theory.  Yet another website explains that it's the placement of coils that's critical while another says it's all about the way the coils are tied or welded together.  UGH!  Can we please have some definitive information that we agree on here?

To add to the shopping drama, the top three brands: Sealy, Simmons and Serta all provide different dealers with the same style mattress but they give them different names purposely to keep shoppers from comparison shopping at different retailers.  It's just a friggin' nightmare!

The only shopping advice that any of these sources agree on is that you should spend some time lying on different styles and brands of mattresses to see which one is comfortable.  Well, HELLO!  They better all feel comfortable for the 30 seconds you are lying on them.  Let me spend the night sleeping on it, and THEN maybe I'll have an opinion that's worth more than "a hill of beans" as my mom always says. (whatever that means?) But even if I think it's comfortable that still doesn't tell me how long it will last before the sagging begins.

No wonder we kept that first mattress for 19 years.