Monday, February 20, 2012

Sleeping Around


My friend Michelle who has an irrational fear of escalators volunteered to go mattress shopping with me. Seeing as I had never done it before, I wasn’t sure what a good mattress shopping co-pilot needed to have.

As it turns out, somebody who is afraid of things that move automatically is a good partner for buying something that stays completely still.

We started our search at the second largest department store in the world, the Macy’s in Herald Square. We made our way up to the mattress floor where I was immediately overwhelmed.

There were easily over 100 mattresses out. This was going to be way more complicated than I had hoped.

Luckily a salesperson comes over to us and starts to walk (or lay as it were) us through the process.

He starts us out on some $2,300 dollar mattresses. I assume this is standard practice. Start the customer out on the most expensive mattress and then gradually work them down to the less expensive mattresses.

Except we never really got to the really inexpensive ones. He just kept taking us from one expensive mattress to the next. I was too embarrassed to tell him I couldn’t afford to sleep that well.

The sales person then ask me if I want to try memory foam. I thought I wanted to. But Michelle who, in addition to her irrational fear of escalators, also has a wealth of knowledge about eco-friendly products for the home, whispered in my ear “Memory foam is the most toxic element in your home. It off gasses throughout the night.”

Little did I know I had to be aware of off-gassing, which apparently is not just something I do during the night. Technically it means to emit toxic fumes based on the chemicals that were used to prepare the material.

Great. So not only am I crippling myself I am also gassing myself to death.

I turn back to the sales person.

Umm I don’t think Memory foam is for me.

So we continued testing out the non-memory foam mattresses.

Firm, plush, cushion, plush firm, cushion firm, medium plush. Every single time I laid down on the mattress I immediately forgot the type of the mattress I was laying on.

Also, I started dozing off.



Some it was easy to tell right away were too hard or too firm. I felt like Goldilocks and the 100 mattresses.

Some of the display mattresses had two different feels, split right down the middle so you could test out both sides. Michelle and I did this by doing a mattress fire drill. One of us getting up and running around to the other side, the other rolling over.

The whole time I was testing out mattresses I kept wondering two things to myself:

Is this mattress right for me?
And
Am I getting bed bugs?

While I was focused on flopping around on every single mattress like a fish...



And also, how much everything cost, Michelle was focused on important things like, asking questions that made sense.

Despite her best efforts to learn things, we had a lot of laughs, and we made a lot of jokes, many of which our sales person did not laugh at.

But even though we were having a ball, we were there on serious business. My mattress was killing me and I needed a solution. But as the testing went on I realized that this probably wasn’t going to be something I could accomplish in a single day.

There were definitely mattresses I did like, but after lying on two dozen different mattresses of varying levels of firmness I couldn’t really tell the differences between the ones I did like.

Michelle suggested we go to another store that had some more eco-friendly options. I readily complied. As we made our way to the next store we passed another mattress shop and Michelle grabbed my arm:

The mattresses in here are $35,000, let’s go lay on them.

Michelle can be very convincing.

So we walk into the beautiful airy space and lay down on mattresses that cost more than any car I have ever driven, never mind owned.

We lay down on a mattress and I feel good knowing that I am laying on an organic mattress made from sustainably acquired horse hair, even though I’m not quite sure what all of that means.

Michelle then expresses interest in trying out another type of mattress.

At this point I’m just along for the ride since I have resigned myself to just having bad nights of sleep on the floor for the rest of my life.

Our sales person then starts to speak. 

You can try out this next mattress but it’s in the display window…
Yes!

Things were about to get awesome.

So there we are lying in this mattress in the display window.


And our sales person is talking to us but I am having a hard time not smiling because out of the corner of my eye I can see people on the street laughing at us which is making me laugh.

It’s ridiculous to pretend that this situation is not ridiculous so I start waving at people as they walk by. Which in turn makes them laugh more, which makes Michelle laugh, which makes me laugh even more, so that I’m laying with my friend, in a bed I can’t afford, laughing at strangers I don’t know, while a sales person I just met slowly comes to the realization that there is no way I’m buying anything today.

We went to one more store where Michelle dared me to dive into a pile of 12 down comforters. I though this was a good idea. The staff of that store did not. The sales person there kindly asked me to get up but I could tell she really just wanted to kill me.

So to avoid death in a mattress store, we gladly left, moderately unsuccessful. And I returned to sleeping on my couch until I host some sort of mattress fundraiser or win the lottery.

Or I could just buy a memory foam mattress and sleep in a gas mask.

7 comments:

Neurotic Workaholic said...

Maybe you could get one of those air mattresses to sleep on until you get a regular mattress, because at least then you'll have more room to stretch out than on your couch.
As someone who's worked in retail for years, I can say that the guy was probably working on commission and that's why he showed you the expensive mattresses. Also, most salespeople aren't going to show you the cheaper items that are on sale if they can get you to buy the more expensive ones, because then their supervisors will reward them with amazing rewards like stickers, buttons to wear on their uniforms, or perhaps a firm handshake from one of the managers in front of all the other employees.

RedWriter said...

I just love how you can make a potentially mundane outing absolutely classic. :) xx

Carolyn Baccaro said...

Are they really toxic? i bought one for like $300 and its the most comfortable thing I've ever owned. OOps.

DangGina said...

I didn't know that Memory Foam is supposed to be all toxic and stuff. But, know what? Even if that's true, I think I'll just keep on keeping on with my Memory Foam mattress, because if it kills me in my sleep one night, at least I'll die very comfortably. No joke: I cannot even think about getting rid of my supposedly gaseous Memory Foam. Not now, not ever...

Also, I think that if a mattress store sells mattresses that cost $35,000, it probably isn't called a "mattress shop." The word "shop" is WAYYYYY to quaint for that kind of dough. Just a thought...

Good luck on finding something that you can love and afford!

tori said...

I can't deal with the phrase "off-gassing," or the previous comment: "my supposedly gaseous Memory Foam." DYING OF LAUGHTER AND DREAD.

Sarah said...

Oh man. I have been in dire need of a new mattress for at least a year and am dreading shopping for one. So if you could just be a lamb and update us all once you find one, that would really help me out.

Caroline B said...

I'm afraid my method of choosing a bed was to find one I could afford and then see if it was comfortable! It also had to have the option of the mattress being on a spring-loaded base and flipping up to reveal underbed storage...it took months for the fear of being catapulted out of the window in my sleep to subside.