Thursday, January 2, 2014

ONCE UPON A MATTRESS


                 
Once upon a time I could sit on the edge of my bed, touch the floor, and tie my shoelaces.  Our dog could jump from the floor onto the mattress in a single bound, the TV was at eye level, and my king-sized contour sheets hung snugly to the corners of the mattress.  That  was before we bought our new mattress (which I named Mt. Everest) from one of the three mattress retailers, all lined up together in a neat little row on a street as scary as Elm Street (as in “A Nightmare on…”) 
At the time we thought that the line-up of retailers was conceived as a convenience for would-be mattresses buyers -- so we could more easily compare mattress quality and prices. But it turns out that comparative shopping is impossible because each retailer gets a different proprietary name for the same mattress. Retailers can then tell us that they have an “exclusive.”  What’s exclusive is the name on the mattress  -- not the mattress.
 Yeah, now we know, but now it’s too late.
So we innocently went from retailer A … to B …to C, and listened three times to the same mind-mashing mumbo-jumbo about generic foam, space-age foam, memory foam, super-soft foam, medical foam, proprietary foam, cotton batting, latex, wrapped coils, unwrapped coils and padded coils.  The more we heard, the less we knew.  Sellers of mattresses can put car lot salesmen in their back pockets.  How I yearned for the good old days when we had only once choice: soft, medium, or hard.   
As for mattress “testing” on the showroom floor – that’s a farce.  How a mattress feels then … and how it will feel three days or three months later can be significantly different.  That’s because cheaper foams break down very quickly.
Yeah, now we know, but now it’s too late!    
           We never thought at the time of the purchase to ask how high the mattress would rise above ground level.  We should have.  Mt. Everest rises 35 inches off the floor.  That’s approximately one-third the height of the typical 8’ wall -- well into the nose bleed section if you’re on blood thinners.  Thirty-five inch high mattresses also present a challenge getting in and out of bed.  I wonder what short people, the physically handicapped, the elderly and other lap dogs do.  The first time our dog tried to climb Mt. Everest, she almost killed herself. We had to buy her a doggy stairs.  That ran us nearly $100.     
  
There were other problems.  Our contour sheets constantly popped off the corners of the bed.  Gone were smooth, tightly fitted streets – unless we wanted to fork out $200 for a set of deep fit sheets. Then we discovered bed bands (only $15), which promised to keep the sheet corners in place. Snugstraps, sheet grippers, and sheet suspenders all do the same.  
 


Then there was the problem with the headboard.  Pillows kept falling off.  And the old bedspread now hung about 18” off the floor. 
Yeah, now we know, but now it’s too late!
And talk about the mattress weight.  It took two strong men to carry this 125 pound behemoth into the bedroom.  We’ve only had the mattress for three months now, and I’ve already broken four fingernails trying to lift it to change sheets and tuck in the blanket.  Now we understand why retailer “B” included two men to come to your house four times a year to turn over your mattress, but now it’s too late.
Eventually, retailer B will have to send three or more men to turn over mattresses.  Recent research at Ohio State University found that because mattresses absorb body oil, moisture, and dead skin (which attract dust mites) a ten-year-old mattress is likely to have accumulated 100,000 to ten million mites.  Consequently, between the mites and the guck we exude, mattresses could easily gain 30% of its original weight over a ten year period.  This means that ten years from now our 125 pound mattress could weigh 145 ugly pounds.
Yeah, now we know, but now it’s too late!
I was on top of Mt. Everest the other night and wanted to read Vogue Magazine, laying on the night table some distance below me.  I stretched over the side of the bed and grabbed it.  Apparently, after years of women’s plunging necklines and exposed cleavage, necklines are now on the rise. 
That’s what they do, you know – the dictators of fashion.  Once they think a product has saturated the market, they change directions on us.  That keeps buyers buying and the economy moving.      
That’s why I don’t need my tarot cards to predict that in the next few years mattress makers -- motivated by the upcoming market of aging baby boomers and their predictable aches and pains -- will develop some revolutionary new product that gives sleepers better body support without the coils, the foams, the padding and all the rest.  This ground-breaking material will lighten the weight and lower the height of the current mattress, and all makers of ancillary products will cheer them on.         

THE BOTTOM WHINE:  What goes up must come down.

                 Whiningly yours,  Carol 

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    1. Hi Asima: Many thanks for your positive comment on my blogsite -- The Bottom Whine. It's nice to know the site is being read. Best wishes,

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