11.28.2012

A Designer Mattress

Designer mattresses have always intrigued me. Why would anyone buy a designer mattress? I usually associate designer items with clothes, shoes, and the occasional car. Things you can walk around in and flaunt. 

Most people don't flaunt their mattresses. I realize I am going out on a limb here, but I assume that most people don't invite you in to see their fancy shmancy new designer mattress either. The whole notion seems just a little odd, but apparently there are a lot of people who buy celebrity designed mattresses.

Designing mattresses and bedding sounds like a pretty good gig if  you can get it. Mattresses are rectangles. Sheets are rectangles. Pillowcases are, yes, rectangles. How hard could that possibly be?

Vera Wang currently designs mattresses for Serta, and as you can see from this ad from the October 1971 Good Housekeeping Magazine, Oscar de la Renta did at one time design mattresses for Simmons. And while these are pretty groovy looking mattresses that would be sure to provide you with colorful and creative dream time, don't most people just cover them up with sheets and lay on them with their eyes closed?

I recently bought a new mattress which, as you might have guessed, was not a designer model. I learned a lot about mattress buying in the process. One of the first things I learned was that mattress salespeople appear to have very few customers, so they have no problem giving you their undivided attention, whether you want it or not. 

"What are you looking for in a mattress?" the overly cheerful salesperson asked. 

"I'd like something that I can recline on while blogging." That response was met with more than a few blank stares, so I switched to the more mainstream mattress vocabulary. "I'd like something soft."

That was usually all it took to bring out the appropriate responses from Mattress 101 class. A long and tedious dialogue would ensue, during which virtually every salesperson would tell me what I really wanted. As I would lay on each mattress, the salesperson would stand over me, reciting the finer points of each choice, and how I'd like that more expensive model across the floor even more. Like I could really tell a difference.

After visiting several traditional mattress stores, I decided that, in order to be fully informed, I would have to visit the Sleep Number store. Sleep Number beds are perfect for people who can never get enough gadgets in their lives. When you visit a Sleep Number store, they have you lie down on a mattress that's all pumped up to its firmest, and then they begin letting out the air slowly, and you are supposed to tell them when you have reached your perfect level of comfort. 

I didn't do so well at this. The woman, running on through her scripted dialogue, began letting the air out of the mattress I was on. Time passed, and she had run through her entire script and air was still going out and I had not yet cried uncle. I could tell she was getting agitated. 

"This is going to be too soft for you," she said rather suddenly. "Don't you know you are down to a 33?" She seemed panicked. 

"But I am looking for something soft," I replied, sensing I had crossed some sort of line here.

"I really see you as more of a 42," she said assuredly, pumping the mattress back up a bit. 

"What if I don't want it at a 42? Are you going to come to my house and change it while I am sleeping?" I asked. That was probably the wrong thing to say. She was now clearly in unscripted waters, and had no idea where to find a lifeline. She said she would get someone else to help me, at which point I slipped quietly out of the store. Apparently I don't need another gadget.

In the end, I got a mattress that was plain and cheap and very soft. It's not something I would invite my friends out to come see, but that's OK. Just don't tell Vera and Oscar.



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