Monday, March 24, 2014
Cookie and the Pea: Mattress Shopping
At 8:45 AM this Sunday, Cookie awoke in shear agony. Seriously, folks, my lower back was in such pain from spasms that I awoke the husband, much to his dismay.
For months - since our move, truth be told - I have been thinking we needed to replace our mattress, which is 14 years old. It was a good mattress 14 years ago. But when you wake up in real, genuine pain yelling that you can't go on like this, your husband takes notice, the Serta has to go.
Growing up, Cookie knew the family that owned Sealy, but that was forty years ago.
The mattress experience has all changed.
When you look at what we used to sleep on - springs, cotton batting and sail cloth cover, and compare it to today, you are in for a rude awakening.
NOW everything is about the "foam" and the "gel".
If there is one thing that Cookie hates more than shopping for a chair, its shopping for a mattress. It has all of the charm of shopping for a car, but the options are fewer and less. And mattress salesmen as of the same genetic ilk as as car salesmen. So we were prepared.
The last time that the husband and I bought a mattress, was in 2001. And like any mattress purchase involving a couple both parties need to be there. Both people have to get on the bed, and both people need to just lie on the bed and talk it out.
"Does it work for you?" and "This is really hard," are what the mattress salesmen used to listen to all day, but coming from two guys, getting a smirk from them was par for the course. And you just don't try one mattress - you have to try many beds, so the conversation and the smirks would get repeated around the store while two men play Goldilocks trying out the bears beds.
Once we settled on this bed that we have now with an agreed upon "Yeah, I could live with this," the salesman - a pudgy middle aged man named "Mort" darted to the front of the store and back again and tried to up sell us on getting "stain protection" added to the mattress.
"Now this is a white mattress and I am telling you both that you need stain protection on this bed."
In car buying terms, this is the same as the old "Port services" paint and fabric upsell. "Now this car is white on the outside, and I would hate to see this paint get stained by some of the chemicals that they use on the roads today..." It's pure bullshit. They are simply trying to get you to pay for something because they want the money, not because it does anything for you.
The same is true with mattresses and the "stain protection" scam.
Still, I love a good game of cat and mouse. "So what kind of stains does this protection cover?" I'll ask and then wait while the salesman sweats out the answer.
"Well, you know, those unforeseen stains," says the salesman.
"I'm not picking up what you are putting down," I prod, fully knowing where this is going.
"Well, sometimes things happen and people may have a problem with bodily fluids, you know..."
"One of you could get sick and have," he starts sweating because he doesn't want to say it, "soiling."
Now that the gate is opened. "You mean like 'explosive diarrhea'?" I asked hopefully in the chance it would add to his discomfort.
"Or wetting the bed," he added knowingly, and hopefully. "After all, I'd hate for you to have a problem, blah, blah, blah."
Both the husband and I explained that neither of of us had such issues, and we if thought the future of the bed promised us that, we'd cross that shit storm when it happened. "Just the mattress, the box spring the delivery and the pick up, and I'm only paying for the mattress, saavy?"
We went through the whole song and dance yesterday, again. Hopping from mattress to mattress. The negotiating between the husband and I, until we settled on a bed.
Then it was the salesman's turn. "Blah blah blah fabric protectant....Blah, blah blah bodily fluids...blah blah blah..."
We deflected the fabric protectant (Neither of us leaks), but the salesmen yesterday, in this age of same sex marriage, one upped the game.
"Look fellas," he said while darting to the back of the store, returning with a nine by twelve package, "I hate it when people are unhappy. And we had a couple like you in here last week and they were unhappy because the mattress got stained. If you are going to get the protectorate, at least let me add in the mattress protector. For half off."
The husband looked at the package. "A plastic mattress protector?"
To hell with the plastic sheet, what were those two doing in bed was what we wanted to know. More importantly, why would he think that two 50something men would be doing anything like that sort of nasty in the bed.
"Well," says the salesman, "semen stains are very difficult to get out of the damask." And when he said "semen stains," he went all sotto voce on us. Like he wanted us to know that he was hip to the all the flying semen that two, or more, guys could produce.
"And semen gets everywhere, right?" says I, with a wink. The poor guy was appalled. "It just comes out and ten seconds later is all runny and shit."
So now the mattress had morphed into a sex surface, a place of all things left unsaid. A place where all implied things were plied.
"Well, you do have a point," said I.
"But we have sex on the sling, and we wash out bedding with regularity, so I'll take the mattress, the box spring, the pick up and the delivery, but I'm only paying for the mattress, got it?"
I think he was so ashamed of his behavior that we got a much better deal. Much better.
On the way out,with the bill of sale and delivery date set, the husband, asked why I told him we had a sling, when we don't.
"Well, why not. Besides, by my calculation, our next mattress will hit when are are 65, and by that time we may leak." After all, in 2028 it could be the last time I could use the sling as a zinger, or pass up on the imaginary fabric protector.