This year I have had to do the
grown up thing of buying a new mattress. I have previously got by with cheap futons, hand me downs and couches with which to rest my tired bones on. This is a brief account of my experiences in the shady world of latex and springs.
When the springs of your mattress start getting intimate with your anatomy on a nightly basis you know it is time to renegotiate the relationship. This is what forced me to do some internet research on the subject and try and get a decent perspective on the whole world of beds and mattresses that was about to adopt me for the next few days of Christmas.
On Boxing day we drove to a suburban outlet centre which contained at least 5 such shops all within metres of each other. ‘How convenient’ I thought to myself. That was the last positive thought I had until we drove off an hour or so later. The first store we went into was Beds for Backs which sells its scientific approach to sleeping with all sorts of green ticks and gold medals from God only knows what receipt issuing authority. The store is large with beds everywhere. We are approached by a young salesman from the sub continent with matching accent.
We are asked a few staple questions which serve to engage us in the sales pitch, such as : ‘Do you get a sore shoulder/hip/back when you sleep? Does your partner roll around a lot and wake you up in the night? Do you like a soft, medium or a firm bed? Once we have answered these questions we are shown a bed to lay down on. This is when the sales pitch started hitting the big gears.
We are dazzled with the science of sleep zones and removable back supports before being shepherded along to another bed to lie on. All the while the salesman is reciting his script as if he is reading it right there in front of us. We slowly progress from sprung beds to pocket springs and then latex. All these beds feel the same apart from the one with the special removable back support do-hickey which was not that dissimilar to sleeping on a couch with wooden supports between the cushions.
We ask about the much heralded Boxing day discounts to which we are informed that these beds don’t attract GST so there is a saving of 10% straight of the bat. This is because they are a ‘medical product’ or some such guff. 10% is a crap saving in the world of beds, this I soon found out. And there would be a month long wait to get the bed. Out the door we went and in the next door we found Forty Winks and a whole new world of beds.
Again, the salesman was right over to us and all over us with his earnest sales pitch. All the same questions were asked with the same answers being given. We were again ushered to several beds all increasing in price but there would be a hefty discount at the end. We tried latex beds, Tempur beds, and sprung beds. This salesman was truly oily but was embarrassingly out greased by another member of staff who really shouldn’t be allowed walk the streets in any capacity. Every few minutes or so the sales guy would run off to the desk and come back with a new price as he tried to reel us in with his bland, obvious sales delivery.
Incidentally, don’t be bowled over by the NASA invented Tempur memory foam leg spinner; it’s a crock of shit and not that comfy and is used by nursing and incontinence homes.
We left the store with some prices bouncing around our addled heads and went straight into Snooze, or Captain Snooze or whatever it is called. Here we were allowed to walk around unhindered and lie on beds at our will. Nobody came near us or even tried to. This was a nice experience. We checked some prices and bounced some mattresses before leaving and deciding that we were done with this and were going to Check out Myers across the road.
We were met by a saleslady who guided us through the same repetitive questioning before giving us some prices. She assured us that she was not on commission and was there for us.
In all of the shops we couldn’t compare like for like as there are so many permutations of springs, sleeping zones, latex and single and double soft tops.
The only conclusion we could come to after all this sales talk and sleeping expertise was that we were into latex, in the nicest possible way.
There was nothing for it but to hit the internet and start anew.
All of the web sites I visited had various claims to latex purity and one even promised organic certification for the environmentally conscious, at a price though.
What I discovered is that there are probably two or three factories that make all the latex mattresses in the world and the same again for sprung mattresses. The manufacturers then rebrand mattresses according to which retailer is buying them. The customer is then left with a choice of a myriad of beds with more sleep inducing names than you could shake a stick at. In essence you cannot buy the same bed from Snooze and Forty Winks and therefore cannot compare the pricing. All of the big bed manufacturers practice this ancient art of smoke and mirrors and are supported by the retailers et al. This allows them to keep the prices high and the customer confused.
After much deliberation I ventured to a store that I found on the web which was located in a warehouse down south of the city. The owner/sole employee was there and basically confirmed all my suspicions about the trade that I was now learning about. He told me that he buys his latex mattresses from the same Belgian factory as everybody else and then gets them covered in China or Indonesia.
He was as direct and as honest as a self employed man can be under the circumstances. After discussing pricing I left to consider my options.
The next day I drove the ute down to the warehouse and picked up a queen size, 5 zone latex mattress with two free latex pillows and a mattress protector (a common sales practice) for the princely sum of $1500 cash. I’m pretty sure that I saved myself $1000 on the bed compared to what was on offer elsewhere. My latex bed is comfy and dust mite and allergy free. My old sprung mattress is now at the local tip waiting to be recycled/buried. The local tip is the cheapest way of getting rid of your old bed. The nearest one to me in Reservoir/Coburg charges $24 to take your old scratcher, other places will charge up to $45 and more if you want them to pick it up. One such company has gone into liquidation recently and was not available for comment.
I am now a happy latex loving man with no regrets and a great nights sleep.
Here are some informative sites: