Alas, this isn’t a steamy sexcapades memoir. How I wish it were. Really, it’s about mattress shopping.
Recently I visited my chiropractor to address my nagging low back pain. He gave me this bit of common sense advice: if your back hurts in the morning more than it hurts at night, your problem is most likely your mattress.
My back definitely hurts more in the morning, and I was aware that my bed was a torture rack, but it was nice to have it confirmed by a professional. Now I can justify spending the money on a new mattress without feeling frivolous. We are not going to delve into why I can’t spend money without a flurry of self-judgment. We’re just going to be happy that I get a new mattress.
The first store I went to was a local, custom mattress store and the basic models started at $1,000. I was okay with that; this is my bed we’re talking about, and I’m tired of back pain. So I am open to spending $1,000. (I’m aware that you also can spend $15,000 on a mattress, but those mattresses are not for regular humans.) However, $1,000 is like a bazillion dollars to me, so I wasn’t going down without a fight—I was ready to shop my head off. If they’re getting my thousand dollars, I am getting ONE HELL OF A MATTRESS. I tried a few beds in that store, but mostly I was freaking out about the money too much to make any progress.
The second mattress store was less fancy. As I walked in the front door, I bumped into a mattress that was clearly labeled, “Back Support” and it was $399. I was able to settle down and think for a minute, but then the mattress salesman came over. And he was cute.
This is a problem. Mattress shopping is already exceedingly awkward. First of all, mattress stores are almost always empty except for you and the salesperson. So you walk in, explain that you are shopping for a mattress (duh) and then you LIE DOWN and try to act like it’s no big deal to lie down and talk about beds in a big empty room with a total stranger. Throw a little attraction into the mix and you can crank that awkwardness up a few notches: just act natural, while you talk to the cute stranger about how sometimes you like to lie on your back but sometimes you lie on your side and never mind that beds are also for sex but not mine, we’re not talking about that, I’m just lying here trying to act natural.
(There is a bigger problem here: I don’t know how to pick up men. So even if I’m all alone with a cute guy, and I have his undivided attention in a room full of BEDS, I still don’t know how to close the deal. Pathetic.)
The good news is that I really liked the $399 bed. It felt as good as the custom, expensive beds. However, you can’t return a mattress, so you only have one shot to get it right. Must…keep…shopping…
Store #3 had the biggest selection and a very knowledgeable salesperson. She showed me a very comfortable bed that was $1,100. Empowered by my $399 secret, I asked if she had anything that felt that good but was cheaper. She said, eyebrows raised, “Cheaper than $1,100?” Yes, lady; I am a low-digit girl and I need an awesome mattress that is super cheap. What’s the problem?
She might have been a little snooty, but she gave me this useful advice: if you are shopping for a mattress, you must lie on it for at least 20 minutes, because that’s how long it takes your body to relax and get a feel for it. She showed me a very comfortable mattress and encouraged me to lie on it for as much time as I could spare.
I lay on that mattress for a good 25-30 minutes. I may have even dozed a little, right there in a public mattress store. It felt great. I was pretty much in love. “How much is this one?” I asked. “It’s a closeout,” she said. “It’s normally $3,000 but I can sell it to you for $1,300.”
$1,300 is not less than $1,100. Am I the only one who thinks so? Because she failed to come to that conclusion. Also, $1,300 is way more than $399.
I left without buying a mattress. I ate a sandwich. I walked my dogs. Then I concluded that mattress shopping is a crap shoot. Both mattresses felt good in the store, but either one could end up being uncomfortable after a whole night’s sleep. If I was going to gamble, I would rather risk $400 than $1400. I’m not much of a gambler.
Back to store #2, home of the cute mattress salesman. It was twenty minutes to closing.
Cute Salesguy: Oh, you’re back! I was worried that you found a better deal.
Meg-in-my-head: He remembers me! Of course, I am probably the only customer he’s had all day.
Meg-Out-Loud: No, I’m just having trouble making up my mind. I know it’s close to closing, but would you mind if I lie down a little longer? Someone told me I have to try it for at least 20 minutes.
Cute Salesguy: Not at all! I’m glad you want to lie on it for a long time; that’s the smart thing to do.
Meg-in-my-head: He is cute AND nice! I wonder if he would be willing to spoon me while I try out this mattress?
Meg-Out-Loud: Thank you so much. I hope I’m not keeping you.
Cute Salesguy: I have plenty to do. Take your time. Get comfortable; I’ll even dim the lights for you.
Meg-in-my-head: Bow chicka bow-wow…
Meg-Out-Loud: Okay, but if you turn on Barry White I’m going to be suspicious.
I didn’t hear what he said after that because of the blood rushing to my ears in complete horrified shame that I’d spoken the Barry White comment out loud. He turned down the lights (probably so no more weirdo customers would come in) and turned on some kind of normal music that was not suggestive at all. Of course, I couldn’t relax and feel the mattress properly after that anyway, because I was mentally berating myself for not filtering my dumb jokes. I just lay there feeling like a dork for 15 minutes.
I bought the mattress. While we did the paperwork, we made small talk and he really was very nice. And then, get this: there was an earthquake right while we were sitting there.
Now I’m all alone, with a cute guy, in a room full of beds, AND THE EARTH MOVES, and I still cannot manage to ask for a phone number or make any romantic-type advance. Somebody help me.
My new mattress was delivered yesterday and ironically, the delivery guy hit on me! No one ever hits on me, so I was flattered, although the delivery guy was…well…let’s just say he was no mattress salesman.
But my bed feels great.
P.S. for grammar freaks: I had to consult the lay v. lie reference about fifty times to complete this post. How did I do?