What the Fuck is Up with Mattress Pricing and Marketing?

So the Mrs. and I went down to the local department store (Robinson’s May) to buy a mattress for Junior’s new bed. Our own mattress is about 8 years old and getting saggy, so I figured we’d buy one for ourselves as well since we were going to be at the store.

Surprise Number 0: The profit margins have got to be absolutely astronomical. We’re talking a mass-produced, off-the-shelf piece of furniture made of wood, fabric and steel that has not changed in its basic design in 100 years. Yet these engineering marvels range from $500 to $3000. For that kind of dough I expect the mattress to have a robotic handjob attachment and a urine-disposal system.

Surprise Number 1: You can’t buy a mattress by itself - you have to buy a box spring to go with it. The way the store puts it, you get the box spring for free! The way I put it, you can’t get a discount by choosing not to buy the box spring. And a box spring, being simply a wooden frame with steel springs in it, is not subject to gradual deterioration over a time frame of a few years. As long as the wood hasn’t split or warped and the springs are still attached, it’s as good as the day you bought it.

Surprise Number 2: Many mattresses are identical in construction but have different names and vastly different prices. Apparently this is to prevent comparison shopping and the creation and use of consumer guides. See here for details.

Surprise Number 3: You’re suppose to haggle over price. For a freaking mattress.

Mattress manufacturers of America, you all deserve to smoke an eternal turd in Hell.

Agreed, it’s bizarre that mattresses are sold the way they are. No standard models, no standard prices, sleazy salesmen, bah! I think my next mattress is going to be from Ikea. My fiance had to get her mattress replaced in warranty, and I wouldn’t have a clue if they replaced it with like for like, they keep changing names so much.

I ordered a mattress from Ikea for $300. No boxspring, no hassles, and it’s blue. BLUE!


Careful with that, though. My mattress is from IKEA and it’s killing my back, so much so that I have abandoned it and am now sleeping on my fold-out couch. It’s so lumpy I have to stomp it down every few months.

I have been thinking about getting a new mattress, but the above story does not really inspire me to do so.

I remember reading Consumer Reports (book, mag, or website, I don’t recall which tho) about buying mattresses. They said that the quality can differ not just from brand to brand, or product line to product line, but from mattress to mattress. So if you want a Sealy Mega-Hyper-Firmy-Softy-Spring Mattress, they highly recommended check out the very mattress you’re going to buy. They said that the showroom mattress may differ from the one you actually get.

I went to the local “sleep country” and got me just the bed and warrenty for $475 tax in (CAN).

I didn’t have any problem removing the box spring. I only saved $125 doing that but I didn’t need it at all anyways.

I suppose one of the reasons why they have to charge so much is that beds are low turn over items. My first bed lasted more than 10 years and this bed is has a 10 year warrenty as well, against everything except fire damage! :smiley:

Three words:

Original Mattress Factory.

We got our California King-Sized mattress from them for about $500. We are very pleased with it.

Hmm, I swear I read that in Consumer Reports…but when I saw the article online, it didn’t mention it.
Here it is, subscription free!

I’ll second Original mattress Factory … but they’re not everywhere in the US yet.

Do you live in a big city, where there might be a department store warehouse? I know Famous-Barr has weekend sales at their warehouse, filled with furniture and mattresses at steep discounts. Once we stopped by on Sunday, all the full-size sets were gone, though.

BTW: If anyone knows where I could get a decent full or queen boxspring, mattress and bedframe for less than $200 altogether, please let me know. $500 is way, way out of my price range at the moment and I need the bed in early August.

Anyone anywhere in the Southeast should get their mattresses at Rooms To Go – the prices are posted and not haggled, and the boxspring costs extra, meaning you don’t have to buy it if you don’t want to. I got a twin pillowtop, boxspring, and frame from them in their own brand for ~$200 delivered. Best mattress I’ve ever had.

Our local BJs sells queen size matress and box springs for $299. These are Sealy brand models. There is little selection, but it is worth looking into the $40 membership fee for this cost savings, if the mattress turns out to be a firmness that you are comfortable with.
I got my matress at Monkey Wards five years ago, before their demise. It was around $475 for matress and box spring and I don’t remember having to haggle there.

One Word: Futon

Very comfy, and affordable. By one without a frame and drop it on the boxspring.


Dancer_Flight beat me to it. I’ve lost count of how many futons we have – there are several thin ones piled on our bed, two in the case on the couch, and one very nice queen on a homebuilt platform in the guest room. And we plan to buy another futon sofa to replace the second, aging couch in the living room.

The only mattress/box springs we have are our two old sets that Mr. S built into bunk beds in the basement; they are usually piled with junk, and the bottom one also serves as our tornado shelter. Tornado weather? Just sleep in the basement!

My mom hates sleeping over, but all of our hippie futon-sleeping friends who stay over just love it!

Ardred and I bought a mattress this winter. We asked our parents for money for Christmas to buy a king, so we could sleep without being on top of each other, with a dog and two cats vying for space.

[aside]Going from a full to a king is AMAZING.[/aside]

We shopped around, our price was $1000. We found one we kinda liked, and it was in our price range, but the place was sketchy (the salesmen were smoking and watching TV) and they didn’t seem to regard us as customers (we’re young, but we’re not that young.

We went into a local place just to look, found a great mattress, asked the guy to throw in the frame for free, had it delivered the next day and only spent $1057.42 told our parents that we had found a mattress set, and a few days later, Ardred’s mom sent us a check for $50. :smiley:

I do feel your pain. Shopping for a mattress is worse than for a car, because it’s easy to compare one Civic to another, but the Sealy Extra Firm Pillow Top Squishtastic Sleepinator at store one isn’t the same as the SEFPTSS at store two.

Christ on a cracker!! That was the funniest thing I’ve seen all day!! :smiley:

Whatever you do, DON’T get a sleep-number bed. We had one and sent it back before the free trial expired. They are incredibly uncomfortable.

From my experience you won’t even find the Sealy Extra Firm Pillow Top Squishtastic Sleepinator at store two, three or four. At #2 the same mattress will be the Sealy Extra Firm Pillow Top Majestic, at #3 it’ll be the Royale II, and at #4 it’ll be the Dreamsleep Plus. They’ll all have different patterns on the material but be basically the same mattress. And you’ll never know which model at store #2 compares to which model at store #3.

This is one industry that’s figured out the trick to keeping margins high on basically a commodity item. The marketing wizards have earned their keep here.

I completely concur…I had a bad incident that was completely my fault with one of them. I was up at my Uncle Tom’s cabin (yea, I know) and they had a queen-sized one. I changed the sleep number and feel asleep. I rolled a bit in my sleep and half of my spine woke up on 80 and the other half on 25. Ouch! The bed felt like someone took a pool raft and inflated it in the middle of a bed too. The next night I fixed the numbers and it really wasn’t that much better.

What would the store charge you if you wanted to walk in and buy just a box spring?

I’m completely gobsmacked that at a department store any piece of merchandise is negotiable in price. This is a terrible situation, if true. I absolutely refuse to haggle over the price of anythiing, ever.