Vicki Briganti – CW50 Writer / Producer / Editor

Have you heard the song “Mo’ Money, Mo’ Problems?” I keep thinking “Mo’ Mattresses, Mo’ Problems.” I hated everything about mattress #5. I was certain I’d be sleeping on a borrowed twin bed the rest of my life.

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The mattress returning and buying and exchanging started in February. It was October when I went on vacation to Indiana, completely petrified of sleeping on random mattresses in random hotels.

Much to my delight, these hotel mattresses were comfortable. My lower back still hurt, but it was clearly not because of the mattress. My mindset switched from “I don’t like this mattress because it causes me back pain” to “I don’t like this mattress and I have back pain.”

At one hotel, I slept on a rollaway bed. I liked this cheap, thin, flimsy mattress better than some of the mattresses I’d owned the previous year. It was springy. I told my dad I thought I needed to buy a trampoline to sleep on instead of a mattress.

At the Comfort Inn in Nashville, IN, I slept on a king Murphy bed. I slept so well, I marched up to the front desk and offered to buy the old, used mattress from my room. I wasn’t sure how we’d transport it, but it didn’t matter, because hotels won’t sell a mattress directly to a consumer.

In each hotel room, I pulled the covers off the bed to see what kind of mattress I was dealing with. Eight out of nine hotel mattresses were Serta Perfect Sleepers. I knew when I got home, I’d look into buying a hotel mattress.

As Old School As It Gets

When I walked into the mattress store, my sales guy wasn’t at all surprised to see me. On the phone with his delivery guy, he said, “Vicki’s here. I’ll call you back.” (Cheers To The Mattress Store, Where Everybody Knows My Name)

I told him how much I’d enjoyed all the Serta Perfect Sleepers on my vacation. I’d researched his company’s website and found a Serta Perfect Sleeper Bronze Suite Double Sided Pillowsoft with a 5.5 comfort rating. The mattress height was 10 inches, which is what the mattresses had been at the hotels. I’d measured every mattress.

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My sales guy was wary. “Did you sleep on any of the mattresses more than one night?” he asked, trying to be helpful. No, I hadn’t. But what other options were there? I said, “I just want a mattress with sturdy springs and some foam like the one I had. I don’t want fancy memory foam or NASA gel. When I lay on a Tempur-Pedic, I feel like I’m being sucked into quicksand.” He said, “Well, the Bronze Suite is as old school as it gets; it reminds me of when I first started selling mattresses.”

When I heard that, I knew I’d found “The One.” The store didn’t have a floor model, so I had to trust the specs on the website. When the final mattress arrived, it seemed like the ones in the hotel rooms. I slept on it fine for two weeks. After that? Not liking it so much. I’d crawl out of it and go back to the Howell twin.

The Howell twin bed (credit: Vicki B.)

The Howell twin bed (credit: Vicki B.)

I’m the proud owner of mattress #6, a bed I use to sort my laundry on. I have no idea why I’m not comfortable sleeping on this mattress. I find myself gravitating toward mattresses when I’m in a department store. Would mattress #7 be my new favorite?

One Man’s Trash, That’s Another Man’s Come Up

I spent $1655 to own a mattress I don’t sleep on worth $839. I went from a full to a king to a queen to a twin. I’ve had two friends offer to give me mattresses from their guest bedrooms. I told a third friend that if he ever buys a new mattress, I’d buy his old one from him. The problem is that he knows about my mattress troubles, so I think he’s afraid to buy a new bed for himself. I borrowed my parent’s mattress and haven’t returned it. Sigh! No wonder I can’t sleep at night.

People have told me they love their Tempur-Pedics and Sleep Numbers. My sales guy finds me a fascinating challenge. He calls other people “normal customers.” He went above and beyond to find the right mattress for me. I feel like I let him down.

I’ve given up the hunt for now. I hope my friend sells me his mattress, even though it’s almost 20 years old. Meantime, you might see me stop on the side of the road to examine mattresses thrown in the trash. You never know where your next mattress might come from.

To quote my friend Shelley: “I know how the story ends – you sleep on the floor bed until the end of time.”

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