By Andy Young
I’ve long believed that everyone should sleep on the floor at least once a year. However, that’s not because I think it’s great for strengthening the spine, building character, or toughening up one’s personal resolve.
Until such time as none is available, that is.
Most people sleep on multiple mattresses, not all of which are ideal, during their lifetime. A 5-year-old’s optimal mattress becomes unsuitable as its user grows taller, wider, or both. And like other products, mattresses aren’t designed to last forever. I’ve slept on some for which the warranty, if one ever existed, had pretty clearly expired.
Some years ago, I traveled to Kenai, Alaska on business. There weren’t any available hotels there, but my resourceful, frugal employer took care of that by arranging for my colleagues and I to spend three nights sleeping in the local national guard armory, where the mattresses seemed to date back to World War II. It was impossible to recline on one without immediately rolling downhill into its center. At least they were bedbug-free, which isn’t always the case with cheap temporary accommodations.
However, in retrospect the most challenging thing about those aging mattresses was extricating ourselves from them in the morning. Several colleagues weighing over 200 pounds needed help from less-hefty team members to escape from the mattress-encased fissures they had sunken into overnight.
I recalled that adventure recently while sharing aching back stories with a similarly afflicted co-worker. She suggested trying a new mattress, and since the one I’d been sleeping on for the past three decades was looking a little threadbare, I decided to heed her advice.
I must have looked uncertain when I entered the showroom, because an enthusiastic salesperson who had evidently just finished her third Red Bull raced over, introduced herself, and began quizzing me on what type of mattress I was looking for. Did I prefer soft, medium, firm, Superfirm, or uber firm? Was I looking for an innerspring mattress? A hybrid? Memory Foam? Gel-infused foam? Latex?
The fawning clerk encouraged me to try out several different models. The problem: each one, from soft to Superfirm, just felt like a regular mattress to me.
I found one that seemed decent, but when she revealed the price ($2,300 plus tax), I felt my back begin acting up again. The bottom line: I didn’t make a purchase that day.
The following weekend I visited, on a whim, another furniture outlet. A friendly fellow quietly greeted me, asked me to let him know if I needed any help, and then left me alone. Twenty minutes later I bought a brand new, hopefully better-for-my-back mattress for less than a third of what the overzealous salesperson had wanted me to spend the week before. The low-pressure (and ultimately successful) merchant also suggested I write down how I slept each night, because, were I dissatisfied, I could exchange my new mattress for a model with a different firmness, as long as I did so within 30 days.
I sure hope this mattress works out, because more than a month has passed, and the sale is final. Unfortunately. I never did get to record how rested I felt each morning.
I kept falling asleep before I could write anything down. <