So I'm a bit of a zombie now having spent more than a week sleeping on either a futon mattress on the floor or the couch. My pampered ass needs a bed. Fortunately today is the day it gets delivered.
Wednesday January 9th at about 11:30 PM I'm ready to climb into bed. My pillow is wet. Christy and I have had this waterbed mattress for over 10 years now. It's a 80 percent waveless bladder with a nice pillow top. We've loved the bed, and were always glad to return home from vacations and other trips that took us away from our bed.
Last summer we went to Colorado for a friend's wedding. In our cabin, we discovered a conventional bed that was as comfortable if not more so than our waterbed. Until then we had not thought it possible and had effectively resigned ourselves to never having underbed storage, and renting equipment to drain the bed whenever it was necessary to move it. Suddenly a whole new world of sleeping options had become available. We returned from our trip with a seed planted, that someday we would have a conventional bed.
Discovering that our beloved waterbed had sprung a terminal leak was not fun. I was about ready to pass out by the time I staggered to bed only to find a wet pillow. I spent about 45 minutes trying to get a siphon drain going on the bed while Christy snagged the futon mattress from Colin's room and made up a "bed" on the living room floor. I awoke the next morning to find that my siphon had failed after draining maybe three or four gallons. I called my boss to take a personal day, then I went to Lowes, rented the waterbed pump for what will hopefully be the last time and drained the bed. I busied myself with other bed dismantling tasks then arranged to meet Christy at the first of three mattress retailers during her lunch break.
The first thing to know dear readers is that the mattress industry goes to great lengths to ensure that you don't know what you're talking about when you walk into a store. The major brands make the same products for all stores, but different retailers get different names for the same product. So unless you have a photographic memory, the chances of you being able to successfully comparison shop two retailers is next to nil. The other thing to know is that mattresses sell for a whole heckuva lot more than you might expect. That Sleep Number thing that is all over the TV; the cheapest one retails at about $2500.
At the first store I rapidly realize that the imaginary prices I had in my head were laughable, suitable perhaps to cover the bedding and pillows. We find a couple mattresses within the new and still difficult to swallow price range that I'm thinking in, have the sales guy write his pricing for these products on the back of his business card and head for the door. As I'm reaching for the handle, the salesman knocks about $350 off the price of one of the mattresses, throws in delivery and a bed frame. It's a clever move on his part, I can't show this deal to another retailer because it's not on his card, but I did just learn that there is a LOT more room for movement on the price of these things than the sticker wold lead you to believe.
At the second store we find another salesman with similar products. Christy hops around from bed to bed until she has a couple that she likes and are not insanely expensive (although predictably, our price range grew a bit more). This salesman is a lot more friendly and we wanted to give him a sale, but we had decided to check three stores and there was one more, so we got his prices on the products Christy liked on the back of his business card and headed for the door. This guy also gave me a better verbal deal than the one written on the card.
The third store was looking to be more of the same, and we were pretty seriously thinking about going back to the second store and placing our order when we were presented with a couple of Kingsdown beds. The mattresses are obviously made using an altogether distinct type of fabric on the outside and felt very comfortable. The stitching all looked to be very good quality and it even had double the warranty at twenty years vs ten for the other manufacturers. In a room full of very nice mass produced beds, it stood out as being a cut above. It was priced accordingly. Having learned that there was room to move on the price from the first salesman, I started leaning on this guy a bit. He did a very nice job of holding his ground without being rude or confrontational about it. After about fifteen minutes of stalemate, during which Christy and I had already agreed that if we had to pay full price, we would, I told him that as much as I thought it was a superior product, I still needed to feel like I was getting a better deal. He made a phone call, something about trying to write up the order as if it were a commercial sale, blah blah blah. When he got off the phone he had come down nearly $400. Done. 24 months equal payments, no interest financing? Duh! So now in spite of having three cars and two motorcycles all paid off, I have a bed payment.
So we've come full circle now. Since that day when I committed to pay for two years on a bed, I've been sleeping on my couch. I'm cranky, I haven't actually slept for more than about two hours at a time without waking up to change position. I'm hoping that I'll wake up tomorrow having had a sleepiphany, and every day from now on will be a little bit brighter because I bought an extraordinarily comfortable bed.