The 9th Circle Of Hell Is Called “Mattress Shopping”
Four years ago, we bought a mattress.
We did as everyone suggests: we went to the store, camped out on it for a little while.
The saleslady of course just hovered like a hummingbird, staring at us while we tried out the new bed. I don’t know if she thought were going to try to do the rumpy-pumpy or something, but she just stood there. Staring and frittering. Still, the test totally worked.
It was the most comfortable bed on which I’d ever draped my torpid form.
My wife and I both looked at each other and were like, “Yes. Yes. This is our new bed.”
The bed was a Sealy latex mattress. A “Tranquil Sea” mattress. Which is a silly name, because the last thing I want to do is sleep on the ocean, tranquil or no. The sea moves. It hungers. It has sharks and giant squid and Dagon’s babies hiding down in the watery dark. Sleeping on the ocean will not give me comfort, but that’s how these product names are. (We’re also shopping now for paint colors, and paint colors are named even more hilariously. “Hobo Bindle.” “Regrettable Mist.” “Bedbug Ordure.” “Griefstruck Juniper.” “Peacock Cloaca.”)
We took the mattress home.
It was wonderful.
For a while.
But it wasn’t long before we noticed a slight… give to the material. We were slowly sinking into the mattress. At first, that was kinda nice. “It fits me like a glove!” I said, laughing as I shimmied my body down into the warm embrace of our new bed.
Eventually, however, those slight depressions turned into a pair of inescapable ditches. Which then turns the middle of the bed into a giant hill, like it’s some kind of Anglo-Saxon burial mound. (I’m fairly certain that Oswald killed Kennedy not from within a building but rather from the berm rising up from the center of our shitty mattress.)
Of course, when you’re up off the mattress, the deep furrows are not so plain to see — and despite being only four years into a 10-year-warranty, we’re pretty much fucked because when the Mattress Bastards come to measure the depth of our uncomfortable rifts, they will discover that each trench is odd but not dramatically odd and so, sorry, fuck you, stick a mattress coil up your no-no-hole, please enjoy your latex slumber-condom, nerds.
Point is, now we’re back to shopping for a new mattress.
Which, as you know if you’ve ever done it, is a descent into a realm of lies and madness. Memory foam! Innerspring! Flippable! Not flippable! Latex! Sleep Number! Futon! Koalafur! Foetal leather! Soft! Medium-soft! Medium-firm! Firm! Super-firm! Mild! Medium! Habenero Spice!
One mattress at one store — “This is our Endless Whisperer Pillow-Top model” — is actually different from the same-named mattress at another store. So it’s not like you can price compare on most of these, unless you want to buy a Tempurpedic, which are apparently wonderful but also cost as much as a used car.
Plus, they ask you all those questions. “Are you a back sleeper? Side sleeper? Butt sleeper? Do you have sciatica problems? Spinal disorder? Will you be having ‘the sex’ on this bed? Doggy-style? Missionary? Cincinnati Tugboat-style? Do you sleep eight hours? Nine? Four? Do you like to be stung by bees while you sleep, or not stung by bees? Do you eat in bed? Smoke in bed? Have you ever killed a man? Can you help me dispose of this body?”
Eventually, you answer all the questions and they direct you to what is the most expensive mattress in the store, some Astronaut Bed stuffed with the lavender-scented hair of orphaned children, and you tell them, “But I don’t want to pay $6700 for a new mattress,” and they’re like, “But there’s a 700,000-year warranty,” which sounds great until you realize that the warranty basically only covers incidents where the mattress turns into an actual monster from Hell and tries to eat you. (Our mattress has only turned into a metaphorical monster.)
So they direct you to the cheapest mattress just to be a dick, and it’s basically a pallet of bricks draped in a musty tablecloth, and they’re like, “That’s called our ‘Spinal Shame’ model and it’s $300. It has a 17-minute warranty,” which again, who cares, because the warranties are dogshit.
Then there’s all the upselling — pillows and frame and boxspring and dust ruffle and bondage saddle. Then you have to work on the price to get it down because of course the all-important mattress industry is like the car industry (because surely a mattress is as complex an object as an automobile!) and you’re suddenly haggling over price because this mattress has coils 2mm smaller than that other mattress and blah blah blah.
Then maybe while you’re standing there you Google some reviews and half the reviews talk about how the mattress killed their mother and half of them say it’s the best thing since angel nipples and next thing you know, you’ve panicked and fled the store and continue to sleep on your own crapgasmic mattress until it dissolves beneath you and you buy a fucking sleeping bag because fuck it, that’s why, just fucking fuck it.
So, what I’m saying is:
Hey, what mattress do you have? Do you like it?
We’re thinking about Ikea beds because some folks recommended them. Sleep Number sounds interesting, but I’ve read so many bad reviews (“The air pump stopped working and it filled our bed up with air and we floated off to a magical sky kingdom where giants made us into sex toys”). Tempurpedic is a possibility, but now of course you have a hundred different models of varying costs and questionable difference. HELP ME, INTERNET.