The Mattress Racket

So my excellent AlterNet editor and SoCal pal Jan Frel has been asking me to start muckraking rackets, and it’s been a hoot. I’ve already rooted out Red Bull and the stingy-ass telcos, so now it’s Sealy’s turn.

The mundanity of mattresses belies their insane cost and hyperreal price-jacking. Plus, everyone needs one, and most all of them have zero good memories of buying one. If you are on the market for a new one then check out this Emma Mattress Review because it’s clear, concise, and the mattress isn’t extortionately priced. But this isn’t the case for most mattresses. Are you lying down for this?

The Mattress Racket — Why You End up Paying a Lot More for a Bed Than You Should
[Scott Thill, AlterNet]
It’s so hard to figure out what is good value among the piles of blindingly expensive mattresses emblazoned with smart terminology and little scientific proof for their claims. Sometimes we get so annoyed with all the mattress hype, we just want to buy a substantial mattress but invest in the best mattress topper australia (or wherever you are) that can provide the needs we have. Simple and easy to get and wash too.

A good night’s sleep doesn’t come cheap these days. Millions of consumers each year find themselves captive to a mattress industry which has continued to roll out blindingly expensive beds emblazoned with ads promising smart terminology and little scientific proof. It’s a consumer conundrum made worse by the industry’s arbitrary pricing, which hawks mattresses from several hundred to several thousand dollars, and deliberately confusing model lineups. It’s all designed to sustain an economic arrangement, argued a Consumer Reports feature published in May, in which the difference between a $2,000 and $1,000 mattress in “less than you might think.” This is one of the many reasons why many people looking for new mattresses are often starting to do their research into different mattress manufacturers such as Simba Sleep and many others out there, more often than not comparing many before they reach a decision. There are often new mattresses being created so people are able to get a better and more comfortable night’s sleep.

“Mattresses are unarguably one of the most difficult consumer products to buy, because of the name game,” Consumer Reports managing editor Steven H. Saltzman told AlterNet. “Model names tend to change from chain to chain, because you can’t see under the hood. It’s all a mishmash of foam, fiber and fill. And prices can vary by 50 even 60 percent from one day to the next.”

It’s because of problems like these and more that burnt shoppers have steadily warned potential consumers about the singularly strange screw job. “Did you know that you could pay $1,300 for a mattress in store A when store B sells what is basically the same model (besides the model name and some cosmetic variations) by the same manufacturer, for less than $700?” argues one handy site called The Mattress Scam “It makes buying a car like a day at the spa.” Reading reviews of mattresses and beds on sites like Bedroom Solutions (link) can help to stop you from getting ripped off, as you’ll have a better idea of the quality of a mattress – regardless of the price – before purchasing it. Nevertheless, the frequently changing prices can still be difficult to manage.

Also problematizing the process are suspicious mattress markups, sometimes ranging from from 100 to 200 percent, which allow retailers to blather about slashing prices to cut shoppers great deals. To make matters worse, rifle through Sealy and Simmons’ respective websites, and you’ll find that details like coil counts and more are either disappeared or couched in confusing and often hilarious language. It’s bad enough that the tongue-twisting Limited-Edition Golden Collection Elegance mattress has three apparent brand names behind it — Simmons, Stearns & Foster — but not knowing how many coils are in its “Intellicoil” system, which features a “proprietary coil-in-a-coil design,” is another problem on top of a heap of them. For good reason, according to Saltzman.

“In terms of profitability, I can tell you this,” he said. “Furniture stores make more money selling mattresses than any other product, according to experts.”

Like any other industry, locking in that profitability is the mattress industry’s prime motivator. Requests for disclosure on markup rates, model variations and more for the purposes of this article went unheeded by Simmons and Sealy, but that’s no surprise. Secrecy and obfuscation are potent weapons against the transparency that compromises industry profitability of any kind. Which is a short way of saying that you can expect the situation to further worsen outside of the furniture store. There’s plenty of blame to go around, but it’s all designed to keep you and the true value of the product you’re buying separate and unequal.

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