In May 2009, I was in the market for a mattress. I’d slept on an air mattress for about a month before it began to deflate for no apparent reason. Once the air mattress gave up on me, I decided there was no point in buying another. It was time to look for a more long-term solution.
Selecting the right mattress is a very important decision. Supposedly, we spend a third of our lives in bed. I probably spend about a quarter of my life in bed, but nevertheless, a comfortable mattress is essential. If you’ve been reading my blog, then you should already know I had to do my research and find a good deal. Temporary aches and pains from sleeping on hardwood floors are a small price to pay for savings. It wasn’t so bad. I’d keep the air pump next to the mattress so that I could easily inflate it when my aching bones woke me up in the middle of the night.
Once I actually had a need for Consumer Reports, I reinstated my online subscription. At the time, I didn’t know Consumer Reports doesn’t rate mattresses. However, all was not lost. After reading the message boards on their website, I found out that the price matching policy offered by many mattress retailers is practically impossible to enforce. Primarily because mattress names vary among retailers making it difficult to comparison shop.
Slight variations in different retailers’ similar mattresses are large enough to render a price matching policy unenforceable. For instance, a mattress manufacturer like Serta may sell nearly identical mattresses to Macy’s and Sears. According to one Consumer Reports subscriber, even if everything else about the two mattresses are the same, a small difference in coil count could permit either retailer to deny you a price matching discount on the basis that the lower priced mattress isn’t comparable.
Armed with this information, I set out to visit Sleepy’s. They have a price matching policy of course. Once I thought I found the mattress that was right for me, I proceeded to ask the salesman detailed questions about the mattress. He was very knowledgeable.
After the salesman answered my questions, I laid on the bed again and researched the mattress on my iPhone. That’s when I realized US-Mattress.com had what seemed to be the same mattress for $400 less than what Sleepy’s was asking. Before presenting the salesman with my finding, I asked him yet another question: “What’s the coil count?” He replied, “800.” My next question: “Can you tell me the difference between this mattress and the one at US-Mattress.com?”
The salesman had previously informed me that he didn’t have internet access in the store. That meant it was up to me to provide him with proof that his company’s price was beaten by a competitor. After admitting Sleepy’s was on the hook for providing me a $400 discount, I convinced the salesman to throw in the bed frame and mattress pad for no additional cost. He had to do something to convince me to seal the deal with him instead of taking my business elsewhere. Even after all that, I told him I’d get back with him if I didn’t find a better deal. I didn’t.
Would I have been able to save $400 on a mattress without an iPhone? Who knows? But, I definitely believe using the technology available to me let the salesman know he was working with a knowledgeable consumer who’s not afraid to negotiate a good deal.