Why is there such a problem with Buying a Mattress?


The Major Mattress Buying Issue: "It's All in the Name!"


Mattress Buying Sales Tactics


Mattress Warranty Problems and WARNINGS!


What Mattresses are Better?


How to Buy a Mattress: Step by Step!


Memory Foam and Waterproof Mattress Covers & Toppers


3 Steps to Save $430 when buying a mattress


Why Does The Problem Exist?

Some will point to trade laws enacted in the 1970’s that prohibit manufacturers from setting a price floor. A price floor is a minimum selling price. The reason for a price floor set by a manufacturer is to keep profits high for their resellers, which helps keep profits high for the manufacturer.

With the new law, many discount mattress retailers opened up and undercut the big department stores. Naturally, the department stores were not happy about this so they started to negotiate with the manufacturers. The outcome of this was that the manufacturers began to provide “exclusive” models to the department stores in order to set them apart from the discount retailers. These “exclusivity” deals eventually spread far and wide and have lead to the very unique situation we have today where just about every retailer sells exclusive models, completely snuffing the ability for a consumer to comparison shop.


Beyond the Name, What Makes Their Mattress “Better”?

Here are the most common sales pitches for the exclusive models, and the truth behind each one:

Coil Count – The salesman may tell you that his Beautyrest model is better than the competitors or the more expensive upsell is better because it has a higher coil count. This may be true but should be completely irrelevant to your purchase decision. In all but the very cheap mattresses, the coil counts are typically well within a range that is considered more than sufficient. Stay clear of mattresses with a coil count under 390, but above that, it’s not the coils that will make the difference. This goes for conventional inner-spring mattresses, not specialty spring mattresses where the coil sizes, alignment, and variations are much different.

Coil Structure, or the type of coils will create differences. But, there is no way to say that one is better than the other. Each of the major brand’s premiere line (or what is called the “line up” model) uses a different coil construction. In the “How to Compare” section of MattressScam.com, we’ll talk more about that. For now, keep in mind that coil structure and for the most part coil count generally means nothing.

Structure and count are not the same as Coil Size, as in “5 turn” or “7 turn”. The number of turns makes little difference since the coils have different thicknesses in the actual metal wire. Basically this all equates back to firmness, which is already covered by using terms like “firm” or “not so firm”. Don’t let a turn number distract you either.

Beware of the coil related sales tactics. Much like a fortune teller, the sales associate will try to gleam information from you and then use that information to his advantage. Here is an example:


You enter the store and start some small talk with the sales associate. He goes over some basic questions such as whether you prefer firm or soft, what size you had in mind, etc. Later on when he’s trying to lock you down on his high margin mattress choice, he may go into coil count. While pitching the overall value of the mattress he will likely mention the high coil count as a great feature.

He takes you to another mattress, which happens to have a lower coil count and also happens to not be a firm, but a soft style. This has nothing to do with the coil count, but he will have you sit on it and only mention the fact that there are less coils. He knows you prefer firm, he knows you will not like the mattress he is comparing, and he knows that you will make an association between the “special” high coil count on the one he’s trying to sell you and the idea that lower coil counts are not comfortable to you. At the end of the day, there is likely more profit baked into the coil materials.

He may take it one step further and show you a much more expensive mattress, maybe way out of your budget, which has the same coil count as the one he is trying to sell you and say “see, typical mattresses with this high coil count cost much more than the deal I’m about to give you!” The high price of the comparison mattress in this scenario also has nothing to do with the coil count.

It is important to give the salesman as little information about your preferences up front. Ask where certain types are, “show me firm mattresses, show me pillowtops” but don’t outright convey any strong preferences you have. Providing too much information up front is like showing your cards in poker!

Ticking - This is the materials and thread patterns covering the mattress and again should have little to no impact on your decision.

Luxury Material –“well this model has silk and cashmere” – that is all nice and dandy but should make absolutely no difference to the consumer. First, the amount used is usually too little to make a difference. Second, you should be concerned about what your sheets are made of, you’re body will actually be touching them!

Color - I hope that this does not have to be pointed out to too many folks, but the color should mean absolutely nothing to you. If the sales associate tells you anything about a relationship between quality and color, it is most likely not true. Mattress companies buy materials in large quantities – whatever is available for a good price – the textile industry fluctuates. When they are out of the blue they got a good deal on, it’s on to the pink or white.

Padding(Loft, Foam, etc.) – Padding can and will vary from model to model. For the most part, padding within one manufacture’s “line-up” model and a similar “level” or price range from another manufacturer should have about the same padding. When you follow our 5 Steps to buying a mattress, this issue is virtually eliminated. The salesman may show you a cheap off brand that has less padding and conclude that there is more value in the mattress he is trying to sell you. This should not be a relevant issue if you’re following our comparison and shopping steps outlined later, since you will be looking in a tightly defined range of mattresses at different stores. These mattresses may have small amounts of more or less padding, loft, foam, etc. Your comfort is the ultimate decision, and that may be best on slightly more or slightly less padding. Don’t let the salesman lock your mind in that more padding is more value.

Edging – A common feature these days among “exclusive” brands is some sort of special edging. This edging is meant to tell the customer that there is additional support so that the edges don’t break down. A consumer on the spot may think oh that’s great, there is value there, ok lets keep going.

Lets think about this: If there is some sort of extra support holding up the outer rim of a mattress, that is going to more likely cause a concave effect as time goes on. The mattress will naturally compound over time. You want this to happen evenly from one side to the other. What you don’t want are the edges propped up so you end up with what appears to be a display for the latest in-ground swimming pool.

Take the extra edging support with a grain of salt. For years mattresses have never had such a thing. It’s just the latest in “special features” to help these retailers differentiate models and thoroughly confuse the customer.


The Second Major Problem....Read On!

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