By Megan Wirts
When my husband and I first started dating one of our favorite date night activities was mattress shopping. Yes, you read that right, mattress shopping. We never planned on purchasing one, we just liked to pretend we were going to. We would go around to different mattress stores and lay on all the beds. We would discuss in great depth pillowtop vs memory foam vs innerspring vs air bed vs waterbed with all the salespeople. Then, we would politely say that we needed to go home and sleep on it. I sometimes felt a little bad for the well-meaning salespeople working on commission, but all those years ago we were not in a position to buy a new mattress or spend a lot of money on a date night for that matter. If you don’t buy anything, mattress shopping is a fun and free date night activity. I also looked at it as good practice for the salespeople to hone their skills. In my eyes, we were all winning. Then, after we tried out all the beds we could find the expensive leather massage chairs and test those out for a while. Good times, good times.
Our very first mattress that we shared together was a twin-size that came from my childhood trundle bed. It was thin, full of sharp springs, small and uncomfortable. But, it was free. It was the only thing we could afford and the only thing that would fit in our teeny tiny house we lived in before tiny houses were cool and a hipster fad. We could have slept on a dirt floor and we wouldn’t have cared at that time in our life. Oh, to be young again!
We continued to sleep on that little twin-size mattress for at least another year or two. We finally upgraded to a full-size bed when we inherited one from a family member. Yes, another free bed. This time it felt like we won the lottery! No more springs digging into our backs, no more waking up with an elbow in your face. It felt so spacious! We slept on that full-size mattress through all of my pregnancies and my dear husband would literally hang off the side of the bed, because I took up all the room with my giant body pillow and giant belly. We would go mattress shopping at least once or twice a year, and at this point in our lives it was more than just having a fun and free date night, we had real dreams of being able to buy a big comfy king-size bed someday. We just couldn’t justify the cost when we had new babies, college to pay for and so much more on our plate. So, we kept that full-size bed and we would probably still have it, if we wouldn’t have lost it in a house fire. (That’s another story for another time.)
After the house fire, it was finally time for a real new bed! We could go mattress shopping and ACTUALLY BUY A MATTRESS!! We knew exactly what we wanted from our previous mattress shopping date nights, and because I am frugal and a bit of a cheap skate, I didn’t want to spend all of our money on a bed. So, we went with an inexpensive, but brand new, innerspring, pillow top, king-size mattress. A KING-SIZE MATTRESS!! It was huge! HUGE! We could both lay on the bed and stretch out like a star fish and not even touch each other. It was so big my husband would text me to ask if I wanted to cuddle. This bed was the biggest bed we had ever slept on. It was amazing! Then, our kids realized that they could also fit on it.
After that, our king-size mattress never felt smaller. When four people of various sizes are all smooshed together on one bed, you get knees in your back, feet in your face and elbows in your eye. Not to mention other people’s faces, with nasty morning breath, pressed up against yours. Oh, and then let’s get a big dog and add that to the mix, and how about a cat or two. It wasn’t fun and the only ones getting any sleep were the cats and the dog. After a few nights of that, our rule was that if they wanted to sleep in our room, they had to sleep on the floor. I never wanted to be a co-sleeping parent and I wasn’t about to start. Plus, it’s not cool when you wake up because you felt a warm liquid seep under your body and it didn’t come from you. Nope. No, thank you, that is not for me. If I’m going to wake up in a puddle of pee it better be my own, and that only happened one time when I was 15 years old. I thought I got up and walked to the bathroom. Instead, I walked around my room, sat back down on my bed that I thought was the toilet, and I woke up mid-pee. Oops.
Once we got all the children and animals out of our bed, that mattress was great! Until, it wasn’t anymore. It became lumpy and bumpy and both of us would complain about our backs aching like two 80-year-old’s, except we were only in our 30’s. We finally decided it was time once again to buy a new bed.
Which brings us to this past weekend, where we went to every single mattress store in a 30-mile radius. You guys, that’s A LOT of mattress stores. WHY ARE THERE SO MANY MATTRESS STORES?! If you do a Google search you will see that I am not the only one that asks this question. I found out through my search, that there are more mattress stores than there are Starbucks in the United States. With that many mattress stores, it can be kind of overwhelming. Even with this daunting task ahead of us, we were pretty excited about our mattress shopping date night adventure ahead of us.
I didn’t want to go into this without a plan, so I mapped out all the stores, researched mattress reviews, store reviews and was determined to get us the best deal. I also knew that I wanted a memory foam mattress this time, but my husband was not convinced. He said they were too squishy and too hot. I reminded him that we hadn’t been out mattress shopping for a few years and I was sure his mind would be changed.
Finally, after hours or shopping, laying on too many different mattresses to count and either being completely ignored or ambushed by salespeople, we made a decision. We decided that I was right, and we were going to get a memory foam mattress. Now, we just had to negotiate the price and get the best deal. Here’s a pro tip: everything is negotiable. Some of those salespeople will tell you that they are legally bound and cannot negotiate, that is absolutely not true. We went to a few different stores that were owned by the same retailer and some would say they couldn’t negotiate, while the others would say they could. You just need to be determined and find the right salesperson to work with. We walked out of every single store with a different price quote for the exact same bed, some were over $1000 more than the others. Eventually, after a long day of testing squishiness, bounce-ability and salespeople’s willingness to negotiate, we made a deal and bought ourselves a fancy new bed. We left feeling quite pleased with ourselves and anxiously awaited its delivery.
Getting a new bed meant we needed to get rid of our old bed. What better way to do that than to post it for sale on Facebook Marketplace. Which has basically turned into the new Craigslist. The ad said, “King Size Ikea Bed Frame with King Size Mattress and Box spring: This bed is 7 years old and it is not perfect. The foot board was broken at one point and my husband fixed it with a 2x4 that you can see in the photo is not the same color as the bed frame. You can stain it to match if you so desire. Speaking of stains, the mattress definitely has some. We have children and a dog that liked to climb in our bed and let’s just say, they left their mark. We steam cleaned it as best as we could, but like I said it’s not perfect. However, it is better than sleeping on the floor, a bean bag or a pile of rocks. We need it gone by Tuesday.” Within an hour the bed was dismantled and on it’s way to it’s new home. Which meant we were sleeping on an air mattress until our new bed arrived. After sleeping on an air mattress, that has a hole in it and needs to be pumped up again halfway through the night, we have never been happier to sleep on a new mattress more in our entire lives. Now that we have our fancy new bed with an adjustable base because someone (not me) snores, we are sleeping better and feeling more rested.
I’m not sure when we will go on another mattress shopping date night, but it’s more fun when you get to go home with a brand new, squishy (but not too squishy), firm (but not too firm) mattress.
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