Post-Marital Mattress Stress

Mattress shopping is more stressful than getting married.

This was my conclusion after what felt like a lifetime of trying out mattresses in four different stores and still being unsatisfied and/or anxious about making a purchase. I mean, this really expensive thing is the one item in my whole apartment I will use for at least eight hours per day on weekdays, and then 10+ hours on weekends. It affects your entire skeletal system. It has the power to render you immobile if it’s bad for you, or super cheery and bouncy if it’s good for you. Also, to be considered a civilized member of society, you should probably have a mattress, so it’s almost a requirement of adulthood.

And I don’t know about you, but the Mister and I don’t have a lot of cash to drop on a mattress. Enter even more anxiety.

I bought a $200 mattress when I started graduate school. Six years later (oh my god, I’m so old), we’re still sleeping on it, despite it sagging nearly completely across it in all directions. What if this happens again? What if we spend even more money ($700?!) on a mattress, and it happens again, only faster? As I lay on a mattress I was considering falling in love with, I looked at its online reviews. One couple, who reported they were of normal weight — even fit — had to send back this particular make and model of mattress six times because it sank down within a week of use. After six pricey exchanges, they were like, “We give up.” Cue panic attack.

In case you’ve never had the pleasure  felt the pain of mattress shopping, let me tell you a few things to make you at the very least empathize with our plight:

  • Stores have models of mattresses made “exclusively” for them. They’re the exact same mattresses you’ll find as made “exclusively” for  every other freaking store on the planet. You’re laying on the same mattress, at various pricepoints, at every store you visit. Macy’s, Penneys, Sears, etc. The same. Serta, Sealy and Simmons are wasting your time.
  • Salesmen who work on commission will “work with you” on price. This is kind of a joke because if you go online, sometimes things like fancy pillows you fall in love with while flopping around from mattress to mattress are actually cheaper online on the store’s website than they’re selling in the store. Mattresses, too! Highway robbery at its finest.
  • Unless you’re some kind of fortune teller or some other kind of entity who can predict the future, you don’t know how this giant pad of metal springs and fabric and foam is going to hold up, or even what it will look like after five days of sleeping on it. It feels super awesome on your sore back on the store, but maybe it’s going to make you feel even more horrible. You just don’t know. (Side note: If anyone reading this truly can predict the future, get at me. I’ll pay you money to predict mattress satisfaction.)

And so, after looking at what feels like bazillions (but really is probably more like the same five, over and over) of mattresses, we haven’t made a decision and are toying with the idea of buying another cheap-o to get us by or doctoring our existing Grand Canyon-esque mattress with some kind of mattress pad so I don’t feel like I’m 90 years old every day.

And as for mattress shopping being more stressful than getting married? I was pretty sure Mister wasn’t going to cave in after a week of marriage. So far, I’ve been right. But with mattresses, though? That’s living dangerously.