Mattress Buying Guide - Part 3

   How To Find The Best Deal When Buying A New Mattress Becoming an informed shopper always works best when making a major purchase, such as new mattress.  Grabbing the first offer that is given is usually not advisable.  These days, it is even easier to do research on a mattress set thanks to the internet.  One thing the internet has done is given voice to millions of consumers.  Not only can a person compare different types and styles of mattresses, they can also read reports and reviews on the products themselves.  Some sites even offer consumers the chance to voice their opinions about the sales associates at various stores! [caption id="attachment_119" align="alignleft" width="300"] Buying from reputable Internet Dealers is a Good Buying Decision that can save hundreds of dollars![/caption] It is possible to be armed with knowledge before heading to the showroom to start shopping for a mattress.  By checking the newspaper ads, it can be possible to amass information that will allow a consumer to be better educated and prepared for dealing with salespeople.  The longer a consumer shops the ads, the more valuable information they will glean.  Most of the flyers and advertisements can be found on editions printed on Thursdays and Sundays.  Researching the advertisements for at least two weeks is a good idea; shopping them for two months would be ideal.  This allows the consumer to see the cycle of the promotions and deals that are offered by department stores and independent dealers that advertise in the local papers. When it is time to start physically shopping (if choosing to do so), it is usually a good idea to start at department stores.  These stores will often have beds on display and may have limited number of staff around to hover around the beds and pressure the consumers into sales.  It is a good idea to wear loose-fitting clothing that will drape around the body when lying in a prone position; it is also advisable to leave the children at home so that there are no worries about the little ones running around while trying to assess comfort levels on new mattresses. Typically, the first mattress to test drive is the firm mattress.  Many consumers, after sleeping on a broken-down, sagging mattress will want to overcompensate for the deterioration of their current mattress by looking at the firm mattress.  This is fine as it also provides a nice starting point.  The key to shopping these mattresses, of course, is comfort.  Taking the time to lie on the mattress so that the body relaxes--usually five to ten minutes--will give a shopper a good idea as to whether this is a mattress that will provide comfort and support throughout the night.  After spending ten minutes in one position, shift positions.  Try the other side or perhaps lying on the back will give a reference to how the bed will feel throughout the night while the sleeper shifts positions. Once the firm mattress has been tested, it is time to move on to the medium firm.  Once more, fifteen minutes in each position will give the shopper a good idea as to the formation of pressure points, support from the mattress, and how well the body responds to the mattress materials.  This can be done again with other firmness levels of the mattresses.  Even if foam mattresses are outside the intended budget of the consumer, it might be a good idea to explore these types of materials just for the additional experience.  One key thing to remember is that this is not the time to buy a mattress; these are simply data gathering exercises to give an idea as to what type of mattress will work best for the consumer.  Remember, a person spends a third of their life asleep; that is twenty-five years spent on a mattress.  Comfort of the sleeper should be the key. With the necessary information in hand, it could be a good time to check the internet to compare the different mattress brands that had been fit-tested.  If there are multiple complaints about a certain type of mattress or manufacturer, it might be a good idea to shop around some more.  If nothing negative stands out, it is time to start shopping around. There are many different ways to purchase mattresses.  Internet dealerships or 1-800 vendors might offer lower prices and free shipping. Reputable Internet dealers offer no hassle return policies with satisfaction guarantees.  Often, several of the features that make the mattress more desirable have been left out of the manufacturing segment, lowering the price but the consumer is now not buying the mattress they intended.  Independent dealers might be more expensive, but they typically handle customer service issues at their show rooms and often offer comfort guarantees that can last for several weeks or even months. One type of dealer to avoid is the small, storefront mattress dealerships that offer "low, low prices" on "name brand" mattresses.  Many times, these are repurposed or damaged mattresses that other, reputable dealers have declined due to defects.  Sometimes, the mattresses have been used--sometimes heavily--and given a cursory steam cleaning before having new fabric stitched over the top of the old, hiding the urine and blood stains.  One of the things to check when shopping for a mattress is the tag that comedians often joke about not removing.  It is there for a reason, and all reputable dealers and salesmen will have the tags on the mattresses.  If they are missing, it is a good sign that this is not a good mattress to buy.  Also, if there is a black mark on the tag obscuring part of the wording, then the mattress is used and has been reconditioned or repurposed for selling. Furniture dealerships are another potential location for purchasing a mattress.  Typically, the furniture salesmen are not as knowledgeable about the product.  Their job is to sell furniture, which earns them a better profit than selling a mattress.  Oftentimes, the mattress is tossed in with a bedroom set and no thoughts to comfort level nor manufacturing goods are given.  Sometimes, the deals may appear better at furniture dealerships, but the overall experience may turn out to be more hassle in the long run.  Department stores are much the same, though their sales staff may know the product better than furniture dealers.  Staff at a department store may also not have had any training with selling the mattresses, as they are expected to know about a little bit about all the products that the store offers and not just the mattresses.  This is where the research done before shopping for the mattress pays off, as an informed consumer can quickly gauge the knowledge of a salesman by asking about various aspects of the manufacturing process, the materials and the qualities of the mattresses. Typically, the best price to product ratio will be found at the independent dealerships or the Internet dealer.  Smaller dealerships may be more expensive.  This is where the research done by scanning and studying the ads in the local paper can benefit the consumer.  Knowing if a dealer has a price-matching guarantee can be invaluable when trying to assess the value of a mattress and how that reflects on their intended budget.  Larger independent retailers might offer slightly reduced prices over their smaller competitors.  It is important for the consumer to find a dealer with whom they are comfortable.  Remember, this is an investment that could and should last for at least a decade, if not longer, not to mention the impact it will have on the quality of life of the consumer. Dealing with the salesman can be just as intimidating as researching and shopping for the mattress.  There are typically two types of salespeople, those who engage the customer and trying to figure out the needs of the buyer and the ones who will work harder to make the consumer more comfortable so that they are more pliable and have a higher likelihood of caving in to the pressure of the sales associate.  Be wary of salespeople who turn questions back on the shopper, especially if they focus on the pain and discomfort that their current mattress is causing.  These are tricks to get the buyer to mentally associate suffering with their current condition, while the sales associate hopes that the consumer will quickly grab for the lifeline offered by the new mattress. The salesman experience is one reason for the increase popularity of purchasing online. Systems like sleep-metrics have helped to take the guesswork out of mattress shopping for those who abhor the experience, but many consumers already know what they want when purchasing online. [caption id="attachment_128" align="alignleft" width="300"] The salesman experience is another reason why Internet Mattress sales are increasing.[/caption] Another dangerous phrase to avoid is "are you locked-in?"  This is typically a ploy by the sales associate to dissuade the consumer from the choice they have already made with hopes of steering him or her toward a different option that will net a larger profit for the dealership and a better commission for the salesperson.  The research was done for a purpose:  to find the best fit for a consumer's sleep style as well as working it into their budget.  It is important to stick with what has been found to be the best option for the person who will be sleeping on the mattress for the next decade, not for the person who is selling the mattress. One other aspect of the mattress-buying process is the delivery of the mattress.  Many dealerships will offer delivery of the mattress as well as taking away the old set.  This is usually a good idea.  Thanks to the reemergence of the bed bug, places such as Goodwill and the Salvation Army are no longer accepting donated mattresses.  If the dealership is offering to take away the old mattress, even for a small fee, it could be worth paying just to avoid the hassle of trying to find a place that will accept and dispose of the old mattress set. Buying on the Internet is no longer the black box of mattress shopping. In fact, most of the sales channel growth will come from this medium. Free shipping and satisfaction guarantees have taken most of the worries out of the online mattress shopping experience, but it will never be for everyone.