I’m pretty frustrated with the mattress industry.
I’ve been in the sleep business since 1970 and a retailer of mattresses and bedding since 1972. Since the Private Equity Firms (the wonderful folks that helped bring about the recent financial troubles in the U.S.) bought up all the major mattress companies (Simmons, Sealy, Stearns & Foster [owned by Sealy], Spring Air, and Serta) the industry has taken a “consumer be damned” attitude. The introduction of “can’t flip” mattresses or “no need to flip” mattresses in 2000 is an insult to consumers who can now expect three to five years out of their new mattress. That’s one third of what can be expected from two-sided mattresses.
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Like many industries, the mattress industry has gone through a period of cheapening products in order to save on manufacturing costs. Problem is, they market the cheapened product as a benefit to consumers — which couldn’t be further from the truth.
Think about home appliances, another industry where the majority of companies are now owned by private equity firms. Depending on your age, it used to be that you would buy an appliance — a fridge, a washer/dryer, an oven — expecting it to last 20 years. If something broke, a repairman would come to your home and fix it. Now, if you get five to seven years from an appliance you’re lucky. And you can forget about repairs; parts either aren’t or won’t be available.
Mattress companies make “no need to flip” or “can’t flip” mattresses to save on their own costs, NOT to give you a better night’s sleep or make your life easier.
The profits manufacturers make on selling half a mattress are too great to go back to two-sided mattresses. Companies can save 25-30% by not including the second side cushioning layer, which is the most expensive part of most mattresses. Companies don’t pass these savings on to the consumer. As you may have noticed if you’ve done some research, some “can’t flip” mattresses sell for several thousands of dollars! They’ve just used the savings to increase their profits and then resell the company to another investment firm. Simmons, for instance, has now been sold many times over. The added benefit (to them) of selling “can’t flip” mattresses is that the consumer is back in the marketplace for a new mattress every three to five years. Their only other option is to put up with a saggy, uncomfortable bed, and the achy back and body that can result from it.
At Bedrooms & More, when we deliver new mattresses to customers, we offer to take away and recycle (if possible) their old mattress.
Recently, on a day when we delivered 10 new mattresses, we took away three “can’t flip” mattresses. All three were from one of the best known “S” brands, all just three years old and all completely worn out. Not even homeless shelters or charities will take mattresses so saggy, so they ended up in a landfill. These were not inexpensive mattresses — they retail locally for over $2000 each! You’d think that such dramatic wear and tear after just three years would be covered under warranty, but no. These companies consistently deny all but the most extreme breakdowns.
They have PLANNED for the failure or obsolescence of their mattresses after 3-5 years. It’s how they do things now.
Retail stores that sell “can’t flip” mattresses often tell people that these companies no longer make two-sided mattresses. It’s not true, but they’ll give you all kinds of made-up reasons for it.
Most manufacturers DO still make two-sided mattresses, they just don’t sell them to the consumer. They make them only for the hotel/motel industry. Owners in this industry avoid one-sided mattresses because they know that they won’t last more than a few years.
Doesn’t that show the manufacturers’ true stripes?
That’s my rant and this is why my store won’t sell “can’t flip” mattresses.
In order to be sold on our floor, mattresses need to have TWO sleeping surfaces. That, or they need to have zipper access to the inside so that components can be flipped or refreshed. It is not right to sell mattresses that wear out so quickly. A consumer should be able to expect their new mattress to last and be comfortable for at least 8 to 12 years. If they purchase a 100% botanical latex mattress model, it should last even longer.
Been sold half a mattress?
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