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. Now that the Private Equity Firms (the wonderful folks that helped bring about the U.S.’s recent financial troubles) 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” or “No Need To Flip” mattresses in 2000 has been a slap in the face to consumers who can now expect three to five years out of their new mattress, a 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 the 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 the home appliance industry, another industry where companies have been mostly purchased by private equity firms. Depending on your age, it used to be that you (or your parents or grandparents) would buy an appliance — a fridge, a washer/dryer, an oven — expecting it to last 20 years or so. If something broke, a repairman would come to your home and fix it. Now, if you get five to seven years from the appliance you are lucky, and forget the repair. Parts aren’t or won’t be available.
Mattress companies make “can’t flip” or “no need to 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 this savings on to the consumer. After all, 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 has 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 every three to five years for a new one — or they 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 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! Wouldn’t you 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 don’t make two-sided models anymore and will give all kinds of mumbo jumbo reasons for it.
What they don’t tell you is this: most manufacturers DO make two-sided models, they just don’t sell them to the consumer. They make them only for the hotel/motel industry because hotel/motel owners know what products hold up and will avoid one-sided mattresses, knowing that they won’t last more than a few years.
Doesn’t that just show the manufacturers’ true stripes?
That’s my rant and this is why my store will not sell “can’t flip” mattresses.
In order to be sold on our floor, mattresses need to have TWO sleeping surfaces or 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 8 to 12 years or more and longer for 100% botanical latex mattress models.
Been sold half a mattress?
Stop sleeping in a sinkhole. Try a 2-sided mattress & FEEL the difference immediately . . . & 10 years later.