We recently interviewed Mark Wenger of Colony House Furniture in Chambersburg, PA. In the interview we asked him a few questions about the mattress buying process, with a particular focus on a first time mattress buyer. Hopefully this mattress buying guide will help you make the right decision, with confidence.
1. Tell me about your business and the customer experience you provide:
Since 1973, Colony House has offered the best values in the furniture and mattress industry. We continue to offer free delivery (and free removal of your old mattresses), free in-home service, and always the guaranteed lowest price. We have always provided a no pressure shopping experience, great selection, and outstanding customer service. We invite you to come see why we say…. “The harder you look, the better we look!”.
2. Buying a mattress is often though of like buying a car – people tend to be anxious about their decision. If I am a first time mattress buyer, what are a couple of the key questions I should be asking from the store I am buying from?
First and foremost… Never be an anxious buyer! Educate yourself by shopping shopping several stores before making a decision. The mattress industry can be full of gimmicks to try to differentiate one manufacturer from another. Always question the features verses the benefits… and sift through what you are being told by each store. A little common sense can go a long way. Today, many of the “Big Box” stores have salespeople with very little experience who rely on “the pitch” or “gimmick” to make a sale, whereas most “Mom and Pop” stores have made a lifetime commitment to their craft and have a broader understanding of the “whys and hows” of the industry. There is no substitute for experience in such a confusing environment where “everybody’s product is better because…”.
A good sleep consultant knows how to listen but should also question you as to why you are shopping for a new mattress, your likes and dislikes, and your concerns past, present and future. A qualified salesperson can use that knowledge to eliminate a lot of the confusion and stress created by helping you narrow it down to a few logical options in a “sea of product”. You should never, never feel pressured into making an on the spot decision, there is probably a reason why they don’t want you to look any further.
3. Are there really different mattress types for side sleepers, back sleepers, etc.? Or is this mostly hype/marketing?
The two aspects of a mattress are support and comfort. Support and comfort are relevant for both back and side sleepers, however, there is a difference. A back sleeper should feel support along his or her entire body and enough padding to fill all the nooks and crannies such as behind the knee, the small of the back, and the neck. A side sleeper need a more “forgiving” mattress that allows the shoulder and hip areas to “get into” the mattress.
With that said, a high quality mattress usually will accommodate both. Pressure points are your worst enemy whether you are a back or side sleeper. You do not want a mattress that inhibits circulation in any manner. You should feel even support along your entire body without pressure on any particular part of it. For example, if you are a side sleeper, you should not feel like you are balancing on your hips and shoulder or if you are a back sleeper, you should not feel a gap between the small of the back or behind the knees. Too soft of a mattress can lead to major disappointment. It may feel great on a showroom floor but remember you have to sleep in it all night. If you feel like you are “sway-backing” or “sinking in” too deep… you probably are. The secret is finding the perfect balance between both comfort and support.
4. In general, is a buyer expected to negotiate a little on price when buying from a mattress store? If you were the buyer, how would you approach getting the best deal?
If I told you that I’d sell you a gallon of gas for $12.00, would you buy it? If I offered it to you at 50% or even 60% off, is that a deal? Of course not, and how did you know that… you knew that becuase you are educated as to what you should spend on a gallon of gas. Remember, it is not what you save, it’s what you spend. There is no better negotiating skills better than knowledge, knowledge by shopping and comparing apples to apples.
Unfortunately, the bedding industry does it’s best to make this nearly impossible to do by changing the names of the mattresses from store to store. A good retailer will find out for you what you saw at his or her competitor so that you can make your comparison. Some retailers exaggerate (inflate) their prices for two reasons… either they like the haggle process or they promote their by using ficticously discounted prices. Either way, do you really know whether you got the best deal you could have? Other retailers have a set price or “everyday low” price and are normally below any haggled price or the famous “60% off this weekend only” price anyway. Even though you may find it fun to haggle, you more than likely are going to come up the loser. As I said, knowledge is everything… educate yourself!
5. Is there anything else you would add that I didn’t specifically ask about which would be helpful for someone who has never bought a new mattress, and wants to make sure they get a fair deal?
Yes, you don’t have to do this alone. Do some research such as the “Better Sleep Council”. They are completely independent from any manufacturer or retailer and offer guidance and may hit on points that you haven’t even thought about. I have found that reviews on the Internet tend not always to be accurate. Unhappy people tend to “post” things while the other 98% of the people who love that same product don’t take the time to sing their praises… human nature. This is a decision you will live with for a long time. It seriously is one of the most important choices you make. It affects every aspect your life… happy or grumpy, refreshed or exhausted, sore or ready to conquer the world… give this decision the weight that it is due.
Even the best sleep consultant does not live in your body. You are the only person on this earth that knows how you feel and how each mattress feels to you. I strongly recommend that once you have narrowed it down to two or three mattresses that you spend a minimum or 20 solid minutes on each one. This should give you a pretty good idea how you will do on it. Most people have a budget they must work with but don’t short yourself on this purchase. You don’t have to spend a fortune, but you do spend a third of your life in bed and even if you spend a thousand, or two for that matter, the equivalent to $100-$200 over a ten year period or $9-$17 per month. That is a trivial amount of money when you compare it to what you will pay for the next “combo meal” from your favorite fast food restaurant. Lastly… educated yourself… knowledge is everything!