Some say a house is the hardest thing to purchase. I’ll agree that it’s the most expensive and it’s certainly fraught with peril for the unwary and there’s a LOT of paperwork and signatures involved. But, shopping for a house can be fun and it’s not that hard to actually say, “I want this one”. Sure, you may have to compromise, but you can always fix a lot of things later (add a deck or a sun room, etc).
Others might say that cars are the most difficult to shop for. Very expensive and there are a lot of options. How can you compare a 300 horsepower 4-door BMW and a 250 horsepower 5-door Mazda? This is also fraught with peril, but you usually have a warranty and it’s not too difficult to sell it if you get the wrong one.
My wife would say ‘shoes’ are the are most difficult thing to shop for. Having spent dozens of hours looking with her, I might agree, except the consequences aren’t as dire with shoes. If you find out you don’t like them, you don’t wear them. Sure some are expensive, but a good shopper can have good shoes for a $100 or so. They will last a while, but not so long that you can’t replace them quickly if need be.
No, none of these are the Most Difficult Thing to Shop for… Ever!
The item that holds that singular designation is the…
First, by design, no store carries the same naming conventions. You go to a Ford dealership anywhere in the world and say “F-150” and the sales guy will bring you to a truck. Not so with mattresses. Every store has different names for the same mattress, so comparison shopping depends on how well your back remembers what the last 200 mattresses felt like.
Second, these things are NOT cheap. Oh you can get a cheap one, but then you should put it in the guest room so your guests don’t stay very long. But on the mattress that you sleep on every night for 10 years or so, you better make the best possible decision and it will cost you.
Fortunately, there are many sales, which begs the question of why mattresses are so expensive anyway if they are just going to be on same all the time. But these sales are dangerous. Sure that mattress that was $4000 is now $1795, but the custom box springs that fit it are $1200. Ouch. And see point number one.
Third, what if you make the wrong choice. Oh sure, most mattress companies have a 90 day “love it or get a new one” policy. Except they also charge you $100 for restocking, and that free delivery doesn’t apply to the return ($65) and you can’t get cash back, only pick up a new mattress from the same store.
If you actually slept in the mattress, forget it. Stained it (somehow)? Never happen, all warranties and returns are null and void if you or your cat even looked at it.
Fourth, if that wasn’t difficult enough, you have to fracking actually pick a mattress to buy. I don’t know about you, but I sleep about 6 hours each night. I am NOT spending six hours per mattress at all the stores. If they are lucky, the best of the mattresses will get 15 minutes.
If anyone thinks that they can honestly pick a 6-8 hour trend line after 15 minutes… well I know some creationists that would like to hear from you. Yes, I know what the research says… but bedding is subjective to the point where reading reviews online is a complete waste of time. I’ve seen 100 5 star reviews and 100 zero star reviews for the exact same mattress on the exact same website. “It holds up for years.” “It lasted 4 weeks before killing me, literally, I am now dead.” “The most comfortable mattress I’ve ever owned.” “The Spanish Inquisition only wishes they had as effective a torture device as this mattress.” And that was a top of the line $4500 one. I don’t want to spend two months salary on something that has killed a reviewer!
But first you have to decide if you are a back sleeper, a side sleeper, or a stomach sleeper. I don’t know, I’m asleep! Then you need to decide if you want soft, firm, extra firm, plush, brick like, limestone, spring time grass or any other of the 800 levels of soft vs. hard. Then we have to get into the whole coil vs. memory foam vs. latex vs. goose down vs. dry rushes.
Then I have one other little issue. I have vertigo. Laying down and getting up quickly a lot is contra-indicated. Plus, if I lie down with the back of my head flat with my body… well… let’s not do that OK. The results can be bad… we’re talking staining an entire showroom of beds here.
It really is a painful process. Not only will I not be getting a new computer to purchase a new mattress. The computer I was going to get after my new computer is also now out of reach. sigh…