On Cloud Zero

Our new mattress, formerly known as The Cloud, had me floating on air for about two weeks, and then it started to sink and I started to ache. Faithful Reader, who noticed the sagging before I did, agreed that there was a problem. Since then, we have been shopping for a replacement.

Buying a mattress is like buying a car. The salespeople have catchphrases, like “I have one of these myself” and “These never get returned” and “This is our best-selling mattress.” In the new lingo, there’s no such thing as “sag,” though all mattresses will develop a “body impression.” Some salespeople will haggle, and there are managers who stingily dole out concessions while staying mysteriously hidden in the back of the store.

What none of the salespeople seem able to do is give consistent, factual information. We have dealt now with four different salespeople and, just to give you a sample of how useless they are, here are the four different responses they gave us on the subject of soft vs. firm.

  1. Most people want a soft or medium-soft bed. These days, the only people who buy firm mattresses are old ladies who have been uncomfortable their whole lives and want to continue being uncomfortable.
  2. Fat people need soft beds and skinny people need firm beds.
  3. Most women, being smaller and lighter than men, want soft beds while men, being bigger and heavier, want firm beds.
  4. It’s a matter of personal taste.

They can’t all be right.

Maybe they’re all wrong. I want a soft bed with underlying support, not because I’m young or skinny or female, but because that’s what a bed should be like. It makes sense. People used to sleep on the ground. When they found materials that could soften their sleep surface, such as furs or feathers or grasses, they used them. To sleep comfortably, people need a surface that’s relatively flat so that no one part is too much higher or lower than the others (support) but with cushioning for the parts that bear the weight (softness).

Our mattress, a medium-soft, should be perfect for us. I can only guess why it isn’t. Maybe the construction is faulty or the materials are cheap. I don’t believe Salesman #2, who claims that we’re too skinny for a soft bed, but maybe it’s a half-truth and the manufacturer deliberately constructs their beds for the average American, who is overweight and needs extra “give” in a mattress. I wish I knew, because it would make buying a replacement easier.

What I do know for sure is that mattress-buying is a stupid game and we’re not playing it their way anymore. This time, we’re getting two extra-long twins, so that it will be easier to get the new bed in and out. They are half the price of our sagging king, and they are firmer, so they should provide the support we need. If we need more softness, we’ll buy additional padding. If we hate them, we’ll simply buy a new bed when we move and the two twins will become guest beds.

I’ll let you know how it turns out.

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