Buying A Bed

I hate to shop.  The concept of going from store to store just to find something I want to buy eludes me.  Isn’t there something BETTER to do with one’s time?  Like read a book?  But every once in a while you NEED something.  But that still doesn’t mean I’m going to rush out and buy it.  I’m going to wait until the very last minute, when my life is negatively impacted, before I venture out into the retail wilderness in pursuit of the desired item.

Felice’s bed has a hole in it.  Oh, not a LITERAL hole.  Just a huge V in the middle, a pit one tries to avoid falling into.  First I convinced myself that it was only on MY side.  Ever notice that couples have sides?  I’m not sure exactly how they’re picked, but once they’re established, they never change.  So I felt guilty telling Felice I was going to upset the world order, but being the compassionate girlfriend she is, Felice agreed to switch sides.

But this didn’t solve the problem.

So I decided the key was to sleep closer to the edge.

But then I fell off.

STILL, I didn’t want to waste a day shopping for a bed.  My time is too precious.  I could be surfing the Net or something, RELAXING!  That’s what I’m looking for.  Someone to do all the shit I don’t want to.  So I can have time to create.  I guess they call this rich people.  And I’m not one of them.  I WAITED for a new bed to magically appear.  Then again, I insisted on going with Felice to make the purchase, because without input I’d lose my right to bitch, and believe me, if something’s important to me, and it’s not right, I bitch.  And what’s the cliche?  You spend one third of your life asleep?  I mean it FEELS irrelevant.  But intellectually you know a mattress is important.  I had to go.  Which means we never went.  Because I could never commit, I could never get in the mood.

But when I awoke on Saturday with a crick in my back that no amount of physical therapy could possibly alleviate, I pronounced to Felice that THIS was the day!  I thought I’d surprised her, was performing some kind of mitzvah, but it turns out that she’d already cut out ads from the daily paper.  You see it was Memorial Day weekend and all the bedding emporiums were having SALES!  I figured this was like the stereo sales of the seventies.  Just a way to get you down to the shop.  A good negotiator can get that price ANYTIME!  Still, it was an extra nudge, I made a commitment.

First we went to Mattress Gallery.  Where Felice’s sister had bought a bed.  Oh, Monica didn’t NEED a bed.  At least she hadn’t expressed interest in one.  But when Felice started talking about buying one, LAST FALL, Monica and her husband rushed right down to Ventura Boulevard and picked one up.  I envied their alacrity.  That they were such professional shoppers that they could make an instant judgment.  Whereas I needed to do a full investigation, RESEARCH, and then STILL wring my hands coming to a decision.  And I’m not sure that Mattress Gallery would have been my first choice, but Monica and Gregg only buy the best, so we figured they’d prequalified the place.

It was EMPTY!  Despite the double-truck ad in the L.A. "Times" there wasn’t another soul in the joint.

At least we didn’t have to wait for help.

Then again, commission salesmen can hover and force a close, making me anxious enough to need an emergency shrink session.

This saleswoman…

I need to believe that the person I’m dealing with knows what they’re talking about.  Certainly more than me.  I need TRUST!  And I got no trust from Yolanda.  She said the Black Label Sealy was the Four Seasons bed.  But if that was the case, why didn’t it SAY "Four Seasons"?

Oh, you’re not hip to this?  Yup, you can buy the same bed you sleep on in the venerated hotel chain.  Then again, wouldn’t you be paying top buck?  I need a deal.  I mean there’s so much markup in a bed.  And I heard you can ONLY buy the Four Seasons bed through Four Seasons.  So I felt Yolanda was stretching the truth to begin with.  And the more she whipped out concepts, the more FELICE lost faith.  She said you had to break YOURSELF into the bed, sleep on it for sixty days, that it might hurt at first like a new pair of shoes, but then you’d adjust to it.  Felice said she NEVER buys a pair of shoes that don’t fit, and we split.  Not before trying the Tempur-Pedics, of course.  You know these beds.  From the mall.  What is it, Sharper Image?  Or Brookstone?  Where you lay down and SINK like an astronaut into an all-enveloping foam?  Oh, it’s bizarre, but so COOL!  But expensive.  I mean if a Tempur-Pedic was a bizarre entree at McDonald’s I’d take a chance.  How bad would it be if I had to throw the thing out and order something else?  Whereas, despite the so-called "exchange policy", the rule of retail is "you bought it, you own it", and I don’t want to buy ANYTHING that I don’t really want.  You have a HELL of a time bringing it back, even though the salesman always says TRY IT, YOU’LL LIKE IT!

Then we went to Leeds.  Further up the Boulevard.  Where Robin had the demeanor of Billy Bob Thornton in "Sling Blade".  Oh, I liked him.  And he knew more than Yolanda.  But he tried to close us by saying that to get this price we had to come back by Monday.  And, as Web research confirmed later that evening, EVERY DAY’S a sale at the mattress store.  So, I was a bit turned off.

But I liked this Stearns & Foster bed.

But now I’m going to let you in on the big secret in the bed world.  THERE’S NO COMPARISON SHOPPING!  It’s like deciding to buy a BMW 745 and going to the next dealer and finding out they’ve got a 743.  And the shop after that has got a 748.  And the next a 746.  Each dealer waxing rhapsodic why THEIRS is the best.  Even though the machines are identical.  Then again, in addition to the changing numbers, maybe the features are different.  The 743 has air conditioned seats, and the 748 does not, even though its number is higher, as well as its price.  But you don’t find this out until the hottest day of the year, after you’ve bought the feature-deficient model.  Now do you understand why I didn’t want to shop for a bed?

Felice was willing to purchase the Stearns & Foster at Leeds.  But it was curiously absent any top padding.  Yes, it was less firm than this Stearns & Foster mattress, and more firm than that one, but both of THOSE had a bunch of top padding.  Would they have one just the same firmness WITH top padding at another store?

Quite possibly.  But you couldn’t call them up and ASK them, you had to drive on down.  And by this time, it was 6, and we called it a day.

But we did do the aforementioned research on the Web Saturday night.  Even using Monica’s password to peruse the investigation at  Which basically threw its hands in the air and said WHO THE FUCK KNOWS!  That you’ve just got to lie down and see what feels good.  But at least CU, unlike Yolanda, said in fifteen minutes you could tell what was right.  And to trust your instincts.

We never could get started on Sunday.  We pored over the papers and I got hung up on the Indy 500 and by time I showered and got my clothes on we had to go to my sister’s house for a party.  Which left Monday.  We woke up yesterday, and Felice said TODAY WE BUY A BED.

Oh, where to first?  Beds Etc. or Sit ‘n Sleep?

Even though it was further away, or maybe because it WAS further away and it’s best to work your way BACK into town, we drove to Tarzana to Sit ‘n Sleep.  Where a barely thirtysomething oilier than any used car salesman told us he was a manufacturer’s rep for Nature’s Rest but he used to be a salesman so HE’D help us.

Yeah right.  Like he wouldn’t be steering us towards a Nature’s Rest.

I cut this dude off mid-spiel, like you do with a telemarketer, and asked for another rep.

And that’s how we ended up with Jen.

We told Jen we wanted a Sealy.  Or a Stearns & Foster, which is made by Sealy.

And it was very easy to get it down to two.  One Sealy and the other a Stearns & Foster.  And the Sealy was MORE expensive, even though Stearns & Foster is the luxury line, but that’s bed shopping for you.

And then, lying on the bed we were about to buy, Felice uttered those famous words…"What’s the BEST bed?"

This is the kind of question my dad would ask.  As he zeroed in on what he wanted.  But Felice is a more casual shopper.  If something feels good, she goes for it.  And we were so close to a conclusion.

But it was then that Jen showed us the Aireloom.

Hand-sewn.  With a ton of cotton on top.

The cotton resonated.  I’d looked up the Four Seasons bed on the Net.  That was the key, its cotton.  And on one hand I wanted Felice to BUY the Four Seasons bed, but I didn’t think it was worth blowing a night in the hotel to do our final research.  And, it’s not like the hotel is a showroom, with mattresses of various firmnesses in each room, with you waking up every two hours and switching to make a decision.  No, we had to buy a bed at a store, HERE!

The Aireloom sold us.  Just that fast.  That back pain I was feeling  on the Sealy and Stearns & Foster…it was gone on the Aireloom.  I mean I’m trying not to sleep on my stomach anymore, but I can’t control it, and on the Aireloom I was pain free in this position.  Yup, this was the one.  The middle firmness.  But it was so fucking EXPENSIVE!

But Felice said it wasn’t about the price.

But the bed I wanted…  It was just a little too firm for Felice.  She wanted the PILLOW TOP!  The kind of bed a girl envisions partying on in her teenage years.  Something soft and creamy, like sleeping in Cool Whip.  This bed hurt my back.  It was TOO soft.  But not only was it Felice’s money, it was Felice’s house.

I told her it was her decision.

But she knew my decision.

And I knew what she was feeling, so I said that we should punt.  Sleep on it, as they say, and come back a day or two later.

But Felice was charged up.  She wanted to buy NOW!

And then, caught in our quandary, this sixtysomething dude in a Faconnable shirt and sunglasses came over and almost whispered, conspiratorially, that we had to try the third bed down.

What was three beds down?


Well, what’s a Kluft?

Jen said it was the best bed made.  Which, of course, made no sense, since she’d told us forty five minutes earlier the AIRELOOM was the best bed made.  But like a customer who’d been eating chocolate ice cream at Haagen-Dazs and suddenly heard about CHOCOLATE CHOCOLATE CHIP, we were entranced.  So we rolled off the Aireloom, and journeyed downstore to try out the Kluft.

Whereupon a beefy guy stood at the foot of the bed and glared at us.  We were on HIS bed.

Oh, this Kluft was TOO soft.  But unlike the Airelooms, the Klufts came in FOUR firmnesses.  And if we moved down two, we found one JUST perfect, right between the two Airelooms.  The difference was split.

And while we’re luxuriating in the comfort of this hand-sewn bed with more cotton than Eli Whitney ever saw, this beefy guy is prone on the Kluft we checked out first.  Oh, he loved this bed.  But he couldn’t rationalize EIGHT GRAND!

And I’m lying there, feeling like an eight year old in the softness of GRANDMA’S bed, that’s the feel of a Kluft, kind of like the beds you see in museums, and I’m wondering WHAT IN HELL this schlub does for a living that he can afford an $8,000 bed.

Nah, he’s just playing.  He’s gonna buy the cheap Spring Air he’s comparing it to.

And Felice is enraptured.  The Kluft we want is far cheaper than the bed Joe Eszterhas’ younger, friendlier, brother is camping out on.  We tag-teamed Jen.  Felice got a price, I knocked a couple of hundred bucks off that, and we had a deal.

And as we walked towards the checkout desk, suddenly the beefy guy jumped up and followed us.  Which was quite creepy.  A Valley stalker, who knows?  So I engaged him, I finally asked the question, WHAT DO YOU DO FOR A LIVING?

"I’m a writer/producer.  I work with the Muppets.  I did ‘Muppet Treasure Island’".

Suddenly feeling safe, I remarked that he had trouble with real people, right?  He laughed and then pulled up a chair at the checkout desk too.  Where he bought the Kluft.  And then behind us strode the Faconnable couple, who told us they’d bought the same Kluft WE had.  Er, that Felice had.

Suddenly I felt good.  Mission accomplished.  We got back to Felice’s house and I couldn’t stop thinking about this glorious bed, which was going to be delivered on Saturday.

And it’s then that I realized I’m a true American.  Getting a thrill from shopping just like everybody else.

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