In Search of the $200 Queen Mattress

True Story – I’m visiting a store and a lady comes in for her college age daughter. She is driving a luxury vehicle that would easily retail over $50k. Not that we should ever make judgements based on cars, clothing or jewelry, but I found it interesting.

She doesn’t want to spend over $300 for a queen set, delivery and frame – tax inclusive. Adding delivery, frame and tax to the equation, means the mattress set needs to be in the $200 range. The delivery will go to a remote college campus that is not regularly served by any retail chain, so the delivery cost will be greater.

Her budget is completely arbitrary. She has called around and found that a few stores have queen sets that “start at $200ish.” What she hasn’t done is asked about frame price, or even if they service the college in question. Also, she has not asked what type of mattress it is, or if they even have one in stock at that price.

A few stores have offered “free delivery,” but she has not confirmed that this would be honored at the lower price points. I can assure you, no store would deliver to this location any $200 or even $300 mattress set with frame and tax for “free.” And if they did, I would like to see exactly what mattress set would have a low enough cost to absorb the delivery and be profitable at $200 or even $300.

Her first stop she was shown a pillowtop for $399, but then “if she bought today,” she could have it for $299. She was told it was regularly $750. So, this retailer is selling a “$750” mattress now for only $299? Now, she assumes that every price on mattresses are subject to change and meaningless. She has never inquired about the quality, specs or comfort of any mattress.

And people wonder why the buying process is so convoluted. You have salespeople changing prices on the fly and making promises without clarifying the restrictions. We have consumers not asking the right questions and operating with selective hearing.

That $750 mattress was NEVER a $750 mattress set. It is in fact, a $299 mattress set – if that.

“Free Delivery” – does not exist unless there is enough $$$ in the purchase price to offset this cost. I can also assure you that a $200 mattress set with “free delivery” is not something you want your child or any other human to sleep on.

At the very least, a queen box will have a number of wood slats, fabric cover, carboard top and manufacturing costs. The mattress will have some amount of steel, comfort/foam layers, fiber and fabric on top, along with manufacturing costs. Add to that shipping, warehouse, labor costs, taxes, insurance, oh and don’t forget some profit for the entire supply chain. Otherwise, why be in business at all?

Do you truly think it is possible to manufacture, sell and deliver to a remote area, a queen mattress set, frame and absorb sales taxes for under $300!?

And since the daughter was nowhere to be found, I am assuming that the mother doesn’t really care if she is properly supported or comfortable for the next 4 years. I can assure you the tuition per year at this school is quite steep. So, you are investing all these dollars into your child’s education, but fail to invest anything in the quality of her sleep?

Again, I’m not suggesting you spend a fortune on a mattress set. I bought a relatively cheap one during my college days. But looking for that mythical $200 mattress set is a big waste of time. You will always find something cheaper, but it will never be better – especially if the price is magically changing.

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