You want (memory) foam with that?

I've been sleeping in the Grand Canyon for a long time.  That's what I named the valley running down the middle of my bed.  I figure the bed was between 15-20 years old.  It was time to do what I dreaded.  Go shopping.

I had to buy a bed for my dad earlier this year.  I couldn't find local 'bed' stores in S. CA  but folks told me to go to Sears or JC Penney.  I never thought of that.  Those are the trusted go-to stores for everybody who lives in senior master planned communities.  It's no accident they are located close to their clientele.  They speak to that generation perfectly.  Immaculate inside, super wide aisles for walkers and wheelchairs, and plenty of chairs for the pause that refreshes.  Amazing service.  My gray hair may have given me an edge.  In and out in an hour.  Delivery two days later.  And a much happier dad!

But when it's all about me....that's another thing.  Because visions of beds were dancing in my head, every TV and radio commercial seemed to be about beds.  I was not looking forward to bouncing up and down on bunches 'o beds in showrooms.

The last time Carl and I shopped for a bed we considered a Dux bed.  Buy it for life.  But $4000 (a long time ago) wasn't really in the cards.  Nonetheless, we went into San Francisco for dinner and a bed.  A motel had a deal with Dux to let consumers try before they buy.  If we'd bought it, Dux would have reimbursed the cost of the room.  As magical as the Dux was supposed to be, it didn't cast a spell over us.

What we did buy came from a hole in the wall place not too far away that we heard about from some trusted friends. The place had name brands and the prices were right enough that if the thing didn't last we wouldn't be crying too much about it.  That store is long gone. Too bad.

Wanting to think of myself as an educated consumer, I turned to the internet.  Determining customer satisfaction is almost impossible when it comes to an actual bed.  Consumer Reports told me about the huge 40% +  markups on the products.  Gotta pay for those commercials somehow.  And how about all those the 'giveaways' that are supposed to offset that profit margin? Free delivery, pillows, sheets, and haul-away of the old bed.  I think they'd throw in jammies, a good-night story, and a prayer if a buyer asked.

And then there is Yelp. Yelp is scary to me.  How does anybody know that what is written is even close to true?  One guy was so angry with a bed store he ended up recommending another place where he bought a bed, including all the reasons why it was so good.  Hmmm...kind of seemed like an advertisement done by and for that bed store in the form of a Yelp rant.  But it got my attention.  And I checked it out.

Like our previous bed shopping experience, the showroom was not fancy, not in a primo location, but the sales guy, the only one there, knew his stuff.

I bought a queen size bed.  The price was really right, the warranty excellent. It has full springs, is nine inches tall, and has a four inch layer of memory foam attached to that.

Now about memory foam.  What, you lay on it and it remembers your body shape?  No, Marilyn, it adjust to your shape and then remembers to go back to its original flat, level self when I'm not squishing it to bits. Ahhh, now I get it. 

The bed and frame each came in a box.  Unlike the Jerry Seinfeld bit about guys holding onto beds on the top of their cars as they motor along the freeway, I did not have to do that.  I made two trips.  The frame box fit in the back seat of my not-huge car.  We had to take the mattress out of its box to barely get it into my backseat. It comes rolled up and wrapped as tight as a pork roast.

Now I had to earn my keep.  Once I dragged the old bed and box spring outside, I end-over-ended them to the driveway.  The old frame wouldn't hold its rectangular shape but it got out in one piece.

Next, I set up the new frame and made an attempt to attach the headboard. All the tools and parts were there like the picture said, but nothing fit.  Save that for later.  I needed to get this done.  A neighbor helped me get the bed from the car to house.  I said I could take it from there.  All I had to do was roll the thing upstairs through a slider door.  But it felt like I was pushing one of those pavement compactor devices, the cylinder-shaped machines filled with water.  This sucker was heavy! 

Once inside I wrestled to align the bed roll onto the frame so when the straps were cut it would just pop into place.  Then I realized I needed to get the bed skirt on before the bed was let loose.  Which came first the bed roll or the bed skirt?  Whichever one I moved, the other got messed up. Save that for later.

And how could I get the mattress centered on the frame and still be able to cut it loose without it knocking me over?  Ut-oh.  Should have thought this through a bit better.  My biggest fear was getting pinned to a wall.  Seriously.  There was a lot of compressed energy in that package.  I made sure my phone was in my pocket, and hoped I could get my hands on it if I needed help.  

Time for the big reveal.  One strap cut. Twang!  Second cut.  The thing was twitching to be free!  Third cut. Ka-blam!   Oh, NO!  I couldn't back away fast enough from the unfurling bed.  I was pinned the against the slider door by a corner of the bed, the door handle out of reach. 

The bed beast was amazingly heavy.  I managed to shove a bit more of it onto the frame and ooched it around with my legs so I could crawl over it.  This bed buying adventure started with me leaving the house at 10:30am.  It was now close to 5pm.  Delivery and set-up, whether 'free' or not, was looking pretty good by now.

In the midst of this, a critical question came to mind.  What if I didn't like it after trying it for 30 days as they suggested?  How would I get it back to them?  Did I have to roll it up?  Save that for later. 

I've had the bed-from-a-box about five weeks.  I have no intention of returning it.  The foam does indeed have a memory.  The Grand Canyon is back in Arizona.  Craig's List provided a mystery owner for the old bed within 12 hours of the 'for free' post.  My best plumber attached the headboard to the frame without instructions, without using all the pieces, using his best plumber tools.

How would I shop today, based on my two very different experiences?   I don't need an answer to that for hopefully 10 years or more.  Save that for later.

Live richly... and consider getting that next bed topped off with foam.



  1. wow, that is quite the experience. I am in the market for a new bed and I am completely overwhelmed.
    I need something a little less firmer than what I've got but how do you determine what bed that is???
    guess I'll save it for later :)


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