For my next trick, I am going to pursue a career in mattress sales. For anyone who has manually shopped for a mattress in the past several years, this decision needs no validation. You know the routine. As a customer, you enter the mattress store, which is usually sizable and a touch off the beaten path. The only thing they sell is mattresses so they don’t capture the generic free range shopper who is “just browsing.” No, the shoppers these stores attract are on a very specific mission so, often, there are none of them in sight. You open the door to the familiar, ding-dong warning that someone has entered or exited the store, which is curious to begin with because, really, is there any fear of shoplifting? Anyway, you enter and generally no one is in sight. Certain times of the year no one appears at all for long periods of time, including staff. But generally, here you are for a few minutes in this safe and restful heaven when out of nowhere, poof! a sales associate appears. The person, usually a man, seems somewhat alarmed and blurry, lines across one side of his face, hair sticking up in a wide range of directions. Yup. That’s him.
“Oh, hello! How can I help you today?” he says, rubbing his eyes and trying his best to appear alert.
“Oh, hi,” you say, perusing his bed head and trying your best not to appear suspicious and judgmental. “I need a queen mattress.”
“What type are you looking for?” he quizzes, even though the question seems a bit rhetorical because you thought you just told him what type you are looking for.
“A mattress. Firm. Queen,” you mutter as your eyes scan the room. Then, all of a sudden, this mecca of twilight turns into a poppy field of temptations. It is worse than a bakery showcase through the eyes of a diabetic. “May I try one?” you sheepishly whisper.
“Sure, please do. Try several. I will just be in the back if you need me.” And in a flash, he is gone, leaving you, your aching back and restless legs alone in this panorama of a test kitchen. At least this is how my mattress hunt began, and then it got better.
In my own recent excursion, I perused the showroom, chose the most inviting surface, the one with the European puff top, and skiddishly stretched out on top of it. Ahhhhh. And, oh glory be, there were some pillows in the corner display so…….Ahhhhhh. Nice huh? Made me wish I had brought a good book. Understand? I understand completely ,for recently, I walked this walk, stretched right out, got a little drowsy and began to consider my future. This is how it went as I floated between doing business and doing some snooze.
If I owned a mattress store, the ring tone for the door alarm thing would sound like an alarm clock bell. Get it? Cute huh? I would have a special testing room that would be completely dark except for one reading lamp on a bedside table. Assorted magazines and books would line one wall. I would encourage individual (Note- individual. No couples for obvious reasons) customers to make appointments by the hour-even though the experts say that a 15 minute test in a store should give you a strong indication of whether or not any particular mattress is right for you. My customers would be offered pajamas and white noise machines. They could bring their favorite blankie if they wished, but if not I would provide an assortment of them. I would offer this test drive service for a small fee which would then be applied towards their purchase of a top-o-the-line Sealy, Serta or Tempur-Pedic. My store would be the most popular mattress store in town. I would call it Nighty Knight. But getting back to my career dream, here I was are all stretched out, flipping from side to side just to be sure. It all felt so good that I hated to spoil it all with an actual transaction so I started to doze off just a tad.
As I hovered between deep sleep and my daydream for a new career path, without warning, he was back, standing over me, clearing his throat and giving a lecture on springs. He seemed a touch irritated and his hair looked worse than ever. The question of the moment was whether his irritation was born out of the fact that I was lying down or that he was not. My guess is that, although he really wanted to make a sale, he also really wanted to get back to a little R and D. I was torn between being in awe of him because he had captured this gig, or being horrified that he was satisfied with this gig. Anyway, the truth is that this Don King of a man really doesn’t have to work too, too hard, for when a customer is in the market for a good night’s sleep, this guy is the guy who has it all covered. Soft beds. Nice gig. Sweet dreams.