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6 tips on how NOT to get taken to the cleaners when buying a new bed

December 3rd, 2007 at 07:57 pm

After spending the past 3.5 years sleeping on my husband's 10 year old futon, the Bean's are upgrading to a bona fide bed! Alleluia!

Here are some main points I learned in the process:

1. Mattress prices are negotiable.
Do not pay the sticker price, nor the price that the salesperson says is the "sale" price. Negotiate. If he/ she will not go down in price, head elsewhere. I was getting initial price quotes of $599 and $699 on the exact same mattress at the exact same store chain in retail outlets less than 4 miles apart. When I asked the salesman at the $699 store if it included the frame and he said "no", I realized he thought he could take me. I said thank you and headed for the door.

2. Different stores sell the exact same mattresses using different names.
This is to confuse you and make it harder to comparison shop. Take careful note of the mattress you like so that you can compare it with those at other stores. For example, Simmons offers three lines of mattresses. The lowest is "Classic". A Simmons Classic mattress at Mattress Warehouse is probably the same as the Simmons Classic mattress at Mattress Discounters. Make note of the details and compare. When I tried to tell a salesperson at one mattress chain that I had been offered a better price on the same mattress at a competitor, he asked me the name of the competitor's mattress and then proceeded to pull out a sheet from his desk that named the names of all the mattresses sold at their store with the names of comparable mattresses at other store. Oh how I would have loved to get my hot little hands on that sheet! Alas, I couldn't steal it from him, but it confirmed what I thought was true.

3. Sales at mattress stores are fake.
Don't be pressured to buy something because it's on sale. Mattresses are never truly on sale. You can get the same price weeks later.

4. Ask the sales person to write down the name of the mattress you like on a business card with the price.
Not only will this help you keep the mattresses and their silly names straight, you can also use this as a quote to negotiate with other chains.

5. The sales people will try to keep you away from all mattresses priced under $1000.
When we first started shopping, I thought mattresses under $1000 didn't exist. Then I realized we were just constantly being steered away from them. I had one salesman tell me the mattresses lined up against the back of the store (where the less expensive mattresses were displayed) were only for "children and guest rooms". Huh? So, would it be illegal me to purchase one for my room? I guess so! If you're shy and want to at least test a less expensive mattress, tell them you're shopping for a spare room. Generally speaking, the farther back in the store you go, the less expensive the mattresses will be.

6. If you need a frame, don't get ripped off.
You can order a Queen sized bed frame from WalMart.com for ~$45 and have it shipped free to a store. Don't pay $80+ for a frame at a mattress retailer.

We ended up buying the Simmons Palm Cove Queen Size mattress, box spring and frame from Mattress Warehouse for $550 with free delivery. The sticker price was $699 + $59 for frame. Interesting, in the city where Mr. Bean lives, the identical matress at the same retail chain had a sticker price of $899. Yowsers!

Back in my neck of the woods, the salesman initially he said the best price he could give me was $640 + cost of frame, but when I said his competitor offered $599 and I had a card to prove it, the price dropped to $550 and included a frame.

I can't wait to sleep in my new bed!

More great mattress buying tips are available at MyMoneyBlog Part I and Part II. Make certain to read the comments-- I learned a lot from them!

5 Responses to “6 tips on how NOT to get taken to the cleaners when buying a new bed”

  1. scfr Says:

    Mattress frames are a frequent give-away on Freecycle.
    When people buy a "fancy" frame, they will give away their plain old metal frame.

  2. threebeansalad Says:

    Great point.. I've also seen them on Craig's List for $5-$10 if your freecycle isn't offering one at the moment.

  3. fern Says:

    Very good advice.

    Personally, i think at least half of all store sales are 'fake,' meaning, the prices haven't really changed much. Like Kohl's, for instance. Seems like they have a 'sale' every single weekend.

  4. Mick Says:

    Just happened to look at this same mattress at Mattress Warehouse and the guy started at $800 but immediately told me he'd go $720. Walking out I knew I could go lower when I come back but didnt know how low. The salesman did encourage me to shop around and come back with my best price.

  5. Richard18 Says:

    This is some great advice. I would only ad, they best time to buy a mattress is around a holiday. Most places offer free shipping on holiday's.

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