“Why Buy a Mattress Anywhere Else?”

It’s been over 10 years since I last bought a mattress.  Over the past few months, our “nest” has officially gotten “empty”.  We sold bunk beds and one of the boys moved a mattress set  to his first apartment.  Now we needed to buy a new mattress  for the guest room OR, move our bed there and buy a new one for the master bedroom.  Of course, with family coming for Christmas, we had to do this NOW.

My husband said, “Let’s go to Sleep Country and buy a top of the line, super cozy bed for us.” Anyone reading this who knows my history as founder of said company would say “Duh!”  In reality, having sold the company 10 years ago, I was actually apprehensive about the experience.  

The chain has continue to grow over the past decade.  Several key members of my management team are still with the company in positions of authority.  However,  most of the sales team I had a hand in hiring and training have either moved on to other careers or have retired themselves.  What would the shopping experience be like? It’s not unlike the apprehension one feels when they go back to a home they built and sold to see what the new owners have changed – would I like the changes?

You might think I wouldn’t need help buying a mattress but that simply is not true.  A lot has changed in the product since I left the industry 10 years ago.  Manufacturers have continued to make improvements such as “no flip pillowtop mattresses” eliminating the need to regularly flip heavy,  awkward mattresses.  Also, just as mattresses (long before my time) were once made of horse hair and evolved to foams, wool and silk; today’s mattresses contain a variety of sophisticated materials specifically designed to address motion transfer and other sleep disruptions.

So mattress shopping we did go! John and I went to one of the nearly 50 Sleep Country USA stores in Washington. We were greeted warmly by a young man I had never met and who did not recognize me.  He simply qualified our needs and asked questions to better understand our concerns.   He asked about what brought us to shop for a bed at this time – the answer to that specific question can be quite telling.  Understanding what no longer works about what we have can help guide us to a product better suited to our current needs.  The perfect bed 10 years ago may no longer be the perfect bed as our bodies – and lifestyles – have changed.

The sales person was clearly well trained not just on product specifications, but what that means to us as consumers.  He used samples to show us what was inside the different beds we were considering and gave us a necessary “education” on an item – which like most of you – we had not shopped for or purchased in over a decade.   Rather than giving us too many choices which would confuse us, he narrowed the field to 2 models by 2 different major brands best suited to our situation.  Then he left us alone for a bit to lay there and determine what felt best to us.

We took off our jackets and shoes (even though he said we didn’t need to, beds have covers to protect the shoe area in the showroom) so  we could settle in and be comfortable.  We tossed, flopped, turned, did our best to recreate the cats jumping up in the middle of the night – you know, life!  We ran back and forth between our two finalists and periodically our sales person would check in with us to answer more questions.

Just as we were finalizing our decision, one of the sales people from my old team who had been helping another customer was free and came over to say hello.  I think our sales person was more than a little surprised to learn he had been helping “Sunny Kobe Cook”.

So why have I not “named names”? Not the sales person (who did a great job), the specific location or even the product we selected? First on product, unless you are sleeping with us, it doesn’t matter what we sleep on.  Finding the right bed for YOU is what matters, not what bed best suited John and I.

As for the rest, I am convinced that the recruitment and training of professionals to serve customers remains the cornerstone of Sleep Country USA and ANY store you visit, ANY salesperson who helps you will help you get a better night’s sleep.

I was as skeptical and apprehensive a customer as you could possibly get and all I can say is, “Why buy a mattress anywhere else?”



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