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Repeat after me: money makes the world go round. Say it one more time.
Done? Good. Bear this phrase in mind as you keep reading because when all is said and done, it all comes down to money. Especially in the mattress industry.
It used to be as simple as going to a store and rolling around various beds to shop for a mattress. Once you find something you like and feel the most comfortable in, ring goes the register and you walk out a happy man (or woman), looking forward to a good night’s sleep in your new bed. Nowadays, that’s no longer the case, what with the seemingly rapid evolution of technology, as well as this day and age being the golden (which is slowly but surely spiraling into the dark) ages of the internet where a wealth of information – whether real or fake – can be had at a few taps of the fingertips.
Why you can’t trust mattress reviews from social media “influencers” (cringe)
Let us also not forget that these are the days of the “influencer”. While the term started out innocently enough – with ‘social media influencer’ defined as someone who has established credibility in a specific industry and has access to a huge audience whom they can persuade to act (in most, if not all, cases BUY) based on their recommendations. Today, both the words “established” and “credibility” have all been chucked out the window and anyone with a sizable enough following deem themselves influencers and fire up the throngs, be it with something as effortless as a fleeting Instagram story or something that requires a bit more production value such as a YouTube video. Admit it, you have fallen prey to an IG story or two, and I? Well, let’s just say that I have fallen prey to more than two.
2017 was an important year in exposing the influencer scam artists – and I only call them artists because, in a quite convoluted way, they somehow managed to do it with, dare I even say it, a sickening sort of flair. It all started with Billy McFarland’s Fyre Festival and we all know how that ended. Right around the same time, Anna Sorokin – better known as Anna Delvey, the mysterious European wannabe socialite who grifted her way from Manhattan to Dubai – was sent to Rikers for 6 counts of larceny and an attempted grand larceny charge. A quick Google search for ‘influencer scammer’ brings up true stories that could easily (and profitably) be made into the next big movie: Caroline Calloway, Kayla Massa, Tanacon, the list goes on.
So, what do these influencers have to do with buying mattresses, you ask? Everything.
Before Instagram or YouTube or Tiktok or any of the more popular influencer mediums nowadays, blogs were the number one resource for people looking to purchase, well, anything and bloggers were the OG influencers. Reviews were everything. Wait, let me rephrase that. Reviews ARE everything. And in the world of mattresses, especially now when online shopping is not only preferred but is highly encouraged due to the current state of the world, reviews are gospel. And mattresses were not exempted from scams. In 2016, Mattressgate happened. This led to a shift in how we, the consumers, viewed these self titled mattress influencers and reviewers (wait, that’s me too) and this has led us to become more cynical, less trusting and more than a little annoyed. I mean, reviews are there to make things easier for us, are they not? This brings us to the number one scam you have to avoid.
How to avoid being scammed when buying a mattress
- Do not believe every good review – If it’s too good to be true, 99 percent of the time it probably is. Scour every corner of the interwebs if you must and don’t be afraid to delve deep. Right now, there is a universe of mattress companies to buy from and it truly is up to you whether you choose to believe a review, honest or not. Someone once told me that a great product review must list both the good and the bad, the pros and the cons and I took that to heart. Not everyone has your best interests, always remember that. Most only want your money. Also, if you are a wee bit more distrustful like I am, then don’t be afraid to make the connections between an overly enthusiastic review site and a mattress company – they sometimes like to get into bed with each other. Disclaimers are there for good reason.
- Always read the fine print – If warranties and return/refund agreements are written in a typeface 5 sizes too small than normal, be extra wary. Mattress companies always like to be thorough in the fact that they shall not be held liable for any damages once the product is out of their warehouse even though a return and exchange is in place. You could be a victim of the legal mumbo jumbo that shall ultimately leave you with nothing. A good example of this is a pro-rated warranty. A pro-rated warranty covers the cost of replacements but covered costs diminish over time, usually this warranty only covers a year even though the warranty they advertise goes well over 10. Some companies even have a certain measurement in the case of a mattress “dipping” well before its warranty is expired and more often than not, the difference is a few centimetres but keep in mind that those few centimetres can cost you and not them, thousands of dollars. Beat them at their own game and be extra thorough as well.
- Questionable production practices and resources – This is not so much a scam but more a matter of ethical business practices. This earth is the only home we all have and we often take that simple, little fact for granted. It is so easy to forget where things actually come from. If you buy from a company that exploits men and women (or even worse, children) from third world countries, then you exploit them as well. If the company you buy from puts no thought to the state of the environment by continuing to utilize unfavorable production processes and harmful chemicals then you do as well. If the company you choose to give your money to exhausts natural resources to the point of destruction, then you do too. Nowadays, it is unbelievably easy to find out whether a company is shady or not. Google and (preferably, to avoid bias) DuckDuckGo are your friends.
- Always buy from a reputable source – This shouldn’t really be a reminder but our naivete sometimes gets the best of us. In the UK, there was an alarming mattress scam that went around – literally. A white van drove around and went door to door, with mattress offers too good to be true, selling for £70-£100 what should be worth around £800-£1000. Excited sleepers then found themselves laying on mattresses infested with bedbugs and lice and what have you. Upon further inspection, they found that these “mattresses” were in fact, old thin mattresses enclosed in layers of a cheap type of foam. There is a time for penny pinching but certainly NOT when it comes to where you lay your head.
- Sometimes, simple is better – Most mattress companies employ teams of people to do their marketing, to build their brand and to entice you and me. They come up with flashy words such as innovative and technologically superior. They try to win us over by making us think that the best sleep of our lives is in their hands. Don’t get me wrong, some have come close – very close – but more often than not, we could do without the fancy knobs and remote controls. Sometimes, all we need is something just right, without the bells and whistles.
Scams are borne out of either greed or an excessive want for money. At the end of the day, shopping for mattresses is a business transaction and should you choose to part with your money without putting any thought to where and how you spend your hard earned cash, then that’s up to you. But I like to think that as consumers of this day and age, we are more than a little savvy. And, should we need to be ruthless just to get that actual best sleep of our lives, then by all means, we should be.
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