One fine day I sauntered into Sleep Country on a reconnaissance mission. The plan was to gather intel on the wild and wacky world of mattresses. I had been considering purchasing a new mattress, but not immediately. With nothing more exciting on the day’s agenda, it seemed a good idea to collect data so I could make an informed decision when the time came. Suddenly, I found myself amidst a maze of mattresses – twins, doubles, queens, kings, firm ones, soft ones, medium ones, mattresses to accomodate a myriad of body issues. What does one do in such a situation? Lie down, of course. I tried one, then another, and another. Some were too hard; some too soft and some just right. How do you select the most just right mattress? Goldilocks had it easy.
Early in my mattress investigation, the store salesman, Al, offered his expert 2 cents. Keep in mind the value of 2 cents in the current economy. He suggested about 5 different styles that might suit me. I zeroed in on a mattress designed for people who sleep on their back. Naturally, they did not make the size I wanted. I went with plan B, a Serta. That choice sent me down the rabbit hole not into Wonderland, but into Mattress Hell.
Back to Al for a moment. The same mattress I selected had been ordered by another customer, who ended up cancelling. Al would waive the tax if I accepted delivery within a week. I mulled it over deciding to go for it. It was a reasonable deal. Getting the mattress sooner than later would not be a problem.
Now, here’s why his 2 cents wasn’t worth 2 cents. He neglected to inform me that the Serta was made of memory foam which is known, except to me, for having a terrible odor. Memory foam odor takes approximately forever to gas off. I should also mention that I am very sensitive to odors at the best of times. It soon became the worst of times.
On a Monday afternoon, the new mattress was delivered. I did notice an odor, but figured if I let it air out from it’s packaging for a few hours, all would be well. All was not well. When I tried to go to sleep that night, I was overcome by a vile smell. I set a saucer of apple cider vinegar and eucalyptus oil nearby which became the primary odor. The next morning, after I was up and started to make the bed, more shock. The sheets and bed cover reeked nearly as badly as the mattress itself. I phoned Sleep Country as soon as the store opened. There was a different sales person from Al. This guy insisted the odor would dissipate in 24 to 48 hours. Okay fine. I stripped the bed, opened the window and set up a fan to blow out the smell. There was no change in the intensity of the odor. I phoned customer service and explained the situation. The rep insisted there was no odor to these mattresses. If I was not satisfied, I did have the option to make an exchange within a two month period. I decided not to wait the two months as the smell was making me ill. A friend verified the odor proving I was not delusional. Back to Sleep Country to find a scent free mattress. And so began my warp speed tumble down the rabbit hole into Blunderland.
Al happened to be there on my return. Having an idea of the type of mattress that I seemed to like, he suggested the Octa Spring. I inquired about the materials with which it was manufactured. Would it have the dreaded memory foam? He said that the coils were memory foam but the mattress was constructed in a way that provided air circulation around and through the coils. Consequently, there would be no odor. Smelling is believing.
I sampled a couple different models of the Octa Spring mattresses and decided on the 8500. The mattress exchange would take place in another week. Meanwhile I was stuck with the current odious mattress. Still I stripped the bedding every morning, opened the window and used the fan, hoping for some noticeable reduction of the odor. Not a sniff of a change. The big day finally arrived. Out with the memory foam and in with the Octa Spring. I asked the delivery men before they left to make sure I received the correct model. The paperwork and packaging read #8500. Being a little too anxious to have the mattress issue resolved, I did not check the mattress myself before they left. Colossal mistake.
Soon, I went into my bedroom and sat down on the mattress. It seemed especially firm, not like the one I tried in the store. Furthermore, for a guaranteed non-smelling mattress, this one had an even more revolting odor than the memory foam. I made up the bed that night, hoping that firmness I felt sitting on it would be different lying down. OMG! It was like lying on a cement slab while inhaling what I imagined to be essence of aged corpse. I placed a vinegar/eucalyptus soaked cotton ball under my nose and tried to sleep. The mattress was so hard there was very little sleeping. Next morning my body was in major pain. I was expecting my friend that afternoon. When she arrived I asked her to confirm the smell and check the model number that was stamped on the mattress. Smell confirmed. The model number was not the one I ordered. Back to Sleep Country we went.
Al was there. I told him what happened. We also compared the mattresses in the store with the one I previously tried and the one I received. Yup. Definitely wrong mattress delivered. Al phoned customer service describing what transpired. I inquired into the possibility of getting the memory foam back. It was still in the warehouse if I wanted it. Suddenly visions of smelly memory foams started dancing in my head. Not a good sign.
It is necessary to digress for a moment. Before I made the decision to go for the Octa Spring, I had phoned Serta to learn more about the malodorous memory foam. That customer service person said that it could take up to a month for the memory foam to gas off. I also phoned the Octa Spring company and asked about the odor of their mattresses. The customer service agent emphatically stated there was never an odor to their mattresses. What I have learned over the years dealing with phone, cable etc. companies, is that if you are dissatisfied with the information you receive in the initial call, call back. Invariably a different agent answers and eventually you get the proper particulars. Even though the Octa Spring lady claimed no odor, I wanted more assurance. I spoke with 5 different agents all swearing there was no odor to Octa Spring products. Considering the aroma research , I decided to give Octa Spring another chance. Sleep Country customer service also promised they would deliver the correct, aroma free model. It was going to take another week. What to do? I had no other place to sleep in my apartment. I piled a comforter and blankets on the mattress to try to give some cushioning while I slept. It only helped for a couple of nights. And yes, there was still the stench to cope with. Since this mattress would be gone in a week, I was not going to go through the daily bedding removal, window opening and fan blowing ordeal. A solution occurred to me. Off to the dollar store to procure a plastic drop cloth. I wrapped the mattress in this plastic, thus containing the odor. I also managed to solve the cushioning situation by borrowing a foam (not the memory type) from a friend. The foam went on the plastic encased mattress. The comforter and blankets were piled on top of the foam. All of that provided a tolerable temporary fix.
After several more days, the correct mattress was due for delivery.
Please come back next week for the rest of the story. You will not believe what happened. All true. I promise.
Comments are welcomed.