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A Mattress Detective Story

Furniture World Magazine


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Fans of 1950s and 1960s cop Shows may remember "Dragnet," the quirky and fast-paced drama where every crime was solved in 30 minutes.

That's a short time to solve a case, but asking the right questions helped police detective sergeant Joe Friday do it every time. Solving the mystery of finding the right mattress for your shopper quickly and efficiently takes a great deal of detective skill as well. Those old-time TV cops would have made great salespeople.

If "Dragnet" was about a store selling mattresses, it would have gone like this:

The Mattress Detective

"This is our city—a large metropolitan complex. There are factories, stores, schools, businesses, and restaurants. People drive to work, do their jobs, then drive home at the end of the day and go to bed. Sometimes they are uncomfortable and can’t sleep at night. That’s when I go to work! My name is Joe Monday, and I carry a pen.

"I was working the day watch out of the mattress department. It’s a typical showroom with 30+ models. The time was 11:15 am. A female stepped into the department. She identified herself as Helen Backman."

No matter what the weather is, you might be crying in the rain every time your shopper wants to take advantage of your local service, expertise, inventory, and delivery, but wants to pay the same price as some cyber store. You can curse the online retailer, or you can use your selling skills to win the sale and salvage some margin.

Joe: Welcome to our Better Sleep Center. My name is Joe Monday.

Helen: Mr. Wednesday, you have to help me, I simply can’t sleep at night.

Joe: The name’s Monday. What seems to be the trouble?

Helen: It’s just awful! I go to bed right at 11 pm, Mr. Sunday. I’m comfortable for a while, but then I toss and turn. The sheets get all tangled, and I am up half the night.

Joe: I understand. Let’s start from the beginning. You say you go to bed at 11. Do you turn out the lights right at that time?

Helen: Why yes, Mr. Tuesday. I said that. Of course, I watch the news on TV in bed, and sometimes the Late Late Show. They had an old Kojak movie on last night.

Joe: I see. And how old is your current bed?

Helen: I don’t see what that has to do with it. Mr. Holiday, is that what you people do? Just hassle people with a lot of questions. I just want better sleep.

Joe: (looking very stern): We ask questions for a reason. There is a lot of good sleep at stake. And without it, you are performing below your best level. Getting just six hours of sleep instead of eight hours means you’re functioning like you have a .08% blood alcohol level. And that’s legally drunk in this state.

Helen: Do you think I’m drunk? I never touch the stuff! Sure, a little sherry before bed. And wine with my book club at noon. But…

Joe: I’m going to ask the questions, and you’re going to answer them. Just the facts, ma’am. I just want the facts. When you wake up, what part of your body hurts?

Helen: Mostly my hip and shoulder. They get a little tingly too, Mr. Thursday.

Joe: Oh, so you sleep on your side?

Helen: Yes, how did you know?

Joe: It’s my job to know. Now how old did you say your mattress is?

Helen: I’m not sure, I remember we bought it with some money my husband won when that L.A. baseball team surprised everyone and won the World Series.

Joe: OK, so you’ve had it since 2002 when the Angels won.

Helen: No, it wasn’t the Angels, isn’t there another team in LA?

Joe: There’s the Dodgers, but they haven’t won since 1988.

Helen: Yes, that’s it, they had that cute chubby manager, Tommy Something? But the mattress is just like new!

Joe: Just a couple more questions. You and your husband share the bed? What size mattress do you want? And when you can sleep, do you spend more time under the covers or over the covers?

Helen: My Wally insists that we have a king size bed. You know, he thinks he’s king of the house. (Giggles slightly). And the covers, I start out nice and snuggly underneath, but I toss them onto Wally about an hour later. He always complains about that. But, that’s my payback for his endless snoring. He’s like a buzz saw.

Joe: Yes, Mrs. Backman. It’s an open and shut case. From what you’ve told me, your mattress is past it’s comfort life. It may look new, but for proper support and comfort you need to replace your mattress every seven to eight years. You sleep on your side and need a little deeper comfort level on top to cushion your hips and shoulder. You’ll need a plush model.

You said that you toss off the covers. That indicates that you sleep warm or hot at night. Adding in a layer of cooling foam with gel or carbon memory foam will allow better temperature regulation—not too hot, not too cold.

Mr. Backman’s snoring is disruptive to you, but also indicates that he is not breathing properly at night. Snoring is like gasping for air. You will want to get an adjustable bed to slightly raise his head and neck. He’ll breathe better and you’ll sleep better.

Helen: Do you really think we need that base Mr. Payday? It won’t help me.

Joe: You said you have a TV in the bedroom. We don’t recommend watching TV directly before going to sleep and watching the news can get you wound up and make it hard to relax. And Kojak-really? Those cop shows are such drivel. However, you can set your adjustable bed into a TV-watching position, just like a giant recliner, and no more stacking pillows to get comfortable.

Helen: That makes sense.

Joe: OK, let me show you a mattress set that will help you get the rest you need. By the way, do you have a 5-sided or 6-sided mattress protector at home?

Helen: Mattress protector?? What’s that?


On September 28, 2020 a mattress purchase was made at a local store. The result of the purchase was endless nights of restful sleep and shoppers converted into raving fans.

The Backmans were sentenced to marriage with no time off for good behavior.

About Gordon Hecht: Gordon Hecht is a business growth and development consultant to the retail home furnishings industry. You can reach him at Gordon.hecht@aol.com