Mattress retailers - national chain stores
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This of course is the most common place to buy a mattress and in concert with the larger "S" brands of mattresses they dominate the industry. They usually carry a wide variety of different models that all look very different but tend to be made by the same companies with different labels and similar manufacturing methods. They are much more focused on their "differentiation" through often meaningless and misleading stories than they differentiate themselves through actual differences in the quality of materials used or in differences in the real value of the mattresses they sell. They will sometimes carry some of the better national brands or even some higher value regional brands in their stores but will rarely help a consumer find them as they usually represent lower profits. We have seen this "buy the name brand" approach countless times, sometimes to the point where consumers will not even be told that they mattress they are standing next to may be among the better choices for their circumstances. In many cases, most of the floor space is taken up with mattresses that have few differences in basic construction, use inferior materials especially in the comfort layers, and have different looks and feels to give the superficial impression of variety.
The "name brands" attached to most of these are either subsidiaries of the companies that make the larger brands or "house brands" which are made by the same manufacturers under a different name and with slightly different ticking. Even some of the exceptions are often "name brand" specialty mattresses that offer "alternative" mattress styles and types that are also driven primarily by advertising and advertising copy and also offer less value than brands that are less well known, use very similar or even better materials, and offer much higher value than their "advertising driven" counterparts. It is unfortunate that anything that has been repeated often enough will often come to be believed regardless of the truth behind the claims.
These outlets can make good "testing grounds" to help determine the type of mattress that may be most suitable for you, particularly if you insist on laying on some of the mattresses that they carry in spite of their efforts to steer you in other directions. They rarely though have the kind of value that makes a mattress purchase there worthwhile.
Most of them depend on "fake sales" which discount a suggested retail price by 50% or more and still leave room for a further "negotiated" discount that leaves the impression of an amazing deal that was only possible because of the "great negotiation skills" of a consumer. All of this of course is repeated every day, 365 days a year, and the overall sale itself never ends ... or even takes a break. The hope is that the seeds of doubt and the false sense of urgency and loss that this deceptive practice instills in anyone that walks in their store is enough to make the sale before any further comparisons can be made, particularly with any "off brands". That they are so often successful is unfortunately a testimonial to the power of misleading advertising and effective methods of persuasion than it is to the actual quality or value of their mattresses, no matter how heavily "discounted" they may be. A large part of the reason that so few consumers will even complain is because the belief that they got such an amazing deal that "complaining" may lead to spending more. Those who do as a result of a more rapid deteriorization of their mattress will quickly discover that the warranties that were used as the "closer" are not so protective after all and that the breakdown of their mattress after a few months or a couple of years is part of "normal wear and tear". The logic is often something along the lines of "oh well, at least I got an amazing price".
Their "exchange" policies, often used along with a meaningless warranty, are also used as a "closer" and are also carefully designed to lock you (and their profit) in once you have made any purchase of any kind. The exchange process and the restrictions and methods of valuing what is being exchanged ... and for what ... often represents another profit center rather than being a policy that actually helpsnprotect you from misatkes or helps you find a mattress that a smaller more knowledgeable and service oriented outlet would have helped you find in the first place.
These stores are usually much better for field testing mattresses than they are for buying one.