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stuck in Edmonton 06 Jul 2012 13:20 #1

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Hi,
I have recently found this site and think that this should be required reading for anyone looking at a mattress. Its amazing how if companies can get away with immoral practices like changing mattress names so no one can comparison shop, and not disclose what is actually in their mattresses so they can make claims that no one can substantiate, that they will do it. Greed is all too prevalent in this industry.
Anyways my situation is that I have a lower back condition called spondylosisthesis which I have known about for many years but only recently has it started to bother me. It is basically a bone missing in my spine which allows the other bone to move forward. I have to sleep on my side to alleviate the pain. Recently however I have been waking up in more pain and I believe that since I have never worried about mattresses I have always had the cheapest ones, I believe that a good one might help. I am in Edmonton, Alberta and I guess my only options are to drive down to Calgary and check out one of your recommended places, or go to TMASC here which are expensive, or buy off the internet a bed I will have never tried. I think I would like a latex bed, and I really like the imaging that Halstead in Calgary does, but it is a 3 hour drive. Can you recommend a better option for me?

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Re: stuck in Edmonton 06 Jul 2012 21:02 #2

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Hi Dano,

I've updated the Edmonton list a bit which will give you a few more options but there is still nothing that I would call "high value" although there are certainly better options there. I've also been doing a bit more research in Edmonton (web and phone) and if anything else shows up I'll add it to the list in post #136 here .

The Pure Latex Bliss line that I added would be well worth testing. It's the "natural" (which uses blended talalay latex) and is the better value of their two lines. TMASC also has a new latex/innerspring line which may also be worth testing.

More if I find it unless you take a drive to Calgary before then :)

Phoenix
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Re: stuck in Edmonton 07 Jul 2012 01:49 #3

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Hi Phoenix,

I was actually about to drive to Calgary early tomorrow but might give mattress mattress a try instead. I was actually sold on that pressure mapping thing they have at Halsteads in Calgary and thought it would take the guesswork out of the process, especially with regards to my back problem. I don't see how anyone can buy a bed without trying it out and yet I don't see how I can lay on a bed for only a few minutes and tell how it is going to feel after sleeping on it all night. I thought that mapping could help avoid the very inconvenient problem of getting a bed all set up in your home and finding out that it is too firm or too soft, and having to return it. But maybe I'm giving it too much credit and maybe it is more of a gimmick? I don't know.

And then there is the matter of price. I want Latex and I'm ok spending $2000 for a king size bed, more if it is really good. The matresses at tmasc, well their cheapest set was over 2500(I need box spring and/or foundation) and I don't know how much Halsteads' custom solutions will run me but I can't imagiine they will be that cheap.

Mattress Mattress has kind of a reputation here, they have annoying commercials and strike me as the sort of place that would do all of the bad things that disreputable mattress places do, but my mind is open and I will give them a try(I've never actually been in their place, it is just my feeling). If I'm not satisfied with them I can drive to Calgary next week though.

Thanks for checking things out for me. I promised myself I wouldn't get in a hurry as making the right choice will probably give me a good sleep for my lifetime.

Dan

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Re: stuck in Edmonton 07 Jul 2012 03:12 #4

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Hi Dano,

I had an interesting conversation with the manager at Mattressmattress and at some parts it was almost hostile or at least argumentative. He was very suspicious and was trying at one point to discredit the whole idea of knowing what was in a mattress and telling me things that were based on some assumptions that were completely wrong. Very defensive. He sort of calmed down a bit when he found out that I actually liked the PLB mattress and I wasn't out to give him a bad review or something and that I was actually going to link him on my site. He was not "easy" to deal with but when he became a little more accepting of the phone conversation he went back to being a little more reasonable.

Regardless though ... I do like the PLB mattresses and they would be a good testing ground if nothing else for a very nice talalay latex mattress.

Pressure mapping can be a tool but I wouldn't rely on it. It can certainly help identify obvious pressure issues but these types of systems don't take into account internal body physiology and different sensitivities and they don't always duplicate real life sleeping.

As a tool ... they are helpful ... but as something to rely on I wouldn't and I would make the messages of your own body more important than the system ... as helpful as it may be,

Good and specific testing on a mattress can actually be very accurate and there are statistics that show the odds of success rise dramatically for those who spend at least 15 minutes on a mattress.

I generally suggest first lying on a mattress and getting completely relaxed until your muscles "let go". The goal is to get into the pre sleep state. Then test separately for pressure relief ... especially on your side but in all your normal positions. Change positions like you would when you were sleeping and bounce slightly with hips and shoulders to sense if you can feel any firm spots. Sense if you can feel any pressure points or areas of discomfort in either pressure points or in your joints (from flexing too much). Complete relaxation is the key.

Then test for alignment in all your sleeping positions ... again completely relaxed. It helps to have someone help you with this so they can watch you while you focus on completely relaxing in all your sleeping positions. alignment should be similar to your alignment when you are standing with good posture. This picture will give you a good sense of what good alignment should look like.

This type of testing will dramatically improve your odds of success and if you are not quite right will increase the odds that only fine tuning (that can be accomplished with mattress protectors, pads, or toppers in a worst case) is needed.

Phoenix
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Re: stuck in Edmonton 07 Jul 2012 16:50 #5

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Phoenix,

Well I went to Mattress Mattress and laid on the PLB, they had an 8" I think and a 12". The 8" was too firm and the 12" was just right but was too expensive. Then he came out with a pillowtop that he said would correct for the hardness and it did, it felt the same as the 12" and was $800 on sale for $500. So the 8" mattress itself was around 2300 plus the pillowtop is 2800, more than I wanted to spend but if it lasts and gives me a good sleep that's ok. Then I had what I thought was a brilliant idea, although not original. I read on this forum that it might be a good idea to buy the Ikea Edsele, an 80% dunlop latex mattress for 999 and put that pillowtop or a similar one on it, saving at least $1000. So I went to Ikea and checked their sample bed out and it was terrible. The sides were flimsy and the bed didn't feel very good. Now granted they have people on that bed all the time and it is worn out, but then I thought that latex should last even with all that abuse, it made me think that maybe Ikea is not the best place to buy a bed. So now I am thinking, will my Pure Latex Bliss mattress last or will it exhibit the same wear? I think he said it was 70% latex.

Also the salesman said something funny, he said that unlike those other guys they had a no return policy that they were proud of. There was no like 60 day or 120 day return policy if you didn't like the sleep on it. He went on and on about how they get it right the first time, that word of mouth was his best motivation to get it right so we were happy. It gave me pause that he would be proud of a policy that could leave me with a bed I'm not happy with and nothing I could do about it. And if thats the case I might as well buy online and get a latex bed much cheaper at sleepEZ or mattresses.net and they do have a return policy. Of course I won't have tried it out but as I have seen you can tweak it with toppers etc if you aren't satisfied.

So I'm back to square one. I really like the bed but it is on the upper end of my price range and I am now thinking of the online route, making sure it is a firm bed and then getting the right topper to dial in my level of softness. I think I am lucky in a way, I tried a really soft mattress at the store and I felt pain, and on the firm one I felt pain, but on the firm one with the topper it was good. So I have my own personal mattress feel indicator with my back pain level. Probably it is more accurate than Halstead's pressure mapping. lol

Anyways do you know for sure that Pure Latex Bliss is a good brand and do you have some suggestions for mattresses.net or SleepEz? I like mattresses.net putting right on their website that they ship to Canada.
Their adjustable ultra plush mattresses look like they might be good.



Dan

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Re: stuck in Edmonton 08 Jul 2012 00:55 #6

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Hi Dano,

You can see the "specs" of the more common PLB mattresses in post #1 here .

The 8" mattress was probably the Pamper which has only an inch of 19 ILD Talalay over a 40 ILD (very firm) base. The comfort layer on this would allow most people to go through it to the degree that they would mostly be feeling the support layer and it would be very firm.

The extra 2" topper (14 - 15 ILD) ... is even softer but the extra thickness would isolate many people from the firmness of the firm latex below it enough that it would be much more pressure relieving and comfortable. There would still be some though that with the combination of very firm base and the softness of the topper that they would still feel the transition between the layers too much ... especially when they changed positions or moved on the mattress. Many people would need a 3" topper with layers that were this firm and then some of them may feel that they were sinking in to the mattress more than they wanted to. Of course which was best (if any) would depend on each person''s height/weight/body shape and their sleeping positions.

The 12" version would likely be the Beautiful. Even though the top 3" are 19 ILD which would be a bit firmer than the peace with either a 2" or 3" topper, the remaining layers in the Beautiful are softer than the layers under the Pamper so for most people the Beautiful would feel softer than the Pamper with either the 2" or 3" topper ... although again each person may feel certain layers more than others depending on many variables. The Pamper with the 3" layer would be closer though.

So I went to Ikea and checked their sample bed out and it was terrible. The sides were flimsy and the bed didn't feel very good. Now granted they have people on that bed all the time and it is worn out, but then I thought that latex should last even with all that abuse, it made me think that maybe Ikea is not the best place to buy a bed. So now I am thinking, will my Pure Latex Bliss mattress last or will it exhibit the same wear? I think he said it was 70% latex.


Even though the Ikea doesn't have the same quality latex as the 100% Dunlop that is talked about frequently on the forum ... I would doubt that the latex inside the Ikea was worn out. Latex can be very elastic (although the synthetic makes it a bit stiffer) and if you sit on the sides you will sink in more than other materials and possibly bottom out with only 6". This would be normal with a thinner latex layer but it would also be fine for sleeping where the weight concentration is more spread out. I would be very surprised if there was a problem with the latex itself no matter how much it had been used in the showroom.

So now I am thinking, will my Pure Latex Bliss mattress last or will it exhibit the same wear? I think he said it was 70% latex.


The PLB is actually 100% latex but the blend of latex is 70% SBR (synthetic rubber) and 30% NR (natural rubber). Blended talalay and 100% natural Dunlop are both among the most durable of all mattress materials and will last longer than either memory foam or polyfoam. Of course there are many other factors in how long a mattress will last (and there is more about this in post #2 here ) ... on an apples to apples basis latex will outlast any other foam. If you go to this article you will see some examples of some thinner Dunlop latex mattresses that have lasted for 40 or 50 years. Of course softer latex wouldn't last this long but you get the idea :)

Also the salesman said something funny, he said that unlike those other guys they had a no return policy that they were proud of. There was no like 60 day or 120 day return policy if you didn't like the sleep on it.


Actually this can be a good idea and I know other retailers that do the same thing. There are two main advantages to this policy, one for the consumer and one for the store. The first is that it can lower the cost of all the mattresses in the store which helps prices and the second is it helps to make sure that people are more certain about their choice and the store doesn't have to sell to customers that are uncertain about their choices or don't take their choices as seriously because of the existence of a comfort exchange. This helps the store. If the outlet is clear about this (and in this case they are because it's part of what tell their customers they are "proud of") ... then it would discourage the minority of customers who weren't sure that they had it right from buying there at all and could benefit the majority of customers who were not uncertain at all and who knew that it was close enough that a little bit either way wouldn't cause them to want to return it.

As a hypothetical example ... lets say that the average price of a mattress in a store was $1000 (just to keep the math simple) and lets say that about 10% of customers returned a mattress that had a comfort exchange (they tend to encourage customers to return a mattress for fairly minor reasons on many occasions). This would mean that if one out of 10 was returned then the price of the other 9 would need to be increased by over $100 to make up for it. In other words ... the majority of customers would be paying for the uncertainty of the minority of customers and the ones who knew that there was no chance they would be returning a mattress would be paying more than they should.

From the stores perspective ... this tends to encourage customers who are not as certain to shop elsewhere and they would end up paying more for their mattress. This would simplify things a lot for the store as well because they wouldn't have to deal with as many unhappy customers. It also tends to encourage people to take their choices very seriously and the outlet would also be putting more effort into helping their customers make the best choices because they would want to make sure that people that did buy there were happy. Basically ... comfort exchanges are a hidden cost of all the mattresses on the showroom floor and the lack of a return policy for the majority that don't mind and don't return mattresses ... this can allow for better value.

Of course an online purchase is different because people don't have a chance to test the mattress so some type of remedy for making a mistake is much more important. In most cases this is either a money back guarantee, a mattress exchange, or in the case of component mattresses the ability to exchange layers of a mattress for new ones that are either firmer or softer. In other words they can further customize a mattress after they have slept on it by exchanging (or sometimes even rearranging) layers inside the zip cover in addition to adding any toppers or all the "normal" ways of fine tuning a mattress.

So I'm back to square one. I really like the bed but it is on the upper end of my price range and I am now thinking of the online route, making sure it is a firm bed and then getting the right topper to dial in my level of softness. I think I am lucky in a way, I tried a really soft mattress at the store and I felt pain, and on the firm one I felt pain, but on the firm one with the topper it was good. So I have my own personal mattress feel indicator with my back pain level. Probably it is more accurate than Halstead's pressure mapping. lol


If I read your first part right ... you tried two soft mattresses (the 12" mattress which was just right and the 8" mattress with the topper which felt the same) and they both felt good and one firm mattress which didn't (and not a lot of people would like the firmness of the surface of this mattress). In other words you already have two good reference points for what works for you and you are well past square one. I would still tend to either talk with or visit Halstead to see what they say about your experience with the PLB mattresses and what they may suggest that may be somewhat similar. I would also ask them if the price you would pay for something that may be similar would make the trip worthwhile so you have a sense of this too. While they may not give you exact prices because you may not know what would work best for you ... I would get a sense of the range you could expect with various options.

Anyways do you know for sure that Pure Latex Bliss is a good brand


The brand label on a mattress means very little and the materials and construction are what determine the quality of a mattress. While Pure Latex Bliss is owned by the producer of much of the Talalay latex used in most mattresses in North america (Latex International) ... they are still only as good as what is in them. Talalay latex though is one of the highest quality materials available. Don't forget ... you sleep on the materials ... not the brand label.

do you have some suggestions for mattresses.net or SleepEz? I like mattresses.net putting right on their website that they ship to Canada.
Their adjustable ultra plush mattresses look like they might be good.


My best suggestion is to spend some time with both of them on the phone and talk to them about your experiences and preferences and ask what they think you may do best with. There are some generic guidelines in the mattresses section including height/weight/body shape guidelines here along with sleeping position guidelines here but you have already done some testing so you are past the point of generic guidelines and I would talk to them about the specifics of what you have discovered with your experiences and see what they suggest. They have far more knowledge of all the details of their mattresses and the specific guidance of a mattress manufacturer who knows every component of their mattress inside out and also has the benefit of thousands of customers that have bought them (many of which would be similar to you) is always far more valuable than more generic feedback that may not apply to a specific mattress or a specific person.

As far as I know ... they both ship to Canada.

Phoenix
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Re: stuck in Edmonton 08 Jul 2012 02:44 #7

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Phoenix,

I'm very surprised to hear you say that about the sleep guarantee. While I see your point about the stores saving costs not having that 90 or 120 day satisfaction guarantee, your logic about how we will both work towards getting the right mattress IMO is not very well thought out. I will work harder to get a mattress that I will be sure I don't have to return, but they have no motivation whatsoever to work harder, he would have sold me that mattress today no problem without asking any more questions than he had to, because he knows once I'm out the door its not his problem, and if I have severe back pain because laying on the mattress in the store for a few minutes wasn't the same as laying on it all night, I will call him and he will act sympathetic as he tells me he wishes he could do something but you know how upfront he was about the no return policy, so have a nice day and don't bother me with your troubles anymore!

Now having said that I do agree some people will return the bed on a whim, or don't give the bed a chance, or return it just because it didn't give them the sensation of sleeping on air, or whatever frivolous reason, but for me with my back there is a real chance that I could have a worse time of it once I get it home. I would hope not, but I don't want to have a big expensive bed sitting in my bedroom that I now somehow have to get rid of while I spend another large amount of money on another one. I mean you say that your odds of having a successful mattress rise dramatically when you have laid on it for 15 minutes, but that means there are still a percentage of people who will lay on it for the requisite amount of time and think they are buying the right mattress, and then get it home and find a whole night of sleep is a different story. Now you would have them lose their investment. We might have to agree to disagree on this point.

As for your other advice, yes I think you're right. I have to talk to the people either at sleepez or halsteads or mattresses.net and see what they recommend. Maybe it would be better having that top softer layer as part of the mattress instead of as a separate top that can move around. And I am not stuck if I don't like the bed, I can swap out different parts without having to send the whole bed back. That appeals greatly to me.

Thanks for your time and lengthy posts. You are a resource like no other and I feel like you should be getting at least part of the commission, not all of it to the store's salesmen.

Dan

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Re: stuck in Edmonton 08 Jul 2012 03:09 #8

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Hi Dano,

I think the key is that the store policy about comfort guarantees (or lack of it) fits the person and as long as the outlet is up front about their policies then I think it's a legitimate option that can be attractive. The main idea behind it is that a large majority of people never exchange their mattress and get it right (or at least good enough) the first time and this policy allows this group to save some money on their mattresses. I think that if an individual's "value equation" places a high priority on the importance of a comfort exchange and they don't mind paying for it (most people don't realize that they are) ... then they would not shop there. For those where price is more important than the comfort guarantee (assuming the savings are passed on to the consumer which in the case of the other outlet I mentioned it is) it would be a bonus. In other words it's a tradeoff that would benefit some and discourage others from buying there ... just like a comfort guarantee can help some and increase the cost for others. There are many people who have bought many mattresses and never returned one and are quite comfortable with the idea of buying another one without even thinking about returning it as a possibility.

So it's not that I "agree" or "disagree" with the policy ... I just see it's value for those who are comfortable going in this direction and it can be a good option to have available.

My favorite type of comfort guarantee is often offered by local manufacturers who will change out a layer or make other adjustments of various types for a nominal fee. This avoids the cost and price increases of complete mattresses exchanges.

I also like the possibilities of a DIY construction and talking with them can be a real educational experience (depending on how "talkative" they may be that day :))

I have spent several thousand hours (guessing) talking with manufacturers and in general they are a great group of people that are amazingly willing to share their knowledge and experience with others.

Phoenix
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Re: stuck in Edmonton 08 Jul 2012 23:49 #9

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Phoenix,

I am agreeing with you in theory, so this is not an argument, but theoretically if a mattress place is not allowing a return policy and comes clean with it then their prices should be lower should they not? I am not 100% sure of the pricing of the PLB Mattresses but it seems like I am paying a premium price for the one I looked at, especially when I compare to the online options I have, even with exchange rate and customs added. So where is the savings I am supposed to be getting from this policy? Do you not agree that in practice this policy can be used to the benefit of the mattress company and to the detriment of the consumer? I mean in my experience companies are quite liberal about using things for their own benefit and when they see an opportunity they will milk it as much as they can. Maybe I have been jaded but I don't much trust companies to do what is right when not doing it will gain them more profits. Especially with a mattress purchase which generally last people a long time. I think the temptation to make a quick buck when they know the next time a person needs a mattress they may not even be in business is too great to pass up.

Now you seem to have found some reputable places, and that's what drew me to this site. Real value and real quality. Thats what I like. Heck, I would even pay more if I knew that the quality was good. That is why I would drive 3 hours to Calgary to check Halstead's out. I don't want to, and would rather have a local option, but I have a hunch that I wouldn't have to drop $2800 at Halsteads to be just as happy or happier than dropping it at Mattress Mattress. Or I'd be happier dropping less on an online solution such as mattresses.net or SleepEz. Please feel free to correct me if I'm wrong. If there is real value in the Pure Latex Bliss at that price then I'm ok paying that much. My disadvantage is my knowledge of mattresses isn't very good, and to be honest, I don't want it to be. I am happy leaning on experts such as yourself which have already steered me to some good places and given me some good advice, which will lead me to even more experts and advice, the only problem for me is that it is inconvenient. Still I have the options in front of me, I was looking for a shortcut but maybe in my case I should just take the good advice and make the drive or go for the online options. That is where I am now. I can only express my gratitude to you for your advice, for I would have probably gone to a mattress place here and got ripped off and would probably have to buy a new mattress in a few years. You will probably have saved me literally maybe ten thousand in price and buying new beds rather than me getting a proper bed that lasts. The very least I can do is report back on the bed I bought and give a review.

Dan

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Re: stuck in Edmonton 09 Jul 2012 02:18 #10

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Hi Dano,

I completely agree with you that if the policy doesn't create a benefit for the consumer then it has little value. My comments were more about the potential value of a policy like this and it's potential benefits and that I know other retailers who use it to the advantage of consumers. Any particular outlet though may not do this but that's part of the process of making meaningful comparisons. If an outlet has a no return policy and they still sell for the same as outlets that have an exchange policy ... then of course the ones that allow an exchange would represent better value.

My comments were meant more to show that there was value in looking at some things more closely and not to dismiss them out of hand if there was also a benefit attached. Whether that's the case here or not I don't know.

As I mentioned in my earlier comments ... I didn't have a particularly good experience when I was talking with MattresMattress to say the least but I listed them because the PLB line is worth including in mattress research either as a potential purchase or if for nothing else as a "testing ground" for those who are considering a latex mattress

I changed part of my original comment to better reflect the point you are making from

The first is that it lowers the cost of all the mattresses in the store


to

The first is that it can lower the cost of all the mattresses in the store

Now you seem to have found some reputable places, and that's what drew me to this site. Real value and real quality. Thats what I like. Heck, I would even pay more if I knew that the quality was good. That is why I would drive 3 hours to Calgary to check Halstead's out. I don't want to, and would rather have a local option, but I have a hunch that I wouldn't have to drop $2800 at Halsteads to be just as happy or happier than dropping it at Mattress Mattress. Or I'd be happier dropping less on an online solution such as mattresses.net or SleepEz. Please feel free to correct me if I'm wrong.


I completely agree with your thinking here. I would talk with Halsteads on the phone though (I recommend a phone conversation with any outlet I am thinking of visiting as a matter of course to get a sense of what I can expect when I get there) before making a visit. Some of the sites I list are "candidates" for value and would require further research on the part of the person that was considering them or what I call an interview . I would never visit an outlet without a phone call first. The members here are the only ones I officially "recommend" although there are many others that I include comments that indicate I think highly of them that are not ... yet ... members :)

If there is real value in the Pure Latex Bliss at that price then I'm ok paying that much. My disadvantage is my knowledge of mattresses isn't very good, and to be honest, I don't want it to be. I am happy leaning on experts such as yourself which have already steered me to some good places and given me some good advice, which will lead me to even more experts and advice, the only problem for me is that it is inconvenient.


The PLB is generally in the "better than average" value range when compared to other mainstream mattresses but not in the same value range as many local manufacturers. My goal on the site is really twofold ... one is to provide better options in terms of outlets (from "candidates" that need further research but have excluded the known worst choices) all the way to those I recommend. The second goal of the site is to give people a way to make meaningful value comparisons with other mattresses that use similar components in similar amounts. In the general marketplace ... the PLB is a better value mattress. In the context of the choices and options that are available to members of this forum ... it's not in the best value range by any means but of course each person's value equation may be different. If someone pays a few hundred dollars more for a local mattress that they have tested and know they love over another option that they can't test or there are other reasons that it is the best value (by their standards) available in the local area ... then it may still be the best choice for them.

In other words ... I try to give better tools that can lead to better decisions without crossing over the line into making decisions for people or "imposing" my "value equation" on others who may have other priorities than me in terms of what are the most important qualities in a mattress and an outlet besides just price.

If there is real value in the Pure Latex Bliss at that price then I'm ok paying that much. My disadvantage is my knowledge of mattresses isn't very good, and to be honest, I don't want it to be. I am happy leaning on experts such as yourself which have already steered me to some good places and given me some good advice, which will lead me to even more experts and advice, the only problem for me is that it is inconvenient.


One of the values of the better online manufacturers is that they not only make great mattresses with good value but they can provide a "value reference" for a local purchase. My general guideline (and this may be different for each person depending on how comfortable they are with the risk of an online purchase) is that if a local comparable purchase that you can actually test and like or better yet "love" is available for a "premium" of about 20% or less over a reputable online manufacturer ... then it may be well worth considering over an online purchase. If the "premium" starts to go over this then I would seriously consider an online purchase.

If you go to Calgary anyway ... I would also consider a visit to Sleep Boutique (formerly Labbe Bedding). They make latex mattresses and also make some mattresses that use very high quality polyfoam (up to 2.8 lbs which is a very high quality and durable material that can approach latex in some of its properties) which may be of interest as well.

I hope this helps and makes things a little easier in terms of deciding which direction to go.

Phoenix
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Last edit: by phoenix.
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