Comment of the Day Runner-Up: Help Me Uncover the Great Mattress Store Proliferation Plot

COMMENT OF THE DAY RUNNER-UP: HELP ME UNCOVER THE GREAT MATTRESS STORE PROLIFERATION PLOT “There has got to be some kind of conspiracy going on. There is never anyone in any of their locations or Mattress Firm at any time of day except the person that works there. There are 2 Mattress 1 One locations right across the street from each other at Richmond and 610. Anywhere there is a Starbucks, there is a mattress store very close by. I have no knowledge of anyone, or anyone that knows anyone that has purchased a mattress from either of these two stores. Someone please explain how and why.” [Eric, commenting on A Mattress Store Has Closed in Montrose; previously on Swamplot] Photo of adjacent Mattress Firms on Westheimer at Montrose: Swamplot inbox

10 Comment

  • I always suspect money laundering in situations like this. After all, some people like to hide their money in their mattresses.

  • It’s a very high-margin business with low overhead. I would bet that two, maybe three sales each day cover costs. You only need one employee for that. Then as to ubiquity, even if you buy into the marketing hype and replace your mattresses every eight years, that’s not very often. When you decide to do so, you’re likely to go to the very nearest, most familiar-name showroom — the one you drive past every day.

    This map that Swamplot featured a few years back shows that the density of store locations also tracks closely to the most dense, apartment-filled areas of town. Makes sense that people moving to new apartments (or into the city) would be in the market for mattresses.

  • Freakonomics had a great podcast on mattress stores last year. Low margin high markup business with commissioned sales people that can operate in a barebones retail facility.

  • @Txcon – I’m glad you recommended that Freakonomics podcast, as I was about to suggest the same.
    It certainly helps shed some light on how ridiculous the mattress industry has become. Not to mention, one of the guests on that podcast is Dr. Dholakia, a professor of Marketing at Rice.

  • This is why the JFK papers have been redacted.

  • I thought that buying mattresses online was all the rage now, contradicting the idea that mattress retail is internet-proof. Got my (wonderful) mattress at Bed-in-a-Box; and it is only one of many such vendors.

  • Watch the Penn and Teller BS episode on mattresses.

  • Wasn’t one of the points in the Freakonomics piece that all these Storefronts are actually just big SIGNS that keeps mattresses in the minds of consumers?
    The biggest crock is that you need a new mattress every 8 years.
    Buy a traditional one with springs that you can both turn and flip, keep a microfiber cover on it, and vacuum it every so often. It will last a lifetime. No kidding. I still sleep on the Stearns & Foster I bought in 1983!

  • The mattress stores are also financing scams. Notice how many have signs in the windows about no down payments, long repayment periods, etc. Because the product is high-margin, a few months of payments likely covers their costs. Once a payment is late, the interest rate jumps and you have another piece of high-interest, unsecured, consumer debt to milk or sell on to an aggregator or debt collector.

  • Comments here already did a good job but a big issue is a mattress store can open in any big space very quickly and easily. You need a big open space to toss down some example mattresses, and a cash register. Then toss an employee that makes $100/day (+ commissions). Other than rent (which obviously can’t be glossed over), it cost very little to open and run such a store.