[AMA] I Worked for a Big Mattress/Bedroom Furniture Store, Ask Me Anything

For three years, I used to work in a big mattress/bedding store in a regional city as a salesman and on occasion fill in delivery guy.

I'd love to answer your questions on the industry. Go ahead, ask me anything!

closed Comments

    • Know your products price. and always try to negotiate when on sale.

      interestingly, many brands offer double queen or king for the price of a single.

      The king is always great value, but the queen and double are actually more expensive then other sale prices.

    • Name brands will discount, but often exclusive brands wont discount as much.

  • What is your opinion on Koala mattresses? Are they any good?

    • +3

      Are they good: They are

      Should you buy one?
      It depends if you like the memory foam feel.
      Personally, I enjoy spring, with a little bit of bounce
      but other people feel differently. I'd go to a brand name store and try a name brand memory foam to see if you like the feel before you buy.

      Are they good value: For a memory foam mattress- Yes.
      Could you by a sprung mattress with a memory foam top and cool gel for that price. Yes you could. Probably even cheaper with a base.
      Because they sell direct to consumer, I'd say there would still be a big mark up.

      Is there lots of marketing spin still- Yes

      • Yeah for certain activities spring and a bit bounce could make a huge difference!

        • +2

          True, go memory foam if you don't want kids.

  • Thanks OP this is my favourite AMA so far!

    • Thanks!

  • Why are the RRPs still so obviously ridiculous? I last bought a mattress about 8 years ago, after testing almost every mattres in the store, when I made the slightest indication towards the one I had decided upon the sales manager immediately said "I'll get you a price on that" and gave me an almost 50% "discount" from the RRP. Maybe he didn't want me walking out to the Harvey Norman and 2 other mattress places next door?

    • +4

      Why are the RRP's so ridiculous. Because people are dumb. Initially our prices were fair and not as high marked up, but when Hardley Normals started these 50% sales we got hammered, even if our price was cheaper it wasn't "50% off'. It's absolutely ludicrous. The USA is insane, some stores do "70-90" Percent off.

      If i had my own store i'd love to do a mattress store with everyday low prices, and make it an easy to understand place.

      • Yeah this!

        People dont normally buy things with normal prices, they all wait for sale and buy so many more stuffs that they don’t need. It took me a few years to realise this.

        Now I just buy things whenever I need and can afford to pay the price retailers are asking.

        • +1

          Hand in your ozbargain membership!

          You make a good point. I think at Ozbargain we are well aware of the "true" price of things. Mabye I should do mattress posts

  • I have bad back and neck, any particular brand that you think is good for me? I am currently using tempur but doesn't make much difference.

    • Ooh, thats a tough one. There are many variables and so I couldn't recommend the right one. I'd suggest going and trying a mid end sealy with a medium firm or medium feel. I'm a bigger person and always felt that I was sinking too much into memory foams around my hips

  • For all those thinking 'margins are ridiculous', I can tell you that the margins in your local deli are far greater than in mattress shops (think 300 - 500%). Sure charging 400% mark up for prosciutto doesnt end up costing you as much as it does for a mattress in dollar terms; but that size mark up is pretty common across the majority of small businesses.

    Thats mark up from cost base of the product. The profit margin (after shipping, rent, wages, insurance etc etc) will likely be in the 10-30% range (ie 30% profit over and above total costs) for a well run shop doing well

    Sorry, nothing to do with mattresses! Just for people getting upset re markup.

    • Wholesale prosciutto costs about $25-28 /kg
      If they sell for $40-45, the markup is about 50%, not terribly unreasonable

      Prosciutto is actually sold cheaper in Australia than it is in Italy

    • It is a bit of an awkward industry. I know that before my interview for the job I tried researching mattresses and got so confused. I think the reason people complain about the markup is because they don't feel they've got what they payed for.

  • I love to change the frame design every year but seeing the frame is just looking brand new after a year and is still functional, I drop the idea to get a new one. It would be great if bed frames can be trade in or sell back to the shop, it's something hardly damaged nor depreciated over years.

    • Yeah, used bedding really has no resale

  • Any secret in getting a good pillow? Latex, memory foam, bamboo, cotton? Anywhere I can find some not so ordinary pillow like a face down one?

    • Okay good pillow secrets-

      In a mattress store, lie down on a bed similiar to your own. The pillow height is largely subjective to whether you sleep on a firm medium or plush mattress. The more you sink into a bed the lower a pillow will need to be.

      Bamboo and cotton- a non issue for me, it doesn't so much matter what it feels like if you cover it with a case anyway.

      Latex or memory foam? I find a good memory foam more comfortable and more moulding on my neck

  • I tend to feel hot in bed. Does that mean we should avoid latex? (We currently have a latex pillowtop).
    And what do you think of koala?

    • +1

      First step if you feel hot in bed, is what sheets and mattress protector are you using.

      1000 thread count sheets, while they feel nice, tend to retain heat. I'd change that first.

      A nice breathable cotton mattress protector may help if you have a synthetic one now.

      If those things don't make a difference, steer clear of latex.

      Regarding Koala mattresses, I wrote a comment up above.
      They are great value if you love memory foam feels but if you are like me and enjoy the feel of
      a spring mattress, I'd go and get a good deal on a sprung mattress. You can get alot for the same price.

      • Thanks for that. We usually have mid spec sheets 300-600 thread count and a good wooden underlay, which we purchased after a friend suggested it as a workaround to feeling hot. Can't say I can tell the difference. We currently have our pillowtop mattress upside down (!) and it feels ok. I can't imagine what we'll replace it with.

        • How long have you had it for?

        • @namenottaken:
          (Looks down at feet…)
          Dunno….maybe… 20 years….

  • Have you heard of zzz atelier, and if so, what do you think of them?

    I've 21 and have always had a cheap mattress and am starting to get back pain waking up… I bought one after reading lots of reviews. I bought the black label chiropedic.

    If I don't like it, it's only $250. I'm super keen for it to arrive!

    • Please update me on what it's like. They look to be good value
      Their site looks like they are great value

  • How did you feel about customers trying beds with their shoes still on?

    • +2

      We had feet protectors, because otherwise, gross.

      One guy I know got people to take their shoes off and removed the protector, so they could feel the cottony softness on their feet. He thought it got him the sales. You don't feel it once you've got a sheet.

  • Do you guys have a telly ad like this one :

    Grande sale, grande sale, grande sale Where? In Bruns-e-wick and a Foot(is)gray. Franco Cozzo ave(a) da pleasure to-a presenta to you "Il Modernissimo" Bedroom Suites, dining room and wonderful lounge Why don't you come for yourself and 'ave a looka this magnifico Il Modernissimo Only can found from Franco Cozzo Buy from Franco Cozzo

    Megalo!, megalo!, megalo!

    xepoulima ston Franco Cozzo Trapezaria, krevatokamares, salonia, karekles, apo ton Franco Cozzo. Elate na agorasete apo ton Franco Cozzo. In Brunswick and(a) Foot(a)scray nagorasita Franco Cozzo. Franco Cozzo per la prima volte in Australia dichiara guerra, guerra ai prezzi, Grande Svendita! Dove? a Brunswick and a Footscray. Se i migliori mobili volete comprare, oggi, domani, sempre, da Franco Cozzo dovete andare. Dove? a Brunswick and a Footscray. Comprate da Franco Cozzo.


    • +1

      Still better then a Harvey Norman Ad

  • Have you heard of derucci beds? Are they any good?

    • No I haven't sorry. Looked at their website.
      They probably feel fine, depending on the price could be good value.

  • Sorry, one more question - what is your opinion of Makin Mattresses? They're quite prolific advertisers, but I've never checked out their product - they seem to set themselves up for a battle against the Harvey Normans etc with their provocative advertising (like this - http://www.makinmattresses.com.au/buyer-beware/).

    • +1

      Okay, so they are great if you need a well priced custom sized product for a caravan.

      Other then that, from what I've seen/heard can't really say that they offer better value or
      make a better mattress. That being said I've never really inspected/ seen how they make things.

      As regards their "provocative advertising" its a load of rot.

      A few examples, the makin mattresses website says that double sided mattresses are good and single sided ones are a rip off.
      False: There is a reason for single sided mattresses. Basically the springs can be created to give a softer spring touch on the top and gradually become harder/firmer as more weight is placed on them. Can't do that with double sided.
      Also regarding pillowtops, yeah, of course its cheaper to make one side then two sides, but wouldn't you rather one good side then two cheaply made sides. Also on double sided mattresses it means one soft side is on the base, so that can cause indentations and uneven feel on anything other then a firm mattress.

      Their page says that "imported mattresses don't have edge support" False. all mattresses have basic edge support. And many imported ones have nice foam edge support.

      It's just scare tactics to try to get the sale. There are better things to call the big boys out on.

  • I love my Dunlop pillows, bought them for about $50 each in Costco a few years back while listed price in any other retailers was $150 normally and $80 on sale. What gives???

    • Oh man that's a great deal!
      Stellar savings bro

  • I purchased a new bed and mattress for my son and was talked into upgrading the mattress from something pretty basic to a mattress specifically designed for kids, I knew it was a bit of a scam, but the mattress did seem "better" than the bargain basement model I was considering. Are these kids mattresses really designed for growing kids or are they just low/medium grade models re-badged as "for growing bodies" etc? I think it may have been this: https://www.sealy.com.au/mattress-range/sealy-singles?gclid=...

    • +3

      So normally parents come in and by the cheapest singles for their kids. Often times just a basic sprung mattress with no pillow top or a cheap and nasty one, often chinese made.

      This sealy range, while I wouldn't say it is specifically designed for kids, is still great. It's basically a cut down adult mattress with a few nice features. (which still come in handy for kids)

      The edgeguard is awesome, makes it harder to fall out of bed and is great for durability if your kid sits on the edge of the bed.

      The springs are a proper spring set up like their main range, quite stronger and firmer, more supportive.

      I reckon they are actually worthwhile for parents, you could get a cheaper mattress and change every 5 years or so, or just get one of these and make them keep it till they leave home.

  • +2

    Did you ever?

  • We bought an AH Beard Nature's Rest latex mattress about 2 years ago. We got the "medium" softness. From the day we got it we felt it was wayyyy softer than the model we tried in the shop but they swore black and blue it was the correct model. Since then we've never slept well on it. It's just too soft! We spent $2-3k on it and feel so ripped off!

    Any advice?

    • +1

      That's weird. I've tried a few natures rest products, they can be pretty comfy. I the problem would be that there would be some inconsistencies in the latex they used which is why your mattress probably feels softer

      Personally, I don't think there is much that you can do now time has passed, next time what I would recommend is getting a mattress with a 90 or 120 night guarantee, that gives a bit more peace of mind. Also too, something to keep in mind- sometimes the 2-3k beard and sleepmaker mattresses have these really lush pillowtops. Often they can get impressions/ softer with time. I noticed we had more warranty returns on these medium/plush mattresses in those brands in those ranges.

      • Thanks for your reply. Yes it has a pillow top which I don't think helps.

        • Pillow Tops are great, id recommend them to anyone, its when they get too thick and luxurious, often times they will get sofger with time or indentations. if i were you, go for a medium feel next time with a pillowtop.

  • if you had a need to get from one end of the room to the other, and there was a row of mattress's, would u walk on the floor, or jump from mattress to mattress until you reached your destination.

    • Depends on how big the last sale was

  • I noticed when someone asked about Snooze you asked whether it was a Madison mattress. Is this Madison one good? The storeperson actually did promote this brand and it's ok in terms of the firmness etc.

    • +1

      Haha, so interesting thing about madison mattreses,
      If ever you go into snooze to try a mattress, they HAVE to show you at least one madison mattress because they are an exclusive brand home brand with higher profit margins that can't be compared anywhere else. Pretty sure they are imported from China or somewhere too.
      Often times they really push customers into them.

      Comfort wise- They are pretty comfortable, I went to snooze and tried some when I was taking a look at competition.
      Reliability? Probably good, I know some imports our store had seemed to hold up longer then some of the aussie made ones.
      Value? - They are probably a little bit on the higher end of price for what they are, but combined with a good discount may be worth it

  • +7

    Never thought I'd spend time reading a full thread about mattresses but here I am. Amazing what you can find interesting when you have exams to study for haha

    • ditto for me! :)

  • I've got a mattress whinge. Single mattresses are made for kids. King singles are made for bigger kids. Queen and kings are made for adults. Agreed? So WTF are doubles made for? They are the same length as the little kids' single. The king single is the same length as a queen. Doesn't make sense.

    • +3

      Small rooms, shorter adults, historical reasons. Doubles used to be the 'standard' size for adults. People are bigger these days and have more money, so Queens are now pretty much the standard.

      • Queens are too wide for a small spare bedroom and doubles are too short.

      • True. We used to upsell people to queens from double by saying- 2 people in a double is comparatively less space then a baby in its cot.

        • Nearly every time you see a couple in bed in a tv or movie drama they are in a double for some reason- married contentment?- and looking dreadfully cramped.

        • @shaybisc: Prob because it was the cheapest prop? Otherwise to make the room bigger or the actors seem closer to each other then (most of them are on the thin side..).

        • @shaybisc:
          It's why people back in the day had more kids

    • Old people love them for some reason. Motels use them. Parents buy their kids doubles so they can kick the kids out when visitors come.

      But yeah that's about it. I found that they still sold up to about a 1k mattress. Anything more and it was queen or king

  • Hi op

    Where do we found “cotton” based mattress? This one does not have springs or any artificial Materials

  • Great thread and good timing. I'm looking at a new King mattress and ensemble. Snooze certainly had the best customer service. I am pretty set on the Slumberland Cornwall. What do you think about the brand and bed. My wife and I both like a firm mattress ;)

    • Cool as bro, Snooze do have pretty good service. :-)

      So a few questions, Are you or your wife big average or little people :-p
      If you are average weight or less, go for it, should be a decent mattress for the price.

      If you are a bit larger framed, I'd give a sealy a go, the pocket springs in the slumberland may not be as supportive.

      • Cheers. We are both average. We tried the Sealy but found them terrible for partner movement. I move around and toss and turn which seems to transfer alot in the Sealy.

        • Yeah it does do that a bit. I'd definetly stick to the Cornwall then!:)

  • +1

    Thanks for some really interesting responses OP. I really appreciate the time you have taken to answer some great questions :-) My wife and I just splashed out on a Sleepmaker Aspiration King. We read up about the body impression being a big thing on the plusher mattresses but we decided the comfort factor was worth it. Hopefully it holds up for a while :-)

    • +1

      Just make sure you rotate :) and with King size as annoying as it is, if you can, spend time in the middle of it. To stop a ridge forming. Enjoy those plush feels! Sure is heavenly.

  • What do you think of the Purple Matresses?


  • Did you sell many superkings? I really like the idea of the extra width but it seems a little extravagant.

    • No, we didn't but we thought about getting one to show customers as an upsell. only a handful were ever sold

      • Could use it as a marketing tool. More people might buy a King because compared to a SuperKing it's not that big. That's why JB Hifi stocks the 80-90 inch tvs to sell more of the 65 and 75 inch ones.

  • Hello, I am after a queen size mattress at the moment (for myself and my wife) so firstly thanks for your valuable inputs on this topic, they are helping us a lot. We are based in Brisbane and wonder if you could kindly recommend us:

    (1) a few mattress stores to start with which may be easier to get a good deal (as we're not always that good at bargaining, especially things we're not familiar with)

    (2) a few options that will fit into our budget and liking, e.g. around $800-1200 (we both liked the Sealy Fiori Plush at HN but it was a bit over budget - http://www.domayneonline.com.au/bedroom/mattresses-and-ensem...)

    Thank you!!

    p.s. average weight

    • cheers,
      whatever you do dont get confused shopping!

      if you like the sealy but its too expensive- try a sleepmaker miracoil


      or https://www.fortywinks.com.au/products/beds-mattresses/daint...

      those prices seem good, work on them a bit, dont be afraid to aak. bring cash

      • Hello again!

        We tried the SLEEPMAKER Daintree Plush, price was really good but partner didn't like it.

        How's the King Koil brand? any good? We almost bought the King Koil Chiro Deluxe (but just need more time to decide between medium or plush).

        Thanks :)

  • What mattress would you recommend for almost 24/7 daily use and possibly 110-120kgs weight maybe more for single person but might have occasional additional person maybe once a week or year..

    Do you guys sell gaming mattresses for bed gamers is what I'm asking with minimal saggage over the years.

    Also which pillow do you think is the best or just economical and still the best.. Can be any type gel foam bamboo duck feather etc any kind but I guess durable.

    Not leather

    • Sealy- preferably in the 1000-1500$ Ra get for a queen

      Pillows- whatever is comfortable, really down to preference. I like sleep maker memory foam ones

  • Use to a mattress brand Cloud Nine bought back in South Africa. I weigh 80kg but bought one for 125kg just cause I like the firmness…what sponge or very firm mattress so you propose…that I can turn every so often for best use?….Thanks

  • How can a faulty mattress be returned? It has been a couple of years now but is still under warranty. What would be the process?

  • +1

    I'm looking at getting a Sleep Republic pocket spring mattress (bed in a box). I'm 80kgs, have bad back issues and am a hot sleeper (I know it has foam layers which will be warm, but most spring ones do anyway). I only want spring which is why I'm looking at sleep republic, and I'd rather do 100 day trial than 10mins in a store.

    Sound like a good pick in your opinion? Thanks for all the other info you've given too, you're a legend :)

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