After a period of time with both Mrs Bobinoz and myself whingeing about our bad backs at each other, we wondered whether we should consider buying a new mattress. After a brief period of calculation, we realised the mattress we had been sleeping on was a wee tad over 15 years old.
Yes, it WAS time to buy a new mattress.
In England, buying a mattress was like falling off a log. In fact, the mattress that had served us so well for so long was, if you like, an impulse buy.
We were in a store and a Slumberland slightly bigger than Queen Mattress was up for sale for £600, a sizeable reduction of what it should have cost, I was told. I can’t remember what the full price was supposed to be, but the base that went with it had been damaged so it was kind of an odd item.
Well, it fitted our base just fine and it was a top of the range pocket sprung thingy, so we bought it.
Buying a mattress in Australia
Fast forward 15 years, and we were buying a mattress again. It’s almost a different world now than it was then, buying this new mattress would be just as easy, all I need to do is search the Internet for “best mattress in Australia” or maybe “mattress reviews Australia”.
I certainly couldn’t do that back then.
And so began the nightmare.
Reviews were hopeless. Turns out that the major manufacturers of beds give different names to “virtually” the same beds that they sell to different retailers. So, for example, the ‘same’ bed will be sold to Meyer, David Jones, Harvey Norman and any number of the bed shops like Forty Winks, Snooze and Sleepys.
But what might be known as the “Emperor” range in one store could be the “Elite” range in another and the “Euphoria” range in a third.
As a result of this, reviews were worthless. It’s impossible to compare like for like; whatever anyone is reviewing you have no real idea what it is because it’s got a different name from the one you want to buy. And if you do try and buy a specific bed, with a specific name from a specific store you’ll probably find when you get that store that the range has been discontinued.
Or in other words, it’s been given another name to confuse you.
Add to that that all beds were pretty much slated as being useless and for every bed reviewed by someone who said “This is the best bed I’ve ever slept on, I love it!” – then there would be further comments saying “Wait till you’ve had it more than a month, then see what you think!?” and “Yes, I know what you mean, mine sagged in the middle after five weeks and when I took it back under the 10 year guarantee, they laughed like a drain!”
On an even darker side, one particular bed had nothing but rave reviews, and lots of them. In a forum, somebody mentioned that they’d given the product a bad review and his review had been removed.
So much for reviews.
How to buy a bed: the computer
In one store I visited, the assistant advised that I return with my significant other half and lay down on their computerised bed. This bed would calculate our relative body masses, weight, height, sleeping positions and, no doubt, the cut our pyjamas before spewing out a computer analysis and report recommending the perfect bed for us.
I decided not to return with my significant other.
How to buy bed: test it
In this method you simply walk into a bed shop, lie on the bed of your choice and act as if you are going to sleep. Stay in that position for as long as your self consciousness will allow, and then from that (usually brief) experience decide whether you really want to spend the next 3 out of 10 years in the same position.
See, a nightmare!
The cost of beds in Australia
The real nightmare though, is the prices of beds here in Australia. Obviously I can’t compare like for like between Australia and the UK, I can’t even compare like for like in Australia with Australia.
So what I’ve done, is I’ve chosen the most expensive beds or, as we would say, the top of the range from manufacturers who sell both here and in the UK. Are the beds the same?
Almost certainly not. That’s the point. That’s my frustration.
Enough waffle, here are the prices…
All prices are for mattresses only; size is 5′ x 6’6″, known as a King-size bed in the UK and 5′ x 6’8″ which is known as a Queen here in Australia.
First, the UK…
Beds are very expensive here, but I couldn’t say for sure that they are as expensive as it appears above. The UK beds cost £4153 versus the Australian beds which total $13,497. That indicates that beds could be as much as twice as expensive here in Australia. If only I could have found the Sealy Posturepedic Grand Luxe Barcelona for sale in the UK, then maybe my comparison would have been more meaningful.
But I couldn’t.
I also spent a fair while searching a Sealy bed, any Sealy bed, that costs more than $925 and I just couldn’t find one. So that bed we have on sale here in Australia for $6499 must be something really special.
But I won’t be buying it to find out.
So this comparison is pretty meaningless, which is exactly what the manufacturers want. All I think we can learn from it is, if you’re moving here from abroad, bring your bed with you, even if you have to shove it in your suitcase.
Right, I’m going to go for a lie down.