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Buying a bed from the Tesla Motors of mattresses

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Buying a bed from the Tesla Motors of mattresses

You know what's great? Buying a mattress without having to deal with a mattress salesperson. No bullshit, no haggling, no obfuscatory and deceptive pricing, no lying to trick me into buying the extended warranty—just me, paying for a thing at a reasonable price. The idea of buying a mattress without a shitty vampire middle-man is in fact so attractive that I just dropped $750 on a king-sized mattress from Tuft and Needle sight unseen.

My wife and I have only spent one night on the mattress, so I can't speak to its long-term comfort (though I'm confident that it'll be fine). But what feels so damn good about buying from T&N is that I can have a new mattress and give the finger to the entire established traditional mattress industry at the same time. A business that makes obscene margins—think 40-50%, which is absolutely ridiculous—primarily though tricking and abusing customers is one that deserves to be given a massive comeuppance, and every time I look at the new mattress sitting in my bedroom, I get to smile and think, "Fuck you, Sealy! Fuck you, Serta! Fuck you, King Koil, Stearns and Foster, Tempur-Pedic, and all the rest of you scummy consumer-bilking thieves! I got a new mattress, and you got nothing!"

I hate to use the word "disrupt," since it's such an overblown Silicon Valley BS word, but companies like Tuft and Needle that are bypassing value-detracting middlemen in retail and instead marketing products directly to consumers aren't just making good products—they're doing a public service by helping to push aside an ossified system of product distribution, the primary goal of which isn't to serve customers but to complicate the process of buying a good by cloaking a product's value and separating you from your dollars. Tesla Motors is doing it in the automotive space, kicking car dealers deservedly in the balls, and T&N (and other online mattress manufacturers selling direct, like Leesa, Casper, and Saatva) are doing it to mattress retailers.

Screed aside, how's the mattress?

Stowing the soapbox for a bit. The buying process was easy, and the T&N mattress arrived in less than a week in an enormous box. The mattress is shipped squashed and compressed, so I de-boxed it, cut it free from its vacuum seal, and watched it quickly inflate like a T-1000. It was pretty cool.

T&N's mattresses are 10 inches thick, and made of two layers of foam—three inches of a proprietary blend that's sort of like memory foam and sort of like latex foam, and seven inches of support foam. It's a non-flippable design, with the blend side intended to be the top, and it comes zipped into a soft rayon/polyester cover. It's firm without being too firm—definitely a bit firmer than an all-memory-foam mattress, but just as soft as the 12-year old coil mattress it's replacing.

Movement transfer is very low—my wife and I are both sleep-twitchers, and she usually gets up at least once a night to get a glass of water, but we both agreed in the morning that we didn't feel more than the tiniest bit of motion through the mattress (a huge improvement over our old mattress).

Cooling is a big deal, since we're into that time of year in Houston where the weather is oppressive and in order to avoid $400 monthly utility bills you can't keep the house at 66 degrees. We're back to our usual ultra-thin summer sheets and we were both a bit concerned that a foam mattress would be more insulative than we could handle. However, at least for the first night, it wasn't a problem at all. We slept fine, without sweltering.

We've only had it for one night, and initial impressions with a mattress don't really count for much (one reason why "trying" a mattress in a store is bullshit). However, T&N has a 100-day return policy—which, in fact, was the tipping point for me buying it in the first place. I'll have more to say in a few months, but judging by the ludicrously high number of 5-star reviews on Amazon, I'm not anticipating my opinions will change.

So, eat a giant dick, old-school mattress manufacturers and retailers. Your deaths can't come soon enough.

Quick update, five months later: The T&N mattress is still comfortable. I'd call this a win-win.

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