The Importance of a Good Box Spring

Stop. Give me a minute. Listen, I realize the topic is as boring as rock maintenance and lightbulb fragility, but you might learn something.

Our old mattress was at the end of its long life. My back was achy every morning and the mattress had two body-impression scoops and a raised ridge down the middle. The great expense and pain in the neck of shopping for a new mattress had made me procrastinate far too long. It’s also a confusing niche purchase with far too many options and guilt-laden, intermittent sales promotions.

But the reckoning came. I’ll not name the mattress store, but it was chosen strictly because it was near to where I purchase the dog food. Homework be damned. I metaphorically checked that box with a huge black sharpie and mouthed a couple of expletives as I swerved into the lot and marched confidently into the store.

Twenty minutes later, I’d purchased the mattress and was on my way home. Here’s how I did it. I knew I didn’t want a tempurpedic. My children each have one of these wonderful mattresses, but they tend to sag when you sit on the edges. They can be wildly expensive and a bit tricky to single out which one will be best for you, too. “I don’t want a tempurpedic and I don’t want anything smart,” I told the sales guy. I didn’t want to learn anything. Or depend on technology. Or plug anything in. Electricity and sleeping shouldn’t be bundled.

Moving on, the guy took me to a super pretty section of the store with a big banner and started dropping words like organic, bamboo, hand-made pocket springs, NASA . . . No, he didn’t actually say that last – it’s just what I thought I heard as I walked away from him and the pretty little setup with the million-dollar price tags.

I sat on the cheapest mattresses and heard springs creak. Nope. Moving on. “I don’t want the cheapest and don’t want the most expensive. Where is the middle of the road?” He brought me to a line of mattresses. Two brand names – each with a soft, medium, and firm option. Both brand names were super similar in both feel and price. I pointed to a medium option and told him I’d take it.

But at checkout – I told him I didn’t need new box springs. And this is where I made my mistake. He opened his mouth to speak, but I raised a brow. He knew I’d blown through the previous decision-making process in under ten minutes, so probably figured I was a know-it-all and not worthy of his practiced sales pitch. I’d also crossed my arms.

I should have listened to the pitch. Delivery day came and the old mattress was dragged away, a beautiful new one lay in its place. I was so pleased and proud that I tried to ignore what was happening within weeks. My back was hurting again, and the mattress was beginning to develop a small dent. How could that be? Our last mattress had not developed issues until it was past ten years old. Could it be my weight? Shame engulfed me. But then, I wondered.

Could it be that the old mattress was such a good soldier because it had been purchased along with the recommended, same brand, and new box springs? It didn’t make any sense. A box spring is like wood – which doesn’t bend. And coils, I suppose. But still, the structure was the same, wasn’t it? The old ones had certainly looked just fine when I saw them exposed.

Because of the shame – I didn’t present myself in person at the store, but rather called and placed the order for the box springs over the phone. They knew the type of mattress I’d purchased and yes, there were box springs specifically designed for it. I put it on my VISA and had them (two pieces for a king) delivered.

Immediately . . . and I mean immediately, the mattress took on a different shape and comfort level. No tiny sagging, no more backaches, and my shame went poof.

Purchase the damn box springs. Don’t question it. They work.

You’re welcome.

The End.

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