Our mattress was 18 years old. Brooke bought it when she moved to Hamilton, before we met. When we moved into our shoebox-sized apartment in Washington DC, we only had room for 1 mattress, and hers was smaller, so that's the one that followed us.

18 years later, it was starting to sag. We could tell it was sagging. We'd wake up in the morning and, over our coffee, say to one another, "We need a new mattress." For the past year, whenever we've seen mattress ads, we'd say to one another, "Ooohhhh! New mattress!"

But shopping for a new mattress is hard. It's like TV. There used to be 3 stations. Pick one and watch. Now there are too many. It's impossible to keep up with it all, so we don't watch TV any more. Same with mattresses.

There used to be 3 brands: Serta, BeautyRest, and that other one. Just go to the furniture store, lie down on a few and pick one. But now there are at least a dozen brands, each with a dozen different product lines. They're all about the "sleep science", and it's way too hard to sort out what is really science and what is hype and bullshit. So we've been putting it off. For at least a year.

Then, last weekend, Brooke sent me an email link. "Oohhh! New mattress!" I clicked it. It took me to a page on Overstock.com that, at the top had a mattress. A beautiful mattress! And it was on sale!

So I read down the page a couple paragraphs describing the mattress. Memory foam. Cool-touch technology. Medium-firm. 25-year warrantee.

Then I scrolled down to the reviews. 3000 5-star reviews. That's a pretty good sample size to have a nearly perfect review track record. (With reviews, it's not just how many stars; it's the combination of how many stars AND how many reviews that matters statistically.) There were other mattresses on the page. I looked at their review summaries. None seemed quite as impressive. And besides, it was on sale.

"This is great!" I thought. Brooke just went ahead and picked the one she wants. I clicked "Buy Now".

Later that evening, I told Brooke I bought the mattress.

"What?" she said.

"Yeah, I bought the mattress. You sent that link to the mattress you wanted."

"Oh," she said. "I thought that link was for a page of lots of mattresses we should look at and pick one."

"Oh," I said. "Well, then, I bought us a new mattress. It's scheduled to arrive on Wednesday. I hope you like it!"

It turns out that the marital mis-communication via email method ®™ is a pretty good way to buy a mattress. It cuts the hours, maybe days, of shopping around. No agonizing over whether you're really getting the best deal. No emotionally laden back-and-forth over which one. Here's a link. It's past time. Just order the one that's on sale with the best reviews summary over a large sample size, and it arrives 4 days later.

The only down side is that when you get a new mattress by mail, there's no furniture store that takes away the old mattress when the new one gets delivered. That may not be as much of a problem for people who live somewhere near civilization where there are "people" you can call who will come and take care of it for a small fee. But when we googled "mattress disposal Potsdam, NY" we get the single trash company that operates here, and their options are to sign up for trash service or they'll rent us a dumpster for a week, neither of which is quite what we need.

Other mattress disposal things we've seen done around town, as we reflect on it are:

  • Leave it out by the road in front of your house with a "FREE" sign taped to it for a few months.
  • Leave it on the porch/lawn of one of the fraternity houses.
  • Leave it leaned up against the mailbox of one of the Amish farms outside of town.
  • Strap it to the top of your car with bungie cords and drive around with it until it just falls off somewhere.

None of these seem like very good disposal options. Another possibility, according to the google search, is cutting it into small bits and putting it in your regular trash bit by bit as room allows over a few weeks.

Silas also has a friend who lives out in the country where they have an old mattress they leave out in the back yard as a trampoline. Maybe they could use another one.