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What I believe would be an easy task and I could get home in time to see the NFL Playoffs turned out to be a consumer's nightmare. Little did I know that buying a mattress could wind up being such a challenging task.

My wife and I agreed that it was time to replace our lumpy mattress. Early Sunday about the time the stores are opening we headed out with an itinerary in mind. We would look at mattresses at the first stop and find one that we both agreed on and write down the details, establish a baseline price and do some comparison shopping. The prices are astounding. You have to buy the entire bed, that is, the mattress and the box or box spring. We found one that we both liked and after talking to the salesperson, we are told that we have to buy the entire bed or the company will not honor the warranty.

Off we go to the next store and there we see the mattress of our dreams (no pun intended). I looked at the price tag and the same mattress is $300 more at this store, however, they will take off a measly 10% if I apply for their credit card and purchase the bed. I know this; they will probably get their 10% and more on finance charges if I use the card. We are through with credit cards. We keep 2 cards and when we use them we pay the full amount when we receive our statement.

We went to a third store and there was no one in the bedding department and so we waited for 10 minutes or so. Finally we get to talk to a salesperson. We get the "every consumer is a sucker" routine. By the time I arrived at this store and with all of my knowledge of mattresses and beds, you are looking at a man who has a phd in beds! You can't put one over me, but you will try. I listened intently and fire back sounding like the expert I wanted to portray. The salesperson backs off and states that the mattresses do not go on sale, not this particular brand, and they all sell pretty much for the same price.

We came home empty-handed, but knowledgeable and much wiser in the art of buying a bed. I am convinced that there will be big sales on bed around President's Day and my wife and I will be prepared to take advantage of the sale. Never give up, no such thing as an inflexible price on big items. Shop wisely, ask questions, and wait for sales.

What I thought would be about a 2 hour episode easily extended to be an almost 5 hour ordeal which included lunch. I got home in time to see the last 3 minutes of the first NFL game which turned out to be the most exciting part of the game and sadly my team was defeated and I still need a bed.