We all just want to get in bed and sleep.
This is more than a gut feeling that voters would find narcolepsy a relief after months of irritating political commercials.
The evidence exists for all to see. There must be 83 mattress stores within five miles of my house.
That’s not including the furniture and department stores that sell mattresses, which seemed perpetually linked to President’s Day. I ask, is that coincidence or a subliminal attempt to connect politics and the desire to slumber and wake no more?
I have spent countless hours trying to account for the boom in mattress shops. Are people simply sleeping more? Engaging in more (how to say this for a family audience) physically intense recreational activities in the bedroom? Are mattresses wearing out faster than they did in our parent’s day?
As a general rule, it’s recommended that people replace their mattresses every 7 to 10 years, but I think my parents slept on the same bed for 45 years, although my father put a piece of plywood under the mattress when his back started to hurt.
I admit being almost as puzzled by the proliferation of coffee shops years ago as I am today by the spread of mattress stores. A country that once expected to pay a dime for a cup of joe, with the promise of free refills, was suddenly willing to spend nearly $5 for something called a Mocha.
When I first noticed this I would grab co-workers, put my face within three inches of their own and scream, “Are you out of your mind? This is America. We don’t pay that kind of money for coffee.”
They replied that I lacked refinement and accused me of not being trendy.
My publisher even said the problem with newspapers is that they were not Starbuck’s. He explained that while readers were no longer willing to pay 50 cents for a newspaper, if it were made into a delightful experience, like going to Starbucks, they would eagerly shell out $5.
There are many things I will never understand, including newspaper publishers who decided to give away their product online to people who didn’t want it, while continuing to charge customers who had been loyal.
I’ve spent many sleepless nights thinking about that sort of thing.
There are probably 116 fast-food burger joints within a few miles of my home. I understand that. An American man in his prime can easily eat 10 burgers a week, 40 if they’re sliders.
But how many mattresses do you buy in a lifetime?
“If you live in a suburb of 30,000 people and there are four people in each home, that’s 120,000 mattresses every eight years,” one salesman told me. “And that’s just one suburb.”
The mattresses on display in the store were selling for as much as $3,000, although some small ones were only $600.
I wonder what the profit margin on a mattress is these days? Is there a mattress trade deficit? Should we place a tariff on mattresses?
Sears is going out of business. Big box stores, which once anchored shopping malls throughout America, are disappearing. But our country leads the world in the number of mattress stores it produces.
I was pondering the meaning of this the other night when a fellow came on television and said he has sold millions of pillows because Americans can’t sleep. He made the perfect pillow and made millions of dollars, enough to run for governor of Illinois if he wanted.
This is the sort of thing I think about when I am lying in bed at night. That and the fact that millions of Americans have spent millions of dollars on mattresses only to find out what they really needed was a pillow.
And we expect them to be wise enough to choose our political leaders.
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