I’m lying in bed, staring at the ceiling. I can’t sleep because I’m not really tired. I turn on my right side, then my left, then return to my back. I close my eyes and scan my body. My back isn’t aching. My neck is supported. My hips are in alignment. Feels fine, good even, but not great. I want to feel great. Suddenly I sense a presence. Someone is nearby. I flick my eyes open and a small, bald man leans over me.
“How are we doing?”
“Fine,” I sigh.
“You’ve tried out every mattress in the showroom. Twice,” he says, trying to maintain a cheerful disposition. “Are we any closer to a decision?”
“No, we are not. It’s still between the superior elite luxury plush pillow-top dreamrest gel-infused foam mattress and the luxury elite cushion-top foam-wrapped core superior comfort mattress. I just don’t know which to choose.”
“Well, they’re both about the same.” He looks at his watch.
“Then why do you call this one the Serenity model and that one the Tranquility model? Besides you said two hours ago that I’m going to spend a third of my life in this bed. Did you not?”
“I regret saying that.” He walks away, probably to help a customer who can be helped.
I am beginning to have second thoughts about shopping for a new mattress. Maybe I am being too hasty. I decided my current mattress and I needed to part ways after a rather abrupt realization that, if I’d brought my mattress home as a baby, it would be in college now. For some time I’ve been waking in the morning about as refreshed as if someone had been dancing the polka while playing an accordion in my bedroom. Other nights I would lie awake, tired, but unable to fall asleep and no amount of counting sheep would help. A friend suggested that it could be my mattress. Suddenly I noticed the sags and the lumps, the rips and the frays. I flipped the mattress and gave it a clockwise spin, but it didn’t help.
Trying to do consumer homework before mattress shopping is futile. First, there are all the meaningless advertising words. Each store has its own set of meaningless advertising words, so that the superior elite luxury plush pillow-top dreamrest gel-infused foam mattress at store A is called the luxury elite cushion-top foam-wrapped core superior comfort mattress at store B, even though they’re the same mattress manufactured by the same company. Second, there’s the high-pressure sales pitch. I’m sure it comes as no surprise to many of you that I’m not a fan of the used car approach to selling. If I could have bought a mattress online, I would have, but of all the things you need to test drive, a mattress seems to be at the top of the list.
So here I am, trying to determine on which mattress I am less likely to wake feeling like the Hunchback of Notre Dame. Instead I feel like I’m at the optometrist’s office. Which is better: A or B? Now which is better: B or C? Wait. Can you repeat those?
I prefer to think of myself as thorough rather than indecisive. A mattress is a good chunk of my hard-earned dollars, and a purchase I’ll only make once a generation, apparently. I want to make the right choice. But what is the right choice? That is the paradox, isn’t it? Too many options can made a person feel paralyzed instead of emboldened.
I feel anxiety building. Then I feel anxiety that I have anxiety. I mean, I recognize that this isn’t a life altering decision. It’s a mattress. Author Sarah Jio writes, “Dragging out a decision for too long leads to more anxiety. And, I find that the quicker I can come to a decision, the better I feel.”
I’ve returned to option A, after a quick check on options C and D. Is the Cool Twist™ gel memory foam something I need? How about the Pillowsoft™ mattress top? Will I really get a better night’s sleep by spending an extra $100? Right on cue, the sales guy is back.
“Ah, yes, this is a good choice. I’ll write up the sales ticket.” He bounds away quickly before I change my mind.
My decision has sort of been made for me. And, I feel…liberated. It’s amazing how validating it is to have the sales guy fake-agree with you.
I hope he’s around next week. I’ve been thinking that I need new pillows.
Do you overthink big purchases? How do you make decisions?
Have a great weekend, everyone!