Billy’s chasing down a good night’s sleep which isn’t quite as simple as it sounds

I recently found myself in the position of having to buy myself a new bed. When I first came to Oz I kinda just fitted myself out with a semi-decent home set-up from a place called Fantastic Furniture. So I got myself a nice little array of necessities which included a king-sized bed, sofa, table and chairs, bedside tables, kitchen chairs – you get the idea. I remember when I was in the place I was doing the same bed testing thing as Bry describes on his website in his ‘How to test a bed’ blog but probably just not as awkwardly as Pistol Pete. I genuinely wanted myself a good bed but also wasn’t really prepared to pay over the top as I didn’t know how long I’d be staying here for. I had a little bounce around and stuff but ended up choosing a medium priced king-sized and thought nothing more of it.

Before I left for Oz however I did the same thing back home but on that occasion I went all-out. I got myself a huge super-king-sized f**king insanely comfortable bed cos I was setting up my place in Southampton as my ‘home’. The reason I got a super-king was so I could roll over and flap around without smacking Harriet in the chops! I like to move around when I sleep almost as much as I do in waking reality. Forever a gypsy I think! So that was probably the hardest thing to leave behind at the time and it pains me to know that little midget Osborne is sleeping in it, it really does. At least I know it won’t be getting used for any extra-curricular activities, however I do worry about his bad dreams…


So it’s time for me to buy a new bed but not just one bed – two this time. My Fantastic Furniture bed ain’t so fantastic anymore and the bed frame that looked fancy at the time has turned into a creeky wreck.

My phone has been ringing more frequently the past few weeks and the house has become overrun with UK immigrants migrating south for the winter. I’ve had my old mate from school come knock on my door literally like we used to do at home. I was sat on my sofa channel flicking when I saw Steven walk down the path! The guy who started me off racing lives only 15 minutes down the road and is now a regular running/mountain biking partner. I’ve had my old 2008/09 mechanic Teasy stop by in a whirlwind of backpacking and my old partner in training Keith Amor is here to stay till March and into the future I have Harriet’s dad flying in on Monday!

It’s all systems go and now my little two-bedroom love nest has turned into a busy little hive in preparation for 2011. So the spare bedroom which was Harriet’s ‘walk in closet’ is currently being turned into her old man’s place of rest which is why there’s the need to buy two beds. Keith has been relocated to the sofa while big Igg is here – he is bigger after all…

So off to the store to buy new beds… I did a little bit of searching on the intraban beforehand just to get a feel for prices and locations etc. I stumbled across this website that ‘makes mattresses’ – I won’t mention any names just yet. I shoulda realised what I was getting myself into when I saw the font they used on their website – like some kinda amateur word press bubble font.

Anyways, I read through their website and I was sold! Everything they were going on about made absolute sense. They make the mattresses in their own factory. They use imported Italian latex foam, are 40 per cent cheaper than showroom prices and offer a 10-year warranty too. Winner I thought – exactly what I’m wanting and only a 10-minute drive from my house too. So without any further research or investigation I drove up to the factory and had a look around.

It wasn’t your typical showroom because after all this is the factory where they’re made. You could see through the glass to where everything was getting put together from a pretty poorly decorated ‘showroom’. The sales woman had a bad energy about her, kinda like she didn’t even wanna bother trying to sell me one because no-one ever buys them! I kinda ignored my higher primate instincts and just reassured myself that the whole point of this exercise was to cut out all the bull and buy a mattress that I want to sleep on forever.

I bounced around on a few and after a few awkward questions regarding build quality and warranty I noticed that the timber-built bases had drawers which didn’t fit flush. I ended up choosing the biggest, most expensive one (which wasn’t all that expensive) plus a queen-sized guest bed for H’s dad then I swiped my credit card. Straight after the cash was transferred she handed me a list of dos and don’ts for my mattress! I had to flip it every five days, toss it every two hours and lie in the middle to read a book whenever I wasn’t sleeping in it! I had that weird stomach feeling – like I had done something wrong – but I put that off to just spending money! I am Scottish after all…

A couple of days rolled past and this feeling didn’t go away and I started to worry. ‘Surely they can’t be that bad’ I thought to myself but my curiosity got the better of me and after wandering aimlessly through Myer Shopping Centre on a failed Christmas shopping attempt I was drawn towards the bed section and I started bouncing around on a few beds again to see if I could feel the difference.

With that I had a very polite, mature lady approach me with a very professional manner about her. After the initial meet and greet, I proceeded to off-load all my worries and troubles regarding the new mattresses I had bought like it was some kind of sleep counselling session. I told her my story and she listened and I felt better! Part of my counselling session involved her advising me that recent customers of the mattress factory had been very unhappy with their purchases. With that I was convinced I had made the wrong decision, I just needed to hear it from someone else!

Back home and I jumped straight on the internet, searching reviews of the mattress factory. Over 40 reviews and not one positive comment – literally everyone had given them one star! Well there was one five star review but I’m pretty sure it was someone from the factory! I was gutted. I had just spent a load of dosh on what I thought was quality mattresses and now I knew I was gonna have years of horrible sweating, sinking, heavy sleeps… I just couldn’t bear the thought so I hatched a plan.

The mattresses/beds hadn’t been delivered yet, in fact it had only been three days since they swiped my credit card and they were due to arrive on Friday. I phoned and made up some cock and bull story about Harriet’s dad already ordering two beds as a house warming present and they had already arrived. The woman on the phone didn’t like it and I could tell in her voice that they didn’t wanna give any refunds!

They must have been the only mattresses they’d sold in months and I’m guessing that the boss man wouldn’t be having any of it! I tried to make my story sound as convincing as possible and she ended the call by saying she would have to speak to her manager in the morning and I should come in to see what they could do. It didn’t sound good and it got even worse when I rocked up in the morning as requested only to be met with suspicious eyes by the horrible sales woman. I gave her my best puppy dog impression and pleaded poverty as well as the pressure to impress the in-laws.

I didn’t get anywhere, I drove to the factory for nothing as the excuse that was fired back to me was that they were waiting for a call from head office and she would give me a call today at some point. I couldn’t wait all day – what if there was some deadline to the cooling off period that she didn’t tell me? Surely customers have the right to cancel an order before it’s delivered? Kinda like taking back a pair of jeans that don’t fit! I was stressing hard, looking over my receipt for some kinda terms and conditions that I might have missed. There was nothing but it looked like I had every right to cancel my order and eventually after a few phone calls I had the manager from the factory call me and say they could refund me but I’d be charged a five per cent cancellation fee as they had already started building one of the timber bases…

It was difficult to argue with him on the phone as I wasn’t prepared for it so we had this weird awkward kinda silence after I stumbled my point across that surely a cancellation fee isn’t appropriate as it hasn’t been delivered yet? He sounded just as hesitant but it was a war of wills and to be honest I was quite happy to get a refund and accepted the fee cos I knew I was the one who was bulling!

I had to go back in to have it refunded to my card and everyone was all smiles. It seemed my story had passed and my puppy eyes had worked. I milked it even more and thanked them so much for helping me out – suckers!

So now it was time to try again with the Christmas shopping and visit the nice mattress lady in Myer Shopping Centre to see if she could help with this problem. But first…

There’s an ‘entrance’ into the Big W hypermarket in town, kinda like a side entrance from the street but not an exit. I was having a really bad day – one of the worst shopping experiences ever! I was in this huge Big W with so many consumer goods surrounding me and not a clue what to buy. I decided to get out of there and start again somewhere new so I headed for the ‘entrance’ which was guarded by an overweight ginger woman with a badge. It was a three-door circular push thing – like a Mercedes badge if you were looking at it from above – so you could easily go round in the little glass vortex but the woman said “you can’t and that’s an order”.
    I stood there and looked at her like ‘what the f**k?’ but I could tell that her badge was getting the better of her and decided to avoid conflict and use the larger entrance/exit on the other side of the store which brought me out on the complete opposite side of where our car was parked! Being outside brought calm over me and we strolled down the busy street towards the car. As I was walking down I noticed the same entrance to Big W so decided to amuse myself by doing a 360 entrance/exit strategy through the heavily guarded glass roundabout. I had these funny Gatorz sunglasses on and my hair was pretty weird looking so I wasn’t hard to miss. I started laughing in my head, then out loud as I approached the doors. I pushed on the door and kept a dead straight face while looking slightly to my left to see if badge lady was there. I got to the point of no return before I heard her shout “this is an entrance only!”. I was stuck between the glass in my own little triangle and I started to feel the door getting heavier – she must have been pushing in the opposite direction in a last ditch effort to stop anyone passing through to the outside world!

I had to push pretty hard and I felt my muscles hurting a little from my morning’s gym effort but as I beat her in our battle I burst out laughing as I smelt the fresh air again! I walked on a few metres having a jolly to myself as I heard her shout out behind me “that’s all on camera!”. She was stood outside n’all. It totally made up for having such a rubbish day and I laughed to myself for a good 10 minutes after. Brilliant.

After that I was in a far more relaxed mood. I was just wandering around seeing what caught my eye instead of looking for an exact item. I did end up back in the bed store and got talking to another very helpful woman. I talked for ages about the things I want from a bed and – back to the original topic of this whole column – when buying a bed you have to understand the whole design of a bed before you can understand how it feels. Kinda like suspension testing!

You gotta know what you like before you jump on it. You gotta have an idea in your head based on what you think your perfect sleep would be. Do you want to feel like you’re sleeping on a cloud? Soft and fluffy? Or more like spongy long grass with a soft peaty bottom? It’s up to you but think about it, visualise it, feel it. I like a firm bed that doesn’t bounce. I don’t like a springy feeling. I want slow but firm rebound when I land on it but a nice plush top that feels comfortable.

All these things can be found out by knowing a little bit about what makes your mattress. What kinda springs? There are loads of different styles – springs that are connected, springs that stand by themselves or if you wanna go all top-end this cool latex memory foam stuff. There are even some crazy inter-linked rubber patterns that work as the main structure in the middle.

Everyone needs to get out of bed in the morning and feel good – so go do your homework people and you can even transfer your results to setting up suspension!