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Monday, April 11, 2016


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Peter Cancelli

Hi Donnie,
I'm afraid your statements are inaccurate.

1) While some of the larger retailers did and still do get minor spec changes to the merchandise, which amount to nothing and serve only to justify their highly inflated prices...the mattresses for most of the smaller retailers were identical in specification, with only the model name changing for each store....a practice that continues to this day.

2) And while the events of that time did change the game, it did, in fact, end the price war that was waging at that time.

Thanks, Pete

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Donnie Masters

I would like to clarify 2 things for your readers if I might. Your quote:

"Some years later, with most retail stores having the same model name for each of their mattresses, a price war broke out.
Also, at that time, the factories were beginning to computerize their operations.
It then became easy for them to give a different model name to each of their retailers for the same mattress.
It's been that way ever since...eliminating any further price wars.
BTW, this business of different model names for the same mattress at different stores, did more than end that price war.
Besides making shopping more difficult for the consumer, it allowed the more unscrupulous retailers to price gouge."

- See more at: http://mattressexpert.typepad.com/the_mattress_expert/2016/04/sealy-posturepedic-princess-mattress.html#comments

There are 2 major things wrong with this statement that need clarified for the consumer reading this post.

1) It is illegal to make the same product and sell it as 2 different beds.
2) This did not end the price war, it created an entirely different game.

I talk about this in my book, Mattress Buying 101, but mattress manufacturers make the mattresses slightly different for each retailer so they have an "exclusive feature". For example, one company will get memory foam in two layers on top of the bed. Another company might get a layer of latex foam AND a layer of memory foam. One retailer might get cooling gel in their memory foam while another does not. All these little changes mean that the mattress is technically "different" from the other model, thus a different name.

As far as I can tell, it also did not end the price war. Rather, this new tactic changed the game of mattress sales altogether. One of the reasons that mattress retailers continue to thrive and expand is because the profit margins are large enough to support it. Making different model beds has now and will continue to support their sales tactics.

Additionally, changing the specifications of a bed, and creating new names means that retailers still have to be competitive with the guy down the street; HOWEVER, they do not have to be priced exactly the same. A customer would not willingly pay $200 for the same bed, but they might consider $50 more if they like the sales guy better at this location. They might also pay $20 more for delivery if they are getting a mattress protector at no charge from this store. It has changed the game to the point that the consumer will not spend the time, effort, and energy TRYING to make sense of it all because it is confusing and tiring.

I decided to write a book on this exact subject so that customers could figure it out on their own. I wanted to spend my time educating and informing so that an "average Joe" wouldn't get suckered into the game. The market has changed, the tactics will change again as well. I hope to arm enough people in this fight.

Donnie Masters

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