My shopping experience changed, relocating from the suburbs to a rural, agricultural community. The closest Galleria Mall excluded the fine department stores, I was used to. And it wasn’t until I was settled here for some years, that a Macy’s finally did arrive and would bring to my bed, many of its secrets.
Yes, I admit, I slummed it as a child, being dragged by my mother into various low scale department stores: Times Square Stores, Alexanders, and Mays, to name a few. But as an adult making my own choices, I would, if I could, choose shopping to be a more glamorous experience.
My mother, although thrifty, taught me to be a snobbish shopper. I remember as a child feeling like we were pretending to be an affluent family, as we strolled on Saturday afternoons through Fortunoff, stopping to express our personal preference of china patterns and exploring sterling silver cutlery displayed in felt lined, wooden boxes, unlike the flatware in the draw at home and still grades better than what was in my own mother’s wooden box. She explained how good silverware needed to be polished, that being a good thing.
My mother was a seamstress who as we shopped would often say, “Oh, feel this.” So I was raised knowing the difference between quality and crap, to sometimes feel tormented when I learned that anything beyond crap was beyond our means, unless of course I found a great department store sale.
What I can’t get over is the shift in quality over the years. My sacred upscale department store has diverted to selling poor quality merchandise disguised by designer labels. And it doesn’t stop there… Furniture, although it looks like wood is often compressed particles, veneers. Mattresses can no longer be trusted to uphold the reputation of their name. It may feel like a good mattress and look like a proper bed, be delivered with your old bed removed, and set up frame-box spring-mattress in your home, paid for with your hard-earned wage, but not be the bed you intended. One may not even notice there is a problem until it’s time to flip the mattress. It is then they learn: they don’t make mattresses the way they use to. Who would have thought that what is on the top is not on the bottom. I’m not talking about the outer covering. The bottom of my mattress is a framed contraption that can only be the down side! So instead of flipping, I am limited to a 180 degree turn, settling to this side up.
Embarrassed by my naivety, feeling I had been taken like a fool, I couldn’t bring myself to call to have this garbage removed and replaced by a traditional flip able mattress. I was afraid to find out how much a real mattress would cost. I sucked it up as a learning experience. Surely, they must have designed this merchandise to be of equal longevity without the necessary flip I was accustomed to. My sense of being swindled was only exasperated when the bed-in-the-bag fitted sheet dissolved to shreds, after the first washing, and the comforter although lovely, required mending almost immediately. Another lesson learned, no bed-in-the-bag discount is worth it, if it is not quality in the bag.
I replaced the sheets with a 600-thread count set. I was satisfied with the quality. I later found a great deal on a Laura Ashley Comforter that was just adorable. My bed was back to looking the way a bed should, except for the vertical lump across the center of the mattress, where the topliner puckers, however, when laying on it, it manages to smooth out beneath my body.
Four years have passed since the mattress purchase and I’ve become quite uncomfortable. I don’t see but I can feel the hardness of the springs. The nudge me awake in the night. I don’t recall my mother needing to throw out worn sheets, perhaps it is because, she had so many sets to alternate between. But, these times are tough. I confess, I wash my sheets and return them to the bed.
I was off to buy a new set of sheets. I found a cranberry set with the Hilfiger label in my favorite department store. I didn’t even check the price seeing the thread count in the three hundreds. I searched the whole department, finally finding 600 ct, however, they were only in Queen and King sizes. Did they think if you had a small house that could only fit a full size bed you wouldn’t want, need, or require, a quality sheet? Snobbery! I left empty-handed. In my third store, Target, I did find 600-thread ct, full size sheet sets, and half the price of the queen size in Macy’s, yet $69 still seemed outrageous! Flustered, I left the mall, without making a purchase.
I’m really embarrassed at this point, to reveal my secret. The small tear in my sheet, knowing it would be replaced, went unmended, and has now grown to two feet in length, accompanied by several shredded rips beside the original. While in the slumber state, I tried to straighten the sheet beneath me, which resulted in rip, rip, rip. I need to buy sheets and although time had run out, never expecting this to be a complicated purchase, I’ll be back at the store in the morning. My mother and grandmother would not have approve had they lived to witness my circumstance.
The next morning I woke to a cold house. The Laura Ashley comforter and my heavy cotton blanket were barely enough. The furnace had shut down, running out of oil in the night. With anticipation of a $600 oil bill, this morning I will venture out to shop with my plastic card instead of cash. Charging purchases has been against my current method of living these past few years, as I am still recovering from my past frivolous ways.
I’ve had many sleepless nights lately with my cushion dwindling, increased financial fears, and my state of joblessness and hopelessness mounting. I’m not buying a new mattress but I will do my best to create a comfortable bed. I found a set of sheets, 600-thread ct, full size in Kmart. The famous line from the movie Rainman echoed as I pushed the cart. “Kmart sucks!”
With the sheet set found for $49.99, I ignored the oil bill, found a foam eggcrate, mattress pad, and two new pillows, with these additional purchases totaling under $100, I should be able to once again sleep without feeling poor. I have some resumes out there. This can’t continue to go on much longer. I swiped my card and the sirens and flashing lights might as well have gone off. “Bad card! Bad card! Bad card!” This suck store isn’t going to let me make a $95 purchase.
I kept my cool, although I’m sure my face was red while I waited for the cashier with the assistance of the manager call my lender. While she was on the phone I had wander off to a clearance section to find red almost cranberry sheet sets, 600-thread ct, full size for $35.00. Although, I was happy with the blue, I won’t be adding to my cart when I should instead have been thinking ‘put things back’ having my purcahase deny for unknown reasons. As it turned out, this being the third purchase of the day on this card that I generally don’t use, over the state line, froze my account due to suspicious activity.
So, I resisted adding the second sheet set and left with only the original items in the cart a debit card purchase. Finished, I was ready to go home and make my bed. I turned the mattress, layered the eggcrate, mattress pad and secured them to the bunched mattress with a fitted sheet The cotton felt like silk between my fingers. I brought the Laura Ashley comforter down to the wash. It will all be perfect tonight. I finished making the bed hours later, furnace burning, not happy when I found the clean comforter is now, bunched in odd places. Yet I was as satisfied as one can be, unemployed somewhere around seventy-seven weeks. I did manage to have a good night sleep.
If your bed could talk, what would it say?
Do you take your financial problems to bed?