Once Upon a Mattress

Three years ago we bought a memory foam mattress. For 2 years, we slept great. This past year, we elevated the mattress to help with my acid reflux and hiatal hernia and the mattress never recovered. It sloped and dipped and created a cavern in the middle where if we lost vigilance for one minute we sunk into the crevasse.  

Fed up, we bought a new one. They delivered it Thursday. This is the true story of that waking nightmare. 

Around 2 pm my cell rang. It proceeded to ring every 20 seconds for about 5 minutes from various random numbers. I assumed it was the mattress delivery, but I was caught on the phone getting chewed out in a work meeting. The phone went silent and a text message buzzed. The operations manager, Jerome, informed me that they were, indeed, here to deliver the mattress. I let them know I was on an important work call and told them to come upstairs. 

Figuring that was done, I went back to having my ass handed to me in my meeting. The meeting ended, 10 minutes passed, and no mattress. I called the numbers that had been calling me. 1, 2, 3, 4, 5. I went through them all. No one answered. Finally, a text message buzzed. “The front desk won’t let us in, come downstairs.”

I ran downstairs, where 2 confused Hispanic delivery men were struggling to talk to Tom, the front desk man, about the delivery. Tom can be kind of an ass and these guys didn’t have a firm grasp on English.  I explained to Tom that it wasn’t a big move, just a mattress and could we please get on with it. Tom chastised me for not booking the freight elevator (same exact type of elevator as our other regular one, mind you) and, after he lorded the freight key over me for a bit, he opened the elevator and the guys were ready to deliver. 

Or they should have been. Instead, they argued with me in broken English for about 5 minutes about the size of the mattress I had ordered. 

“King no fit here.” 

“That’s cool. I didn’t order a King.”

“You have King.”

“No, no I don’t.”

It was like a really stupid bedding-themed Who’s on First. 

Once we solved the King versus Queen debate of 2017, I left them, figuring they could load the mattress and come upstairs. 

Another 10 minutes passed. No mattress. My phone buzzed with another text message. This one was angry. The operations manager said I had never come downstairs, the guys couldn’t deliver my mattress, and he threatened they’d leave because of my negligence. 

Frustrated and annoyed, I left the apartment to ride the elevator downstairs. I’d been chewed out at work, lectured to by a front desk clerk, and now my 80 dollar delivery was going to be rescheduled at my cost because these two guys were lying to their boss about what had happened. 

In this frame of mind, I saw the freight elevator was open, my mattress was inside, and the 2 delivery men were just…standing there. Who knows how long they were standing there, but they were mid convo and they looked pretty comfy in their stationary position. 

I lost it. 

“What the fuck is going on, guys?”

They blanched. You could see the “WTF is up with this mujer loco” look in their eyes. 

“You…you talk to us?”

“Yes, I talk to you!” I yelled. “You are telling your boss I never went downstairs. Now, I’m getting quasi abusive messages about how you can’t deliver my mattress and it’s all my fault and here you are doing jack all in my elevator. I didn’t realize I’d have to handhold you every fucking minute to deliver a goddamn mattress!”

Panting slightly, a little embarrassed by my rage black out, they finally recovered from my cursing and dragged the mattress to my apartment. 

True to form, though, these 2 weren’t done yet. We then spent 10 minutes arguing about the very clearly marked haul away request on my order. 

I went to call their manager which prompted them to do the haul away. As I yelled at Jerome for awhile, they left and Jerome apologized.

I breathed a sigh, figuring the long nightmare was over. 

My doorbell rang.
It was Amara, our maintenance man. Without preamble, he said, “You have to get those mattress people back! They stole my mattress. The mattress I have been saving to take home to my family in Africa! I keep near loading dock for last few months!” Understandably irate, Amara began to pace in my apartment. 

I’m not sure how one gets a mattress to Africa but that’s a story for another post. 

I called Jerome again, who barely managed to keep his hatred for me in check. Disbelieving he said he’d have his guys call me. 

They called and it all began again…

“We no take mattress. What mattress look like?”

I whispered to Amara, “What’s it look like?”

Amara began screaming, “It’s a regular mattress!”
“Is it a Sealy? A Serta?” they asked. 

“Um, it’s…regular?”

“We no take it.”

“Well, it’s a really weird story to make up so I assume you did,” I said. 

This went back and forth for about 5 minutes. Two men denying they had it. An irate maintenance man. Me, a thoroughly pissed off middle man. Three languages. Zero comprehension. 

After some furious chatter in Spanish, “Yeah, um, maybe we do take it.”

They promised to bring the mattress back in 30 minutes. 

An ill-equipped translator at the United Nations of Mattresses, I gave up and gave them each other’s names and numbers to decide on the final delivery of the mattress. 

Four hours later, Paul and I left the building. They were just arriving to drop off the mattress. 

I’m glad mattresses last about 7-10 years on average because I can’t take another incident like this for at least a decade. 


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