Have you ever learned something and then suddenly it seemed to appear everywhere?
The strange occurrence is often referred to as the Baader-Meinhof Phenomenon, or Frequency Bias, but how do you know if it’s real, or if you really are seeing this thing everywhere?
That’s a question I’ve been thinking about recently when it comes to mattresses flying off cars and causing all sorts of mayhem—and even death—on highways across the world.
Not only does it seem like there are more and more news stories about mattresses causing chaos each day, but a quick Google search for “mattress-related crashes” produces a multitude of colorful results.
We asked a few mattress retailers in a mattress industry Facebook group how they felt about the issue, and not only did they confirm that this isn’t just Frequency Bias, most of them said the liability involved with tying the mattress down for the customer is not worth the risk.
Pete Primeau, owner and president at Primeau Furniture Sales, said that 39 years ago when he started in this industry, the owner of the store he worked at told him to never tie the knot.
“Because if it goes to court whoever tied the knot would be responsible,” Primeau says. “Today you must be up to date on ordinances, etc. that prohibit it. Print some pictures of accidents caused by mattresses. Just say no!”
Ronelle Masters, co-owner of Downey Sleep Center, has a similar idea.
“We help them lift it up, but they tie it down and tie the final knot,” Masters said in a comment in the Facebook group. “We had a customer lose a box spring off a bridge and called angry that we wouldn’t replace it for free. I tell that story to every customer hauling on their own.”
Gardner’s Mattress and More Co-owner Jeff Gianacavo says his store will never do tie-downs or even offer rope.
“For a $75 delivery fee with the removal of your old mattress, it’s just not worth it in my opinion—and we tell our customers as much,” Gianagnocavo said. “There are also many things we cannot control once they leave. How fast the customer drives, the others around them who may affect the customers driving, and wind gusts. Once in the home damage to walls and stairs is on the customer. Again, in my opinion, delivery is a small price to pay to get the job done right.”
And some, like Roger Cunningham, owner of The Bed Store, said their insurance policies forbid them from tying mattresses down to vehicles. “We highly recommend delivery,” he said.
These are all completely valid concerns, and because of that, the way we see it, this presents an awesome opportunity for retailers.
Educate consumers about the dangers of tying down their own mattress and communicate the value and benefit you offer by providing delivery. Sure, $75 might sound like a lot in the moment, but even with insurance, it would cost them more than that to pay off the costs associated with a car accident—whether they were responsible or not.
Explain this to your customers and show them that this isn’t something that can be fixed with one person being safe—because who knows who a mattress is going to hit if it flies off of a car.
Everyone needs to be safe, so think about how, even with a delivery fee, you’re doing your part to help prevent mattress-related accidents. And who knows, you could also potentially save lives.