Mattress retailers - department stores
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In general, these outlets are closer to the chain stores than they are to the smaller outlets but there are a few notable exceptions. They typically sell higher end and higher profit mattresses made by larger name brand or "S" companies that are private labeled (like the larger chain stores) and sold at "apparently" steep discounts through ongoing rotating sales. While consumers usually know enough not to buy at regular prices from these outlets, they are not as aware that the sale prices will usually also represent poor value. The level of knowledge of the staff in these outlets varies but is usually restricted to what they have been told or taught about how to sell the specific mattresses they carry. They range from "uncaring" where service of any kind is difficult to get to "biased and limited" for those that have greater knowledge of the mattresses they sell but little about other mattresses or mattresses in general. They do however sometimes represent a source of value through their "discount centers" where they will often cut the price of some mattresses that have already been discounted in half again and providing that it is not a mattress that is not worth buying at any price, these may represent good value. These discount centers can occasionally be a worthwhile source to buy a mattress but only for a consumer who knows what to look for and which mattresses to avoid at any price.
There are also department stores that are more committed to value through their entire corporate culture and while these will often arouse strong feelings both pro and con for many reasons, there is no doubt that they carry value in their stores. This value, in combination with exceptional return policies that will allow returns for lengthy periods with no questions asked, can give some assurance that mistakes in your choices will not be so costly and makes it easy to take advantage of the few mattresses they carry that have high value. In some cases they will even come and pick up a mattress should you wish to return it and have difficulty doing so. While they have little knowledge about what they sell, either online or in their "brick and mortar" version, consumers that are educated and know the differences between specific mattresses will often find surprising value here. While most of the mattresses sold in these outlets are "good prices for bad mattresses", they will often carry "off brands" that have been made specifically for them which in some cases can represent much higher value, especially when compared to chain stores or other department stores.
On a selective basis, and with the knowledge to be able to know a good mattress when they are offered, these better, or at least higher value outlets (depending on which side of the love them/hate them argument you are on), can represent very good value.