MATTRESSES AND SIGNPOSTS
By Jo Klein
Evidently, I have free mattress karma.
Years ago, I wanted a “heavenly bed” from the Westin hotels. I searched for a discount and finally found one at an online retailer. I called customer service and spoke to Rita, an affable woman and a fellow opera lover. We spoke several times as I verified the details of the mattress and discussed recent productions at the Metropolitan Opera. I was easily sold. Would a person with such good taste in music lead me wrong? I don’t know what happened to the voice in my head that should have said, “Jo, she’s a saleswoman.”
The mattress came. It wasn’t heavenly. The retailer wouldn’t take it back. Out of frustration, I wrote to Westin. An executive there acknowledged I was sent the wrong product, and eventually I received a free, very heavenly mattress.
My friends were still talking about my free mattress years later when my back started talking back to me. It took eight tries to get the organic, foam, non-allergenic mattress I needed. My next to last purchase came from Essentia. As I walked into the store, I overheard the saleswoman talking about guruji, an affectionate term for one’s guru. Of course, meeting a fellow spiritual seeker and yogini assured me I was in the right place so I plunked down enough money to make the heavenly bed seem cheap.
I’m going to skip what went wrong. I returned the mattress, but I couldn’t get my money refunded. Finally, I did what any teenager knows to do: I tweeted the CEO and received an immediate call from the person in finance who hadn’t responded to my persistent emails and phone calls. She promised my money would be refunded the next day. But it didn’t happen for over two months.
Meanwhile, I had filed a complaint with my credit card company, and they ended up refunding me the money at about the same time Essentia did, so I had a double refund. Then I started round after round of phone calls with Capital 1 trying to give back the extra money. They asked Essentia to clarify the situation. When Essentia wouldn’t respond, Capital 1 closed the case and sent me a check for the full amount of my purchase. I argued with them on 3 different occasions because I felt the money wasn’t mine to keep, but they said it was. The money was about twice what I needed to buy my ideal mattress from Gardner Mattress.
I’d like to report that I learned a lesson about following signs, but, last Saturday, I was listening to the opera Romeo and Juliet while surfing the internet for a new cabinet. The one I liked best was called the Verona. I don’t know if I should order it…
Formerly known as Jo Ann the Phillies fan, Jo moved to the Boston area to be close to her grandchildren and a winning baseball team. After satisfying careers as an elementary school principal and a marketing research analyst, she now practices alternative healing modalities and enjoys yoga, the Boston Symphony, and frequent trips to the Metropolitan Opera.