Mattress Mystery Conspiracy

Jamisen Halverson, Writer

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Ever wonder why there are so many Mattress Firms around? A quick Google search reveals dozens of mattress companies within easy driving distance of Elkhart. The same could probably be said for any town in any state across the nation. Do Americans really purchase enough mattresses to support this number of businesses? It makes one wonder if there isn’t something more to it.

Rumor has it that there’s more going on behind closed doors—illegal things going on that could keep one up all night just thinking about it. One conspiracy theory suggests that Mattress Firm in particular is a front for a money laundering scheme. This would help explain why they’re everywhere but never seem to have any customers in them! Or, could it be that drivers peering into the fully windowed fronts just never see the customers because they’re lying down, testing out the mattresses?

NPR notes that over 34 million replacement mattresses are sold in the United States each year, serviced by roughly 10,000 mattress companies. Of those, nearly a third of them were apparently owned by Mattress Firm. Why? Because Mattress Firm went crazy buying up all of their competitors. As a result, there suddenly could be—and were—Mattress Firm stores within eye shot of one another.

This is when the conspiracy theories started to emerge. Reddit is credited with igniting most of the hoopla when a person with the online name of Crazy Potatos apparently posted the money-laundering conspiracy idea. The post went viral instantly. People wanted to believe it; it was an easy explanation that seemed to make sense.

However, “easy” isn’t always right. NPR explains that after Mattress Firm acquired so many other companies, it suffered financially. In fact, Mattress Firm went bankrupt by overextending themselves—a price they had to pay for trying to capture the entire market.

Therefore, as plausible as the Reddit theory sounds, it could be easily debunked by Mattress Firm’s acquisition of so many other competitors. But, it doesn’t explain why so Mattress Firms still exist after bankruptcy. Again, the answer is simple: a South African company—Steinhoff—bought the company for $3.8 billion in 2016 and retained the name. Mystery solved.

So, do you still believe it?  Sleep on it!