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2096: "Mattresses"

Posted: Wed Jan 09, 2019 2:05 pm UTC
by squall_line
Image

Alt-text: "After reading that 'The War To Sell You A Mattress Is An Internet Nightmare' article, I've decided it's safer and less complicated to just sleep on the floor. DISCLOSURE: THE AUTHOR OF THIS MOUSEOVER TEXT RECEIVED FINANCIAL COMPENSATION FROM THE FLOOR INDUSTRY FOR THIS MESSAGE."

The author of this comic received financial compensation from the eye exam industry and the computer monitor industry for this message.

And now, the rest of the story...

Re: 2096: "Mattresses"

Posted: Wed Jan 09, 2019 2:20 pm UTC
by cellocgw
Here in Randall's neck of the woods, we're all supposed to use the Big Magic Machine at Jordan's to get our official Sleep Number evaluation. (And then get sales pressure to spend upwards of $2k US on a mattress).

Then there's the "memory foam, now with diamond dust for thermal management" . I am not making this up.

Re: 2096: "Mattresses"

Posted: Wed Jan 09, 2019 2:24 pm UTC
by kypzethdurron
Very rarely do I not understand an XKCD or think that it doesn't apply to me............. but I have no experiences of mattresses, underwear or post offices in either online adverts or podcasts? Is this an American-only thing, or am I misunderstanding the comic?

Re: 2096: "Mattresses"

Posted: Wed Jan 09, 2019 2:45 pm UTC
by phlip
kypzethdurron wrote:
Very rarely do I not understand an XKCD or think that it doesn't apply to me............. but I have no experiences of mattresses, underwear or post offices in either online adverts or podcasts? Is this an American-only thing, or am I misunderstanding the comic?

A lot of podcasts are sponsored by mattress companies. I have no idea why. But there's a burgeoning industry of a whole bunch of different online-storefront mattress retailers, and they all advertise heavily on podcasts.

Underwear is not an advertising trope I've personally come across, but it wouldn't surprise me in the least. The post office is in reference to stamps.com, which is incredibly prolific with its podcast advertising.

Re: 2096: "Mattresses"

Posted: Wed Jan 09, 2019 2:53 pm UTC
by Eutychus
I'm more worried about the hazy quality of the comic, at least from where I'm sitting.

Re: 2096: "Mattresses"

Posted: Wed Jan 09, 2019 3:05 pm UTC
by cryptoengineer
I don't know Randall's creation process, but somewhere along the line this image was messed up - the line quality is very low, it looks like it was shrunk, then re-expanded.

Hopefully, an intern in the mighty xkcd comic empire will notice, and it will be fixed.

Re: 2096: "Mattresses"

Posted: Wed Jan 09, 2019 3:11 pm UTC
by kypzethdurron
phlip wrote:
kypzethdurron wrote:
Very rarely do I not understand an XKCD or think that it doesn't apply to me............. but I have no experiences of mattresses, underwear or post offices in either online adverts or podcasts? Is this an American-only thing, or am I misunderstanding the comic?

A lot of podcasts are sponsored by mattress companies. I have no idea why. But there's a burgeoning industry of a whole bunch of different online-storefront mattress retailers, and they all advertise heavily on podcasts.

Underwear is not an advertising trope I've personally come across, but it wouldn't surprise me in the least. The post office is in reference to stamps.com, which is incredibly prolific with its podcast advertising.


Thanks! It makes sense now and was what I was thought - but I haven't come across any of these myself at any point so perhaps they're location specific or for one specific podcast site or location (e.g. LA based ones) :)

Re: 2096: "Mattresses"

Posted: Wed Jan 09, 2019 3:33 pm UTC
by jozwa
phlip wrote:
kypzethdurron wrote:Underwear is not an advertising trope I've personally come across


I've listened to at least two different podcasts that were sponsored by MeUndies

Re: 2096: "Mattresses"

Posted: Wed Jan 09, 2019 3:44 pm UTC
by Flumble
This comic was sponsored by the HD display industry. You don't need anti-aliasing with 8K. Well that got outdated in 5 minutes.

There are still podcasts out there that don't have ads in them, right?

Re: 2096: "Mattresses"

Posted: Wed Jan 09, 2019 3:51 pm UTC
by hermitian
phlip wrote:
kypzethdurron wrote:
Very rarely do I not understand an XKCD or think that it doesn't apply to me............. but I have no experiences of mattresses, underwear or post offices in either online adverts or podcasts? Is this an American-only thing, or am I misunderstanding the comic?

A lot of podcasts are sponsored by mattress companies. I have no idea why. But there's a burgeoning industry of a whole bunch of different online-storefront mattress retailers, and they all advertise heavily on podcasts.

Underwear is not an advertising trope I've personally come across, but it wouldn't surprise me in the least. The post office is in reference to stamps.com, which is incredibly prolific with its podcast advertising.


I guess it must really depend on what kind of podcasts you listen too. I think I have heard only one podcast with mattress advertisements. No underwear ads, no post office ads (unless mail chimp counts).

Yea, and there is something wrong with the original drawing, but it has been fixed since I started this post.

Re: 2096: "Mattresses"

Posted: Wed Jan 09, 2019 4:02 pm UTC
by cellocgw
jozwa wrote:
phlip wrote:
kypzethdurron wrote:Underwear is not an advertising trope I've personally come across


I've listened to at least two different podcasts that were sponsored by MeUndies


Wow.. and here I thought the OP was referring to the mind-numbing repetition of the UnderwearTroll 4-point business plan.

Re: 2096: "Mattresses"

Posted: Wed Jan 09, 2019 4:06 pm UTC
by somitomi
hermitian wrote:
I guess it must really depend on what kind of podcasts you listen too. I think I have heard only one podcast with mattress advertisements. No underwear ads, no post office ads (unless mail chimp counts).

Yea, and there is something wrong with the original drawing, but it has been fixed since I started this post.

Not if you don't listen to podcasts at all. I can tell you that Audible is a leading provider of audiobooks across all types of literature including fiction, non-fiction and periodicals though.

Re: 2096: "Mattresses"

Posted: Wed Jan 09, 2019 5:09 pm UTC
by Spaztastical
Flumble wrote:This comic was sponsored by the HD display industry. You don't need anti-aliasing with 8K. Well that got outdated in 5 minutes.

There are still podcasts out there that don't have ads in them, right?

BBC does not, so news, The Documentary, The Real Story, Tech Tent . . . but they advertise other bbc podcasts.

The few Tesla News casts I tried do not, and small/local casts like a library.

somitomi wrote:
hermitian wrote:
I guess it must really depend on what kind of podcasts you listen too. I think I have heard only one podcast with mattress advertisements. No underwear ads, no post office ads (unless mail chimp counts).

Yea, and there is something wrong with the original drawing, but it has been fixed since I started this post.

Not if you don't listen to podcasts at all. I can tell you that Audible is a leading provider of audiobooks across all types of literature including fiction, non-fiction and periodicals though.

humbug. Pay per month for 0-1 book and buy for more? What about OVERDRIVE?! Free unlimited audiobooks through your library card. Not every book, and sometime you have to place a hold, but it goes up to 2x speed and Libby (still overdrive but different app) can go faster (but lacks wishlists). Hated those audible adverts.

Re: 2096: "Mattresses"

Posted: Wed Jan 09, 2019 5:15 pm UTC
by PointSpecial
Randall really needs to have a podcast to make comments like these...

Re: 2096: "Mattresses"

Posted: Wed Jan 09, 2019 6:53 pm UTC
by sardia
Flumble wrote:This comic was sponsored by the HD display industry. You don't need anti-aliasing with 8K. Well that got outdated in 5 minutes.

There are still podcasts out there that don't have ads in them, right?

The only ones without ads are either selling you something intrinsically or public radio. Podcasters have bills too. Unless you're asking for a donation based model, in which case, public radio is your best bet.

Re: 2096: "Mattresses"

Posted: Wed Jan 09, 2019 7:00 pm UTC
by Pfhorrest
You know sometimes people do things for reasons other than to make money, right? I mean, those people still need to make money, but sometimes they can make it in other ways and still have time to do other things that they just want to do for their own sake, and don't have to or want to charge for?

I do a bunch of creative things for the sake of doing them, and don't charge for them. Meanwhile I do other things that I really don't care to do, and charge for those to get the money I need to live.

Re: 2096: "Mattresses"

Posted: Wed Jan 09, 2019 7:04 pm UTC
by Soupspoon
phlip wrote:Underwear is not an advertising trope I've personally come across, but it wouldn't surprise me in the least. The post office is in reference to stamps.com, which is incredibly prolific with its podcast advertising.
I seem to avoid the 'sponsored podcasts' most of the time (maybe because I subscribe mostly to ones within the BBC-like realms and social niche), but one or other of the 'import' podcasts broadcast on Radio 4 Extra (the TED Radio Hour?) had, in the beginning at least, the NPR-I-think tendency to have a "and now to thank our sponsors…" diversion, which was things like SOHO productivity software or stamps (print-your-own kinds, seems to be along the lines of the older franking machine, but I don't know how the US Postal Service services this kind of thing, except that they use ponies and hire Jocks to smash mailboxes from moving cars with baseball bats).

Either that podcast was dropped from the list used in that broadcast slot (it rotates, and is currently The Moth Radio Hour, without any advertising that I noticed although I've got a couple of months backlog to listen to) and/or the BBC did a deal to re-edit the podcast(s concerned) without the advertising diversion (it was almost always US-centric promotion, so no big loss at a revenue end to remove it for Ad-free UK listeners). I've not subscribed directly to these import-to-broadcast podcasts (enjoyable as they are), so I've not even kept up with what they currently do, via direct internet download.


But I get the idea.


Editedtoadd: BBC programmes (TV, radio, and now podcast, videocast, whatever) are primarily funded by the (TV) Licence Fee in the UK, with BBC Worldwide probably adding to that revenue stream and doing whatever they do oversees. But it means BBC product at home is ad-free (save for internal 'trailering' of what is/will be on this or another BBC channel, or was on and is now on iPlayer or iPlayerRadio/BBCSounds), compared to commercial channels. Obviously all native BBC podcasts (copies, extended cuts or interstitial episodes of BBC audio, generally) are similarly ad-free, but other British podcasts I am familiar with seem to be similarly 'free of ads' or at least funding hidden behind the scenes. Probably just my own personal selection of favourites, though, might be biased that way.

Re: 2096: "Mattresses"

Posted: Wed Jan 09, 2019 7:20 pm UTC
by Zamfir
In case anyone is wondering, the referred article is real, and it's brilliant. If you ever relied on internet reviews to make a decision, read it.
https://www.fastcompany.com/3065928/sle ... tress-wars

Re: 2096: "Mattresses"

Posted: Wed Jan 09, 2019 9:33 pm UTC
by Felderburg
kypzethdurron wrote:Very rarely do I not understand an XKCD or think that it doesn't apply to me............. but I have no experiences of mattresses, underwear or post offices in either online adverts or podcasts? Is this an American-only thing, or am I misunderstanding the comic?


Right? I don't listen to podcasts, and the alt texts say "that article" as if I've totally heard of it. (I am in the US, so it's not an American thing.)

Re: 2096: "Mattresses"

Posted: Wed Jan 09, 2019 11:47 pm UTC
by Flumble
Zamfir wrote:In case anyone is wondering, the referred article is real, and it's brilliant. If you ever relied on internet reviews to make a decision, read it.
https://www.fastcompany.com/3065928/sle ... tress-wars

That's a neat article.
Too bad for sleepopolis that they're not at the top (anymore) for most queries and in most search engines. :roll:

Re: 2096: "Mattresses"

Posted: Thu Jan 10, 2019 12:28 am UTC
by SDK
Zamfir wrote:In case anyone is wondering, the referred article is real, and it's brilliant. If you ever relied on internet reviews to make a decision, read it.
https://www.fastcompany.com/3065928/sle ... tress-wars

Looks like we crashed the site... Nice job, folks.

Re: 2096: "Mattresses"

Posted: Thu Jan 10, 2019 12:47 am UTC
by Sableagle
I started looking at that site, but I doubt my neighbours appreciate my increasingly vehement vocalisations of biologically unlikely imprecations directed at the various entities advertising on that site.

Re: 2096: "Mattresses"

Posted: Thu Jan 10, 2019 10:57 am UTC
by somitomi
Spaztastical wrote:humbug. Pay per month for 0-1 book and buy for more? What about OVERDRIVE?! Free unlimited audiobooks through your library card. Not every book, and sometime you have to place a hold, but it goes up to 2x speed and Libby (still overdrive but different app) can go faster (but lacks wishlists). Hated those audible adverts.

Didn't say I agree with it and since I don't listen to audiobooks either it's not something I could have a meaningful opinion on anyway. The ad being everywhere with the exact same wording is annoying indeed.

Re: 2096: "Mattresses"

Posted: Thu Jan 10, 2019 12:34 pm UTC
by herbstschweigen
phlip wrote:A lot of podcasts are sponsored by mattress companies. I have no idea why. But there's a burgeoning industry of a whole bunch of different online-storefront mattress retailers, and they all advertise heavily on podcasts.


Interesting. I don't listen to podcasts, but I still have a newspaper subscription. And it's somewhat similar there: almost every day it comes with at least one ad leaflet from furniture companies. Several furniture companies advertise every week. Given that every single household only buys a piece of furniture like, once a year, that seems like a really huge amount of advertising.

Re: 2096: "Mattresses"

Posted: Thu Jan 10, 2019 1:10 pm UTC
by GlassHouses
herbstschweigen wrote:
phlip wrote:A lot of podcasts are sponsored by mattress companies. I have no idea why. But there's a burgeoning industry of a whole bunch of different online-storefront mattress retailers, and they all advertise heavily on podcasts.

Interesting. I don't listen to podcasts, but I still have a newspaper subscription. And it's somewhat similar there: almost every day it comes with at least one ad leaflet from furniture companies. Several furniture companies advertise every week. Given that every single household only buys a piece of furniture like, once a year, that seems like a really huge amount of advertising.

To someone like me, perfectly happy with their king size IKEA bed with king size mattress that cost somewhere between $200 and $300 (the mattress, not the bed!), all this does sound insane at first, but the article mentions mattresses costing well over $1000, and review sites pocketing $50 or more for every sale coming through their sponsored links... people are spending tons of money on this. And that's not new, either: even years ago, before everybody started buying everything on the Internet, it struck me just how many mattress commercials I saw on American TV. It's just the "influencer" angle that's new.

Re: 2096: "Mattresses"

Posted: Thu Jan 10, 2019 5:12 pm UTC
by Spaztastical
somitomi wrote:
Spaztastical wrote:humbug. Pay per month for 0-1 book and buy for more? What about OVERDRIVE?! Free unlimited audiobooks through your library card. Not every book, and sometime you have to place a hold, but it goes up to 2x speed and Libby (still overdrive but different app) can go faster (but lacks wishlists). Hated those audible adverts.

Didn't say I agree with it and since I don't listen to audiobooks either it's not something I could have a meaningful opinion on anyway. The ad being everywhere with the exact same wording is annoying indeed.

I try to not pass up opportunities to expound on the greatness of Overdrive and prostelitize for it.

Re: 2096: "Mattresses"

Posted: Thu Jan 10, 2019 5:42 pm UTC
by pogrmman
GlassHouses wrote:
herbstschweigen wrote:
phlip wrote:A lot of podcasts are sponsored by mattress companies. I have no idea why. But there's a burgeoning industry of a whole bunch of different online-storefront mattress retailers, and they all advertise heavily on podcasts.

Interesting. I don't listen to podcasts, but I still have a newspaper subscription. And it's somewhat similar there: almost every day it comes with at least one ad leaflet from furniture companies. Several furniture companies advertise every week. Given that every single household only buys a piece of furniture like, once a year, that seems like a really huge amount of advertising.

To someone like me, perfectly happy with their king size IKEA bed with king size mattress that cost somewhere between $200 and $300 (the mattress, not the bed!), all this does sound insane at first, but the article mentions mattresses costing well over $1000, and review sites pocketing $50 or more for every sale coming through their sponsored links... people are spending tons of money on this. And that's not new, either: even years ago, before everybody started buying everything on the Internet, it struck me just how many mattress commercials I saw on American TV. It's just the "influencer" angle that's new.

What’s super confusing to be is how the heck all the mattress places stay in business. It seems like there are tons of brick and mortar stores. They also always seem to be holding “going out of business” sales — one of the ones by me did that for about 5 years before actually closing :p

It just doesn’t seem like there’s nearly enough demand anywhere for the number of mattress stores there are! I mean, it seems like there’s enough that if people are only
going to the closest one, they’re drawing from maybe a 3 mile radius because they’re absolutely everywhere. And there never seems to be anyone in them. Just the seemingly inordinate supply for something that people buy maybe once every 5-10 years (if even that frequently) seems so confusing.

Re: 2096: "Mattresses"

Posted: Thu Jan 10, 2019 6:39 pm UTC
by rmsgrey
somitomi wrote:
Spaztastical wrote:humbug. Pay per month for 0-1 book and buy for more? What about OVERDRIVE?! Free unlimited audiobooks through your library card. Not every book, and sometime you have to place a hold, but it goes up to 2x speed and Libby (still overdrive but different app) can go faster (but lacks wishlists). Hated those audible adverts.

Didn't say I agree with it and since I don't listen to audiobooks either it's not something I could have a meaningful opinion on anyway. The ad being everywhere with the exact same wording is annoying indeed.

It also makes it even more obvious which sponsorship spots are scripted by the sponsor rather than being worded by the influencer themselves. Not that it's terribly hard to spot when someone switches from their normal conversational style into pure marketing speak...

Re: 2096: "Mattresses"

Posted: Thu Jan 10, 2019 7:32 pm UTC
by AndrewGPaul
pogrmman wrote:What’s super confusing to be is how the heck all the mattress places stay in business. It seems like there are tons of brick and mortar stores. They also always seem to be holding “going out of business” sales — one of the ones by me did that for about 5 years before actually closing :p


There's joke in the UK along the lines of "Did you hear about Joe? He's so unlucky/stupid he bought a sofa full-price from DFS". DFS are a major home furnishings chain in the UK, and every single one of their ads is about their sale. This "sale" must have been running for a decade now.

Re: 2096: "Mattresses"

Posted: Thu Jan 10, 2019 8:17 pm UTC
by gimmespamnow
pogrmman wrote:
GlassHouses wrote:To someone like me, perfectly happy with their king size IKEA bed with king size mattress that cost somewhere between $200 and $300 (the mattress, not the bed!), all this does sound insane at first, but the article mentions mattresses costing well over $1000, and review sites pocketing $50 or more for every sale coming through their sponsored links... people are spending tons of money on this. And that's not new, either: even years ago, before everybody started buying everything on the Internet, it struck me just how many mattress commercials I saw on American TV. It's just the "influencer" angle that's new.

What’s super confusing to be is how the heck all the mattress places stay in business. It seems like there are tons of brick and mortar stores. They also always seem to be holding “going out of business” sales — one of the ones by me did that for about 5 years before actually closing :p

It just doesn’t seem like there’s nearly enough demand anywhere for the number of mattress stores there are! I mean, it seems like there’s enough that if people are only
going to the closest one, they’re drawing from maybe a 3 mile radius because they’re absolutely everywhere. And there never seems to be anyone in them. Just the seemingly inordinate supply for something that people buy maybe once every 5-10 years (if even that frequently) seems so confusing.

The brick and mortar stores often have $2000-$3000 price tags on mattresses, and while I don't know how much it costs to make a mattress really, given those numbers it makes sense that somewhere between 50-90% of the price is the mattress store's markup. If the store is in some cheap strip mall in the suburbs, they only have to sell a mattresses a week to pay the rent and the employees, which means there can be a lot of stores doing it. For instance, if people buy a mattress every 10 years, that means you can in theory have 1 mattress store for every 500 people, (there isn't, but the fact that it is close to that number makes people try.) And for each store, the difference between being able to make rent next month and not, is only a few customers walking through the door, so you might indeed be "going out of business" sometimes, and then sell enough mattresses during the sale to stay open for another month...

Given the profit margin that are the brick and mortar stores, it really is no wonder that new companies are getting involved. And of course they inherited some of the mess, (all the employees at the brick and mortar stores are paid on commission too.)

Re: 2096: "Mattresses"

Posted: Fri Jan 11, 2019 12:34 am UTC
by Soupspoon
AndrewGPaul wrote:This "sale" must have been running for a decade now.

This discussion from 2009a decade shows you how world-weary it already was, then. ;)

(The placenames "Thorp Arch, Carcroft and Hull" eternally resonate to me, either as DFS's original locations or of the prexecessor/parent company Northern Upholstery, continuously advertised whilst I was in the region at points in the '80s. I can't recall if they were always in a Sale, at that point, but no doubt that was the gist of the advert. Apparently the family home of the owner/founder got robbed*) of 2.4mil-worth of cash and jewelry in 1994. Makes you wonder about margins and volumes.)

* - No, not burgled. IANAL, but I think robbed better applies here.



As for mattress lifetime, there's at least one UK outlet that is 'helpfully' advertising that it labels its mattresses with either the purchase date or their stated 'replace by' date (seven years, I think!) so you know when to get a new one. Yeah. No.

Re: 2096: "Mattresses"

Posted: Fri Jan 11, 2019 1:24 am UTC
by ijuin
IIRC, the distinction between burglary and robbery is that in robbery, the offender confronts the victim and uses intimidation pr violence to get them to hand over the goods, whereas burglary involves an attempt to abscond with the goods before the victims even know that a theft has occurred.

Re: 2096: "Mattresses"

Posted: Fri Jan 11, 2019 2:51 am UTC
by Showsni
phlip wrote:A lot of podcasts are sponsored by mattress companies. I have no idea why. But there's a burgeoning industry of a whole bunch of different online-storefront mattress retailers, and they all advertise heavily on podcasts.


Are you telling me the podcasters are in bed with big mattress?

Re: 2096: "Mattresses"

Posted: Fri Jan 11, 2019 4:49 pm UTC
by Soupspoon
ijuin wrote:IIRC, the distinction between burglary and robbery is that in robbery, the offender confronts the victim and uses intimidation pr violence to get them to hand over the goods, whereas burglary involves an attempt to abscond with the goods before the victims even know that a theft has occurred.

Exactly. It was an armed robbery of the home, while the family were on holiday, in which a member of staff was threatened and tied up as part of the crime. Tried to save some words, and then tried to save myself from the obvious pedantry. ;)

Re: 2096: "Mattresses"

Posted: Sun Jan 13, 2019 1:58 am UTC
by krabcat
in all seriousness, i recommend sleeping on the floor.

Re: 2096: "Mattresses"

Posted: Sun Jan 13, 2019 8:13 am UTC
by ijuin
I slept on a $100 futon for five years and was fine with it. That’s a Japanese style futon, mind you, meaning that it was the floor pads and covers without the frame that “American” style futons have.