German couples have a peculiar custom of sleeping on separate mattresses and using separate blankets. I was completely opposed to this when I heard about it and begged my soon-to-be German husband to at least share a blanket with me, but he didn’t like the idea. To my great surprise, I’ve grown to rather like this custom. The crack between the mattresses provides a cozy place for a foot or hand, and separate blankets means that this hot-natured girl can have her blanket in a ball at the foot of the bed while my German is cozily snuggled up and sweating under his own blanket.
Our bed is very traditional for Germany. It has a cheap wooden frame, a cheap headboard, two thin-enough-to-be-folded mattresses, and wooden slats underneath to hold them up. Below is a picture of my mattress folded to show the slats and also a full-on shot of the bed.
As a side note, the mosquito net just got put up last week because the mosquitos here are straight from the pits of hell and bite us all night long without it. I just moved it back for the sake of the pictures.
Unfortunately, our very old and horribly uncomfortable bed needs to be replaced, and given that we are newly married and I’m still searching for a job here, our budget is rather small. So we went bed shopping and looked at beds similar to ours. The construction of the lattenrost (slats under the mattresses) has vastly improved since our old-timer was purchased, but it was basically the same thing… a thin mattress on wood. Definitely not this American’s idea of a good night’s rest, but the only kind of bed in our budget.
However, Germans have a fairly new bed design which they’re quite proud of, and all of my German’s friends who have these new beds swear by them as being the most comfortable bed on which they’ve ever slept. You might recognize the name. They’re called “boxspring betten”. Yeah. Seriously. The bed design I’ve slept on nearly my whole life has finally been discovered in Germany and it’s all the rage here. Too bad we couldn’t afford one…
Or could we?
A few days after casually mentioning to his grandpa that we were in the market for a new bed, he got a phone call. Oma and Opa had discussed it and they wanted to buy us our new bed. The next time we visited, Oma handed a decent sum of money to my husband and told us to buy a good bed rather than another cheap one.
Two days ago we set out to find a new bed and we found a real gem at XXXLutz. It had one firm and one soft mattress (The German likes soft and I like firm which was a big problem for us). This one was perfect. It had perfect mattresses for us with one solid bed-topper so it looked like a real bed for a couple who actually likes each other. It was 200€ over our very tight budget, but we’d looked for hours and at many stores. This was the same bed we’d found at another store a few days before but it was 40€ cheaper at XXXLutz so we decided to buy it. Unfortunately, the salesman very politely sized up my husband without ever looking in my direction and said, “I don’t want to be rude, but these mattresses are only for people up to 80 kilograms (176 lbs). Might I suggest the mattresses over here? They’re made for people over 80 kg so they will last longer for you two.”
I wanted to be mad, but I saw how he politely sized up my husband rather than me, and I was actually thankful that he was brave enough tell us rather than selling us a bed that would only last a few years. Besides, I’m not the only one of us over 80kg. My husband is, too, so he wasn’t wrong. 😉
The problem was that the other mattresses were each an extra 100€ which would have put us 400€ over our already-stretched budget. I told my husband, “We’ll have to take our chances with the cheaper ones. We can’t afford it.” He translated what I said to the salesman and told him our budget. The salesman thought a moment and said, “You know what? This bed is advertised to be the ‘best preis’, and I don’t want to put you in a bad bed. I’ll tell you what, if you want the other mattresses, I’ll give them to you at the same price as the cheaper mattresses.” We couldn’t pass it up. It was a great deal and the bed was like a dream.
Unfortunately, we are in Germany and not get-whatever-you-want-when-you-want-it America. EVERY bed they display has to be ordered and this particular bed has been so widely popular that it takes 9 weeks to get it. So, come October, we’ll be sleeping on what might be the most comfortable bed I’ve ever had the privilege of lying on, and I can’t wait.
So many things are different here. It wasn’t until this experience that I realized how spoiled we Americans truly are. In the States, if you wanted to buy a bed and were told it would take 9 weeks, you’d go to a different store and find a different bed because now that you’ve decided what you want, you’re sure as heck not gonna wait even one more day for it. The Europeans just aren’t like that. They’re pretty low-key and patient with this kind of thing, and though I’m not thrilled about sleeping another 9 weeks on our awful bed, I found it to be oddly liberating as if I was letting go of some of my spoiled I-want-it-now nature.
I also want to make one more point… I’ve read MANY MANY blogs discussing how awful customer service is in Germany compared to America. Many Americans find Germans to be cold and uncaring. While that may be true in the big cities or in certain situations, I’ve never once been treated badly here in Bavaria. Every person I’ve come in contact with who is a Customer Service worker is extremely friendly and goes out of their way to serve me. They even try speaking English no matter how uncomfortable it makes them all in an effort to make me more comfortable. That XXXLutz salesman could have said, “Ok. Fine. If you don’t have the money for the better mattresses, buy the cheaper ones. It’s no skin off my back because I warned you.” Instead he told my husband, “I don’t want it to be my fault that you get into a bad bed. I want it to be good for you and I want it to last. That’s why I’m making you this deal.”