While the economy is slowly getting better, times are still tough for a lot of folks. One of the few good things about hard times is how they can help us return to the values of thrift that our parents and grandparents knew so well. Of course, not all money-saving ideas are good ones. Some are just plain silly and a few are outright dangerous. Examples include: riding around with bald tires or bad brakes, letting needed house repairs go undone, and taking chances on a so-called recycled mattress. We’ve touched on this topic before, but we felt it would be good to revisit it. So here’s a frightening tale that came our way recently. We really hope it’s just made up.

The Mattress that Led to a Visit From the Mob

A young newlywed couple was looking for things to furnish their modest one-bedroom apartment when they happened across a thrift store in the older section of town. As they walked in the door, they sneezed from the dust that filled the air. For a second, they thought about leaving, but they decided to just have a quick look-around.

In a corner, they spotted a stack of old mattresses piled high. They had been sleeping on an old foldout couch and were desperate for a more comfortable sleep surface. Reluctantly, they stared at the eight or nine cast off mattresses, each of which had a tag hanging from it that said, “RECYCLED FOR YOUR PROTECTION.”

“Can I help you young people?” the voice behind them said. Turning around, they were taken aback by what they saw. A bent, wizened old figure was barely visible in the shop’s dim light. He looked at them through one eye, while the other was shrouded in darkness.

“We – we were just looking for a mattress, something cheap but comfortable,” the husband managed to say. The pair really wanted to leave but didn’t dare hurt the shopkeeper’s feelings. They looked at him with a mixture of fear and pity.

Then, they saw his mouth twist upward into a snake-like grin. “Gotcha,” he said. “Well, you’re in luck.” He pointed at the pile of mattresses in the corner. “On the very top, there is one I just got in. It’s from a rich people’s hotel uptown. Was only slept in once before the place closed. It’s been debugged and sanitized. I’ll let you have it for twenty bucks.”

The couple could barely believe their ears. Twenty dollars for a practically new mattress! They went over to look at it. The cover appeared clean, and it was good and firm, the way they liked their sleep surfaces to be. They paid the owner of the place and managed to cram their new purchase into their aging minivan just as the sun was setting. Then they set off for home.

That night, they laid it directly on the floor of their tiny bedroom. It was lumpy and uneven, like it was stuffed with something hard in places, but they were exhausted after their long day and quickly fell asleep.

It was two hours later when they woke with a start. There, standing above them in the pale moonlight coming in from the window, was a huge man in an expensive suit. He had scars on both his cheeks and on his knuckles. His head was totally bald, but the scariest thing of all about him was the very large gun he held in his right hand.

“So you’re the pair that Ace sold the mattress to,” he said, a leer stretching across his misshapen face as he spoke. “Too bad that old coot didn’t know what it’s filled with.” He waved at the couple to rise. “Get up and sit in the corner. I got some property in there, and I want it back.”

Terrified, the pair did as the man said. As they cowered on the floor, he pulled a razor-sharp knife from his pocket. Kneeling down, he sliced into the fabric, cutting a gash twelve inches long. Then he reached inside.

The couple’s faces went ashen as they saw what he pulled out. It was a human skull, bleached white and grinning at them horribly. “Trophy from a sporting contest I entered a while back,” the man said, smiling at them at he tucked the grim memento into the pit of his arm. “Couldn’t stand to lose it.” He raised his gun, and the pair’s hearts stopped for a fraction of a second. Then the huge gangster slipped the pistol into his coat. “Don’t worry,” he said. “You two seem like nice people, so I’ll let you live.”

He started to walk away, then turned to look at them one more time. “Let me give you a piece of advice,” he muttered. “Next time, don’t buy a recycled mattress.” Then he went out the front door and disappeared into the night.

Some Things We Know Are True

Now, we’re pretty sure the Mattress Mafia aren’t going to send you to ‘sleep with the fishes’ if you buy a recycled mattress, but here’s what we DO know: mattresses made as recently as the mid-2000s contain toxic chemicals that can cause skin rashes, breathing problems, and even severe allergic reactions. That’s not to mention how pre-owned discount mattress sets frequently harbor dangerous pathogens and microscopic parasites that spread disease. So don’t gamble with your health. Here at Parklane, we have brand-new, quality mattresses for every budget, and we’ll do everything we can to help make one of them affordable to you. Call us or visit one of our locations today.