Here's What Happens to Returned Mail-Order Mattresses

Returning a mail-order mattress is more complicated than it sounds.
Returning a mail-order mattress is more complicated than it sounds.
FotoDuets/iStock via Getty Images

Thanks to the compressive properties of foam, mail-order mattresses have become a big business in recent years. Companies like Casper and Tuft send rolled-up beds to consumers, who typically have 30 to 100 days to literally sleep on it before committing to the purchase.

While most seem satisfied, a percentage end up sending the mattress back for a refund. The problem is that it’s difficult to roll a decompressed mattress back up into a shipping tube. In short, an industry built on promising easy returns can’t often accept the returned merchandise. So what happens?

Maggie Koerth of FiveThirtyEight recently investigated. She purchased a mattress from Tulo, and, like many consumers, decided the firmness wasn’t to her liking. She wanted to exchange her medium-firm for a firm. The company told her she was best off simply donating the mattress to a charitable organization, though it was essentially hers to do with as she wished.

Thinking of reselling it, she eventually stumbled across a third-party service, Sharetown, that’s growing in popularity among mattress companies. Sharetown is a networking tool that connects a mattress retailer with a resale agent. The agent picks the mattress up from the customer and resells it via a community site like Facebook or Craigslist. If it sells, everyone gets a cut. (Except the customer, who received a refund from the mattress company.)

But not all mattress companies take this approach. Others, like Tuft & Needle, urge consumers to donate their unwanted mattress to a local charity or recycle it. Then they process a refund once the customer has delivered proof, like a donation receipt. They promise to enlist a third party to handle pick-up if necessary. Casper has a similar policy.

If all else fails, companies sometimes encourage buyers to donate to a friend or family member or simply give it away for free.

So does anyone actually try to stuff their rejected mattress back into a box and deliver it right back to the company? At least one guy did. Early on, Tuft & Needle found that someone was able to perform this challenging task. He then billed the company $300 for shipping.

[h/t FiveThirtyEight]

Looking to Downsize? You Can Buy a 5-Room DIY Cabin on Amazon for Less Than $33,000

Five rooms of one's own.
Five rooms of one's own.
Allwood/Amazon

If you’ve already mastered DIY houses for birds and dogs, maybe it’s time you built one for yourself.

As Simplemost reports, there are a number of house kits that you can order on Amazon, and the Allwood Avalon Cabin Kit is one of the quaintest—and, at $32,990, most affordable—options. The 540-square-foot structure has enough space for a kitchen, a bathroom, a bedroom, and a sitting room—and there’s an additional 218-square-foot loft with the potential to be the coziest reading nook of all time.

You can opt for three larger rooms if you're willing to skip the kitchen and bathroom.Allwood/Amazon

The construction process might not be a great idea for someone who’s never picked up a hammer, but you don’t need an architectural degree to tackle it. Step-by-step instructions and all materials are included, so it’s a little like a high-level IKEA project. According to the Amazon listing, it takes two adults about a week to complete. Since the Nordic wood walls are reinforced with steel rods, the house can withstand winds up to 120 mph, and you can pay an extra $1000 to upgrade from double-glass windows and doors to triple-glass for added fortification.

Sadly, the cool ceiling lamp is not included.Allwood/Amazon

Though everything you need for the shell of the house comes in the kit, you will need to purchase whatever goes inside it: toilet, shower, sink, stove, insulation, and all other furnishings. You can also customize the blueprint to fit your own plans for the space; maybe, for example, you’re going to use the house as a small event venue, and you’d rather have two or three large, airy rooms and no kitchen or bedroom.

Intrigued? Find out more here.

[h/t Simplemost]

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The Reason Dogs Are Terrified of Thunderstorms—And How You Can Help

The face of a dog who clearly knows that a hard rain's a-gonna fall.
The face of a dog who clearly knows that a hard rain's a-gonna fall.
Charles Deluvio, Unsplash

Deafening thunder can be a little scary even for a full-grown human who knows it’s harmless, so your dog’s terror is understandable. But why exactly do thunderstorms send so many of our pawed pals into a tailspin?

Many dogs are distressed by unexpected loud noises—a condition known as noise aversion, or noise phobia in more severe cases—and sudden thunderclaps fall into that category. What separates a wailing siren or fireworks show from a thunderstorm in a dog's mind, however, is that dogs may actually realize a thunderstorm is coming.

As National Geographic explains, not only can dogs easily see when the sky gets dark and feel when the wind picks up, but they can also perceive the shift in barometric pressure that occurs before a storm. The anxiety of knowing loud noise is on its way may upset your dog as much as the noise itself.

Static electricity could also add to this anxiety, especially for dogs with long and/or thick hair. Tufts University veterinary behaviorist Nicholas Dodman, who also co-founded the Center for Canine Behavior Studies, told National Geographic that a static shock when brushing up against metal may heighten your dog’s agitation during a storm.

It’s difficult to nail down why each dog despises thunderstorms. As Purina points out, one could simply be thrown off by a break from routine, while another may be most troubled by the lightning. In any case, there are ways to help calm your stressed pet.

If your dog’s favorite spot during a storm is in the bathroom, they could be trying to stay near smooth, static-less surfaces for fear of getting shocked. Suiting them up in an anti-static jacket or petting them down with anti-static dryer sheets may help.

You can also make a safe haven for your pup where they’ll be oblivious to signs of a storm. Purina behavior research scientist Ragen T.S. McGowan suggests draping a blanket over their crate, which can help muffle noise. For dogs that don’t use (or like) crates, a cozy room with drawn blinds and a white noise machine can work instead.

Consulting your veterinarian is a good idea, too; if your dog’s thunderstorm-related stress is really causing issues, an anti-anxiety prescription could be the best option.

[h/t National Geographic]