This article originally appeared on VICE Australia. Shopping for furniture is so tiring. Have you ever just laid in a display bed to test it out and thought I could just fall asleep right here. Yeah, me too. But the problem is there are some weird and unwritten rules to life, and falling asleep in a display bed is probably breaking all of them. But why? Would anyone actually get mad at someone for sleeping?
I decided to find out and rate some furniture stores on their friendliness, bed comfort, and overall sleep experience.
First up was Forty Winks.
My photographer and I walked in together and found ourselves in an empty store with three staff working—all of whom watched us like hawks. After two minutes on this single bed, one of the staff came over and told me to stop messing around. The vibrations were bad and it was clear we weren’t wanted.
But on the way out, I quickly snuck into the display window bed.
Less than two minutes had elapsed before I was getting yelled at to leave the store. When I continued to “sleep” through the verbal tirade, the guy lightly smacked me on the hand. Rude.
Time: 1 minute, 50 seconds
Verdict: 1 star
Great Dane is a fancy place full of expensive minimalism. Even the air tasted expensive.
I found a nice $18,000 [$13,900 USD] sofa to rest my head on. But it wasn’t very comfortable so I migrated to the store’s only display bed.
The problem was that the store was once again devoid of anybody but the staff, my photographer, and me. So after a few minutes, one of the staff approached my photographer and asked if I was okay. “Oh no,” he replied, “My boyfriend must have fallen asleep. He was working all night and I told him that we needed to go bed shopping, poor thing.”
She laughed. “He must really love the bed.” And with that, they engaged in a 20-minute conversation while I caught up on some apparently much-needed rest.
“We just moved from Sydney and we’re looking for new decor for our apartment in Prahran.”
“Your furniture is so beautiful, so timeless.”
“Are your pants Issey Miyake? I love them.”
Time: 23 minutes, 51 seconds
Verdict: 4 stars
De Rucci is the Chinese bed store that uses an intense scowling man to advertise its beds. The guy looks like he hates everything in the world, except beds. And only some beds at that.
Learning from our previous mistakes, I entered the De Rucci store alone and my photographer walked in a few minutes later. For all the staff knew, we were strangers. I fell asleep in a bed and a couple of minutes later one of the staff members approached me. “Heeey, are you ok? Excuse me?” but I slept on and she wasn’t too keen on actually touching me. So there I lay for another ten minutes.
I could hear my photographer engaging in conversation with the staff. “People these days, a lot of scumbags around here.” I couldn’t believe how quickly he turned from loving boyfriend to abusive bystander. At least the bed was nice and comfy. Eventually, one of the staff members gently nudged me on the shoulder and woke me up.
Time: 13 minutes, 23 seconds
Verdict: 4 stars
You might know Ralph Lauren for their variety of ridiculous shirts but they also have a ridiculous "home" section, with a display bed behind a sleek velvet rope. I clearly wasn't allowed in, but I was just feeling so tired…
Sadly, the reality did not live up to expectation.
The sun was in my eyes, and the mattress was super hard.
And I kind of felt like a zoo animal.
Eventually, one of the staff noticed me and gently nudged my foot. “Sorry, we have to sell that so we've got to keep it hygienic,” he said, his face a mix of well-mannered disgust.
“Oh it’s okay,” I responded. “I took a shower this morning.”
“There’s a cafe next door,” he said as I got out of bed. “Why don’t you get yourself a coffee?”
Time: 17 minutes, 38 seconds
Verdict: 3 stars
I was happy with the results of my experiment so far, but it still felt a bit inauthentic. What I needed were some pajamas. Lilac and little rainbows—perfect.
But first a quick spot of tea before bed.
The bed was amazing, but I could feel people staring at me. IKEA is busy, so there was always someone walking past. Some people took pictures, others kind of silently hovered over me, but most just laughed and recycled the same couple of jokes about coffee.
I kept hearing the sentence: “This is soo going on Facebook.” I was glad to be providing some entertainment. But it was difficult to keep my eyes closed knowing I was being filmed. This gave me a newfound appreciation for actors—pretending to sleep under pressure is really hard.
But after 45 minutes nobody cared. It was as if this was normal. Four staff members had passed me by this point, but none seemed to mind. I worked in retail for years, I get it. “Someone else can deal with that shit.”
And then, eventually, it happened. I actually fell asleep. And remained asleep for about half an hour, until a little girl calling her dad over woke me up. Her dad was cracking up. The little girl seemed concerned.
Eventually, just under the two-hour mark, I overheard my photographer chatting with a staff member. He was pretending to be a concerned citizen. “That guy has been sleeping for a while, should we wake him up?”
“Nah,” replied the staff member. “We’ll let him sleep until close.”
Closing time was another four hours away. Fuck that. You win IKEA. Your beds are super soft and your staff is absolutely delightful. I’d give you ten stars if I could.
I guess the main lesson is: Falling asleep in a myriad of display beds affirmed something I already suspected about humanity. For the most part, people are good and kind and assume the best of total strangers, unless they work at Forty Winks.
Time at IKEA: 1 hour, 53 minutes
Verdict: 5 stars
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