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Video: $33,000 mattress: Is it worth the price?

  1. Transcript of: $33,000 mattress: Is it worth the price?

    HODA KOTB, co-host: It's not every day we're able to catch some Z's while we're at work.

    KATHIE LEE GIFFORD, co-host: But today we're resting on a $33,000 bunch of feathers.

    KOTB: Hm, cozy.

    GIFFORD: Yes, $33,000. So is it worth it?

    KOTB: Reader's Digest contributor Janice Lieberman has the answer. Hey, Janice . Good to have us here together.

    GIFFORD: Hi, Janice .

    Ms. JANICE LEIBERMAN: Hello. Well, a good night's sleep is absolutely priceless.

    GIFFORD: Look at the three of us here in bed together.

    Ms. LIEBERMAN: Am I right?

    KOTB: Yeah.

    Ms. LIEBERMAN: Well, we recently went mattress shopping to find out about mattresses, and we found one that's starting at 400 but they go up to 33 grand!

    KOTB: That's crazy.

    GIFFORD: Who'd a thunk it?

    Ms. LIEBERMAN: How does your tushy feel?

    KOTB: It's crazy.

    GIFFORD: It does feel kind of nice.

    Ms. LIEBERMAN: Shopping for a mattress is tiring, confusing and could cause nightmares.

    Ms. LIEBERMAN: So many price points and so many choices. What are you looking for ?

    Unidentified Woman: Well, I'm looking for something -- I'm old-fashioned. I like a box spring and mattress . I know that's what I want, you know? So I'm going to do this lying down.

    Ms. LIEBERMAN: So how different are the mattresses? We went on a tour at the Gold Bond Mattress Factory in Hartford , Connecticut , to find out what exactly goes into building a bed. Here 300 mattresses are made daily.

    Mr. ROBERT NABOICHECK (President, Gold Bond): Consumers are going to get a phenomenal value for 799.

    Ms. LIEBERMAN: So what do you really get for your money? At this factory it takes two days to have a mattress ready for shipping.

    Mr. NABOICHECK: We're handcrafting, using modern technology and modern raw material with old craftsmanship to continue to make a very durable, long-lasting, comfortable product.

    Ms. LIEBERMAN: The company expects the customer to get good use out of their product for at least 10 years.

    Mr. NABOICHECK: It has a look and a feel like a mattress that's significantly more expensive, with high-quality raw material .

    Ms. LIEBERMAN: Seven hundred ninety-nine dollars for all that work sounds reasonable, right? But hold onto your sleeping caps. The latest American-made luxury mattress by E.S. Kluft will run you tens of thousands; yes, 33 grand for a good night's sleep .

    Woman: What are the price?

    Ms. LIEBERMAN: Thirty-three thousand dollars. Would you pay that?

    Woman: No. Thirty-three , did you say?

    Ms. LIEBERMAN: Yes.

    Woman: Where's the $33,000 one? I want to lie down.

    Ms. LIEBERMAN: You got to come try it. So how do you justify spending 33,000 to sleep well ? We had to find out, so we asked to see their factory.

    Mr. EARL KLUFT (CEO and President, E.S. Kluft): We have more fine quality raw materials than anything -- other mattress you're going to find on the planet. We use over 20 pounds of wool blend with cashmere, silk and mohair. We use latex foam, special latex foam, we use pure certified organic cotton. The innerspring is 2,000 coils. It's hand-sewn in England , conforms to your body, gives great support.

    Ms. LIEBERMAN: The mostly hand-crafted mattress takes three days to make.

    Mr. KLUFT: People feel good about spending when -- if they can afford it, of course. They feel good about buying a great mattress . It's a tool for sleeping. It's part of your good health.

    Ms. LIEBERMAN: Whether it's $700 or $33,000, it's a decision you don't want to lose sleep over . So you need to do your own research, and that means testing them all out.

    Woman: Oh, this is very nice. Oh, my God. This is yummy.

    Ms. LIEBERMAN: Can they get a good night's sleep on an $800 mattress instead of a $33,000 mattresses?

    Mr. BRYAN UMIKER (Mattress Buyers, Bloomingdale's): There's no reason why you couldn't get as good night's sleep on an $800 mattress as on a more expensive one. It really depends on you. It depends on what your specific needs are and what it takes to make you comfortable.

    Ms. LIEBERMAN: OK, so I asked the sales manager to break it down. He says it's 20 years on a warranty for this bed.

    KOTB: OK.

    Ms. LIEBERMAN: Four-fifty a night. If you forgo Starbucks ...

    GIFFORD: Advertising it.

    Ms. LIEBERMAN: ...you got the bed!

    KOTB: How does it feel? Can you...

    GIFFORD: Can you -- can you do it on the layaway plan so, you know, you...

    Ms. LIEBERMAN: Forever?

    GIFFORD: Yeah.

    Ms. LIEBERMAN: If you last?

    GIFFORD: It's really not as important what you sleep on as who you sleep with, is it?

    Ms. LIEBERMAN: Yeah, let's see what you think.

    GIFFORD: I don't know, but that's what I've been told.

    KOTB: Let's see . Yeah, let's have a slumber party, Janice .

    GIFFORD: Come on, Janice . Lay down here, baby.

    KOTB: You can get on. Get involved.

    Ms. LIEBERMAN: OK.

    KOTB: Oh, that is cozy.

    Ms. LIEBERMAN: What do you think, girls?

    KOTB: I like it.

    GIFFORD: Oh, you know it is...

    Ms. LIEBERMAN: This -- it ain't bad.

    GIFFORD: Oh, gosh.

    KOTB: It's cozy.

    GIFFORD: If this could guarantee that I would sleep through the night...

    Ms. LIEBERMAN: Right.

    KOTB: Yeah. You would do it.

    GIFFORD: ...I think I'd have to go on the layaway plan.

    KOTB: All right, Janice , thank you so much .

    GIFFORD: Thanks, Janice .

    Ms. LIEBERMAN: Should I wake you up?

    KOTB: All right, we got some relief if you're going -- if you're going through a change of life crisis.

    Ms. LIEBERMAN: Oh.

    GIFFORD: Well, yeah, we'll talk about that. And at the very end of all the symptoms is depression. I wonder why.

By TODAY consumer correspondent
TODAY
updated 7/22/2010 9:31:58 PM ET 2010-07-23T01:31:58
Correspondent’s notebook

OK, I think most of us would agree that nothing is as valuable as a good night’s sleep. So skip the caffeine, the vino and the sweets and plop into bed, right? Not so easy! It may be your mattress that is doing you in. 

So you decide to try shopping for a mattress. Got a budget? You may think you do — that is, until you enter a mattress store. You might expect the prices to range from $400 to $4,000. With a good sale, you could be happy with a mid-priced mattress for about a grand.

Well, think again. Think thousands. Think tens of thousands. The latest American-made mattress by E.S. Kluft & Co. retails for $33,000. Yes, for the price of a nice car, you can sleep like royalty on a hand-made mattress.

This is no ordinary mattress, mind you. It takes workers four days to construct, and it’s made of only the finest materials. From cashmere to horsehair to natural latex, this bedding is boss.

Image: Inside view of expensive mattress
E.S. Kluft & Co.
The Kluft mattress is made with luxurious materials, including cashmere, horsehair and natural latex.

But does all this luxurious material translate into pure heaven? I had to try it out. I recently asked a few friends to come by and test out several mattresses, including the Kluft. The prices ranged from $700 to $33,000. The mattresses were not labeled. My friends climbed onto the mattresses, tossed and turned and then they voted.

And what do you think they picked? The Kluft? Nope. My gal pals chose a $1,500 mattress.

Now I must admit, the Kluft is extremely comfortable. It is plush and luxurious. But so are a lot of others.

The folks from Kluft say this is a mattress for the person who wants the best. They told me they have received orders over the phone from customers who have never even tried the mattress. More than 100 have been sold. Kluft is even making a more expensive model that will sell for upward of $44,000. 

Bloomingdale’s currently has the exclusive on Kluft. When I asked a sales manager to figure out how much a good night’s sleep would cost on a Kluft, he did the math. Since the mattress has a warranty of 20 years, it would cost around $4.50 a day to sleep well. So if you are willing to forgo your Starbucks latte, you too can own the best bed on the block!

© 2013 MSNBC Interactive.  Reprints

Explainer: A $15,000 clump of hair? Silliest splurges of all time

  • Image: $175 burger
    Brendan Mcdermid  /  Reuters

    How much would you pay for a clump of Elvis Presley's hair? What exactly is on a $175 burger? And what goes into a $33,000 mattress? It turns out that plenty of items are tailored just for the ultra-wealthy and well-heeled — proving that when it comes to money, some people want to use it and lose it.

    Here are 12 examples of splurges that are so silly, so decadent and so unexpected that they will a) blow your mind and b) make you happy that the economy tanked and frugal is the "new normal."

  • The $15,000 hair clump

    Image: Elvis' clump of hair
    TODAY

    Yes, Elvis Presley was the King. But seriously, now: How much is a clump of hair from his head worth?

    A lot of Benjamins, apparently. Even though it looks like the aftermath of a home improvement project involving Drano, the hairball pictured here sold for $15,000 at a Chicago auction house in October 2009. The locks are thought to have been clipped when Elvis joined the Army in 1958.

    In addition to dropping $15,000 on the hair clump, the purchaser also had to pony up $3,300 in auction house fees.

    Related: Elvis' hair sells for $15K at auction

  • The $33,000 mattress

    Image: Inside view of expensive mattress
    E.S. Kluft & Co.

    Sure, a mattress is important. You use it every single day, and if it's uncomfortable, life can be miserable. But — BUT! — would you spend $33,000 on one? You can, thanks to E.S. Kluft & Co., makers of the most expensive American-made mattress set money can buy.

    The fit-for-a-king mattress contains "10 layers and more than 10 pounds of cashmere, mohair, silk and New Zealand wool that has been washed, dried and crimped," according to the Wall Street Journal.

    If the $33,000 price tag doesn't alarm you, just wait: Kluft has pans to start selling a $44,000 mattress later in 2010.

    Related: Could a mattress ever be worth $33K? You decide!

  • The $1,000 pizza

    Image: $1,000 pizza
    TODAY

    Mama mia! A thousand bucks for a 12-inch pizza pie? You betcha, says New York restaurateur Nino Selimaj. He dreamed up a thin-crust pizza that comes loaded with six kinds of caviar and lobster tail.

    "The idea came because I've been 29 years in this city," Selimaj told TODAY in 2007. "It's a great city, maybe the greatest city on Earth. I believe we deserve something to show ... I wanted to be different."

    At the time of the TODAY interview, he estimated his production costs to be about $720 per pizza. He's still serving up the pies today at his restaurant, Nino's Bellissima, on Manhattan's Upper East Side.

    Related: Mama mia! That's an expensive pizza!

  • The $582,000 dog

    Image: Chinese woman with dog
    AFP - Getty Images

    Most of us would be hard-pressed to put a price tag on our beloved pets — but this price tag was such a whopper that it understandably made headlines in September 2009. That's when a young Chinese millionaire known only as Ms. Wang forked over $582,000 for a dog — and then had the pup picked up at the airport by a motorcade of 30 black Mercedes-Benz cars.

    The dog, an 18-month-old Tibetan Mastiff named Yangtze River Number Two, belongs to a breed that is prized in China for its guarding skills. "Gold has a price, but this Tibetan Mastiff doesn't," the mysterious millionaire told Chinese publications.

    Actually, Ms. Wang, he does: Tibetan Mastiffs usually sell for about $2,000 in the West.

    Related: The world's most expensive dog cost $582K

  • The $1 million cow

    Her life resembles that of most ordinary cows: Producing milk, having babies, staring off peacefully into the distance. But what makes a lovely red bovine named Apple stand out is her price tag: At $1 million, she just might be the most expensive cow ever sold in United States.

    It may have been a classic case of auction fever when a group of partners from Iowa, Illinois and Wisconsin placed the winning bid for Apple at a Connecticut auction in July 2008. The bidding began at $200,000.

    Observers said the hefty sum was justified because Apple's genes, breeding potential and rare red color made her "very marketable."

    Related: Holy cow! Rare red bovine sold for $1M

  • The $9,150 toothpick

    Image: Charles Dickens' toothpick
    AP

    Save your toothpicks, everyone — if you ever become famous, you could make your grandchildren rich. As evidence, consider Exhibit A: An ivory and gold toothpick once owned by Charles Dickens that just sold at a New York City auction for $9,150.

    In case you're wondering whether the British writer really used the toothpick — (and secretly hoping that maybe he didn't) — an authentication letter from sister-in-law Georgina Hogarth says Dickens put the toothpick to use "when travelling and on his last visit to America."

    Ewwww!

    Related: Charles Dickens' toothpick sold for $9,150

  • The $175 burger

    Image: $175 burger
    Brendan Mcdermid  /  Reuters

    An absolute extravagance at a diner where a standard hamburger sells for $4.50, this $175 hamburger has been characterized as "a work of art."

    That's how Heather Tierney, co-owner of the Wall Street Burger Shoppe in Manhattan, described the burger, which is made of Kobe beef and comes with foie gras, black truffles and Gruyere cheese along with ... drum roll ... flakes of real gold.

    Tierney said the burger is a hit with Wall Street folks who like to show off to their friends for fun. (Oh please don't tell us you showed off with bailout money!)

  • The $25,000 cupcake car

    Image: Cupcake cars
    Photographer: Philip Chudy Www,p  /  Neiman Marcus

    So if you go out and spend $25,000 on a car, you might want it to travel faster than 7 mph — unless, of course, you're in the market for a cupcake car. Yes, you read that right: A cupcake car.

    Courtesy of Neiman Marcus, the luxury retailer that knows just how to captivate our imaginations with decadent gifts, the cupcake car can be customized to your unique tastes and can reach a maximum speed of 7 mph with its 24-volt electric motor.

    The cupcake car began as a cooperative art project at Burning Man. (And we promise not to insert any gratuitous jokes here about what the artists may have been smoking.)

    Slideshow: World's most extravagant gifts

  • The $100,000 book

    Image: $100,000 book
    Bebeto Matthews  /  AP

    Talk about a luxury gift idea. How about a 62-pound book — bound in white marble and red velvet — that is lovingly made by hand in Italy and that depicts the life and work of Michelangelo? Yowza!

    More than 20 copies of "Michelangelo: La Dotta Mano" — valued at more than $100,000 each — had been sold as of November 2008. That's when the book made headlines as it arrived at the New York Public Library. (That copy was donated, by the way.)

    Six long months are required to make each extravagant book — a detail that contributes to its hefty price tag. On the upside, though, Amazon.com offers free shipping on most book purchases over $25. (Cha-ching!)

    Related: Need a luxury gift? Try a $100K book

  • The $200,000 private spaceship flight

    Image: Inside the Virgin Galactic
    Daniel Berehulak  /  Getty Images

    OK, so who doesn't want to travel on a spaceship? The thing is, unless you're an astronaut for NASA, you probably won't get that privilege unless you've got lots and lots of cash.

    So far, about 300 private individuals have lined up to take a flight on Virgin Galactic's SpaceShipTwo as soon as passenger travel begins on the spaceship in 2011 or 2012. They've plunked down a total of $40 million in deposits to secure the opportunity.

    A 2.5-hour trip on SpaceShipTwo is supposed to cost $200,000. According to msnbc.com science writer Alan Boyle, "SpaceShipTwo is designed to carry six passengers and two pilots to the edge of outer space, past the 100-kilometer (62-mile) altitude mark. The flight profile would provide about five minutes of weightlessness, a commanding view of a curving Earth below the black sky of space, and the world's highest roller-coaster ride going up and coming down."

    Five minutes? That's it?? C'mon, Virgin — it's not too hard to figure out how to achieve that floating effect right here on Earth with the right combination of drinks.

    Related: Cosmic Log: Spaceship debut causes chills

  • The $1 million sword

    Image: Glass sword
    BusinessWeek

    Dubbed the "Glassic Katana," this $1 million glass sword can't kill anybody — and it may not even do such a great job slicing up a loaf of bread. What it does have going for it, though, is 70 carats of flawless rubies and diamonds. BusinessWeek reports that glass artist Monique Schloss spent more than six months crafting the sword by hand.

    The sword, which will go up for auction through Bonhams New York in January 2010, was among the extravagant items featured in Amsterdam at the ultra-decadent Millionaire Fair — an event that thumbs its nose at that silly ol' Great Recession. After all, if you're still staggeringly wealthy, where else are you supposed to learn about $1 million swords?

    Related: Luxury items for sale at the Millionaire Fair

  • Your own butler: Priceless!

    Image: Butlers
    Chris Schotanus  /  BusinessWeek

    Think of him as an executive assistant who's really good at ironing. And if you're Batman, he can totally help you stay organized as you juggle a crazy, late-night crime-fighting schedule.

    Yet another excessive option held out to the ultra-rich at the Millionaire Fair in Amsterdam was — you guessed it — butler services. Apparently the International Butler Academy does a smoking good job of training butlers to welcome guests, clean, iron, pour wine and manage a staff. (Manage a staff?? Wow.) So for a price that varies according to your needs, you could have your very own Jeeves.

    Related: Super rich at luxury fair ask, 'What recession?'

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