In colonial America, the bed was considered a family’s most important possession. In a fire, it was the very first item to be moved to safety by firemen. A mattress isn’t something you buy every day or even every year. Most people purchase mattresses rarely—about once every decade—and do so with a lot of thought and effort. Yet, somehow strip malls often include stores devoted to nothing but mattresses. After all, most of us spend a greater part of our lives in bed than anywhere else, so it is natural that we would want to choose wisely.

The reason mattress stores may survive the retail apocalypse is that people care about the product. Not surprisingly, unlike sales of clothes and consumer electronics, which have largely migrated online, most Americans still prefer to trying out different mattresses and making the purchase in a store. More people are getting married and having children, forming new households, and moving out on their own or just moving.The phenomenon of showrooming, in which shoppers try the item in a store and then buy it online from the cheapest e-retailer hasn’t yet hit the mattress industry. They ask their friends where they bought theirs. They solicit Facebook opinions, read reviews, and shop around. For such a large, expensive item that you’ll use almost every day, that kind of meticulous planning makes sense.

One reason for consumers’ insistence on buying in a store is that each mattress chain commissions unique models from major manufacturer, available only in its stores—and nowhere else. In truth, these models vary only superficially, but the naming differences make it difficult to compare prices and quality across different stores. Many shoppers find they can’t answer their questions without consultation with a salesperson. The majority of mattress purchases were once made inside department stores and mom-and-pop furniture outlets. At grocery stores, profit margins hover right around 5%. Meanwhile, a $3,000 mattress costs about $300 to make — giving mattress stores a whopping 9,000% profit when they sell one. The stores of the major retail chains tend to cluster together in prominent locations to feed off the increased customer traffic produced by such congregation. This makes mattress stores appear even more numerous than they actually are.

Mattress retailers are responding all over the country by opening new stores to capture these new customers. Running a mattress store instead of another type of retail establishment is often more profitable. Mattress stores are not threatened by online shopping to the same degree as other retailers. America has 46 square feet of retail space per capita. The equivalent per capita number in the UK is 9 square feet—less than one-fifth as much. And the U.K. has the most retail space of any country in Europe. So, seen with European eyes, America not only has too many mattress stores, it has too many stores period—from nail salons and donut shops to payday lenders and pharmacies. And, interestingly, it also has too many self-storage facilities. There are almost 10,000 mattress stores in America. 10,000! They are often clustered so closely together in towns and cities that you can literally drive to three or four mattress stores within a radius of a mile or two.


  1. Sage, sagacious, intelligent, clever, wise

showing good experience

showing mental discernment

showing a high level

showing good skill

showing good judgment

  1. Learned, knowledgeable, enlightened, broad-minded, educated

well informed in study

well informed in intelligence

well informed in rationality

liberal in view

having a good education

  1. Smart, shrewd, canny, astute; sensible

quick at showing intelligence

quick at having power of judgment

quick at judgment on money or business

quick at assessing a situation on own advantage

quick at choosing with wisdom

  1. Prudent, discerning, discriminating, sophisticated, judicious

acting with care and thought

having good judgment

having refined taste in a person

processed in good experience

done in good sense

  1. Perceptive, insightful, perspicacious; sharp-witted, rational

showing sensitive insight

showing deep understanding

showing ready understanding

quick to notice

based on reason


  1. BROAD-MINDED means:
  1. based on reason
  2. having refined taste in a person
  3. quick at showing intelligence
  4. liberal in view
  1. showing deep understanding
  2. processed in good experience
  3. showing sensitive insight
  4. well informed in rationality
  1. ENLIGHTENED means:
  2. quick at assessing a situation on own advantage
  3. showing mental discernment
  4. having a good education
  5. well informed in rationality
  2. well informed in study
  3. showing ready understanding
  4. processed in good experience
  5. done in good sense
  1. SHREWD means:
  2. quick at having power of judgment
  3. showing ready understanding
  4. quick to notice
  5. based on reason
  1. JUDICIOUS Means
  1. done in good sense
  2. showing good experience
  3. showing mental discernment
  4. showing a high level
  1. INSIGHTFUL means:
  2. well informed in study
  3. well informed in intelligence
  4. showing deep understanding
  5. showing ready understanding
  1. SAGE means:
  1. well informed in intelligence
  2. well informed in rationality
  3. liberal in view
  4. showing good experience
  1. ASTUTE means:
  2. quick at assessing a situation on own advantage
  3. acting with care and thought
  4. having good judgment
  5. having refined taste in a person
  1. CANNY means:
  2. showing a high level
  3. showing good skill
  4. showing good judgment
  5. quick at judgment on money or business

ANSWERS: 1.d 2.b 3.d 4.b 5.a 6.a 7.c 8.d 9.a 10.d


  1. having refined taste in a person
  1. Discriminating
  2. Insightful
  3. Perspicacious
  4. sharp-witted
  1. showing good skill
  1. Discriminating
  2. Sophisticated
  3. Judicious
  4. Clever
  1. quick at showing intelligence
  1. Perspicacious
  2. Sage
  3. Sensible
  4. Smart
  1. acting with care and thought
  1. Intelligent
  2. Broad-minded
  3. Sharp-witted
  4. Prudent
  1. well-informed in intelligence
  1. Knowledgeable
  2. Sensible
  3. Canny
  4. Astute
  1. showing sensitive insight
  1. Discerning
  2. Discriminating
  3. Perceptive
  4. Sophisticated
  1. quick to notice
  1. Discerning
  2. Sophisticated
  3. Learned
  4. Sharp-witted
  1. showing mental discernment
  1. Sagacious
  2. Rational
  3. Judicious
  4. Sage
  1. having refined taste in a person
  1. Discriminating
  2. Discerning
  3. Sensible
  4. Insightful
  1. based on reason
  1. Discerning
  2. Astute
  3. Perceptive
  4. Rational

ANSWERS: 1. a 2.d 3.d 4.d 5.a 6.c 7.d 8.a 9.a 10.d

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