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10 Products With Big Markups

Mattresses
Is $3,000 really the cost of a good night's sleep?

Anyone who has ever shopped for a new mattress can probably attest that finding a suitable one in the $1,000 range takes a fair bit of searching and haggling.

In part, that is because retailers often hike the price tag 100%. In part, it is a markup used to cover sales commissions. It also gives the needed wiggle room for sellers to deploy a popular tactic -- big, colorful signs announcing 30%, 40%, even 50% off. Slight product variations and store-specific brand names make comparison shopping hard to do.

The website The Mattress Scam -- which, as the name suggests, is critical of the industry -- gives its own rationale: Sellers charge more because they can.

"When consumers are found in the mattress section of a department store, or in a dedicated mattress store, they are more likely to be serious shoppers than those found browsing in other stores," it says. "For example, many people all day long browse through electronics shops, clothing departments, sports stores and so on with no real intent of buying something. Nobody browses around in the mattress department. Nobody visits a mattress discount store unless they are going to be buying a mattress real soon. Mattresses are boring, ugly, and not many people really know much about them. Shopping for a mattress is not fun and many just assume to get it over with as quickly as possible. A mattress is a mattress to many folks."

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