Dear Valued Customer Heloise,
When you walked into the Mattress Depot, I knew that I must sell you a mattress—for I am the world’s best salesman, and you the finest customer. Never for an instant do I believe you will turn to my peddling rivals, for their mattresses are but lumpy, and you require ultra-plush or pillow-top. Pray tell me you have not sacrificed your dignity, and will return so we might lie together and try out the beds. All I dream of is gratifying you.
Your devoted salesman,
To the World’s Best Salesman,
You grant me incredible satisfaction, but, alas, the Depot does not carry the mattress I desire. In truth, it is not so much that I desire it as that my uncle believes it offers superior lumbar support. I must apologize, Abelard; my uncle is a controlling man. Plus, he’s paying for it.
With deepest regrets,
To Heloise, Who Will Not Let Me Down,
No! I cannot bear it—the thought of you turning to my enemies in pursuit of your intimate requirements. You must remember, Heloise: another salesman may have your mattress in stock, but he can only sell it to you. To him, it is little more than a thing shoved into your minivan. If I sold it, every inch of me would be in tune with the universal splendor of each fiber. Your mattress would not only be delivered; it would be transported. So please, I beg, wait and the merchandise you seek shall arrive.
Devoted as ever,
To My Special Salesman,
While it pains me to disregard my uncle, I cannot deny you. When this letter arrives, you will only then be ordering the Simmons Beautyrest, yet I already count the days—until I see you again. Also, what do you offer by way of comforter sets?
To My Most Valued Customer,
I’m afraid the mattress you seek cannot be ordered, for it contradicts company guidelines. Were I to purchase it, I would be shunned by my managers and cast into the street. The transgression would precede me, wherever I interviewed. Nevertheless, I would sacrifice it all—fame, wealth, invitations to cocktail parties—to sell you what you desire. My rivals are but trifling men, Heloise; they would surely turn you away. But I am no mere mattress salesman. I am the only genuine Mattress Salesman.
To the Supposedly Genuine Mattress Salesman,
I want to believe you are sincere, but I am starting to doubt. Three months ago, you vowed to purchase my mattress, and still—nothing. (Do you even have the equipment to transport it?) Then today, whilst on an errand, I glanced into your window. I have given myself to you and you alone, yet there you were, handing over your king-size Posturepedic to every curvy brunette hussy with an open checkbook. I cannot help but think you never cared to satisfy me, only yourself. The least you can do is waive the delivery charge.
A dissatisfied customer who needs her Beautyrest,
My Perfect Hel,
Do not let your skepticism guide you, for I remain determined to have you on this mattress within the fortnight. True, I probably sought to satisfy myself first. But, as always, you are next in line. If you only knew the torment I have endured these many months. My mind swims with thoughts of your mattress, and not just because I nap on waterbeds and memory foam. The trainees go untrained. The boy wanting the race-car bed leaves weeping each weekend. I shredded the Sealy arrivals, for their boxy contours reminded me of you—yet they were not yours. Yes, there was that one brunette … but I was so preoccupied I failed to include the tax upon her receipt. My warehouse minions must think me a fool. But I will never hide my devotion. The CEO insisted I cancel the order, and I laughed in his face.
My uncle has read your letter and wishes me to break off our transaction. I said I could not, for a 15 percent fee would result. But he thinks word of our union will disseminate and lead to scandal. I can demand no more. Go now, and redeem yourself in the eyes of your CEO. You’re not just any man, Abelard; you’re a Mattress Salesman, too noble to doze on anything but plywood, deserving of the condescending tone you take with us, the tired masses, who trudge to your store seeking comfort.
I am sorry I have caused you to stoop so low. Alas, I will take your mattress, but I will never sign the remainder of the contract. Surely this will thwart scandal.
Ever your finest,
Your Last Letter Torments Me, Heloise,
For your mattress has arrived, and I was about to recommend that you stop by so we might test its springs. Now this proposal that we part ways—it cuts straight to my natural-latex core. I’m afraid that, for my suffering, I will require nothing less than 20 percent.
Devoted as ever,
Dear Salesman No. 27 at Mattress Depot,
I must apologize for the spectacle my uncle caused in your store. Having those goons cut off your tongue so you can no longer haggle correctly was a step too far. Thanks for the lovely mattress, though.
Dear Former Salesman No. 27,
Though it has been many years since you sold me my mattress, and though I have repented for my past indulgences—especially my insistence on 1,500-count Egyptian sheets—I still think of you. I hear you are traveling now, selling your mattresses door-to-door, in constant fear that your rivals will take you out to the curb. But I simply must know: is there a way to remove a giant whiskey stain from the mattress pad? Also, why the hell did you sell me a full-size Serta when I specifically asked for a queen-size Simmons? Maybe one day we shall meet and ponder these dilemmas. When you find the time, please stop by. I will unfold the couch for you.