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Readers have a real grasp of mattress handles issue

I've gotten a handle on my anger, thanks to several faithful readers. You've helped me understand why some mattresses are made without handles.

Among the reasons: In some cases, handles are only provided for product positioning. Some beds today are too heavy to be lugged around with the flimsy handles sometimes attached to them. And in some instances, removing the handles reinforces to the consumer the fact that the mattress does not have to be turned.

My July 28 column on the difficulty of moving mattresses without handles sparked plenty of comments.

Don Hofmann, senior vice president of marketing at Simmons, said he had a much easier time with his son's bedding than I did with my daughter's bedding.

"I recently moved my son to the University of Georgia," he said. "Besides making sure he had the best mattress on campus (a Simmons BackCare Advanced), the one-inch piping on all four sides of the mattress made it easy to position. My move-in was a lot easier than yours."

Thanks for rubbing it in, Don.

Ron Hoesterey of Royal Mattress in Orange, Calif., wrote: "While it is true that many have abandoned the handles, we at Royal Mattress still include the E-vac style handles that are securely fastened to the spring unit with a steel rod. Please feel free to turn, flip, lift and carry our mattresses without fear of ripping the handles out."

Jonathan Zyto of Montague Mattress Co. in Calgary, Alberta, said, "We not only build mattresses, we also do in-home warranty inspections for a number of retailers and manufacturers of mattresses and box springs. It is ironic to note that the majority of people use handles in a manner different from the manufacturers' intentions: using handles to move and transport, which is not recommended, but not using handles when adjusting the position of the mattress on the box spring, which is what the handles are meant to be used for. Hence, we come across a lot of torn handles. For ourselves, we don't have handles on our mattresses and we recommend to lift the mattress in a more appropriate manner by grabbing the mattress firmly and using the proper technique when lifting heavy objects."

Suppliers of handles and handle-making equipment wrote to thank me for speaking up for handles, and to say that handles are a good thing to put on mattresses. They make some good points, I think.

Finally, my friends at Select Comfort noted their Sleep Number air beds are easily transportable, a much-appreciated feature. More than one-third of Americans have had difficulty getting a new mattress through a doorway, up a stairway or into a small space, according to the company's research, so I'm not the only one who has had problems in this area.

Thanks to everyone for writing. And if you need to move a mattress, especially one without handles, get some strong friends to give you a hand.

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