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She Dreaded Mattress Shopping, But Dee's Show Dog Led Her to Best-in-Class Store Experience

Jennifer Nelson & Sarah Panus

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Dee Ambrose-Stahl wanted a new mattress for her, her husband and their show dog, Puck. One problem: Dee dreaded mattress shopping. But, a recommendation led her to Sleep Number, where she loved everything from the mattress to the exceptional customer service. 


Dee Ambrose-Stahl of Ligonier, Penn. shows Cardigan Welsh corgis as a hobby. The high school language arts teacher for the past 27 years is also the owner and handler of Puck, her show dog. 



While she loves teaching, Dee has found a place in her heart for the dog show world during the summer, where she jogs around the ring with Puck and her other dogs for a few minutes in front of the judges. 


“I try to keep it light and not take myself too seriously, and some judges appreciate that," she says. 


But despite standing in front of high schoolers all year and trotting around the dog show ring come summer, Dee found mattress shopping to be a vulnerable undertaking. 


"I'm anything but shy, but I've always found mattress shopping to be really awkward," she says. 


She and her husband, Ron, needed a new bed, so Puck could get on and off easily. The family previously had a platform bed that was too high and dangerous for Puck to jump on and off. 


“Puck is very attached to me, and he wants to be in bed with me," Dee says. 


Show Dog Inspires Search for New Mattress 

This might be the first time Sleep Number heard that a dog was the impetus for a new mattress. Thanks to Puck, Dee posted on social media, asking friends for mattress recommendations, and funnily enough, Puck's breeder immediately mentioned Sleep Number. 


Dee checked out Sleep Number's website and said she had a bit of sticker shock. 


“It had been a long time since I shopped mattresses," she says with a laugh. 


But she filled out the online information request and someone named Travis from her local Sleep Number® store contacted her. 



“I got an email from Travis, and it was so friendly — casual-professional, and out of a courtesy because I liked it, I responded," she says. 


Dee calls herself a militant consumer, whether it comes to retail shopping or dining. She is used to a certain standard of care and is not shy about complaining when she doesn't get what she expects. 


In fact, she admits with a laugh that her husband would rather wait in the car when she is not “getting what she expects" since he's more non-confrontational. 


Couple Learns About Comfort and Sleep at Sleep Number® Store 

One Sunday morning after going out for breakfast, Dee texted Travis and asked if he was working and that they would like to pop into the local store. Travis replied that if they got there before 11 a.m., he could open the store early for them. 


Turns out, Travis has a teaching degree, and dogs of his own, and he and Dee chatted about everything, including mattresses. Dee explains that she thought she needed this super firm mattress, but it never occurred to her that a too-firm mattress could be the reason she was waking up with a sore back. 


Travis demonstrated the Sleep Number 360® smart bed, how it cradles pressure points, responds to movements and automatically adjusts firmness on each side. He also showed them how to find their Sleep Number® setting. 



“I thought I'd be like 100 (firmest setting) — but turns out my perfect number was 35," says Dee. "Of course, Travis sees this all the time." 


Then Travis crunched the numbers for their new smart bed, mattress cover and base, and surprised them with a 20% teacher discount going on at the time. 


“Everything just fell right into place and the stars aligned. But I feel very good about this purchase," Dee says. “I know that if there's an issue, I can reach out to the store and if they can't handle it, they'll find someone who can." 


Sleep Number's Customer Service is Tops 

Dee was so impressed with everything about Sleep Number, besides the mattress itself, the customer service and their dealings with Travis, that she wrote an email to the CEO about what a great experience they had. Extending the excellent customer service, Sleep Number’s CEO replied to Dee’s email! 


Instead of being an awkward, uncomfortable mattress buying experience, their time in the Sleep Number® store was relaxed, enjoyable and even fun. 


“Just getting to chat with Travis and he's just a genuine guy," Dee says. "There was no pressure. There was no trying to play fast and loose or back me into a corner." 


“I always felt vulnerable mattress shopping for some reason. You're laying down on this bed and this stranger is looking at you," Dee explains. “But with Travis, it was much more of an education about sleep, sleeping positions and the mattress' capabilities, and it wasn't a sales pitch. And that is a huge difference to me." 


What Would You Tell Someone On the Fence About Buying a Sleep Number® Mattress? 

“Do it," Dee says. “As one of my many character flaws, I'm very impulsive, and even though this came about more quickly than what I may have wanted it to, or planned it to, I have zero regrets." 



She says the entire Sleep Number® experience is an education. Plus, you're treated like a friend. 


“We left so incredibly confident that we made the right decision and that's what I would tell people. Don't hesitate." 


Dee says she may stand in front of a room full of teenagers all year or a panel of dog show judges all summer, but buying a mattress can feel intimidating. 


With Sleep Number though, it's not like that at all. Even her husband was impressed and wants to get another Sleep Number® 360 smart bed for the guest room. 


"I'm fine with it," Dee says, "but, you know, one step at a time!" 


Like diet and exercise, quality sleep is essential for optimal wellbeing and performance. Because everyone's sleep needs are different, Sleep Number® smart beds, with SleepIQ® technology inside, sense your movements and automatically adjust firmness, comfort and support to keep you both sleeping comfortably. Find your Sleep Number® setting for your best possible night's sleep.



Author, Jennifer Nelson, is a Florida-based health writer who writes about all things sleep hygiene. She writes for The National Sleep Foundation, Phillips, Tom's Guide, Southern Living, Health, AARP, and others. 


Interviewer, Sarah Panus, is the past Editor-in-Chief of the Sleep Number blog, owner of Kindred Speak, and host of the Marketing With Empathy podcast. 

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